Ericsson rolls out first 5G network in Slovenia

By Robert Scammell

Swedish telecommunication company Ericsson has launched Slovenia’s first 5G network with mobile carrier Telekom Slovenije.

5G services are now available in major cities across the eastern-European country, providing coverage to an estimated 25% of the population. Ericsson and Telekom Slovenije aim to provide 5G coverage to a third of Slovenia by the end of 2020.

Ericsson is providing the radio access network (RAN) and Packet Core equipment. The 5G network uses non-standalone equipment, which means 5G equipment is built on top of existing 4G infrastructure. This will see the 5G network share radio spectrum with the 4G network at a 2600MHz FDD frequency.

Ericsson switched on the network via a software installation on 23 July, less than a week after signing the contract. The Swedish company made the announcement public today.

The fifth generation of cellular technology promises faster speeds, higher bandwidth and reduced latency, all of which are set to boost emerging technologies such as driverless cars and smart factories.

Telekom Slovenije said it plans to create virtual networks that dedicate some of the 5G spectrum to specific industry verticals, such as energy, transport and logistics. These networks would all run from the same physical infrastructure using a 5G technique called network slicing.

“Upgrading existing our 4G networks to 5G puts Slovenia on the map of the most digitally advanced countries,” said Matjaž Beričič, management board member and chief technology officer at Telekom Slovenije.

“With opportunities for new ICT solutions, services and business models, we have started an evolutionary upgrade of existing mobile technology based on secure standards that we have mastered with our business partners and providers like Ericsson. We shall continue upgrading our 4G/5G network to benefit everyone in Slovenia.”

Ericsson snaps up 5G contracts

The Slovenia 5G rollout marks the telco’s 100th commercial 5G agreement or contract with unique service providers.

In July, Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank chose Ericsson equipment for its standalone 5G network.

Ericsson has also been snapping up 5G contracts with key companies in China, the home country of embattled telecommunications firm Huawei.

Arun Bansal, President of Europe and Latin America, Ericsson, says: “With leading 5G technology, a robust supply chain capability and decades of local presence in Europe, we are joining forces with our long-term partners Telekom Slovenije to bring 5G to Slovenia.

“Telekom Slovenije is meeting the increased demand for data in the country, and we are efficiently deploying 5G to support subscribers and enterprises and to also prepare Slovenia for the next digital revolution.”

Read more: We’re beating Huawei on 5G deployment says Ericsson