Ericsson and Swisscom have switched on the first large-scale commercial 5G network in Europe supporting commercially available smartphones. The 5G network and related services are available in 54 cities and communities in Switzerland, including the major population areas: Zürich, Bern, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Lucerne.

Swisscom subscribers with commercial 5G smartphones and routers in covered areas will immediately benefit from the high speed, low latency and enhanced mobile broadband features of 5G services for infotainment, gaming, virtual reality and immersive media. The 5G network also opens the door to new opportunities in the IoT and so-called Industry 4.0.

The 5G network went live in the first minute of April 17, after Swisscom secured a commercial 5G license. With all the other components already in place, securing the license meant the partners simply had to switch on the network. Swisscom had already announced the planned launch of the network, introducing smartphone and mobile router ecosystem partners at an April 10 ceremony in Zurich.

Swisscom plans to have its 5G network operational all over Switzerland by the end of 2019 — with close to 90 percent nationwide population coverage. This will be achieved by using Ericsson Spectrum Sharing software, which dynamically shares the spectrum between 4G and 5G carriers based on traffic demand. This capability enables fast 5G coverage with 5G-ready 4G radios.

Urs Schaeppi, the CEO of Swisscom, said, “With the launch of the first commercial 5G network in Switzerland, we are laying the foundation for diverse, new applications and business models.This will not only be great for Switzerland but also inspiring for the people who will now be part of the digital world, whether they are living in the city, countryside or in the mountains.”

Arun Bansal, president and head of Ericsson's European and Latin American regions, said, “This is a momentous occasion for Swisscom and Europe — 5G is now commercially live. As we continue our close ties with Swisscom, we are also strengthening the 5G ecosystem by reducing the time-to-market for chipset and device makers. We ensure multi-vendor operability with 5G devices and networks, enabling more 5G devices to come to the market so consumers can enjoy the benefits of 5G services.”

Ericsson and Swisscom have a long and successful partnership working toward commercial 5G services. In November 2017, Swisscom selected Ericsson as its strategic partner for Gigabit LTE and 5G. Since then, the two companies accomplished Europe’s first end-to-end, multi-vendor 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) data call at 3.5 GHz, in September 2018, and Swisscom selected Ericsson for a number of its solutions including end-to-end 5G transport, Ericsson Expert Analytics and, most recently, Ericsson Security Manager.