5G smartphone prototype tested on Swisscom’s 5G network in Lucerne

Swiss network operator Swisscom, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Taiwanese wireless product device manufacturer WNC have claimed a 5G milestone with the first test of a 5G smartphone prototype on a live network.   The companies used Swisscom’s 5G network, equipped with Ericsson’s 5G new radio hardware and software solutions, for a data transfer test  using a Qualcomm smartphone prototype powered by the company’s Snapdragon™ X50 5G modem and RF subsystem.  During the trial in Lucerne, a prototype hotspot device developed by WNC (Wistron NeWeb Corporation) was also successfully tested on the live network. That device also used the Qualcomm Snapdragon™ X50 5G modem.

Swisscom’s live pilot 5G network is operating on the 3.5-GHz band under a test license for use case field trials.   Selected parts of Lucerne, Bern, Geneva and Zurich have joined Burgdorf in being connected live to the network on the test frequency.  By the end of 2019, Swisscom plans to gradually roll out 5G to 60 cities and communities across Switzerland.

Arun Bansal, President Ericsson Europe and Latin America, says: “Ericsson, as a strategic partner, is proud to support Swisscom with its ambitious expansion of the 5G network. Together, Ericsson and Swisscom are kick-starting the 5G network rollout in Switzerland and preparing industries for 5G use cases that will benefit the whole economy.”


Prototype 5G smartphone devices featured in the Swisscom test

Swisscom CEO Urs Schaeppi said validation on a live network is an important step towards ensuring the first 5G smartphones reach the market by the middle of next year.

“One year ago, in cooperation with Ericsson, we presented the first laboratory applications. Today, we are taking the next step by presenting a 5G smartphone prototype for the first time in real conditions on our 5G network.  This modem, or chipset, will soon be inside the first 5G smartphones.”

Jeffrey Gau, Chief Executive Officer, Wistron NeWeb Corporation, said: “In February, we selected the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem family for our 3GPP-compliant 5G NR device product launches in 2019. Today is the next step in accelerating 5G market development. WNC is proud to be here today, with our partners at Qualcomm Technologies, Swisscom and Ericsson on this momentous occasion for the industry.”


Swisscom to expand the 5G network across Switzerland

Looking to the future, Swisscom is not only bringing the 5G network to cities, but also to rural and tourist areas for the benefit of all. Urs Schaeppi says: “Though many applications are in the pipeline, they are still at an early stage. Back when 3G was launched, people doubted whether mobile Internet was necessary at all. Today, we know that mobile applications on 3G and 4G have revolutionised our daily lives. Now we’ve reached the same point with 5G.” Swisscom is shaping 5G development and plays an active role in standardisation through its work on international committees. Around the globe, countries and telecom providers are hatching ambitious plans for 5G expansion. In Switzerland, however, comparatively restrictive ONIR limits that were originally set in 1999 present an obstacle to a swift, extensive and profitable rollout. It is up to politicians and administrations to quickly adapt the underlying framework.

Illustration: Examples of potential 5G applications in Lucerne

From first aid to supporting the fire service with drones and new event experiences, combined mobility, smart farming or tourism products; these are just some of the possibilities that 5G opens up.

The illustration may be used without restriction; it may be used in part or full and can be edited as desired. An open .psd file is available on request. Please contact  [email protected].





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2 thoughts on “5G smartphone prototype tested on Swisscom’s 5G network in Lucerne

  1. The Ericsson CTO identified enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless as amongst the first 5G bright spots for Ericsson. “The beauty of fixed wireless,” he told Light Reading Thursday, is that it lessens the need for fiber. With wide carriers (radio channels) and narrow beams (i.e., beamforming) — “spotlight beams” as Ekudden calls them — able to deliver multi-megabit to gigabit speeds, high-speed and efficient fixed wireless is now possible, where it wasn’t before, Ekudden said.

    Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
    Light Reading.
    “It’s now financially and technically viable,” the CTO said, particularly as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (5G NR) specs make it possible to use the same infrastructure for both fixed and mobile 5G services. According to the CTO, high-band 5G equipment could deliver a high-speed data connection from a small cell sited 200-300 feet from antennas installed at customers’ homes. In this scenario, an operator such as Verizon would save money by serving multiple premises without having to dig up the customers’ front yards for a cable run.

    “I’m not advocating universal build-out of fixed [wireless 5G],” Ekudden hastens to add. “There are fewer operators that are planning for fixed wireless.”

    But in the US, both Verizon and T-Mobile US Inc. have launched — or are planning to launch — 5G home broadband services (using fixed wireless capabilities) along with mobile 5G services. Mobile services are expected in the first of 2019 for T-Mobile, and “sometime” in 2019 for Verizon. (See T-Mobile: 6 of Top 10 US Markets Ready for Our 5G in 2019.)

    Ericsson, like its vendor rivals, is also expecting the Internet of Things to be a massive part of the 5G age: Ericsson is predicting there will be 3.5 billion “cellular IoT” devices in use by 2023. That’s a big number, but not as ambitious as many other predictions seen for 5G and IoT.

    “Most of that number is China,” explains the CTO.

    The low-power, wide-area aspect of 5G can be supported now. Technologies like narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) or Cat M LTE can be used “in-band” in 3GPP-compliant 5G NR deployments. A crucial part of the industry vision for “Critical IoT,” however, won’t be able to be supported until the end of 2019 with NR/Phase 2 (Release 16), which means the earliest commercial equipment will become available sometime in 2020.

    This “ultra reliable low latency” upgrade for Release 16 is crucial for the millisecond latency needed for everything from self-driving cars, to automated product lines, to supporting more sophisicated thin client devices. Like rival Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Ericsson is gearing up for this IoT industrial sector to be a money-spinner for the company in 5G — just not yet. (See Nokia Reveals Future X Network Project.)


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