PROMO: Telekom Slovenije first to roll out a commercial 5G network in SloveniaAdriatic Journal 23 February 2021
Telekom Slovenije, the leading and most advanced Slovenian provider of ICT services, is the first Slovenian operator to take the next step in the development of mobile technology and launch the fifth generation mobile network (5G) nationally by using existing base stations and the 2600 MHz frequency spectrum it already utilizes for its fourth generation mobile network. This evolutionarily upgrade to the 5G network is available to users from October 2020 and allows them to achieve higher data transfer speeds than on the LTE/4G network already in this first phase (with speeds of up to 450 Mbps downlink and 100 Mbps uplink) while the full potential of 5G technology will become available to users after additional frequency bands are awarded. By February 2021 the company surpassed 33% coverage with 5G signal.
Telekom Slovenije is among the first operators in the world to launch a 5G network using the 2600 MHz frequency band, utilizing its available frequencies deliberately and to the full extent.
“5G is not the destination, it is the road. We can hardly imagine living without the proper support of high capacity mobile services at every step. Same goes for communication through different apps, unlimited access to information, social networks or the option of remote learning or remote work. A lot of critical business communication is already carried over our advanced 4G network, which has clearly proven its merit when work and learning simultaneously became remote during the epidemic. The volume of traffic over the mobile network continues to grow, while transport capacities of existing mobile networks are limited. Mobile data traffic has been growing exponentially, with data transfer in our mobile network increasing more than 25-fold compared to 2013, when we launched the fourth generation of mobile networks. This and the need to ensure continued technological development of IoT were the main reasons we decided to take this next step in our development, the first step towards the introduction of 5G. We have been systematically preparing for this for a long time, and in this first step of implementing 5G we utilized the existing frequency spectrum as much as possible, even though the bandwidth is too limited for full-fledged 5G deployment; however, this new generation of technology is much more spectrally efficient and can transfer more bits per second per Herz of bandwidth. This puts Slovenia on the map of advanced countries with 5G. As new technologies are increasingly complex, it is very important that our technical teams have the right know-how and skills, and we are exceptionally proud of them. Following the period of kilobit and megabit speeds, the upgrade from 4G to 5G will bring us into the gigabit decade. Since every future begins with the first step, we opted to start by completing an evolutionary upgrade of existing mobile technology, which is based on established safe and secure standards that we have mastered and been upgrading for a few decades. In the coming years we are planning at least two major phases of 5G development. Business and residential users have a safe and secure future in our network,” pointed out Matjaž Beričič, Management Board member and CTO of Telekom Slovenije.
5G meets the demands of modern society, which is characterized by fast growth of mobile data transfer and a growing demand for digitalization of the economy. 5G will provide flexibility and optimization of machines and robots, and, with the utilization of sensors, provide an even higher level of product quality, and especially the personalisation of orders, one of the foundations of Industry 4.0. Practically all industries will benefit from additional functionalities that will bring even more efficient operations with 5G.
It is currently collaborating on the 5G Safety project together with Port of Koper and Internet Institute, and in the European development project 5G-LOGINNOV, which brings together 15 partners from several European countries, and will launch in September. The 5G-LOGINNOV focuses on 5G from the perspective of innovative solutions in logistics as part of Industry 4.0. Just like two other projects in which Telekom Slovenije participated, and have since concluded, this one is part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Partners in the iCirrus project researched the effects of the cloud radio access network architecture (C-RAN) on the capacities of the 5G mobile network, such as device-to-device communications (D2D) and the introduction of virtual mobile services in the cloud. The Charisma project focused on developing mechanisms for offloading the network in order to ensure data flow to the end user over the shortest possible path, and the development of end-to-end security mechanisms in a convergent virtualised open access network.