Swiss full-service provider Sunrise has commissioned its first 5G cell tower, but has reiterated concerns that emission regulations will restrict the rollout of the new technology. In a press release, the operator set out its vision for 5G technology, saying that whilst the system will enable future applications such as self-driving vehicles, it could be used to provide broadband connections at speeds of up to 1Gbps to businesses and private consumers as soon as 2020 without the need to install fibre infrastructure into buildings. Sunrise added that it plans to focus on this use – which it refers to as ‘5G for People’ – from 2020 onwards, noting that ‘5G makes it possible to deliver the bandwidth of fibre optics over a mobile network using just a 5G Wi-Fi hotspot and a 5G mobile network connection’. The operator suggests that 5G could be used as a replacement for ADSL/VDSL connections, especially outside high-population areas, as these locations are typically lower-priority for fibre deployments and have greater potential to upgrade existing mobile networks without exceeding the current radiation limits; according to Sunrise, 90% of antennas in urban areas cannot be expanded further due to the strict regulations on radiation.
Wang Haito, a spokesperson for Sunrise’s technology partner for 5G, Chinese vendor Huawei, commented on the development, saying: ‘For the demonstration today we provided our latest 3GPP-based 5G New Radio equipment and CPE which enables Sunrise to be one of our first customers in Europe who can show the public the potential of 5G in an end-to-end environment.’