Finland’s Elisa has become the latest company to claim a world’s first launch of 5G, announcing that it has begun ‘commercial use of a 5G network’, including the sale of ‘5G subscriptions’. In a press release regarding the development, Elisa stated that its ‘commercial 5G networks’ had been opened in both Tampere in Finland and Tallinn in Estonia, and had been used for the first time to make a video call between Kadri Simson, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure in Estonia and Anne Berner, Finland’s Minister of Transport and Communications.
Despite this, the company acknowledged that a full 5G launch across Finland is still dependent on the forthcoming award of 5G licences and suitable spectrum, with Ms Berner cited in the company’s press release regarding the ‘launch’ as saying: ‘We aim to make Finland the leading nation as a developer of 5G mobile services. The Ministry of Communications is ready to allocate the first 5G licences to the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz frequency band in autumn, which will make Finland among the first countries in the world to start building 5G networks.’
Moreover, in an FAQ on the website for Elisa’s Finnish operations regarding the new ‘5G’ service launch, the operator confirmed that it does not actually expect the first 5G devices to become available until next year. Until then, those signing up for one of its new tariffs – ‘Saunalahti Huoleton 5G’ and ‘Saunalahti Mobiililaajakaista 5G’ – can reportedly gain access to downlink speeds of up to 600Mbps by using handsets including the Huawei P20 Pro and the Sony XZ2, as well as Huawei’s B618 mobile broadband router. It was also noted that the operator’s new ‘5G’ packages will automatically switch over to providing access to the 5G network as and when it becomes available, once licences and spectrum have been officially awarded and compatible devices are available.
With regards to its infrastructure in Finland, meanwhile, Elisa noted that, having built out a network with 5G capability in Tampere and its surrounding areas, work on similar upgrades is already underway in Turku and Jyvaskyla.