Swiss full-service provider Sunrise has announced plans for a limited 5G trial next month for around 100 selected residential and business customers. The company is aiming to be the first provider in Switzerland to commercialise the new technology following the award of 5G-compatible spectrum earlier this month, but the availability of compatible devices remains a sticking point for a full launch: at present, Sunrise’s 5G network is only accessible via its ‘Sunrise Internet Box 5G’ but more devices, including smartphones, will be introduced over the course of the year.
In addition to boosting mobile data services, Sunrise intends to use the new technology to offer residential broadband with data transfer rates of up 1Gbps in areas where customers do not have access to fibre networks. The operator claims that around 70% of households in suburban and rural areas utilise DSL or hybrid fibre/copper connections, and that by concentrating its rollout in these areas it is ‘paving the way for digitisation in rural Switzerland’. Explaining the telco’s strategy, Sunrise CEO Olaf Swantee was quoted as saying: ‘With 5G, we want to close the digital divide between urban and rural areas, which is particularly important for business customers and SMEs based outside city centres.’ By the end of March 2019, Sunrise’s 5G network will cover 150 cities and villages, with population coverage of those locations ranging from 80% to 98%. In terms of its offerings, Sunrise will offer a 5G connection option for ‘Home Internet’ and ‘Sunrise One’ subscribers with no access to fibre at no additional cost, whilst its mobile and business mobile users can upgrade to 5G for an additional CHF10 (USD10) per month. A dedicated 5G mobile data package with unlimited download and priced at CHF59 per month will also be made available for both business and residential subscribers. 5G smartphones and hotspots will be offered with or without a device plan, as these are introduced over the course of the year.