Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor Group has announced plans to launch what it has termed ‘the world’s northernmost 5G pilot’ on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. With the company saying the trials would see the new standard of mobile broadband technology ‘tested against the rigours of the Arctic climate’, the pilot will reportedly launch on 20 October. Telenor has said it aims to use the trials to experiment, explore and learn as much as possible about 5G, suggesting that Svalbard’s Arctic landscape of glaciers, mountains and fjords, and the tundra climate present unique conditions for learning as much as possible about geographical and topographical challenges, ahead of launching 5G commercially in Norway in 2020. Telenor’s pilot in Svalbard will reportedly include testing of broadband and 5G on mobile handsets, while the company noted that it is also considering testing drones, emergency networks and 360-degree cameras over fifth-generation technology on the archipelago.
Commenting, Sigve Brekke, Telenor Group’s president and CEO, said: ‘Extreme weather conditions in remote locations populated by a small but industrious community makes Svalbard a dream test case for 5G. The experiences we gain from here will be critical as we bring connectivity to more corners of the world where a changing climate requires us to both utilise resources better and work in new ways with partners and communities to transform.’ Meanwhile, Petter Furberg, Telenor Norway CEO, added: ‘Svalbard is a unique region in the global context, and the ideal location for testing the super network of the future. We are starting small, and will extend the pilot to include some very interesting user areas in the longer-term.’