VodafoneZiggo wins Dutch 5G race thanks to spectrum sharing

VodafoneZiggo has announced the launch of commercial 5G services making use of Ericsson spectrum sharing software.

The spectrum sharing software will (theoretically) allow an existing 4G telco to operate 5G New Radio and 4G technologies simultaneously over 2.1 GHz airwaves. Thanks to the retirement of the VodafoneZiggo 3G network in February, spectrum was freed up to offer 4G a boost and a head start over rivals in 5G.

With telcos still waiting for 5G spectrum auctions, VodafoneZiggo will make use of this existing spectrum for 5G, becoming the first telco in the country to launch commercial services.

“5G is an evolution that opens doors to new possibilities,” said Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of VodafoneZiggo. “Today we are introducing 5G via ‘Ericsson Spectrum Sharing’ in our GigaNet.

“We are making use of the latest innovative technology to apply 5G in existing frequency bands, using our existing antennas. With the addition of 5G, we want to offer the Netherlands the best fixed and mobile digital infrastructure in the world which will result in a new form of connectedness. Keeping our customers connected is at the core of what we do, and we know this partnership with Ericsson will ensure that we do just that.”

Currently scheduled for June, Dutch authorities will auction of 700 MHz, 1400 MHz and 2.1 GHz spectrum bands for 5G services. It would surprise few to see this delayed due to the coronavirus as many have, though for the moment it will continue.

Interestingly enough, the 3.5 GHz airwaves which are being utilised very successfully in other regions, are not available for the moment as it is being used by the country’s satellite defence system. Authorities plan to clear these airwaves before holding an auction in 2022.

Being the first to launch services is not necessarily a guarantee of success, though it certainly is a favourable of position.

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