According to techcrunch.com, 24 countries in the world used 5G technology at the beginning of March this year. South Korea became the first country to launch 5G commercial operations in April 2019. The first European commercial 5G network was launched by Swisscom two weeks later than in Korea.
According to the research company GSA, 224 operators in 88 countries are now involved in the development, testing and implementation of 5G. According to the same source, 1.6 billion people could be connected to the 5G network by 2025.
The largest suppliers of technology include the American companies Qualcomm and Intel, the South Korean Samsung and LG, the Chinese Huawei and ZTE, and in Europe they are Ericsson and Nokia. For example, for the Czech telecommunications network operator CETIN, 5G components will be supplied exclusively by Ericsson.
CETIN is a supplier to virtually all mobile operators and provides locations for part of the integrated rescue system. It has the largest mobile network in the country, including 6,445 transmitters.
Huawei on the black list
However, Huawei, which is currently the largest producer and seller of smartphones in the world, has problems in the world. For example, the United States has long accused the company of stealing technology and spying for the Beijing government. Because of this, Washington placed Huawei on the black list last May.
Washington is trying to get Huawei’s allies to exclude Huawei from building 5G networks. The British government has banned the use of Huawei technology in the construction of 5G networks from next year. Already used components of a Chinese company must be removed by 2027. The Romanian government has also proposed conditions for the selection of a 5G contractor, which de facto eliminates Huawei.
In July, the French authorities informed operators planning to purchase Huawei 5G devices that it would not be possible to renew the license for these devices after their expiration. In essence, this means the elimination of Huawei from French 5G networks by 2028. Last month, Sweden also banned the use of fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks by telecommunications equipment from the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE.
The Czech National Office for Cyber and Information Security (NÚKIB) considers both Huawei and ZTE technologies to be a security risk. In mid-September, the daily N reported that Huawei had not obtained a secret security clearance from the National Security Office in the Czech Republic (but does not need a security clearance for cooperation with Czech operators in building 5G networks).
In May, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES) and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed a declaration aimed at building 5G networks that “protect against unauthorized access” and “ensure privacy for citizens”. Both politicians also talked about the security of 5G mobile networks during Pompe’s August visit to the Czech Republic. In addition to the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Romania, Poland, Slovenia and the three Baltic countries also signed a similar declaration with the USA.
Free frequency auctions
This autumn, the Czech Telecommunication Office organized an auction for free frequencies, which will be used for the propagation of the 5G signal in our territory. The auction was to bring to market one or more new operators who would increase competition in the market, which could lead to a decrease in the price of mobile data. But that did not happen in the end.
In total, seven participants applied for free frequencies for 5G mobile networks, but in the end only five of them were successful in the auction. Of the four main units in category A, which includes the required 700 MHz band, two were acquired by Vodafone, one by T-Mobile and O2.
It was this band that was key to the development of the fifth-generation mobile network, and would also enable the creation of a new operator in the Czech Republic. T-Mobile paid the most in the auction (1.89 billion crowns), followed by Vodafone (1.568 billion crowns) and O2 (1.322 billion crowns).
All three mentioned operators also successfully participated in the auction in the 3400–3600 MHz band, but CentroNet and Nordic Telecom also managed to acquire free blocks here. On the contrary, the unsuccessful participants in the auction are Sev.en Innovations and PODA.
The 20 MHz units in the 3400-3600 MHz band, which competed for, are linked to a frequency lease commitment to support Industry 4.0.