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Swisscom preps 5G project with Asian telco

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Swisscom is planning a 5G innovation project later this year with an Asian telco, as it aims to test its potential uses and help to generate standards.

CTO Heinz Herren [pictured] told Mobile Europe that Asia is a market that European operators should look to for inspiration, as well as the United States. He said: "They are in a phase when you think they are on the verge of dying out but they keep gaining momentum...I really think we can learn from South Korea and Japan, not so much when it comes to comparing the quality of the network [but] it’s the innovation culture that the guys have.”

Further details about the project, including who Swiscomm's partner is, will be revealed later this year.

Swisscom has a dedicated innovation team of 120 staff working on different projects such as its driverless car, which it trialled in Zurich in May.

However, Herren believes the mobile industry needs to continue to develop LTE amid the move towards 5G networks and standards. He said: "We need to evolve on LTE and not just stop. This is not just when it comes to population coverage but also asking how we cope with capacity. We can densify the network with small cells and this will lead us towards 5G.”

The CTO is also keen to extend the cooperation the operator has had with rivals beyond Switzerland's borders. Swiss telcos have worked together to produce a mobile payments and ticketing service, an authentication service and a project to bolster connectivity on railway routes.

He said: "We are a small country and if you want to stay ahead with the big global guys, the OTTs, you need to build products within an ecosystem of Swiss players. We don’t work together on all of the stuff but there is some collaboration.”

This is an extract of a feature interview with Heinz Herren that will be published in the next issue of Mobile Europe. For subscription details, please click here.