Sunrise aiming to bring 5G to the people in remote areas

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Sunrise has held a live demonstration of 5G and is planning to use the technology to bring fiber-like speeds on rural areas from 2020.

It held the trial with longstanding partner Huawei, using 3GPP-based 5G New Radio equipment and the vendor's CPE.

Sunrise CEO Olaf Swantee said that while the long-term goal of the technology is to power self-driving cars, large-scale IoT deployments, and real-time control of critical networks, he said the initial task will be bring high speeds to remote parts of Switzerland in 2020.

While mobile broadband will be Sunrise's most important solution, the operator said customers could also benefit from replacing fixed line connectivity, watch UHD TV, tap into 1GBps speeds, play games online and use virtual or augmented reality.

[Read more: 5G success will be rooted in LTE strength, predicts Sunrise CTO]

Its "5G for the People" strategy will connect Wi-Fi hotspots to a 5G mobile network. Swantee said: "We believe 5G for the People offers the greatest potential and so we are concentrating all our efforts on using it to benefit customers. As 5G pioneers, we will demonstrate the benefits of high-bandwidth connections – up to 1GBps – for both business and private customers as early as 2020, even without a fiber optic connection."

Swantee used today's demonstration to launch his latest attack on what he described as a strict and outdated regulatory regime. Switzerland has radiation protection safeguards in place which each of the country's operators claims holds back the expansion of network infrastructure.

[Read more: Salt warns unfair 5G auction could see Swiss operators quit]

He added: "In Switzerland, the current radiation protection regime is 10 times more exacting than regulations abroad.

"Coupled with rigid administrative and technical implementing provisions and lengthy mobile network approval procedures, this threatens to delay the introduction of 5G and its related performance enhancements until 2020 and beyond because the existing infrastructure is prevented from being expanded much further, especially in urban areas."