T-Mobile is first off the blocks with an initial 5G deployment in Austria.
T-Mobile Austria has become the first mobile communications provider to offer a 5G network in Austria. The company, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom, has activated the first 25 5G base stations, primarily in rural regions.
This deployment follows Austria’s 5G spectrum auction earlier this month, where T-Mobile Austria spent €57 million.
Andreas Bierwirth, CEO of T-Mobile Austria, described the launch as a historic day for his company commenting, “With 5G, mobile broadband coverage will keep up with fibre-optic network performance going forward, supplying regions where the laying of cables would be complex, slow and expensive. Instead of connecting households to the Internet through wires, 5G will ensure that broadband internet reaches homes through radio transmission. T-Mobile will be investing around €1 billion in total between 2018 and 2021 to guarantee that Austria has a powerful broadband infrastructure, both mobile and landline."
Towards nationwide deployment
T-Mobile plans to use the experience it gains in these first 5G sites before progressing to nationwide deployment. It plans to give special 5G routers to the first “friendly customers” willing to try it out.
Norbert Hofer, Austrian Minister for Transport, Innovation, and Technology said: “The opportunities that 5G will open up for people will completely change their lives. I am confident that the state capitals will get 5G network coverage as early as 2020. We want to complete this step by 2023 along the main transportation routes, and we are setting our sights on 2025 for comprehensive 5G.”
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said: "This marks an important milestone for our competitiveness, our technological progress, and the quality of life for all Austrians. I thank the Deutsche Telekom Group for their trust in our country."
At the recent spectrum auction, Telekom Austria’s A1 also spent €64.3 million and Hutchison Drei (Three) spent €51.9 million. Four local operators acquired 5G licences in up to three zones each, spending €5 million or less. The auction was designed to allow smaller regional broadband providers the chance to gain access to the mobile market.