Finnish telco Elisa claims world’s first commercial 5G network launch
Juan Pedro Tomas | June 28, 2018
With the advent of a new generation of network technologies come the inevitable battles over “firsts” — and Finnish mobile telephony operator Elisa has now claimed to be the first operator in the world to begin commercial use of a 5G network, complete with subscription sales in Finland. Middle East telecom group Ooredoo, however, claimed last month that it was the first with a commercial 5G network, with a launch of what it claimed to be first the world’s first live 5G network on the 3.5 GHz spectrum band. Etisalat also said in May that it had launched its commercial 5G network in the United Arab Emirates — although it doesn’t expect to start selling devices and services until later this year. The telco said that the 5G network was launched in the cities of Tampere, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia. Elisa, which operates in Finland and Estonia said that the first person to use the 5G network was Anne Berner, Finland’s minister of transport and communications. She who made a video call to Kadri Simson, minister of cconomic Affairs and infrastructure in Estonia. Elisa said the 5G terminal device used in the video call was provided by Chinese vendor Huawei. “We aim to make Finland the leading nation as a developer of 5G mobile services. The Ministry of Communications is ready to allocate the first 5G licenses in the 3,400–3,800 megahertz frequency band in autumn, which will make Finland among the first countries in the world to start building 5G networks,” said Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications. It was unclear from the operator’s announcement what spectrum the commercial 5G devices and network were using. Elisa also said it is testing and developing applications and services that use new 5G features. The company said it has also been updating its networks to be 5G-ready across Finland.