Mobile communications: evolution towards 5G

Every year the quantity of data exchanged on the mobile network doubles. The introduction of the 3rd generation 3G (UMTS) in the middle of the 2000s, and then the rollout of the 4th generation 4G (LTE) from 2012 onwards has made it possible to cover requirements, until now. These technologies, however, are now reaching their limits. The introduction of 5G will make it possible to appreciably increase data transmission capacities.

Grafik 5G (Stadt)

Frequently asked Questions

The FAQ offer additional information on 5G in the sections technology, antennas, frequency allocations, licences and responsibilities.

New technology, new antennas

For the deployment of 5G, operators are installing new so-called adaptive antennas that transmit information specifically to individual users who therefore enjoy an optimal data transmission rate. In all other directions, the radiation is reduced.

Adaptive antenna
Traditional antenna

OFCOM conducted tests on the adaptive antennas and presented its results in two reports. The report of 24 September 2020 brings together the results of measurements carried out in summer 2020 on two base stations as well as additional simulations carried out with several users of the same antenna.

Subsequent measurements in November 2020 clarified the results of the measures on automatic power regulation and were the subject of an additional report dated 8 February 2020.

These results were used to draw up enforcement aids on adaptive antennas; these are published by the Federal Office for the Environment.

5G networks

The 5G networks represent a revolution in the world of mobile communications since they open the door to new application areas, in particular in relation to the Internet of Things (Iot), communications between machines (M2M), ultra-broadband applications, autonomous cars, etc…

Compared with the current 3G and 4G mobile communication technologies, 5G has essential advantages, in particular for the development of new technologies.

The 3 application areas of 5G

The benefits of 5G:

  • the reaction time (latency) of less than one millisecond is 30 to 50 times shorter than that of 4G,
  • the data transfer rate of 10 Gbit/s is 100 times greater than that of 4G,
  • the number of terminals which can be connected simultaneously is 100 times greater, allowing one million connected objects per km2.
Evolution from 4G to 5G applications

Stages for the rollout of 5G

  • November 2017: the Federal Council reserves the frequency bands (700MHz and 3.5 GHz) for mobile communications,
  • December 2017: an initial version of the standards for the 5G becomes available
  • during 2018: the first devices for 5G become available,
  • February 2019: the Communications Commission ComCom awards the new frequencies to the mobile communication operators, with the 3.5 GHz band as the initial band for the rollout of 5G,
  • during 2019: 5G starts in Switzerland.

The factsheet below provides an overview of the technology 5G.

Last modification 22.02.2021

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