Dutch telecom provider VodafoneZiggo will make 5G services available in large parts of the Netherlands on Tuesday, making it the first carrier to offer the technology in the country.
VodafoneZiggo, a joint venture of Vodafone and U.S. based cable firm Liberty Global, said it would expand 5G coverage to the whole of the Netherlands by July, using its current frequencies.
New and existing Vodafone customers with 5G in their subscription and a 5G-enabled device will be able to use 5G in the covered area within a week. Outside the 5G coverage area, the company will provide 4G connectivity.
Vodafone says it smartly uses the current frequencies and its existing antenna park. "We are introducing 5G via 'spectrum sharing' into our GigaNet. This way, customers in the Netherlands can already experience the latest mobile generation, because 5G is an evolution that opens doors to new possibilities," said CEO Jeroen Hoencamp of VodafoneZiggo.
Vodafone is launching 5G with Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and Ericsson 5G Core, for an economic roll-out of the latest mobile technology offering.
The spectrum situation in the Netherlands is different compared to other European countries. In June of 2020, the 700MHz frequency will be auctioned, but the 3.5GHz band, which is currently being used by the country's defense satellite system, will not be available by auction until 2022. By deploying Ericsson Spectrum Sharing already now, VodafoneZiggo can introduce 5G over a wide area, using existing frequency bands and existing Ericsson Radio System equipment. Vodafone divides its existing spectrum between 4G and 5G using Ericsson's technology. Both protocols will continue to co-exist. The smart network quickly chooses 4G or 5G, depending on the capabilities of the device.
In early March 2020, Vodafone included 5G in its subscription plans. All existing and new Vodafone customers with a Red (consumer) or Red Pro (business) subscription plans will get access to 5G at no extra cost. These Red (Pro) subscriptions will be activated in the coming days. Then "Start" customers can also use 5G with an appropriate device by paying 2 Euros per month.
The Dutch government is expected to start an auction for new airwave ranges for 5G networks by June 30, in which the three major Dutch telecom network operating companies - KPN, VodafoneZiggo and T-Mobile - are likely to participate.