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Vodafone announces 5G expansion in Budapest, enters co-op agreement with BME

Vodafone Hungary will connect 5G at close to 200 base stations in and around Budapest, making 5G available to customers nearly everywhere in the capital, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Image by Radu Bercan / Shutterstock.com

"The construction and hardware development of the affected base stations is almost complete, and we will launch the service in the coming weeks following software testing, which will allow hundreds of thousands to experience the amazing capabilities of the new generation mobile network, and take another significant step in elevating Hungary to the forefront of digital Europe," explained Gergő J. Budai, director of external affairs at Vodafone Hungary.

The company was the first Hungarian mobile operator to launch its outdoor commercial 5G service in 2019 in the inner city of Budapest, facilitated by its 3600 MHz frequency spectrum purchased in 2016.

In April 2020, Vodafone Hungary acquired additional frequencies for its 5G mobile services at the frequency auction conducted by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH), which enabled the island-like development of the operator’s 5G network to begin.

Károly Balázs Solymár, the Deputy State Secretary for Digitalization of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology commented, "One of the biggest challenges of our time is how to take advantage of digitalization as much as it is possible. We can see, that the newest technologies of the 21st century including developments based on 5G mobile network, open up a new dimension for us, where innovation, society, and economic connections, as well as the opportunities of growing provide a much bigger perspective than that has been already known and used."

"Modern technology belongs to the future that we will only be able to use, if developments are put into experts’ hands which is signed today by a collaboration agreement between the supplier of technology and the institution of professional higher education of solutions. The Hungarian government with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology is interested in providing solutions for supporting digital technology which serves the development of Hungary, the growth of the economy and also the comfort of citizens," he added.

Co-operation agreement with BME

Vodafone Hungary has also signed a co-operation agreement with the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME), under which the company will make available 40 MHz of its own frequency spectrum to the university in the 3600 MHz band.

The frequency will be suitable for the operation of the Universityʼs indoor 5G network over the entire area of BME, as well as for supplying the open innovation environment and 5G Laboratory to be created under this initiative.

János Levedovszky, the vice-rector of Science and Innovation at the University of Technology commented, "A unique university infrastructure is being created in Hungary which gives a major boost to the researches of communication technologies, industrial data collection and data monitoring, 5G networks and also to its education. Since a functioning 5G network is the requirement of several research and development programs thanks to this improvement almost on every field of science the opportunities of BME will expand."

The University of Technology plans to build an international standard 5G experimental system (5G Smart Campus Network), the first step of which is the newly signed 5G frequency agreement, as the existence of the frequency band is one of the most important conditions for the operation of 5G network. This will soon be followed by the 5G Application Development Laboratory (5G Lab) at BME.

Gergő J. Budai said, "For the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, which offers the best engineering education in Hungary, it is especially important that students have access to technical education that supplies them relevant, with up-to-date experience in the labor market. Vodafone wishes to contribute to this by bringing to the university 5G, the most up-to-date key technology available today. We hope that the BME pilot network will promote the education of 5G technology and the development and testing of various 5G-based innovations in Hungary, as well as the joint participation of BME and Vodafone in the European Unionʼs 5G-themed research and development programs."

Charaf Hassan, Dean of Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics said that 5G is not the technology of the future but of the present, which brings significant changes in every aspect of our life, among other things in the industry as well.

He added that the 5G test network will help BME to join the European Unionʼs Innovation Program as well as the 5G and 6G targeted researches and development programs planned as part of Horizon Europe from 2021. 

BME collaborates with Nokia Hungary in the process of setting up an experimental 5G test network that provides the radio equipment for the university and also contributes to the operation of the network.