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Vodafone launches permanent 5G base station

Vodafone demonstrated the capabilities of Budapest’s first permanent 5G base station on Thursday with a video call between two 5G handsets and a car driven remotely via a 5G connection. The call was Hungary’s first 5G mobile connection on its own licensed frequency.

The car used for demonstrating the possibilities of 5G remote driving

The demonstration, on the rooftop of Vodafone’s Budapest HQ in District 9, was attended by representatives from the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority, the deputy mayor of Budapest and the mayor of Ferencváros (District 9), according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

“New-generation mobile and fixed networks open up opportunities that can revolutionize the entire economy,” said Amanda Nelson, chairwoman and CEO of Vodafone Hungary. “We are optimistic about the technologies advancing digital society and innovation, and we aim to ensure that the benefits offered by us are shared by the whole country.”

Nelson added that this is the company’s second relay node in the country, the first having been installed in Zalaegerszeg (227 km west of Budapest).

“Vodafone Hungary was able to deploy its second permanent 5G station because, of the currently active mobile operators, we were the only one to proactively purchase 5G frequency in the 3.5 GHz spectrum in the 2016 auction of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority,” explained Gergő J. Budai, director of external affairs and deputy chairman of the board of Vodafone Hungary.

“People and companies operating in Hungary need a stable, good-quality, fast and affordable 5G network,” observed Ákos Kara,  secretary of state for infocommunications and consumer protection at the Ministry for Innovation and Technology.

Ferencváros Mayor János Bácskai noted that the event is important locally as it symbolizes not only the changing technological environment, but also the development of the district from a one-time industrial area to a center for service providers.

According to Vodafone, 5G mobile networks will be of significance in future primarily for industrial applications, including those where promptness is of mission-critical importance, such as autonomous driving.

Remote vehicle control was also demonstrated by Vodafone at the event, where communication between a BMW i3 electric car and a remote driver’s seat was set up via a live 5G connection, allowing the vehicle to be steered remotely in real time. A camera in the car live-streamed the images visible from the vehicle to the remote driver’s seat placed next to the course, in real time and HD quality. Parallel with this, commands for the vehicle were also transmitted through a 5G connection.