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Robust Mobile Network Anticipates 5G Launch

Boasting a mobile network of outstanding quality by European and global comparison, Hungary is at the brink of a huge technological advancement: the introduction of 5G mobile network.

György Koller

“The 5G mobile network is an important milestone in the history of mobile technology, both in Hungary and internationally. We believe that this technology offers a broad range of opportunities. It will be up to the market to decide which trends will gain traction,” György Koller, chief technical officer at Telenor, tells the Budapest Business Journal.

The 5G network is expected to elevate download/upload rates to the gigabit/sec range, which would enable virtually immediate uploading and downloading of HD-quality movies, as well as high-definition video streaming and seamless conference calls.

Additionally, this technology could establish extremely low latency connections between end points, enabling virtually real-time communication. Common examples for this include the remote controlling of precision robots, smooth online gaming or the remote management of self-driving vehicles over the mobile network, Telenor Hungary tells the BBJ.

The number of supported devices is also expected to significantly grow compared to previous network standards. In this case, it is the number of connected devices that counts rather than the data usage of individual devices. Furthermore, 5G can set up a mobile network connection capable of providing seamless connections even if traveling at a speed of up to 500 km/h while old standards could support only up to 150-200 (350) km/h, Telenor says, therefore the improvement must be robust.

“In the long run, the technology benefits of 5G will be used by services that don’t even exist yet. As soon as the technology is adopted, it will open up new opportunities and the number of 5G-based services will burgeon,” Koller adds.

Connection Speeds

After taking broadband internet to 880,000 households as part of its “Superfast Internet Program” by end-November in 2018, the Hungarian government launched the “Superfast Internet Program 2” to improve internet connection speeds, with a special focus on optic upgrades and building up the 5G infrastructure.

Chinese telco Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding in November with the Hungarian government on building up 5G infrastructure. The MoU was inked in Shangai by Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics and Huawei Technologies regional chairman James Li in Shanghai. Huawei vowed to support the government’s goal of bringing 100 mbps-speed internet to 90% of Hungarian households by 2025.

At the end of March, Hungary’s 5G Coalition, established in 2017 by government institutions, companies, business chambers, universities and professional and civic organizations to support the development of 5G, produced a draft of a strategy that aims to transform Hungary into a European hub for 5G development.

The Innovation and Technology Ministry said consultations on the draft will take place with public sector experts before it is submitted to the government.

Hungary’s mobile networks are of outstanding quality both in European and in global terms. According to a survey conducted by independent industry organization Open Signal in October 2018, Hungary has the fastest 4G mobile network in the European Union and it ranks seventh globally in terms of coverage. Based on Open Signal’s measurements, Hungarian mobile networks have the second best mobile video quality in the world.

“This gives us a competitive edge that we want to leverage also in 5G development dominating the next phase of digital transformation,” Telenor’s Koller says.

Major Development

“Telenor’s mobile internet network, Hipernet, has also contributed to this achievement. Hipernet is a mobile internet network based on the most state-of-the-art (4G, 4G+) technologies available. Over recent years, Telenor Hungary has completed major development projects in its mobile network so that its customers can enjoy the benefits of Hipernet at the highest possible quality in all parts of Hungary. Thanks to the network’s nationwide outdoor coverage, Telenor’s 4G services are currently available to more than 99% of Hungary’s population,” Koller explains.

At the end of February, Deutsche Telekom, the mother company of Hungary’s Magyar Telekom, announced that as a first stepping stone of its development, it has installed 150 5G antennas in six countries: Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland and the Netherlands. The antennas, based entirely on the future 5G standard 5G New Radio (5G NR), are transmitting data over the 5G network in the first quarter as part of test operations.

Magyar Telekom launched its first standard 5G station at the end of January, located at downtown Zalaegerszeg and running on a 3.7 GHz test spectrum. The test gigabit network has been operating under real-life conditions, runs on a standardized 5G system and uses 5G components ready for commercial launch.

Magyar Telekom said the purpose of the test operation is to enable the company to learn more about the compatibility challenges associated with running the new technology and the existing networks together, and to prepare for their future integration.

“We consider it our mission to support people, communities and the whole country through a state-of-the-art

network infrastructure in their endeavors to grow and progress, and thus to contribute to the development of the gigabit society. The first 5G station at Zalaegerszeg is another milestone on the way towards Telekom launching its 5G services as soon as possible,” said Tibor Rékasi, CEO of Magyar Telekom, at the launch of the station.