Telenet has announced the launch of its 5G network in Belgium from 6 December. The first 5G zones available are in Leuven, Antwerp and the coast. Customers with a 5G smartphone and business subscription will be first to experience the benefits of the new technology. Additional mobile products of Telenet, Telenet Business and BASE will follow shortly in 2022. The 5G network will be rolled out, with completion by 2025.

Mobile speeds match fixed network

With a 5G smartphone, customers can use the internet up to five times faster in zones where 5G is active – equalling speeds of a fixed broadband network. 5G will ensure that applications currently used primarily at home via Wi-Fi – such as video calling, online meetings, streaming or gaming – can be used easily while out and about.

5G will be included in these mobile plans at no additional cost. The BASE subscriptions and the other mobile plans of Telenet (WIGO, King & Kong and Telenet Mobile) and Telenet Business will follow in the spring of 2022.

Gradual rollout with acceleration in 2022

5G technology requires new hardware and software in the operating system of the mobile network; antennas on the transmission towers also need to be updated. Telenet is working together with respectively Finnish Nokia and Swedish Ericsson on the gradual rollout, which is in compliance with existing standards for electromagnetic radiation. 5G coverage will be significantly expanded to the major Flemish cities and along the motorways in 2022.

Provisional spectrum licence

For the initial rollout, Telenet is using the provisional spectrum licence granted by the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) in 2020. The spectrum is granted at 3.6 GHz and 3.8 GHz. This high frequency has a shorter range and is particularly suitable for increasing the capacity of the mobile network in specific places. This also means that 5G coverage will often be limited to smaller areas around the transmission towers.

For the full rollout of 5G – with its associated benefits of increased capacity and fast response times – we await the government’s licence auction which is currently scheduled for the second quarter of 2022. In anticipation of the auction and in order to generate more coverage more rapidly, Telenet will also reuse 4G spectrum for 5G at certain locations.

Micha Berger, Chief Technology Officer at Telenet said: “Through 5G we can make our society hyper-connected, which will lead to the creation of many new applications that may provide an answer to today’s problems. Going back in time we recall how 3G allowed us to easily download pictures on our smartphone and how 4G enabled us to stream and watch a series of YouTube videos.

With 5G, all that will be possible even faster. The stability and responsiveness of 5G will be particularly noticeable in applications that require an immediate response or razor-sharp images, such as healthcare robotics, self-driving cars, autonomous drones, security cameras or virtual reality. We have already carried out various tests with cities and companies. Now we also want to gradually let our customers experience the possibilities of 5G.”

5G for business

In the business market 5G will be a catalyst for new services. For example, thanks to smart glasses and 5G, a technician will be able to receive real-time support for a repair he is working on. A construction company will be able to communicate with the architect in the construction site container through a stable and ultra-fast connection and easily share large files and maps. The practical benefits will be the hyper-fast response times and the stability of the technology; developing such new services requires close cooperation between different sectors.

In the coming years, 5G applications are expected to grow more and more. Telenet Business will launch its 5G offering to larger business customers such as hospitals, governments, schools or logistics in the spring of 2022. In addition to the tests currently being carried out, Telenet Business will continue to focus on developing new applications through partnerships.