Switzerland's biggest telecoms firm, Swisscom, said Wednesday it is expanding the fifth generation network, or 5G, and will supply virtually the whole country by the end of the year with two Chinese companies in its brand line-up.
Swisscom said it plans to cover 90 percent of Switzerland with 5G mobile communications by the end of 2019 and named Chinese companies Oppo and Huawei along with South Korea's LG and Samsung among the brands it will ship.
Until now, 5G remained purely theoretical for residential customers as there were no end devices and no possibility to use 5G technology and its advantages, said the company which is 51 percent owned by the Swiss Confederation.
"The very first 5G devices in the Swisscom shop come from the manufacturer Oppo, followed by other brands such as LG (from May), Samsung (from July) and Huawei (third quarter)," said the Swiss telecoms company.
The fifth-generation wireless technology offers much faster data speeds for mobile communications than previous generations: up to 10 gigabits a second, quick enough to download a high-definition movie in seconds, and up to 100 times faster than current 4G technology.
"As soon as we have the concession for the new mobile frequencies, we will activate our networks," Swisscom Director Urs Schaeppi told the media on Wednesday, according Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA.
The Swisscom networks were put in place in partnership with Swedish telecoms company Ericsson.
Swisscom will make the first 5G smartphone models available starting in May.
Last week Swisscom competitor Sunrise launched 5G service in 150 Swiss municipalities.
However, the public opinion on the 5G system differs in the country. Some say it's indispensable for economic development; others are afraid of the increased radiation coming from the antennas, reported Keystone-SDA.
And antenna construction projects are running into petitions, political interference and opposition.