It’s no surprise that more 5G pilots are under way – most recently in Brazil and Slovakia. However, these two pilots do raise a few questions about what this means for the participants and for spectrum availability.
The Brazilian press has reported that Oi has launched a 5G pilot in Brasilia, using its existing 2100MHz frequencies. The test network – which has been enabled by the deployment of around 300 small cells – is said to be able to deliver download speeds of up to 500Mbps to users with compatible handsets.
Locations in Brasilia covered by the pilot include Asa Sul, Asa Norte, Lago Sul and Lago Norte. We are told that Oi's 5G signal covers 80 percent of the Brazilian capital, offering data transmission speeds of up to 500 Mbps with very low latency.
However, there is apparently only one 5G handset available on the market: the Motorola Edge. Also Oi has long had plans to sell off its mobile business, so how and for how long 5G is to be offered may be a question that will need answering fairly soon.
Meanwhile, TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, quoting local press, reports that O2 Slovakia has launched pilot 5G networks covering four districts of Bratislava. O2 is using spectrum in the 1800MHz and 3.7GHz bands and trialling equipment from Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE.
Does this mean a Slovakian 5G spectrum auction is getting closer? Applications for 700MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz licences were invited in March but there appears to be no further information on this after an unexplained hold-up to the sale in June.