Hrvatski Telekom, a leading operator in Croatia, has claimed a first with the launch of a commercial 5G network, which, it says, places Croatia alongside developed European and world markets.
The 5G network is available in the capital Zagreb, along with five other cities: Rijeka, Split, Osijek, Samobor and Sveta Nedelja.
For certain tariffs Hrvatski Telekom has announced that it will offer all of its customers the chance to use the 5G network – in 5G covered areas, using a compatible 5G device – without additional charges until 10 June 2021.
An important caveat, however, is that the 5G network that Hrvatski Telekom is currently implementing is based on dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology, the application of which enables the use of existing frequencies for 5G. As Hrvatski Telekom says, the DSS technology allows for the fast implementation of the 5G network and reduces the need for new base stations and locations on specific 5G frequencies.
DSS has been the enabler for 5G rollouts in a number of countries, such as Brazil, South Africa and the Czech Republic. As this version uses existing frequencies, it does not yet have access to the extra frequencies that might be available at auction.
In fact, as we reported in June, plans by the Croatian Postal & Electronic Communications Agency to auction 5G-capable frequencies in the 700MHz, 3.6GHz and 26GHz bands by the end of this year have been delayed. The auction will now take place in the first half of 2021.
Hrvatski Telekom offers fixed telephony, broadband internet, IPTV and mobile telephony as its main services. It is one of three MNOs in Croatia, and has an estimated user base of about 2,273,000 users (as at December 2018) out of a total population of just over four million.