Swisscom forges ahead with 5G amid safety fears

Some in Switzerland fear the health effects of increased radiation from 5G antennas. Keystone

Telecoms operator Swisscom has gone live with its 5G fifth- generation mobile communications network.

This content was published on April 17, 2019 - 11:03; ug/jc

The majority state-owned company said the fast technology was made available across more than 100 locations in 54 cities and towns in the early hours of Wednesday.

Swisscom plans to cover 90% of the country with 5G by the end of the year, according to CEO Urs SchaeppiExternal link.

The company said it was given the right to use the new frequencies by the telecoms regulator for 15 years.

The networks were put in place in partnership with Swedish telecoms company Ericsson. 


The announcement from Switzerland’s largest telecoms company comes as four cantons in western Switzerland, Vaud, Geneva, Neuchâtel and Jura, moved to suspend authorisations for new 5G mobile antennae, pending a government report on their safety.

A working group is to present the results of a study to the Swiss government by the end of June.

5G is divisive in Switzerland. While some people say it’s indispensable for economic development, others are afraid of the increased radiation coming from the antennas. The result is that antenna construction projects are running into petitions, political interference and opposition.  

Earlier this month, Swisscom competitor Sunrise launched its 5G service in 150 Swiss municipalities. 

Fifth-generation wireless technology offers much faster data speeds for mobile communications than previous generations: up to ten gigabits per second, which is fast enough to download a high-definition movie in seconds, and up to 100 times faster than current 4G technology.

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