On the road to 5G, we've already passed several milestones. Read this collection of recent news.

Vodafone launches 5G
On 28 April 2020, Vodafone is activating 5G in more than half of the Netherlands. This 5G coverage will reach all of the Netherlands by late July. New and existing Vodafone customers with 5G in their subscription and a suitable device with the latest software are able to use 5G in the coverage area. Outside this area, the device will automatically switch back to 4G.

Vodafone will hereby make smart use of the current frequencies and its existing antenna park. "We are introducing 5G via ‘Spectrum Sharing’ in our GigaNet. As a result, customers in the Netherlands can already experience the latest mobile generation, because 5G is an evolution that opens doors to new possibilities," explains CEO Jeroen Hoencamp of VodafoneZiggo.

Maastricht: first 5G experience
In Maastricht, Vodafone established its first 5G connection on the existing Dutch network in July 2019. Together with network partner Ericsson the first 5G base station was put live to that end. This station is using a local test license in the 3.5 GHz band. The site in Maastricht is in fact the precursor of Eindhoven, where after the summer the municipality, Ericsson and VodafoneZiggo will explore the opportunities of 5G in more detail.

By putting this 5G base station in Maastricht 'on air' Vodafone takes an important step in its 5G network of the future. Previously, the company already carried out tests with 5G frequencies, mainly in enclosed test environments in laboratory conditions.

The purpose of the 5G base station in Maastricht is to gather experience with new 5G technology and intrinsic services in a 'real' environment. Vodafone is not focusing yet on achieving maximum speeds, but on operationally embedding this technology in its existing network. VodafoneZiggo already announced it will expand its 5G pilots using a 3.5 GHz test frequency to Eindhoven, in the second half of 2019.

Groningen: pilots and startups

Groningen is the place where trials with 5G have been taking place since 2016. In this project, named 5Groningen, VodafoneZiggo cooperates with the business world, non-profit institutions and the Radio communications Agency in order to develop 5G in the Netherlands. All parties involved have now decided to extend the cooperation until 2020. As a result we can continue the technical trials and pilot studies regarding the practical application of the latest generation of mobile networks. In this magazine you can read about some of these pilots.

Eindhoven: projects for society
How to solve social challenges in cities – like the increasing reliance on care or traffic issues – by using new technologies? That's the key question in the collaboration of VodafoneZiggo and the city of Eindhoven.

The 5G test frequency in Eindhoven can be used for pilot programs with impact on society. One of those projects is called 'Connected Ambulances', operated by VodafoneZiggo, Ericsson, Philips, GGD ambulance services and the local Catharina hospital. The aim is to use the superfast 5G connection for ‘remote medical assistance’ for diagnosing and preparing for treatment.

In addition, on High Tech Campus Eindhoven a 5G lab will be set up where businesses (start-ups, SMEs, multinationals), students and scientists can test new 5G applications and prototypes and submit them to a practical test. LUMO Labs, the Eindhoven-based ‘early phase’ investor and accelerator, will boost this as a partner and select and guide start-ups and student initiatives.

A number of initiatives will focus on the development of 'smart locations', to have a wider public experience what’s happening in the city. In the PSV Philips Stadium tests will be carried out with 5G 360-degrees cameras that will show the moves of the soccer players from a self-chosen viewpoint. You are virtually sitting front row or even next to the substitutes in the dugout, whilst watching from your own chair at home.

For the Effenaar pop temple in Eindhoven, there are plans for a virtual 'live' presence at pop concerts or events. Specific 5G experiments will become possible, for example by adding a digital layer with additional information. This will make the remote experience even more special.