In Maastricht, Vodafone established its first 5G connection on the existing Dutch network. Together with network partner Ericsson the first 5G base station was put live to that end. This station is using a local test licence 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. "This base station in Maastricht is located outside, functions 'live' in the Dutch operational network and uses 3.5 GHz test frequency. With a 5G device in the vicinity of this base station, we can now actually transmit data over a 5G connection in the network", says Matthias Sauder, Director Network Mobile at VodafoneZiggo. Network partner Ericsson has been one of the parties involved in realizing this 5G site.
Blueprint for Eindhoven
The purpose of the 5G base station in Maastricht is to gather experience with new 5G technology and intrinsic services in a 'real' environment. "We are now working with limited test spectrum and capacity", explains Matthias: "We are not focusing yet on achieving maximum speeds, but on operationally embedding this technology in our existing network." In the coming period further practical tests will take place to fine-tune everything around this base station. In this way, Maastricht functions as a reference site and a 'blueprint' for Eindhoven. VodafoneZiggo already announced it will expand its 5G pilots using a 3.5 GHz test frequency to Eindhoven, in the second half of 2019.