GENEVA – Swiss telecommunications company Swisscom rolled out on Wednesday the Alpine nation’s first 5G network amid concern over possible adverse effects on health related to this new technology.
Swisscom, which a week ago presented its first cellphone designed to operate using 5G, has made its new network available in towns and cities across Switzerland, among them Geneva, Lausanne, Bern and Zurich, the company said in a statement.
“At midnight, Swisscom pushed the button and became the first Swiss mobile phone operator to put its 5G network into service across 102 places in 54 towns and cities,” the company said.
The operator said it will extend its network, which promises to be 20 times faster than 4G, to over 90 percent of the country before the end of the year.
On Feb. 8, the Swiss Federal Communications Commission sold the first 5G frequencies to three operators – Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt – who paid over 380 million CHF ($377 million) for them.
On Wednesday, these new frequencies came into force, granted for the next 15 years.
Switzerland is a pioneer in the development of 5G technology, but several local authorities have shown caution over possible harmful effects on health that could stem from antennas and electromagnetic fields that will be constructed.
Last week, the canton of Vaud ordered a moratorium on the placement of new 5G antennas, and days later authorities in neighboring Geneva asked for the same measure.
Despite this, Swisscom said in a statement Wednesday that it “will respect its commitments to the Confederation and general public, and hoped for constructive cooperation with the cantons and towns during work to extend the network.”