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Elisa claims first 5G commercial network launch, but with no compatible devices


Elisa is claiming it has become the first operator to launch a commercial 5G network, although it is unable to offer customers any compatible devices yet.

The Finnish operator, which held the first GSM call back in 1991, said it had launched networks in central Tampere in Finland and Tallinn in Estonia [pictured].

However, while Elisa is offering packages of around €50 per month, for unlimited data and voice, no compatible terminals are available. The operator is using 100MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum for the network.

It held a live demonstration yesterday with Huawei that allowed the Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner to make a video call to Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson.

The Finnish government is set to issue the first 5G licences for the 3.4-3.8GHz bands in the autumn.

Elisa said trials will be held with customers in the retail, forestry, mechanical engineering industries and public administration sectors in the coming months to develop new kinds of applications and services.

[Read more: Operator turns vendor as Elisa offers new SON solution to rivals]

Elisa CEO Veli-Matti Mattila said: "5G makes it possible to use completely new applications in areas like transportation, health care, energy efficiency improvement and entertainment. Finland is already among the global leaders in the use of mobile data. Elisa actively enables Finland to continue leadership in mobile data usage by opening commercial 5G network first in the world.

"With the help of 5G services, consumers as well as corporate and institutional customers will get lots of new value when modern applications can be used more efficiently and it becomes possible to develop new applications. For example, it will be possible in the future for all viewers to watch the same football match as a high-quality live broadcast without delay using any terminal device."

The Finnish operator has been busy rolling out a 5G-ready network across parts of the country during the past year.