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Swisscom attacks government for delaying its nationwide 5G rollout plans


Swisscom is delaying the nationwide deployment of its 5G network thanks to a restrictive political climate that is causing more expensive investment conditions, the operator has said.

The Swiss operator announced earlier this year that it would be in a position to launch a 5G ready network by the end of 2018 after rolling out infrastructure in partnership with Ericsson.

However, it said in February this decision hinged upon the relaxation of regulation in place to protect citizens from supposedly harmful effects of radio waves.

Within the company's Q2 results, which revealed a fall in operating profit of 8.6 percent to CHF1.09 billion and sales increase of 2.1 percent to CHF2.92 billion, the operator said its 5G plans had been derailed by government policy.

It said: "The rapid nationwide deployment of a 5G network will be delayed and thus more expensive, however, due to the strict limits that continue to prevail in Switzerland.

"The political system is called upon to quickly adapt the framework conditions so that Switzerland does not lose any of its competitiveness."

[Read more: Herren to step down as Swisscom CTO with digital expert filling his shoes]

A Swisscom spokesperson declined to comment on how long its nationwide launch plans would be delayed by. It still intends to introduce 5G to selected test sites by the end of this year.

Switzerland's spectrum auction is due to take place in early 2019. Swisscom's plans originally were to have the 5G ready network in place so it could move quickly once the first handsets hit the market.

The country's three operators have been longstanding critics of the regulatory regime, with Salt criticising its spectrum policy and Sunrise also sharing Swisscom's concerns about restrictive safeguards against radio waves.

Swisscom has been one of Europe's most active operators in its 5G testing, most recently trialling FWA in the Swiss mountain village of Guttannen.

Earlier this week, Swisscom was deemed to have the best network in Switzerland, after an Ookla report judged it to have the best download and upload speeds.