Shenzhen-based tech giant Huawei has built a next-generation 5G mobile phone network in Monaco, making the sovereign city-state on the French Riviera the first European country to be fully covered by 5G.
“5G world premiere: Monaco Telecom first full 5G country! Ultra-high-speed recorded at 1.4Gbps. 5G included in all mobile packages,” Xavier Niel, the operator’s French owner, wrote on a Twitter message late Tuesday.
Frederic Genta, Monaco interdepartmental delegate in charge of the digital transition, hailed “a paradigm change” thanks to the 5G mobile phone network based on technology from Huawei.
“5G is the promise of a better quality of life for all and exceptional opportunities. It will allow us to adapt life to our needs,” he said.
For Huawei vice president Guo Ping, deploying the new network in Monaco is a major opportunity despite the small size of territory covered.
“Monaco is a small territory ... which allows us to make a shop window in a number of areas ... and can serve as a model for other operators and states,” Guo was quoted as saying by local media.
Offering super-fast wireless access, 5G mobile networks offer much greater data transfer speeds.
In September, Monaco Telecom signed an agreement with Huawei to make the tiny principality the first country in Europe fully covered by 5G.
Huawei says it has signed 50 contracts worldwide, including 28 with European operators, for 5G.
South Korea has already announced it will achieve complete nationwide 5G coverage for commercial use by 2020, while in Europe smaller nations like Switzerland, Finland and Estonia have only just started deploying the technology.
Germany is only now handing out frequencies to operators and France should follow in the final quarter of the year.
Last month, an internal report by the GSM Association, which represents mobile network operators around the world, found that banning Huawei and fellow Chinese equipment maker ZTE from Europe’s 5G rollout would cost European operators up to 55 billion euros (US$62 billion).
It would also slow down the rollout of 5G networks in Europe and lead to reduced takeup, which would further increase the productivity gap between the EU and the United States, the report said.