Want to be the first to have 5G? Better move to Stockholm

The Swedish capital will be the first to get the speedy new wireless service.

First 5G networks planned Stockholm Sweden 2018

Stockholm, Sweden and Tallinn, Estonia, will be the first two cities where 5G wireless technology will be available. Swedish telecom operator TeliaSonera and telecom giant Ericsson have announced plans to roll out the high-speed network in those two cities in 2018.

Here's how the consortium developing 5G, the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (the same group behind 4G and 3G), defines a 5G network:

  • Data rates of several tens of megabits per second should be supported for tens of thousands of users.
  • 1 gigabit per second to be offered simultaneously to many workers on the same office floor.
  • Several hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections to be supported for massive sensor deployments.
  • Spectral efficiency should be significantly enhanced compared to 4G.
  • Improved coverage.
  • Enhanced signaling efficiency.
  • Latency should be reduced significantly compared to LTE.

This is not their first dance. TeliaSonera and Ericsson launched the first commercial 4G network in Stockholm and Oslo, Norway, in 2009.

Johan Dennelind, CEO of TeliaSonera, said in a statement, "Stockholm and Tallinn are two of the most connected cities in the world and now we’ll take them to the next level. 5G will create completely new innovations, ecosystems and great services to our customers. 5G will also take the Internet of Things (IoT) to a new level."

According to a Swedish publication The Local, TeliaSonera's vice president of network and IT infrastructure Mats Svärdh told Swedish public broadcaster Swedish Radio that the launch of 5G in 2018 will mostly benefit the high-tech industry at first, but that customers will probably see many new services and applications as a result. Svärdh added that it may take a while until everything is in place for a nationwide launch.

That's nothing new. LTE deployments are still taking place here in the U.S. and around the world, after all. Here in the States, Verizon is promising to be the first carrier to deploy 5G, starting in 2020. Smart move, let Ericsson and the Swedes work out the bugs.

The question then becomes handsets. Handsets tend to lag behind networks. Verizon began its LTE rollout in 2010 and AT&T in 2011, but the iPhone didn't support LTE until 2012. So the handset makers will likely take their time again as the network gets built out.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.