Telenor has finally got around to opening Norway’s first commercial 5G network, but the ceremony got cancelled by coronavirus.
“Telenor is proud to be the first mobile operator to launch a commercial 5G network in Norway, as we have worked tirelessly to stay at the forefront of the 5G development,” said Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group. “By bringing Norway into a new technological age, today’s opening marks another milestone in Telenor’s 165-year-long history. We expect 5G to be the key driver of transformation in this decade, and we are very much looking forward to continuing the roll-out of 5G to our customers.”
The opening was actually last Friday. Telenor had intended to do the official opening at a live ceremony in Trondheim, which is apparently Norway’s technology capital. But since nobody is allowed to leave the house thanks to COVID-19, Telenor quite reasonably decided to bail on the whole thing and try the increasingly popular ‘virtual’ option.
Linda Hofstad Helleland, Norway’s Minister of Regional Development and Digitalisation, is pleased that 5G, which is crucial for Norwegian value creation and digitisation, is now commercially available.
“Norway has some of the world’s fastest mobile networks, and with 5G, they become faster and even more reliable,” said Linda Hofstad Helleland, Norway’s Minister of Regional Development and Digitalisation. “Given the current situation in Norway, we see how important the digital infrastructure is for those quarantined and those working from home. The new 5G network will provide better mobile coverage and gradually better access to broadband across the country, which will reduce the vulnerability of an increasingly digitised society.”
“This is a day we have been looking forward to for a long time,” said Petter-Børre Furberg, CEO of Telenor Norway. “We launched our first 5G pilot as early as 2018, and since then we have been experimenting and exploring, trying to learn as much as we possibly can. Today, we are not only opening our 5G network in the city of Trondheim, we are also opening the very first commercial 5G network in Norway. In addition, we are making 5G commercially available in all locations where we, until now, have been running tests. As of today, Telenor customers with a 5G device will at these locations be able to connect to the mobile network of the future.”
Telenor said it will upgrade 8,500 base stations over the next few years, which kind of goes without saying if it’s going to have a proper 5G network. It remains to be seen how much of that work will be able to be done over the next few months, however.