Proximus first to test 5G in Belgium

Proximus is the first Belgium operator to test 5G technology with technology provider Huawei. During the tests, speeds of up to 70 Gbps were reached, which is more than 100 times faster than 4G. With such speeds, you can download a movie in seconds. As a technology of the future, 5G is essential for new applications such as self-driving cars and the Internet of Things.

Eight times more data traffic by 2020

Mobile data traffic is expected to increase at least eight-fold by 2020 (*). This will be driven not only by the increase in the number of smartphones, the rising demand for mobile data, and the explosive growth of video (3D video and 4K screens), but also by the Internet of Things, which allows different devices to communicate with each other (from smart surveillance cameras to thermostats and refrigerators).

Furthermore, a number of technological developments will require the lowest possible response times (latency), besides ultra-fast connections with high capacity. This is the case with automated and self-driving cars.

We're committed to giving our customers - no matter where they are - the best calling, surfing and video experience and providing them with all the new opportunities that the "Internet of Things" world offers. To be ready for the future, Proximus and Huawei are already testing 5G, the next generation mobile Internet. After its pioneering work with 4G, 4G+ and LoRa, Proximus is the first to move towards 5G. - Geert Standaert, Chief Technology Officer of Proximus

Huawei has been a frontrunner in the development of 5G technology and is present in various international workgroups to develop a common standard for 5G. We are proud of today’s first live demo in Belgium of the 70Gbps , which can achieve Ultra high throughput on E-band (73GHz ). We are pleased to showcase this technology together with Proximus. It is testimony of our recently re-confirmed partnership and it drives us to push the technology to deliver best-in-class 5G solutions to our clients. - Pedro Ferreira, CEO Huawei Belgium

Download a movie in seconds

The precise standards for 5G still have to be established but it is already clear that 5G will be a lot faster and have a lower response time than 4G, 4G+ and 4.5G, with peak speeds of tens of gigabits per second. In practice, this means that with 5G you can download a movie in just a few seconds, compared to a few minutes with 4G.

By comparison, the maximum speed on 4G is 100 to 150 Mbps and with 4G+ you can currently reach speeds of up to 225 Mbps, while 4.5G provides a peak speed of 1.1 Gbps. This technology uses 4 wavelengths and the latest modulation techniques. 4.5G will be rolled out gradually as of 2017.

With 5G, the time it takes to transmit data from one device to another also drops from around 50 milliseconds (4G) to 1 millisecond (5G). This is particularly important for the response time of high-technology applications such as automated or self-driving cars. For these vehicles to drive properly and safely, huge amounts of data need to be sent and received quickly and reliably. Telemedicine and remote-controlled machinery are other potential applications that could be supported by this network. 5G must make all of these developments possible.

Network evolution

Technically, 5G will require extra spectrum (frequency bands) and an upgrade of the current mobile network. It won’t be necessary to replace existing transmission masts, thanks to the installation of additional small cells. Proximus has been testing these small cells in the center of Antwerp since the end of 2015.

To ensure that the roll-out of 5G goes smoothly, Proximus wants to see a clear legislative framework and a re-orientation of the regulation to stimulate investment in high-speed networks. Other key factors to take into account are taxes on transmission masts and radiation standards. Finally, Proximus advocates a level playing field for all providers, to ensure that the same rules are applied in the same way for equivalent services, regardless of the provider.

4.5G in 2017

In the run-up to 5G, Proximus will roll out 4.5G in a number of places in 2017. This will offer many opportunities for streaming with a better image quality. The commercial peak speed provided by 4.5G is 450 Mbps, compared to 150 Mbps with 4G.