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Cyprus joins 5G era

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Fifth-generation mobile networks have arrived after the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority announced its 5G network, covering 70% of the population, is up and running.

Through social media, Cyta announced the “beginning of a new era in the evolution of communications in our country”.

The new network of Cytamobile-Vodafone, providing speeds up to 1Gbps with increased simultaneous connection to thousands of devices.

Presenting the network, Cyta’s Chief Executive Officer Andreas Neokleous, called the development a ‘leap into a revolutionary future’.

“This will unlock unlimited possibilities offered by the new network, paving the way for innovative technological applications that change the data in key sectors of the economy, such as transport, health, agriculture, environment and education,” he said.

Neokleous said the Cytamobile-Vodafone 5G network has a population coverage of 70% and is expected to reach 98% in the first year of operation.

All Cytamobile-Vodafone subscribers will have access to 5G with no extra charge, provided that they own a 5G device certified by Cyta and there is coverage.

Commenting on CyBC TV, Innovation Minister Kyriacos Kokkinos said: “The 5G network lays the foundations for the upgrading of our lives, the development of businesses, progress of the economy and transformation of Cyprus into a digital society with equal opportunities for all”.

He argued the introduction of high speeds will change lives in a revolutionary way powering advancements in science, medicine, and smart cities.

“Cyprus’ economy will benefit not only from the possibilities opening up but also from the drop in price of internet connections, the creation of 2 million new jobs across the EU for scientists working on new applications,” said Kokkinos.

He said anyone with a 4G mobile phone could use it to access 5G networks when their providers launch their network.

Kokkinos said the state will contribute €35 mln for 5G network infrastructure to reach rural areas which are not viable for the private sector.

More providers to come

Cyprus should see another three 5G networks coming online in the coming months, as four frequency licenses were issued to Primetel, Epic and Cablenet who bid for the licenses.

Cyta’s 5th generation network will use technological equipment from Huawei Technologies and Sweden’s Ericsson.

Radiofrequency licensing for 5G networks is an obligation for all EU member states to reach the ‘Gigabit Society’ goal set by the European Commission.

Meeting this goal will help Europeans and businesses reap the full benefits of digitalization, enhancing EU competitiveness in the global market, accelerating digital transformation, and promoting green growth.

According to the ‘Gigabit Society,’ all European households should have access to 100 Mbps connections by 2025 with the possibility to upgrade networks to reach much higher speeds.

More information about 5G and its features, already certified devices and upgraded Cytamobile-Vodafone software can be found at www.cyta.com.cy.

The introduction of 5G is opposed by some with attacks on telecom facilities over perceived health risks of the frequency spectrum poses.

Antennas and telephone masts have been torched in Cyprus while several demonstrations were organised against 5G over health fears also linking the rollout with COVID-19 conspiracies.

A demonstration last October in Limassol against coronavirus restrictions, corruption, and the rollout of a 5G network turned violent with four police officers and a firefighter injured.

The Ormidia community council in September declared the village a 5G free zone – effectively attempting to ban the technology in its area.