Innovation & Technology

Vodafone expands its 5G network and supports 5G lab at BME

Vodafone's commercial 5G network will be available in and around Budapest with the connection of about 200 new base stations in the upcoming weeks.

Vodafone will provide 40 Megahertz (MHz) of its own frequency pool for the establishment of an experimental 5G network and laboratory at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME).

Károly Balázs Solymár, Deputy State Secretary for Digitization of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (ITM), said that research, development and innovation play a huge role in the use of the 5G network, and Vodafone has made an excellent decision to provide frequency to the university.

Vodafone was the first Hungarian mobile operator to launch the commercial 5G service in 2019 in downtown Budapest with 34 base stations. In April this year, additional frequencies were purchased for HUF 40 billion for 5G’s mobile services at the frequency auctions of the communications authority. This year, it will increase the number of 5G base stations to get close to 300.

R&D and innovation provide “90 percent” of the future value of the 5G network, Solymár said, adding that the benefits of Vodafone’s commercial 5G service can already be experienced by the public. Meanwhile, the development of industrial applications is left to universities, and all solutions developed here have benefits for the service provider.

Gergő J. Budai, Deputy CEO of Vodafone Hungary and Vice Chairman of the Board, emphasized that 5G coverage will be expanded with about 200 base stations in and around Budapest, covering the capital and its surroundings almost completely. The deployment of hardware is already complete, and software testing is now underway.

With the Vodafone frequency, BME’s new network from Szabadság Bridge to Rákóczi Bridge, will be suitable for operating the university’s indoor experimental 5G network and creating the resulting open-innovation environment and 5G laboratory.

According to Charaf Hassan, Dean of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME), the construction of the BME bridge-to-bridge network initiates a new period at the university. The agreement gives the institution’s more than 21,000 students the opportunity to research and develop.

Machines and even self-driving vehicles will be able to communicate with each other; 5G’s will focus on creating a communication platform for modern industrial digitalization, János Levendovszky, Vice-Chancellor of Science and Innovation at BME, said. He indicated that the 5G test network will also help BME to join the 5G and 6G research and development programs and initiatives planned as part of the European Union’s innovation framework program, Horizon Europe.

The government and the ministry are working to establish similar co-operations, which will serve the development of Hungary, economic growth, and the interests of the population, businesses and telecommunications service providers at the same time.

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