TELECOM companies Cyta, MTN, and Primetel have been given licensing to run pilot 5G programs, the minister of transport, communications and works, Vasiliki Anastasiadou announced.
She said: “The main objective of the Broadband Subsidy Grant Scheme is to increase the demand for ultra-high-speed connections while encouraging the market for investment in high-speed networks.”
The plan, she added, is in line with the Digital Agenda 2020 of the EU and with the island’s National Broadband plan.
Anastasiadou said that for companies to participate in the Sponsorship Plan, the connection speed should be at least 100Mbps, and that the total value of the sponsorship will cover 30 per cent of the monthly cost for 12 months with a maximum of €30 per month while the total cost for the whole plan is about €800,000 in total and is funded from the state budget.
The four telecommunications companies of the island Cyta, Cablenet, Primetel, and MTN are eligible to participate, if they provide at least one product with 100Mbps, she said.
“I hope the Cypriot public will make use of the plan that has been drawn up, as it will ease their daily lives and their access to broadband services that are offered,” the minister said.
The 5G network is expected to have 10-100 times higher data transmission rate than today’s networks, 1000 times more data volume, 5 times lower network delay, 100 times more low-cost devices, optimised battery life of connected devices and significantly improved geographical coverage, she said.
“These networks will operate in the 3400-3800MHz (Mega Hertz) band, a band identified by the [EU] Commission and the Member States as the ‘pioneering zone’ for the use of 5G in the EU, while the Electronic Communications Department gives the opportunity to mobile service providers to operate 5G pilot networks by November 2019 to test their equipment.”
She added that the preparations for the official licencing of 5G has begun, and that they are expected to finish in the last quarter of 2019, with the licencing of those services.
“One of the biggest challenges that remains in Cyprus, is encouraging the public to acquire high-speed or ultra-high-speed broadband services.”
The whole process is expected to be finished by 2020, with the arrival of the first commercial 5G networks.
There has been some controversy over the introduction of 5G as it operates on a different frequency to 4G but the science is not in yet.
On Tuesday this week, the House Labour Committee discussed a draft bill put forward by Green Party head Giorgos Perdikis to limit the public’s exposure to electromagnetic frequencies.
After the meeting, committee chairman Andreas Fakontis said there are 1,300 radio and mobile phone towers and TV masts around Cyprus and that only half of those are licenced.
Fakontis said that there is concern among the public over the health effects of being exposed to these frequencies.
“For us, and the committee, the public’s health is above all else, especially the health of children, who are vulnerable,” he said.
The committee requested that the health ministry and the State Electronic Service to look into the matter, and how exposure to electromagnetic frequencies is dealt with in other European countries.
According to Fakontis, the state service said that if the frequencies were reduced than there would have to be an increase in the number of towers.