Wednesday sees the start of the state auction of bandwidth for the development of fifth-generation telecommunication networks (5G) in Greece, but the state-of-the-art services to subscribers will also come at an added cost.
All three mobile phone networks in Greece (Cosmote, Vodafone Greece and Wind Hellas) will participate in the bandwidth tender, and all have stated they will start the commercial provision of 5G services during the first quarter of next year, offering coverage in some cases even before the end of March.
For the rollout of the 5G networks, which requires investments of hundreds of millions of euros, domestic service providers have already agreed to cooperate with Ericsson, while Cosmote announced back in March that it would be cooperating with the Swedish multinational for the modernization of its cell network.
Will there be a charge for using 5G services? The answer that competent corporate officials offer is negative, just as “there was also no charge for the transition from 3G to 4G.” Nevertheless, the cost of infinite 5G data is expected to be higher than that of 4G.
Furthermore, in the case of the fifth-generation networks, there is a significant difference regarding the density of the antenna network in order to achieve full residential access to 5G. International practice shows that gaining access to 5G networks at home, as Verizon offers in certain areas of the US, comes at an additional charge.
Despite the 5G growth prospects, 5G-compatible cellphone sales have been limited to date, which is natural since service providers have not yet promoted the required services. At the moment in Greece it is already possible to find a significant number of 5G cell handsets at prices starting from 340 euros and reaching up to €2,000.
Globally, it is estimated that over 200 million handsets that are 5G compatible have been sold, although not all of them are necessarily connected to 5G networks. The great majority of them are in China.
In any case, according to industry experts, it will be some time before there is a significant mass of cellphone apps operating only through 5G networks.