Łódź steps up to test 5G

Big players are preparing to roll out 5G technology in Poland and through a pilot programme, the city of Łódź will have its finger on the pulse.

The city of Łódź in central Poland has made a strong case for itself as a budding start-up, tech environment by becoming a pilot city for the 5G rollout in Poland. The Łódź Special Economic Zone (ŁSEZ) has launched a 5G technology accelerator (‘S5’) in close cooperation with Ericsson and mobile-operator Play, as well as the Łódź University of Technology and the Office of Electronic Communications (Urząd Komunikacji Elektronicznej). Through the programme, ŁSEZ aims to build an ecosystem of startups to produce plug-and-play technology to help businesses in the economic zone to fully exploit the capabilities of 5G.   

“The development of the 5G network is projected to increase Poland’s GDP by 1%,” said Jadwiga Emilewicz, the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology (Ministerstwo Przedsiębiorczości i Technologii), at a signing ceremony in Łódź. “I hope that this growth will start here today in Łódź.”

In comparison to 4G, 5G technology guarantees faster signal transmission, which provides more effective connections and faster speeds of downloads and uploads. Radio spectrum in 5G technology makes it possible to access the internet for far more mobile devices simultaneously. 

Having set up nine 5G networks around the world, Ericsson was an obvious partner to help Poland launch such groundbreaking technology. At the ceremony, Martin Mellor, President of Ericsson in Poland, announced that by signing the agreement in Łódź, the company will not only gain local partners but also the opportunity to find new solutions in the implementation of the technology, which should, in turn, aid the societal and economic development of Łódź and Poland as a whole.

Łódź was selected by the government to be the first city to launch the technology in accordance with Poland’s national 5G strategy and the EU’s 5G Action Plan, which requires member states to identify at least one major city to establish and operate a 5G network on a commercial basis by 2020. The “5G for Poland” plan stipulates that the new network will then be implemented in all of the largest Polish cities and cover the most important transport routes by the end of 2025. 

The idea behind establishing a startup incubator in the 5G pilot zone is to give local stakeholders the first opportunity to develop and test 5G-related technology, allowing them to hit the ground running once the national network comes online. The Łódź Special Economic Zone has already attracted interest from various businesses eager to implement the technology.  “We are opening a new chapter in the history of the Łódź Special Economic Zone,” said Marek Michalik, President of ŁSEZ. “Thanks to 5G technology, we will gain a competitive advantage and an additional investment incentive for entrepreneurs, especially those focused on Industry 4.0.” It’s hoped that this pilot will help the nationwide transition and give Polish companies every chance to compete in Europe and farther afield.

This announcement comes just after Jean-François Fallacher, CEO of Orange Polska, revealed to Poland Today that his company had already begun trials in Gliwice and Zakopane in Southern Poland in preparation of their own 5G rollout. The government regulator plans to begin the tender process early next year before assigning frequencies to the winners around mid next year. But there are still hurdles to overcome. “Our base stations and antennas are not allowed to emit as normally as they can emit in Europe,” said Fallacher. “The norms are 10 times lower compared to the rest of Europe, which is causing a bit of trouble, because we need to have more stations.” Click here for more on this story.

May 20, 2019
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Written by: Poland Today Team