Shake in the cellular market: Pelephone announced today (Tuesday) the launch of its fifth generation network, which will start operating in the coming days. The company has announced that it is ready to operate the network in a limited nationwide deployment by September 1 – and it is already possible to sign up for data packages and surfing based on the fifth generation on the company’s website.
For the base package of the fifth generation, with a surfing volume of 200 GB, you will part with only NIS 49.9. For a surfing volume of 500 GB, you will already part with NIS 59.9, and for the most comprehensive package, with 200 GB of surfing and connection to a Sting TV via smartphone, you will pay NIS 69.90. At the end of the year, the price will increase by NIS 20. In addition, Pelephone sells a number of Samsung, Huawei and Shiomi devices that support the fifth generation on its website.
In addition to the packages for private customers, Pelephone also offers private networks for the business market, which will be called Private 5G. As part of the private networks, large businesses will be able to allocate a share on the Pelephone network (slicing).
Where can you pick up the fifth generation of Pelephone? According to the company, the network has been deployed at various sites throughout the country “in accordance with operational considerations.” At the same time, they did not specify exactly where the fifth generation could be absorbed and where not – but announced that they were considering publishing the full data soon.
If you missed it, the fifth generation (5G) is a real revolution in the speed and stability of the cellular network. Pelephone promises a speed of 1 GB per second, compared to the fourth generation, which only reaches 50 megabytes per second. As the network deployment progresses, it is likely that speed will continue to rise.
The implications are far-reaching: the cellular network will be able to handle vast amounts of information and propel the IoT revolution – the Internet of Things, or all the devices that communicate with each other around us. Beyond speed, latency is also expected to drop to a level of 8 to 12 milliseconds, compared to 53 milliseconds in the fourth generation network. This means that you will soon be able to drive your vehicle remotely without delay, and that surgeons will be able to perform complex surgeries with high precision.
Pelephone’s announcement is significant, as it reveals significant gaps across competitors. About three weeks ago, Partner unveiled its fifth-generation network, Partner 5G, and revealed that it is implementing a “new core switch” that allows the fifth-generation to operate. At the beginning of last week, Hot Mobile announced a “series of moves to implement the fifth generation network”, in which it examines the implementation of Erickson’s fifth generation sites and conducts performance tests at several sites across the country.
Deployment throughout the country within five years
The State of Israel arrives at the fifth generation revolution a little late. There are currently 84 active networks in 36 countries including China, South Korea, the United States and Germany. Those same networks make up 8% of all global cellular operators and serve 190 million users. Today there are a hundred devices in the world that support the fifth generation network, and in the coming months the cellular companies are expected to draw a line; Apple, for example, will include fifth-generation technology in iPhone 12s that will be launched in the next two months.
The launch of Pelephone comes at the same time as the opening of the Ministry of Communications’ frequency tender, which took place today. About two months ago, the basic bidding phase in the tender closed, when the various cellular companies merged into three groups: Golan Telecom, Cellcom and Expon; Partner and Hot Mobile; And cell phones alone. Today they started competing on 700 MHz, 2,600 MHz and 3,500 MHz frequencies. The tough competition focuses on 700 MHz frequencies, which are considered the basic frequencies of the fourth and fifth generation and allow for wide coverage with far fewer sites. The 2,600 MHz frequencies will be used by the fourth generation in the coming years, and the 3,500 MHz frequencies are the frequencies designed for the fifth generation.
Pelephone explains that they have completed the upgrade of hundreds of sites, which constitute about 20% of the company’s existing 2,500 sites, and have also pledged to increase the number of sites to 3,500 in the coming years, as part of a strategic partnership with infrastructure maker Ericsson. Either way, the deployment of the network is expected to take several years: the cellular companies are committed to providing a fifth generation within 18 months of the start of the infrastructure deployment, and providing the service throughout the country within five years.
Cellular companies in Israel are launching the fifth generation in a financially difficult period; The Corona epidemic has led to a decline in their revenues following the cessation of roaming services and a decline in the sale of end equipment, and package prices are still considered very low relative to the world. The deployment of the fifth generation is not a cheap business: each group is expected to pay NIS 60 million for frequencies, which will later be returned as grants.
The fifth generation revolution is not taking place in a vacuum, but is taking place in parallel with the establishment of the fiber optic network in Israel, which will provide gigabytes of speed per second. According to the fiber-optic outline, Bezeq is required to reach a deployment of 80% of all households – with the deployment areas to choose from. As is well known, Pelephone is a subsidiary of Bezeq, so it is possible that the company plans to use both networks to achieve a comprehensive deployment of high-speed Internet. At the same time, Ran Gurion, CEO of Pelephone, explained that the infrastructure that the group promotes for home use is the fiber-optic infrastructure and not the fifth generation.