5G is here: ‘Slow’ Trønders become the fastest of all Norwegians

It’s said that the people of Trøndelag county take it a bit slower than the rest of their countrymen. That’s all about to change, as Norway’s first commercial 5G network has opened in Trøndelag’s biggest city – bringing both Trønders and Telenor customers into a new era of rapid networks and mobile experience.

Written: Mar 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“Amazing. The speed meter shows a download speed of more than one gigabyte per second. I guess that means my 4G phone is ready for the retirement home,” says Andreas Hodneland, while looking down at the phone screen slightly shocked.

Although 4G is far from outdated, the 5G speed test conducted in downtown Trondheim certainly gives the city native a new perspective on network speed. According to his girlfriend, Marte Ingvild Stordahl, a speed-up is just what their city needs.

“It’s a Norwegian saying that people from Trondheim and the county of Trøndelag, called Trønders, are a bit slow. It is just an innocent joke among Norwegians, but we like to take every opportunity to prove it wrong. I think 5G will turn the tables. In fact, now we are among the fastest in the nation, right?” says Marte.

The result from the speed test performed on 13 March, the same day as the 5G network opened in Trondheim, impressed the two Trønder passers-by, Andreas Hodneland and Marte Ingvild Stordahl.

5G across the land

Marte is right on the money. In terms of speed, 5G outperformed 4G up to ten times during Telenor’s tests in Trondheim. It was no coincidence either that Marte’s home town was chosen to be the country’s first big city to see 5G open up commercially.

“Trondheim is the tech capital of Norway. The city is inhabited by a large population of tech savvy people. It consists of a vibrant startup and innovation community, as well as around 35,000 students and a big number of researchers. It is only natural for Telenor to start the roll out of 5G here. That being said, we have also opened up 5G in other locations in Norway,” says Bjørn Amundsen, Coverage Director of Telenor Norway.

In addition to Trondheim, Telenor has until now been running 5G pilot tests in Kongsberg, Elverum, Bodø, Askvoll, Kvitfjell, Longyearbyen, Fornebu and Spikersuppa in Oslo’s city center.

“As long as you have a 5G supported device in one of these areas, you will as at Telenor customer be able to experience 5G connection,” says Amundsen.

Telenor Norway’s Coverage Director, Bjørn Amundsen, talking with Norwegian television news channel TV2 about the 5G opening. Due to the coronavirus situation, Telenor decided to cancel the intended opening event in Trondheim, and instead host it as a virtual video conference.

A pipe dream no more

While 5G undoubtedly will boost the mobile user experience for end users like Andreas and Marte, the technology will have its biggest impact across industries.

“The profound speed increase and latency decrease open up many new business opportunities. It will also enable massive improvement possibilities for existing solutions, which for instance can be of critical need for sectors working with traffic security or the health sector in general,” says Amundsen.

Witnessing how the coronavirus pandemic makes the workforce rely even heavier on connectivity, Norway’s Minister of Regional Development and Digitalisation, Linda Hofstad Helleland, is pleased that the continuous evolution of technology keeps providing societies with faster and more reliable networks.

“Given the current situation in Norway, we see how important the digital infrastructure is for those quarantined and those working from home. The new 5G network will provide better mobile coverage and gradually better access to broadband across the country, which will reduce the vulnerability of an increasingly digitised society,” says Helleland.

Cabinet minister Linda Hofstad Helleland and Coverage Director Bjørn Amundsen testing the speed of the hyper modern 5G network outside the historic medieval Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.

5G going forward

Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group, says the company is proud to be the first mobile operator to launch a commercial 5G network in Norway.

“We have worked tirelessly to stay in the forefront of the 5G development. By bringing Norway into a new technological age, today’s opening marks another milestone in Telenor’s 165-year-long-history,” stated Brekke on the day of the historic event, adding that Telenor is very much looking forward to continuing the roll out of 5G to customers.

Many of them will see their nearest base station receive 5G upgrades within the next year.

“During 2021, we will upgrade close to 2000 base stations, while a total of 8500 base stations will be upgraded within the next four to five years,” says Petter-Børre Furberg, CEO of Telenor Norway.

Before the end of 2020, Telenor will open its 5G network in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and Sandnes.

The journey so far: Telenor’s 5G milestones

  • July 4, 2018: Telenor Group is to coordinate the 5G Verticals INNovation Infrastructure (5G-VINNI) initiative, an EU-led project to accelerate the uptake of 5G across Europe
  • November 8, 2018: Telenor Norway opens Scandinavia’s first 5G pilot in Kongsberg
  • February 25, 2019: Telenor and Nokia begin testing 5G capabilities in Denmark
  • February 26, 2019: Telenor Norway announces that it will establish a 5G pilot at Elverum and other locations
  • March 27, 2019: Telenor Norway announces that Trondheim will be the first major city to get 5G
  • May 27, 2019: Digi and ZTE sign MoU to explore 5G technology in Malaysia
  • May 31, 2019: dtac teams up with state telecom agencies TOT and CAT Telecom to test 5G wireless broadband technology
  • July 10, 2019: Telenor Norway announces that Askvoll will be its next 5G pilot
  • September 9, 2019: dtac launches 5G testbed at its internal Never Stop Café
  • September 17, 2019: Telenor opens a 5G base station at its headquarters in Oslo
  • September 19, 2019: Telenor’s Malaysian operator, Digi, partners with Cyberview on 5G OpenLab at Cyberjaya
  • September 26, 2019: Telenor launches Scandinavia’s largest 5G pilot in Elverum in addition to announcing pilots in nine further locations in the country. Telenor conducts Norway’s first video call over 5G
  • October 20, 2019: Telenor launches the world’s northernmost 5G pilot on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard
  • December 2019: 5G-VINNI’s test sites open up for end user testing
  • December 13, 2019: Telenor selects Ericsson as its 5G radio access network vendor
  • March 13, 2020: Telenor Norway opens Norway’s first commercial 5G network in Trondheim and eight other locations across the country