Umeå will be the first 5G test city in Sweden. Five public stakeholders in Umeå are cooperating to establish a test environment that will feature the first 5G hospital and 5G university in Europe. This investment will help Sweden to take a leading position in 5G’s development.
Umeå 5G is a venture that gives Umeå a chance to be the first in Sweden to test and develop new digital products and services that can benefit residents and society as a whole.
“We want Umeå to be an obvious choice for all companies and residents who want to test, develop and use solutions for the digital society of the future,” says Hans Lindberg from Umeå municipality (s).
5G is 10-100 times faster than 4G networks and is set to revolutionize our culture just as the mobile internet did when smartphones became part of people’s everyday lives. 5G is an advanced technology that will enable many of the new smart digital solutions and community services that we can only dream about today to become a reality. Umeå 5G will provide an entire city as a test environment for these solutions.
“We need to understand the potential of 5G, and not only learn how the technology works but how to manage, develop and invest in 5G to get the best possible results for users,” says Mats Berggren, CEO of Umeå Energi UmeNet.
Contributing to Sweden’s development
Umeå will be the first Swedish city to be a large-scale test bed, both in terms of area and frequency. During the test period which runs from 2018-2019 there will be access to 200 MHz thanks to permission from the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS).
“Umeå 5G will help Sweden take a leading role in 5G, and means that we will now meet the EU’s goal of every member country having a 5G city by 2020,” said Jonas Wessel, Head of the Spectrum Department at PTS.
The initiative also received support from the Minister for Digitalization, Peter Eriksson, who visited Umeå this week.
“It creates huge opportunities to have an entire city as a 5G region and many businesses and industries will be interested in such a venture. 5G is also interesting because we don’t really know yet what its true potential is. Business and finance models are still unclear. I think this venture in Umeå can help solve these issues, which could further facilitate development and investments in 5G in the future”, said Peter Eriksson.
Strengthening Umeå as a digital city
Umeå is already a world leader in broadband and connectivity and wants to continue to be at the very forefront as a digital city. There are already established partnerships with strong partners who have the skills required to grow. Umeå is known for delivering quickly and for taking action. One long-term goal is to offer the inhabitants of Umeå groundbreaking community services that help facilitate everyday life in completely new ways.
“Umeå 5G will further strengthen Umeå’s position as an innovative, creative and attractive university and IT city – for existing and new residents as well as prospective businesses and investors,” said Peter Juneblad, Business Enterprise Manager at Umeå municipality.
Innovation arena building a leading-edge model
During the establishment phase Umeå 5G is being funded with resources from the five public stakeholders who jointly run the venture. In the next step funds and commitments from both national and private investors are expected. The project initially focuses on building a 5G infrastructure in Umeå, starting with the university and hospital areas, while simultaneously establishing an arena where people can test, develop and evaluate digital products and services.
“Västerbotten has a leading-edge innovation model for public and private sector collaboration that we want to build on. Companies that have a solution they want to test in the 5G network are offered both a test environment in Umeå and an efficient, proven method of investigating and demonstrating the true value of their product or service, “says Robert Winroth, County council commissioner for innovation (Mp) and the chairman of Umeå 5G.
During the autumn the project will continue to lay the foundations for the expansion of 5G, organize work in different focus areas, find long-term funding and build Umeå 5G together with partner companies. In 2019 the venture will really start in earnest!
Umeå – creating knowledge
“There are always challenges to be the first in new areas but we are happy to take up this challenge in Umeå. We are looking forward to conducting research, development and education within 5G to create new knowledge so that Umeå can continue to offer cutting-edge digital services for its residents and be an attractive place to live in the future,” said Katrine Riklund, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.
“Umeå wants to help find the answers to the questions regarding 5G. Among other things the physical expansion of antennas and how they might affect the environment and public health. Security surrounding data management and integrity is another area we want to highlight”, said Anders Kjellander, CEO of Umeå Science Park.
By Jenny Eklund
Coordinator for Umeå 5G