State-controlled telecoms group Swisscom AG said on Thursday that the rollout of its new fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology was getting stalled due to the governments’ resistance to installing upgraded antennas.
It maintained its 2020 guidance for revenue of around 11.1 billion Swiss francs ($11.39 billion), EBITDA of around 4.3 billion, capital expenditure of around 2.3 billion and a steady dividend of 22 francs per share, but cited “considerable uncertainty” about the outlook.
The Swiss government this month kept current safety standards for mobile frequency emissions, which the sector said needed to be amended to foster rollout of 5G technology a year after a spectrum auction raised 380 million Swiss francs.
“In order to exploit the potential of 5G to transmit data up to 1,000 times more efficiently and thus save energy, it is essential to renew existing antennas and build additional ones with 5G+. Due to current restrictions, such as moratoria in some cantons, the expansion of the mobile network is faltering, which means that the creation of urgently needed capacity for both 4G and 5G is also being held up,” Swisscom said.
It said potential damage such as data queues and data jams would not be felt until some time in the future, calling for authorities to create better conditions for network development and mobile communications infrastructure.
Telecoms operators are keen for 5G frequencies to gain an edge in new digital services such as powering self-driving cars or the internet of things – smart devices and sensors that can be managed remotely and are expected to proliferate as cutting-edge mobile networks launch in the years ahead.