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5G in Ukraine: where and when the new generation communication will start and why martial law affects it

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May29,2024

5G in Ukraine: where and when the new generation connection will work and why martial law affects it

At the end of May In 2024, 5G communication was launched for the first time in Ukraine. It was a test – the Kyiv office of the Vodafone operator, the Nokia office in Helsinki and the Promprilad innovation center in Ivano-Frankivsk called. “Everything works”, – confirmed the head of the Ministry of Digital Affairs Mykhailo Fedorov.

Now 5G communication works in more than 90 countries of the world. The EU plans to cover the territory of all cities and main roads with a modern communication format by 2025.

We decided to ask the Ministry of Statistics how and when the government plans to introduce this technology. And also how Ukraine is developing 5G and what concerns it causes – read all about it in the material of 24 Channel.

What is 5G

5G – it is the penultimate of the existing generations of mobile communication. Next – 6G, which is currently only being rolled out and tested in a number of countries. The previous communication format, 4G, is still widely used in Ukraine.

The fifth generation of communications, following the generations that fell on the 1980s – 2010s, unfolding from 2019. It has a download speed of up to 10 Gigabits per second. The sixth generation is expected to be deployed in the second half of the 2020s and will provide much higher download speeds of up to 1 Terabit per second.

The first noticeable step towards the development of 5G took place on May 17, 2019. Then Petro Poroshenko signed a decree on the implementation of the fifth generation mobile communication system in Ukraine.

Today, on World Radiocommunication Day, we have a historic event: realizing that 5G communication will be operational in most EU countries in 2020, I am signing a presidential decree today that will clearly define the schedule for the launch of fifth-generation communication in 2020 and in Ukraine. 5G standard – these are new opportunities for people, the IT sector, the government, income to the state budget, new investments in Ukraine. And the most important thing: Ukraine definitely does not care anymore – over the past 5 years, Ukraine has been among the leaders. We must do everything to make the 5G standard work in Ukraine in 2020
– wrote Poroshenko on his Twitter at the time.

This happened a year after the launch of 4G in Ukraine.

Pay attention! During the COVID pandemic, the deployment of 5G was strange somehow connected with the spread of the coronavirus disease, although scientists have long since refuted such a connection.

Dozens of telecommunication towers were damaged in the first weeks of the lockdown in Great Britain. MobileUK, the group that brings together the UK's four main mobile networks, has issued an open letter to customers asking them to help stop the vandalism. The company emphasized that there is no scientific evidence of a connection between 5G and COVID. A similar story happened in Ukraine, when residents of Transcarpathia protested against the installation of an alleged 5G tower because of the fact that it supposedly leads to cancer.

Soon, the newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky took over the 5G baton. In July 2019, he met with Mexican investor, Chief Executive Officer of Principal Standard Group, Peter Foyo. The specialization of this company – telephony and telecommunication services, which are “relevant in the context of the development of mobile communications in Ukraine and preparation for the launch of 5G”. year.
In 2022, after Russia's full-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine, the launch of 5G technology was temporarily suspended.

In 2023, the Ministry of Digital Affairs resumed work on preparing the introduction of the technology and announced the launch of a 5G pilot.

In August 2021, the State Special Communications Service announced a study on the possibility of joint use of 5G frequencies by “special subscribers” and mobile operators.

The introduction of 5G in Ukraine will make it possible to unload the existing frequency resource and avoid communication problems, because the speed of the fifth generation Internet is at least twice as high as 4G. In addition, 5G – this is the so-called Internet of Things, which allows implementing Smart City technologies in cities, and also provides wide application opportunities in medicine, road safety, etc.
– announced then in the service.

But the matter did not go any further before the full-scale invasion of Russia. Only in October 2021, the “test zone of 5G communication” 5G Lab was launched in the Kyiv technological campus UNIT.City – a joint project of the Ministry of Digital, Vodafone Ukraine, Huawei Ukraine and UNIT.City.

Pilot launch 5G was announced by the head of the Ministry of Digital Affairs Mykhailo Fedorov in September 2023. In February of this year, in an interview with Forbes, Fedorov said that the active implementation of 5G in Ukraine was hindered by the war, because other priorities appeared. In addition, additional complications with redistribution of frequencies became an obstacle. At the same time, the minister again announced the plan for a pilot launch in 2024.

I hope we will make a 5G pilot in 2024. At least locally. All-out war is affecting the frequencies we need. That's why it may not work, but it's worth a try,
– said Fedorov.

The test successfully took place in May, when 5G connected Ivano-Frankivsk Promprilad, the Vodafone Kyiv office and the Nokia office in Helsinki during the Action Forum 2024, which Aspen Institute Kyiv held on the territory of the Promprilad innovation center in Ivano-Frankivsk.

5G managed to transmit sound and images without delay, ensuring the synchronicity of the speech. At these locations, participants whose phones and tablets support 5G could connect and test the technology open to user gadgets. Prior to that, technical tests of network operation were carried out, – commented on Channel 24 in the Ministry of Digital.

Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, as well as the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development of Finland Wille Tavio from Helsinki, who recently visited Ukraine, as well as the president of Nokia Mobile Networks, Tommy Vitto, were present at the 5G telemost.

The possibilities of 5G were demonstrated at the forum: two musical groups who were 600 kilometers from each other performed simultaneously. This is the Eclectic Sound Orchestra, which played on the roof of the Vodafone office in Kyiv, and the female vocal group Spivochi – on the stage of “Promprylad” in Ivano-Frankivsk, Vodafone reported.

In the Ministry of Digital, they plan not only to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure and restore the network, but also to modernize it and launch new technologies.

“Therefore, we do not plan to postpone the launch of the 5G pilot for a long time, and we are grateful to our partners for promoting the spread of the technology in Ukraine”, – the Ministry noted in a comment to Channel 24.

Currently, the Ministry of Digital is in the process of preparing for the launch, because we still have to work out the technical details. A working group consisting of the teams of the Ministry of Digital Affairs of NKEK and mobile operators is working on the pilot launch of fifth-generation mobile communications, since the full launch of 5G technology is possible only after the end of martial law,
– they say in the Ministry of Digital.

Now the Ministry of Digital Transformation is working on the following tasks:

  • legislative changes for the implementation of 5G;
  • development of a strategy for the development of the field of electronic communications by 2030;
  • a proposal at the legislative level to stimulate the conditions for the deployment of electronic communication networks, in particular improving the quality of mobile and fixed communication services.

In the near future, the Ministry of Digital Affairs is considering the possibility of launching a 5G pilot in some cities of Ukraine.  But there is no talk of a full launch across the country – for this, it is necessary to conduct scientific research to obtain permission to launch the technology from the General Staff. All this can be done only after the end of martial law.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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