Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023
Switzerland Approves 5G Private Campus Networks

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Communications (BAKOM) has announced that 5G private campus networks will be available from 1 January 2024. The radio licenses will be allocated in the 3400-3500 MHz frequency range with 10MHz as the minimum lease. However, these licenses will only cover a limited and clearly defined area, preventing large-scale deployments. In cases where multiple license applications are submitted for the same area, the frequency resources may be divided among the applicants. The cost for the licenses will be CHF48/MHz/year, resulting in a minimum cost of CHF480 per campus.

One notable aspect of the licensing conditions is that the campus network frequencies can only be used for terrestrial networks and cannot be used for satellite communication or provided to third parties. To manage potential interference issues, transmitters must not exceed an EIRP of 6 Watts, and the field strengths permitted at the border of a campus network will be specified in each concession. The exact duration of frequency ownership is still pending, but the frequencies will be allocated for several years.

The regulatory and technical framework for campus networks is currently being developed in Switzerland and is expected to be completed by 2023. The availability of private 5G spectrum licenses may raise concerns about vendor involvement. Some Swiss politicians have expressed concerns about Huawei’s position in the country’s telecom networks. Parliamentarian Jon Pult is against considering Huawei as a supplier of critical infrastructure due to its links to the Chinese Communist Party. President of the Senate telecommunications commission Hans Wicki has called for a “zero-trust approach” towards suppliers from telecom providers.

Switzerland’s strong presence of Huawei in the country may result in a different approach from the EU. The Federal Council has revised the Ordinance on Telecommunications Services (revised OTS) to include provisions for mobile networks that comply with international technical specifications for 5G networks, aiming to create additional security requirements. Operators will be required to develop and implement an information security management system in compliance with the revised OTS. Network and security operation centers must be operated in Switzerland or countries with adequate data protection legislation.