Drei Austria created another first on its way to 5G when it started the first 5G SA trial in Austria in June. Rudolf Schrefl, CEO of Drei Austria, talks about the company's 5G journey as well as the latest updates on its 5G progress.
ZTE and Drei Austria have already a long lasting and very successful joint journey. But with 5G we together pushed this to the next level. Please elaborate your view of the Drei Austria 5G success.
With ZTE as a partner on the 5G journey of Drei Austria, we together were able to—two weeks after we acquired the frequency—perform the first public 5G NSA call, followed by the first continuously covered 5G region in Austria in line with the first commercial tariffs on 5G in Austria not even three month later in September 2019. From March to November 2020, we have completed core network commissioning and debugging, acceptance test and access network cutover successfully one and half months earlier than planned, by applying the ZTE pandemic-driven Digital Remote Delivery & Deployment Process. Meanwhile, 5G NSA is widely deployed and used, even on 5G Campus Networks, and we could prove our outstanding performance in the latest CHIP network test in May 2021 where we achieved an"A" grade.
Jointly with ZTE our reliable partner, we provided high-quality services when the world needed them most and will continue to do so.
So 5G really arrived in Drei Austria? What are your next plans?
Yes and No. 5G NSA is widely deployed and is already successfully used in our customer base, but we will not rest on our laurels. In 2020, Drei Austria and ZTE started in our joint innovation lab, the next step to the future. We were able to tailor 5G SA to our needs and the market needs and have very soon a product ready on 5G SA. We started in June 2021 the first 5G SA pilot system in Austria, running on a new telco ecosystem and supporting enhanced end customer services like eMBB, mMTC and uRLLC including network slicing and mobile edge computing.
Drei Austria follows clearly the vision of leading 5G development in Austria, including leading to deploy 5G commercial network, leading to provide 5G service and leading to develop 5G ToB. We aim to provide top-quality service for both family and enterprise customers and promote the digital transformation of vertical industries.
You mentioned "a new telco ecosystem supporting enhanced end customer services". What do you mean by that?
We see 5G SA not only as a telecommunication technology, but more as a full ecosystem enabling digitalisation of our company same as of our customers. This ecosystem includes the 5G technology, virtualisation, automation and the integration to applications, to ensure an efficient, tailored, outstanding and high-performance end customer service.
To unleash the full power of this ecosystem we together modernized and simplified the network, introduced a unified cloud platform and enhanced the functional scope of the E2E architecture for a at least 10 years future-proof network.
On top of this we will launch future-oriented high quality business and service innovations. For consumers, we have 5G-FWA, 2K/4K video service, service slices and innovative tariff models with diverse data traffic, data rate both DL and UL and content based tariffs. For businesses, we enable smart building based on QCell + MEC, 5G Industry 4.0 cooperation with Technical University of Vienna, and the innovative 5G bee-o-meter project to improve the bee's ecological environment.
What are your expectations and visions for future cooperation with ZTE?
We continue to regard ZTE not only as a supplier, but as a partner who is aware that the quality of the equipment and technologies are the basics for outstanding end customer services, and those are the key success factors in the Austrian market. We expect that ZTE will continue to develop and provide high-quality, future-proof and innovative network equipment, end devices and functionalities for the future. We wish to continue the close dialogue between our experts who plan, operate and optimize our network with ZTE's R&D teams in a very open and constructive manner we have jointly established and benefited on both sides.