Hrvatski Telekom is first to introduce 5G in Croatia
Hrvatski Telekom marked the end of the modernization of the radio access network on the Istrian peninsula and in the city of Zagreb to create the platform for implementation of the 5G network in these areas. This makes Istria the first region and Zagreb the first city in the country to have the most advanced equipment installed, including additional 4G network capacity and the latest functionalities (e.g. IoT). Hrvatski Telekom rolled out a special project to fully prepare Istria and Dalmatia for the tourist season. This makes it easy for users to use HT mobile services even during peak network traffic.
By the end of 2019, Hrvatski Telekom plans to modernize the radio access network in the whole of Croatia, and the first step has already been achieved. In the first half of the year, HT replaced all 137 base stations with the new 5G-compatible stations in Istria. By the end of the 2018, a total of 613 base stations were replaced.
Last year, Hrvatski Telekom invested HRK 1.745 billion in infrastructure, or 8.5 percent more than in 2016. Over the last four years, a total of more than HRK 6 billion have been invested.
5G is a brand-new network concept combining the benefits of fixed and mobile communications. Although it will be considerably faster than the networks currently available, 5G not only provides faster speed, but also built-in network intelligence and the capability for interoperability with other technologies.
5G will also bring about a revolution in sports. HT once again wanted to underline its major role in supporting Croatian football, just before the most important match of the Croatian national football team – the World Cup final. HT is also the biggest sponsor of film festivals in Croatia and this demonstration was held just before the opening of the 65th Pula Film Festival.
In 2019, Hrvatski Telekom will deliver Internet speeds of between 20Mbit/s and 1GBit/s.
HT’s new Mobile Network of the Future
At the press conference held in Split, Hrvatski Telekom’s Management Board presented plans for investments in network infrastructure and the development of new innovative telecommunication and ICT services during the upcoming period. The study carried out by The Institute of Economics, Zagreb, on analytical guidelines for the right-of-way for electronic communication infrastructure was presented with concrete recommendations for regulatory alignment with the best European practices of EU countries according to the DESI index.
A large part of this investment is intended to improve network infrastructure. Part of this investment started in 2018 and it is the largest project for the new mobile network in the entire region. After two years, it will cover more than 2000 locations and the investment will exceed HRK 1 billion. A threefold increase in network capacity is planned along with the establishment of a platform for further deployment of 5G technology and new intelligent services such as the Internet of Things. This is accomplished by the most advanced technological concepts, an increasing number of locations, and an expanding spectrum. The latest technology concepts include smart antennas, aggregation of the available radiofrequency spectrum, and spectral-efficient modulation techniques, making the latest generation of smartphones the fastest and best performing on the HT network.
In Istria, the mobile network modernization was already completed before the beginning of the tourist season and there was a noticeable increase in mobile network performance. Users obtained an increased average access mobile Internet speed of up to 2.5 times, even though the network load increased threefold compared to the same period last year.
However, Croatia still has the most expensive RF spectrum in Europe and this significantly slows down further major investments.
Hrvatski Telekom is the First Company in Croatia to enable Calls using WiFi
Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) is the new service from Hrvatski Telekom. It is an upgrade of last year's VoLTE service. This technology allows users to have voice communication through any WiFi access point that the user is registered to without entering any additional username and password. Using the Voice over WiFi service at no extra charge does not involve additional installation of applications or registration. Users simply connect up with the available WiFi network, although they need to have an active VoLTE service.
Calls will now also be enabled through any available WiFi networks if there is no signal for the mobile network, e.g. in garages, cellars or shopping centers. In all these situations, the user will be able to talk using an accessible WiFi network. The device will switch the user if it is connected to an available WiFi network in situations where the mobile network is unavailable or congested. This concept applies for calls within Croatia and abroad during the promotional period until 16 July 2019.
Hrvatski Telekom won The Best in Test Certificate for 2018
Based on an industry-standard set of benchmark measurements performed by P3 Communications GmbH, combining extensive drive testing with crowd-sourced network performance data, HT won The Best in Test 2018 certificate with 948 out of 1000 points.
Despite intensive network modernization during 2018 following an increased number of base station outages and intensified optimization activities to integrate new and existing parts of the network, HT experts succeeded in sustaining the best quality mobile network in Croatia with a respectable overall score.
Next Generation Fixed Network Continues to Grow
In parallel with mobile network modernization, HT is investing in fixed-line next-generation networks to meet market demands.
HT installed additional fiber access for 16,500 households, extended Terastream gigabit service coverage, and migrated 45,000 customers to higher DSL speeds. Vectorization of VDSL has been tested and implemented in the appropriate areas providing an increase in speed of up to 30%. G.Fast technology has been tested and implementation started, increasing speeds on existing installations up to 300 Mbps.
HT also continued to deploy hybrid access solutions for 40,000 customers, providing accumulated speeds from fixed and mobile networks to achieve a minimum of 20 Mbps per customer.