ZTE, Three Austria deliver 5G ‘smart lake’ to boost tourism

ZTE and Three Austria deliver 5G ‘smart lake’ to boost tourism

14 August 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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CK Hutchison’s Austrian mobile operator Drei (Three) has launched 5G operations in the southern state of Carinthia.

The company is working with Chinese vendor ZTE to develop what it calls “real applications” with data speeds of up to 1Gbps, focusing on the Wörthersee lake (pictured), a major tourist destination.

The operator and vendor has been working with the government of Carinthia (Kärnten in German) to make the region into a digital flagship, providing services for mobility, tourism and business through the use of 5G technology.

Drei CEO Jan Trionow said: “While others are still talking about ‘5G ready’, the digital future in the flagship region of Wörthersee is already a reality.”

The region, bordered to the south by Italy and Slovenia, has been named Smart Urban Region Austria Alps Adriatic (Suraaa), and is being prepared for autonomous driving around the Wörthersee and the lakeside town of Pörtschach.

Pörtschach mayor Silvia Häusl-Benz, who is also a member of the Carinthian parliament, said she was “pleased to be able to take on a pioneering role again” and said she “expects a positive effect for citizens, tourism and the economy in the community”.

Walter Prutej, project manager of the Suraaa project, said: “With the 5G standard, Pörtschach is also taking a further step towards an open 5G future laboratory for companies and start-ups.”

Trionow added: “With the start of the fifth mobile radio generation in Pörtschach, Drei will offer a more efficient internet supply for Carinthian households and companies. The support of innovative regions is a large request to us as 5G helps to reduce the digital divide between the city and country and creates important new impulses for tourism, transport, medicine and agriculture.”

Last month Capacity reported that Allianz, the German insurance company, has agreed to invest €300 million in wholesale rural broadband in the neighbouring rural Austrian state of Niederösterreich (Lower Austria).