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5G’s finally launched in Europe – but you can’t use it

Qualcomm’s launched what it claims is the first commercial 5G service in Europe, less than a week after Verizon did the same in the US.

The launch happened in Switzerland and saw Qualcomm partner with numerous big names in the world of networking. These included Swiss carrier Swisscomm, which runs the network, and device heavyweights like Oppo, LG Electronics, Askey and WNC.

The device partners are all set to release handsets using Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 CPU and X50 5G-ready modem. The LG V50 looked particularly interesting when we checked it out at Mobile World Congress 2019 in March, featuring an optional, secondary, clip on display.

Related: What is 5G?

Sadly, even if you do happen to find yourself in Switzerland you still won’t be able to take advantage of the 5G network as none of the phones have been released yet, which does make the announcement feel like a bit of a damp squib. But that didn’t stop Qualcomm senior vice president Enrico Salvatori listing it as a key development in 5G’s European roll out.

“Qualcomm Technologies is proud to support Swisscom on the launch of the first commercial 5G network in Europe,” he said.

“This milestone is testament to the strong collaboration that took place across the ecosystem to accelerate 5G commercialization by one year, allowing for the arrival new and exciting user experiences – and Qualcomm Technologies is at the heart of all of this. 5G is now here in Europe, ready to fundamentally enrich how we live our lives.”

5G is a next generation networking technology set to get a limited launch in the UK by the end of the year. The tech will run alongside, not replace, the country’s existing 4G network and will reportedly offer users variety of benefits, including gigabit-per-second (Gbps) data speeds.

Related: Best smartphone

This will let you do things like download entire TV series in minutes and stream and play triple-A games over the network. We saw a demo 5G network streaming Shadow of the Tomb Raider using Nvidia’s GeForce Now service at MWC.

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