Swisscom, Ericsson and Qualcomm join forces to find the world's most innovative 5G applications

Bern, Switzerland -- Switzerland’s leading telecommunications and IT company Swisscom is joining forces with Ericsson and Qualcomm CDMA Technologies GmbH to identify the world’s most innovative startups and research teams working on 5G applications. The five winners of the Swisscom StartUp Challenge will be invited to Switzerland in spring 2021 for an Exploration Week during which they will have the opportunity to carry out extensive testing on their prototypes in Swisscom’s live 5G network and take them to the next level. They will have access to the Swisscom 5G lab, its live network and to 5G devices, and will receive the support of experts and mentors from Ericsson, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies and Swisscom. The deadline for applications is 11 October 2020.

With its ultra-fast, robust broadband connections and low latency, 5G – the latest generation of mobile communications – opens up a whole host of new possibilities. A worldwide battle is raging to be among the pioneers building the first networks to take advantage of this technology at an early stage. In April 2019, Swisscom was the first European provider – and the fifth in the world – to go live with its 5G network and it continues to constantly expand it.  The winners will benefit from this head start: Swisscom is now joining forces with partners Ericsson and Qualcomm CDMA Technologies to launch the Swisscom 5G Startup Challenge and is inviting the winners to carry out extensive testing on their applications in the live 5G network and take them to the next level.

Launched in 2013, the Swisscom StartUp Challenge is focusing entirely on 5G in 2020 and this year, for the very first time, is open to startups and research teams from around the world. In the past seven years, the winners of the challenge, including Ava, Exeon Analytics, Futurae and Sentifi, have each travelled to Silicon Valley for a week-long Acceleration Programme. This year, Swisscom and its partners will invite the winners to spend a week in Switzerland, where they will have the opportunity to carry out extensive testing on the latest mobile generation’s most innovative applications and take them to the next level – in the Swisscom network.

Pick up expert knowledge and explore Switzerland

Startups and research teams from across the world who want to exploit 5G’s potential and have already developed a product or prototype are invited to apply. Applications must be received at by 11 October 2020. The 10 most interesting applications will then be invited to the final in December 2020. The top five 5G innovators will travel to Switzerland in March 2021, where they will have the chance to spend a week performing test cases at Swisscom’s 5G lab or in different locations, regions and also on trains across the live network. They will be supported every step of the way by mentors and experts from Ericsson, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, Venturelab and Swisscom and will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. In addition, the winners will be able to explore Switzerland, visiting leading global innovation facilities, such as the Federal Institute of Technology and the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, and meeting pioneers of business and technology. Travel costs, accommodation and meals will be covered by Swisscom.

A trip to the 2021 Mobile World Congress for the people’s choice

In November 2020, the general public will also be given the chance to vote for their favourite application. The startup or research team that wins the public vote will travel to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2021 at the invitation of the programme partners. 

"Technology only develops its power in combination with innovative ideas and useful customer applications. Together with our partners Ericsson and Qualcomm, we are very curious to see how much creativity start-ups around the world have already developed around 5G technology and look forward to welcoming the finalists in Switzerland".

Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, Chief Digital Officer, Swisscom: "Reliable and high-performance connectivity is the key for Start-ups, especially in the area of Smart Services and Apps. As the driving force behind 5G, we at Ericsson are delighted to be able to offer creative people an appropriate innovation platform with the latest mobile technology."

Martin Bürki, Managing Director Ericsson Switzerland: "Qualcomm Technologies is proud to be involved in the Swisscom 5G Start-up Challenge and  I am honoured to be part of the judging panel and look forward to seeing the innovative ideas submitted to fully utilise 5G capabilities."

Enrico Salvatori, SVP Qualcomm Europe, Inc. and president Qualcomm EMEA

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