Mobile networks in Finland today

5G coverage in Finland (Source: Traficom Finland)

The deployment of 5G networks in Finland has been progressing steadily already since 2018.Major mobile operators like Telia, Elisa, and DNA have been actively deploying5G infrastructure across the country. Initially, the focus was on major cities and urban areas, but the coverage is gradually expanding to more rural regions as well. Currently, 5G is available in numerous cities and towns in Finland, offering faster speeds, lower latency, and improved network capacity. Deployments are expected to continue in the coming years, bringing 5G connectivity to more locations across the country.

Additionally, mobile operators have been working on enhancing network security and implementing advanced features like VoLTE (Voiceover LTE) and VoWiFi (Voice over Wi-Fi), as well as planning on 3G sunset.

Finland has the largest mobile data volumes in the world, 63,3 Gbyte per capita a month (2022). The popularity of subscriptions without data caps and the use of mobile subscriptions as household broadband are essential factors behind this development in Finland.

Mobile data usage in Nordics and Baltics (Source: Traficom Finland)

Deploying 5G has required significant investments in infrastructure, including new sites and hardware, as well as hardware upgrades on existing sites. Expanding coverage to rural areas and ensuring a robust network infrastructure has sometimes been challenging. Balancing the investment with the expected return on investment is also a challenge for mobile operators since even though 5G offers significant benefits, consumer adoption and demand for 5G services is taking its time also in Finland.

Investments in telecommunications in Finland (Source: Traficom Finland)

Private network deployments

While 5G networks are deployed, also private networks are gaining traction in Finland. Currently Finland is within TOP5 European countries with private network deployments. Private networks refer to dedicated mobile networks with their own spectrum allocation that are owned and operated by organizations for their own specific needs, such as industrial automation, smart manufacturing, and IoT (Internet of Things) applications. Finnish companies, particularly those in industries like manufacturing, logistics, mining, and utilities, are increasingly exploring the deployment of private networks to enhance their operations and enable advanced connectivity solutions. Mobile network operators in Finland are working closely with these organizations to provide tailored private network solutions that meet their customers´ specific requirements.

The deployment of private networks is expected to continue growing in Finland as more industries recognize the benefits andopportunities they offer and as digitalization continues to expand further andcover more industries.


Virve 2 – new era for critical communications networks

Critical communications will soon jump into a new era in Finland when public authorities and other critical operators of national security will gradually shift to use the broadband Virve 2 services, Erillisverkot being one of the first critical comms operators in the world to start using 5Gservices. Gradual shift means that while new devices and services are being tested and put into use, current Virve 1 terminal devices will remain also in use. Critical communication is secured at every stage because Virve 1 and 2networks work parallel at least until the end of 2028.

The reason behind the change is the ever-increasing need to update the possibilities of official communication for the currentmillennium. Virve 1, a critical communications network based on Tetratechnology, has been conveying a common situational picture between different authorities for more than 20 years with its group talk and text functions. Thenew broadband Virve 2 brings new services alongside them. The change can beseen concretely as a transition from radio telephones to modern 4G/5G mobile terminals. Even though Virve 2 utilises the same 4G and 5G networks as commercial services, the traffic that travels along it is encrypted and prioritized overnormal traffic.

Commercial networks enabling future train control system

There is a massive railway improvement project on goingin Finland as the Digirail project´s mission is to modernise all technical systems associated with train control on railways. Train control ensures that trains, passengers, personnel, and goods all reach their destination safely and smoothly. It monitors speed limits and compliance with signals using equipment installed both in trains and on tracks. The current system is now nearing the end of its lifecycle, and therefore the Digirail project will develop and provide low-latency digital information about train movements that will enable train VR, Fintraffic and Väylävirasto to utilise the track network more efficiently.

Network coverage on the main roads and railways in Finland (Source: Traficom Finland)

 The Digirail project has actively promoted Finland’s message towards Europe that it is possible to use existing public commercial network connections also in train control. In this respect, there was a rare event, even on a European scale, when a locomotive drove on the Kouvola-Kotka/Hamina track section for the first time under control via public network connections. This solution has already raised some positive reactions on the international arena as Digirail project is creating a completely new kind of system and operating model for Finnish railways.

Mobile broadband coverage on Finnish railways (Source: Traficom Finland)

Evolution of mobile networks in Finland

As the expansion of mobile networks is facilitating the growth of digitalization, with 5G, there is increased support for massive machine-type communications (mMTC), enabling a vast number of IoT devices to connect and communicate efficiently.

A critical evolution for enabling customized services and tailored connectivity for specific use cases such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and industrial automation is network slicing that allows for the creation of virtual networks within a single physical infrastructure. Another evolution that is particularly important for real-time applications like IoT, augmented reality, and autonomous systems is edge computing that brings computing resources closer to the edge of the network, reducing latency and enabling faster processing of data.

Network automation plays a significant role in network management and operations. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning(ML) technologies are being leveraged to automate network processes, optimize performance, and enhance security. Whereas Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN)hasn´t been deployed yet with Finnish mobile network operators.

While 6G is still in the early stages of development worldwide, Finland is actively involved in research and innovation in this area. 6G Flagship is the world’s first 6G research program where Finnish universities, research institutes, and telecommunications companies are partnering with international organizations to explore the potential of 6Gtechnology. Finland is at the forefront of 6G research to create future know-how and sustainable solutions for society’s needs as well as investing inbuilding the necessary infrastructure and expertise to enable the next generation of mobile networks. However, it is important to note that 6G is expected to be commercially available in the 2030s, so it is still a few years away from becoming a reality.


Omnitele has actively been contributing to all areas described above.

Omnitele designs and optimises RAN networks, we have in-depth knowledge of the various vendor solutions, which enables efficient root cause analysis to complement typical benchmark results. By applying modern data science, we are better able to identify root causes behind issues in the network and provide recommendations on the solutions to fix the issues.

Omnitele has been designing radio access networks in Finland since 1988, latest projects being 5G RAN design for both DNA and Finnish Shared Networks.  Over the years our teams have been assisting critical networks evolution in Finland.

As it comes to the future network development, Omnitele is the member of 6G Flagship program as well as the part of the on going Digirail project team.


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