Chilean mobile operator Entel has launched 5G in Villa Las Estrellas, Antarctica.

The service has been installed at the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva base on Jorge Island, as reported by Latercera.

– Wikimedia/SnowSwan

The connectivity boost is the first that the settlement has received since 2G went live at the site in 2005. There's been no network modernization since.

“Bringing 5G to Antarctica was an enormous challenge, especially in technical terms, and we are very proud to be able to affirm that we were pioneers in the world in delivering a public 5G network for our customers, especially in these times where connectivity and communication contribute tremendously to the quality of life of people, mainly in such geographically isolated places,” said Antonio Büchi, general manager of the company.

Traditionally the region has received Internet connectivity via alternative methods, such as satellites.

The publication also reported that Entel, which is the largest carrier in Chile, has also provided 3G and 4G technology coverage in Antarctica, with an investment of $345,000.

With no subsea cables currently landing in Antarctica, research stations there must rely on satellite communications. Traditionally, connectivity has been provided by aging GEO satellites, but newer high-speed options have become available with the launch of LEO satellites from the likes of SpaceX's Starlink.

Australia's Antarctic base recently gained a connectivity boost in a new deal with Speedcast; Starlink has been deployed at the US research station; and Telenor recently installed a new base station to the Norwegian station.