Deutsche Telekom deploys 5G in five German cities; more cities to be added in 2019

5G live in five cities:

Deutsche Telekom said today that its 5G network is now operational in five German cities — Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Bonn, and Darmstadt.  The German telco market leader paid 2.2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) for 5G spectrum at a recent auction and the regulator has just unlocked access to the 3.6 Gigahertz band that will power its initial 5G offering.

  • A total of 129 antennas across the country are now transmitting ‘genuine’ 5G (3GPP Release 15 5G NR NSA) with a bandwidth in excess of 1G bit/sec.
  • 66 antennae clustered in Berlin’s Mitte district form what Deutsche Telekom is calling “the largest continuous 5G coverage area in Germany.”
  • Berlin now sports Germany’s biggest continuous 5G coverage area – six square kilometers.

“We are bringing 5G to city streets in line with our customers’ needs,” explains Walter Goldenits, Chief Technology Officer at Telekom Deutschland GmbH.

Telekom 5G network: Speedtest

“We’re starting off where data usage is high and are establishing continuous coverage areas in these places. After all, it’s not just about having 5G show up on screen – it’s about experiencing the real strengths of 5G from the very start.  We want to build up as much experience as possible in terms of transmission planning during the initial expansion stage in 2019. We’re learning more with every single antenna we set up and adjust,” Goldenits added.

Coverage will currently be patchy, with 5G service typically available in isolated spots around each antenna. Deutsche Telekom promises to expand its coverage in the initial launch cities to serve larger areas.

Deutsche Telekom has different priorities in its five 5G launch cities to learn from its rollout prior to mass deployment:

  • Berlin: The focus in Germany’s capital is to ensure the network can scale to meet the demands of the city, including its tourist hotspots.
  • Cologne: Deutsche Telekom is aiming for a ring of infrastructure in the city centre.
  • Munich: The priority in Munich is to serve businesses with 5G, by the end of the year Deutsche Telekom plans for its network to cover important areas such as BMW Park and the the Unterföhring media center.
  • Bonn: Deutsche Telekom is testing 5G for dual-use in Bonn. The focus will be on business-use during typical working hours and switch to prioritise leisure-use on evenings and weekends.
  • Darmstadt: More general 5G usage appears to be the plan for Darmstadt, with coverage extending towards the city centre and university areas in the coming 18 months.

Further cities are set to be added over the remainder of 2019. Hamburg and Leipzig are the next two cities in Deutsche Telekom’s 5G rollout plans, with more than 300 antennas set to be installed across Germany by the year’s end.

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5G competition from Vodafone Germany:

It should be noted that telco rival Vodafone has also announced its 5G rollout in Germany and is challenging Deutsche Telekom on price.  The company’s first 5G base stations were activated at an event in Düsseldorf in mid-July, with help from cellular infrastructure equipment supplier EricssonVodafone is also using equipment from Huawei in its 5G network in Germany, according to Reuters. This summer, Vodafone Germany announced it paid €1.88 billion ($2.1 billion) at Germany’s 5G spectrum auction, picking up 90 MHz in the 3.6 GHz band and 40 MHz of 2100 MHz spectrum.

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LTE expansion:

“To begin with, we are using 4G locations for 5G, as the new technology is being synchronized and brought to the network via LTE. You could say that 5G is piggybacking on LTE,” Goldenits explains. “When it comes to achieving rapid expansion, we appreciate the support of city and municipal authorities, particularly in terms of securing approvals quickly.”

Deutsche Telekom is establishing the 5G antennae in addition to its ongoing LTE rollout. There are plans to set up approximately 4,000 new LTE mobile base stations in 2019 and 2020, half of which will be located in rural areas. These new stations will be backed up by several thousand LTE extensions for existing masts, as Deutsche Telekom aims to extend LTE coverage to 98 percent of the population by the end of the year.

Deutsche Telekom is also continuing to expand LTE at coverage gaps, and is adopting a whole new approach with its “Wir jagen Funklöcher” (We’re closing coverage gaps) campaign. Under this initiative, communities that have no coverage can apply to Deutsche Telekom for one of 50 masts. As part of this approach, the company will be working hand in hand with municipal authorities to close the gaps in LTE. What’s more, the masts on offer are also already prepared for 5G.

Devices and plans:

Consumers need new devices in order to use 5G, and the first approved commercial products are now available in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and – exclusively available from Deutsche Telekom – the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G. There is also the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and the HTC 5G HUB. More devices are set to follow in the near future.

5G means higher bandwidths, faster transmission speeds, shorter response times, and a much more innovative network. From the smallest plan, MagentaMobil S at 39.95 euros per month, to the MagentaMobil XL package (84.95 euros per month), the new plans are all 5G-enabled.

References:

https://www.telekom.com/en/media/media-information/archive/deutsche-telekom-5g-goes-live-in-five-cities-580574

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tech-ifa-deutsche-telekom/deutsche-telekom-5g-network-goes-live-in-5-german-cities-idUSKCN1VQ0KH

https://www.fiercewireless.com/5g/5g-competition-ramps-up-germany-vodafone-covering-20-cities

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