Deutsche Telekom (DT) is rounding out 2020 with an upbeat announcement on its achievements and ambitions in 5G and FTTH. The largest telco in Germany highlighted progress in the rollout of 5G and uptake of the technology in its home market. Two-thirds of the population can use 5G, which was its target figure for the end of year, as outlined in the summer, with 45,000 5G-capable antennas deployed.
Two thirds of people in Germany can now use 5G on the Telekom network. 45,000 antennas are already transmitting on 5G. Here too, Deutsche Telekom intends to continue expanding rapidly. In the coming year, the 80 percent mark for population coverage is to be reached with 5G. By 2025, it should be 99 percent – as announced.
“Never before have we been able to set up a new network technology faster than now with 5G. The fact that just over a year after the frequency auction, two-thirds of the population can already use 5G is the fastest expansion in the history of mobile communications. Telekom is the 5G engine in Germany. And 2020 was clearly the 5G year,” said DT CEO
With 5G, Deutsche Telekom is combining expansionan. in two frequency bands. On the high-reach 2.1 GHz frequency, high mobile bandwidths will be brought to rural areas in particular. For example, the offshore island of Helgoland is now also being supplied with 5G. The 3.6 GHz frequency provides high-speed 5G where many people move around in a small area, such as in large cities. It is now also used at Frankfurt Airport. The technology will also be installed at Berlin’s BER airport. New are also the 5G Highspeed antennas in Bremen, Hanover and Nuremberg. This means that 13 major cities are already benefiting from 5G in gigabit speed.
“Telekom keeps its promises. This applies in particular to network expansion. Right now, the Telekom network is proving its worth. It was the right decision to put fiber optic in every street and thus to enable fast networks from Telekom for over 80 percent of all households. Home offices are possible throughout the country. Now comes the next step: Fiber optic to the home and 5G. Here too, we have a plan that we are working through step by step. Despite Corona, our expansion is running at full speed,” says Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges. “And to make sure that everyone in Germany is part of it in the future, we are now really getting going. To achieve this, we have been investing around five and a half billion euros a year in Germany for years. Most of it will go into our network.”
The telco also revealed that every other contract or contract extension it sells now includes a 5G device, a figure that suggests users are starting to embrace the technology.
“2020 was clearly the 5G year,” said Srini Gopalan, who took over as head of Deutsche Telekom in Germany just over a month ago. Coverage of two-thirds of the population is certainly a significant milestone.
“We are building for digitization in Germany. The better the framework conditions for investment, the smoother the fiber-optic expansion will run. New technology and new times also require new and flexible answers,” says Tim Höttges. “What additionally helps us with the expansion are, for example, quick approvals. On the other hand, the acceptance of alternative laying methods beyond civil engineering would simplify and accelerate many things. But it also requires a clear commitment from the competition to FTTH. This is a task for society as a whole that we must tackle together. We too have learned our lesson and are focusing much more strongly on cooperation, especially with local suppliers.”
Deutsche Telekom has rolled out FTTH to around 2 million households in Germany, having added somewhere between half a million and 600,000 in 2020: its description of the number of households added varied in the announcement. Last year it rolled out full fiber to 270,000 homes. Going forward, DT is shooting for 2 million homes added per year.
“FTTH is the key to the next surge in digitization. We have revolutionized our processes to achieve this,” says Srini Gopalan, member of the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management responsible for Germany. “Our Fiber Factory is now really taking off. This means we are bringing the fiber directly to where it will be needed more and more in the future: In households, businesses and schools. In the city and in the country.”