Despite the corona crisis – or perhaps precisely because of it – Telekom and Vodafone are investing massively in the expansion of the new 5G mobile communications standard. The two mobile operators intend to make the new technology widely available before the end of this year. Both are also relying on the use of existing antennas.
Deutsche Telekom “steps on the gas”
According to Telekom, more than half of the German population should be able to benefit from 5G in the course of the year. The rapid rollout is made possible by a technical upgrade for existing antennas in the network. The technology is currently being tested in initial test fields. Further expansion will start in the coming weeks. “We have big plans for 5G and will bring the latest mobile communications standard to large parts of Germany before the end of the year,” says Telekom Deutschland CEO Dirk Wössner. “I am delighted that the network will be even better for our customers. Preparations in the network are in full swing to ensure that as many people as possible get the new technology quickly. In the city and in the countryside.”
5G Upgrade for existing technology
Test runs are currently being carried out for this purpose. An example of this are two locations near Wittlich in Rhineland-Palatinate. Here the technology of the site is currently being expanded. Afterwards, the modernized system technology will be used to control the existing antenna and will be upgraded to 5G, so to speak: “We are travelling throughout Germany to test this 5G variant in our network,” says Walter Goldenits, Deutsche Telekom’s Head of Technology in Germany. “The test sites will then be the blueprint for Germany to supply more than half of the population in the Telekom network with 5G this year.”
With this new 5G variant, the existing passive antenna technology is optimally reused for future technologies in parallel to active antennas. In addition, a technology is being implemented that enables the parallel operation of two mobile communications standards in one frequency band, the so-called Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS). Telekom also has 5G high-speed antennas in operation in eight cities. This expansion program is also continuing in parallel.
Intelligent technologies for city and country
The boost in mobile communications is made possible by the variable use of mobile frequencies and new, innovative technologies. In future, Deutsche Telekom will use 5 megahertz (MHz) from its existing 3G spectrum in the 2.1 gigahertz band for LTE and 5G. By the end of the year at the latest, Deutsche Telekom will triple the spectrum used. As a result, even more customers will benefit from surfing speeds at LTE and 5G levels this year.
Vodafone is also investing heavily
Vodafone is now bringing 5G into the country much faster with the wide-reach 700 megahertz frequencies. There is no threat of an antenna forest. A 700 megahertz mobile radio station supplies an area of about 20 square kilometres with 5G. That is five times more than the area that a 3.5 gigahertz mobile station can supply with 5G. Vodafone plans to activate more than 8,000 antennas at 2,800 locations for 5G via the 700 megahertz frequencies this fiscal year, bringing the fast network to an area of more than 60,000 square kilometers. This area is significantly larger than the Netherlands or Denmark, for example.
5G and LTE simultaneously
The advantage of the 700 megahertz frequencies is that they transmit particularly far into the country and particularly deep into houses – this brings 5G to places where network availability was previously very weak or even non-existent. Vodafone also relies on Dynamic Spectrum Sharing: 5G and LTE via one antenna. Depending on which smartphone the customer uses, the mobile phone antenna provides the appropriate mobile phone technology.
“We’re bringing 5G to the field – and even better 4G at the same time. With a network that radiates far into the country and deep into homes. A technology that uses one antenna to serve two generations of mobile phones at once. And that for millions of people already this year,” says Vodafone Germany CEO Hannes Ametsreiter. “We are using it to build the network for networked driving, for even more reception in the home office and for finally more speed in the countryside too. In this way, we are creating the right mix of bandwidth and reach for Germany.”