The German telco will invite industry to take part in the process to develop a standardized European 5G platform
German telecom group Deutsche Telekom announced plans to launch commercial 5G services in 2020, Reuters reported.
The group’s CEO Tim Hoettges said the commercial launch will take place in 2020, as long as enough commercial devices are available.
Hoettges also said the telco will invest EUR 5.5 billion ($6.32 billion) a year in building Deutsche Telekom’s broadband network in Germany.
“5G is not just another network, but an important element of value addition in our customers’ products,” Hoettges said, adding that he would invite industry to join in the development of a standardized European 5G platform.
Earlier this week, DT announced a deal with Telefonica Deutschland to connect as many as 5,000 Telefonica cell towers to DT’s fiber network; Deutsche Telekom said that it would be able to “dedicate the captured synergy effects directly to its own network expansion.”
In May 2018, Deutsche Telekom announced the deployment of the first 5G antennas to test the technology in downtown Berlin. The antennas, which are based on 5G New Radio (5G NR), allowed Deutsche Telekom to demonstrate what it claimed to be Europe’s first 5G data connection over a live network. The telco said that it is currently in process to deploy a 5G cluster in Berlin.
The first six commercial antennas had been installed in sites in Berlin’s Mitte and Schöneberg districts for test operations. The telco said that an additional 70 cells are to be installed in the coming months, across a total of more than 20 sites.
Deutsche Telekom’s 5G antennas are using frequencies in the 3.7 GHz spectrum band under a testing license provided by German regulators. The operator also explained that its 5G equipment is interacting with Deutsche Telekom’s 4G spectrum in Germany. The implementation is using commercial 5G equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei.
During the 2018 Mobile World Congress, Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board member for Technology and Innovation, told reporters that Deutsche Telekom was on track to launch 5G commercial trials in Europe during 2018. The executive said that the initial 5G trials will take place in Germany. Nemat said at the time that Deutsche Telekom is currently upgrading its mobile antennas in Germany and several other markets across its footprint in preparation for the future launch of 5G technology. She added that Deutsche Telekom has rolled out 40,000 kilometers of fiber optic routes last year. Plans for this year include the deployment of another 65,000 kilometers. The network of Deutsche Telekom currently has almost 700,000 kilometers of fiber in Europe.
Last month, Germany’s Federal Networks Agency (BNetzA) presented the draft terms for the 5G auction planned for early 2019. The draft terms of the 5G spectrum auction do not require successful bidders to provide nationwide 5G coverage, but require a coverage of 98% of the households as well as sufficiently good coverage along federal and state highways.
The country’s three telcos — Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland — have previously said that deploying 5G all across the country would be a difficult target to achieve.
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