Deutsche Telekom planning commercial 5G services in 2020
Deutsche Telekom urged the German authorities to auction frequencies for 5G services on reasonable terms to ensure that there is enough money left over to invest in infrastructure.
“We can only spend each euro once – either on spectrum or network build-out. My suggestion would be on buildout,” CEO Tim Hoettges said in a speech during the company’s annual shareholders meeting, which took place in Bonn last week.
Last week, Germany’s Federal Network Regulator (BNetzA) said it plans to auction spectrum in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz frequency bands for the provision of 5G services. The regulator said that it aims to award 5G spectrum in early 2019, rather than this year as originally planned.
Earlier this month, 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 claims 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 are now 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.
Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom board member for technology and innovation, previously said that the carrier aims to launch 5G in 2020. During the 2018 Mobile World Congress, Nemat told reporters that Deutsche Telekom was on track to launch 5G commercial trials in Europe during 2018.
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. The carrier has rolled out 40,000 kilometers of fiber optic 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.
During his speech at the telco’s annual shareholders meeting, Höttges also highlighted that Deutsche Telekom is seeing growth opportunities in the internet of things (IoT) field. Deutsche Telekom has already rolled out a network of machines and sensors in eight European countries, plus the United States. The executive said that the future deployment of 5G networks would really “bring the Internet of Things to life.”
He also said that the planned merger between T-Mobile U.S, owned by Deutsche Telekom with U.S carrier Sprint would create better networks, new jobs, increased growth, and stronger competition in the United States. “I personally have spent seven years working to make this merger happen. There have been many ups and downs, but there is no opportunity without risks – risks that must be taken if we are to open up new horizons. I am convinced that this business combination is the best thing for the U.S. market and for Deutsche Telekom – and that goes for the long term,” Höttges said.