German telco Deutsche Telekom installed the first 5G Standalone antenna in the town of Garching, near Munich, to carry out trials of this technology, the company said in a release.
Deutsche Telecom said that the antenna will be soon connected to a 5G Standalone core network, which will be implemented via cloud infrastructure.
The German operator also noted that the infrastructure in the core network will also be fully upgraded to a new, cloud-based 5G architecture.
“It is important for us to be at the forefront of the further innovation steps of 5G,” said Claudia Nemat, board member for technology and innovation at Deutsche Telekom. “To ensure that our customers can take advantage of technologies such as network slicing or edge computing in the future, we continue to actively drive the development of 5G and its features.”
The 5G technology currently deployed in Germany is based on the 5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA) network architecture, which means that the current 5G offerings are still technically dependent on a simultaneously available LTE network.
“5G standalone is one of the goals for us with 5G,” said Walter Goldenits, head of technology at Telekom Deutschland. “The network innovation in Garching is initially the first step for us into the 5G SA live network. It helps us to gain necessary and important experience with 5G SA. A rollout in the area will then also depend on the requirements of our customers. Technology and the market will play a joint role in further development.”
The operator also noted that there are currently no terminals for customers that support 5G standalone. The telco is therefore conducting the first tests with special development software on commercially available devices. The goal is to test various connections and applications that function completely standalone and without the support of 4G in the coming weeks.
“The further roll-out of 5G is the preparation of our network for the next steps in 5G development. We will use every opportunity to make 5G even faster and develop it further,” Goldenits added.
The company said that its current 5G network already provides coverage to 68% of the German population with the target to reach 80% of the population by the end of this year.
Deutsche Telekom is using multiple frequencies for its 5G expansion. The focus is on the 2.1 GHz and 3.6 GHz frequency bands. Deutsche Telekom kicked off the rollout of its 5G network in a limited number of cities across Germany at the beginning of July 2019.