Telefonica Deutschland uses carrier aggregation to pave the way for 5G SA

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German operator Telefónica Deutschland/O2, which is controlled by Spanish telco Telefónica, is bundling frequencies using carrier aggregation (CA) technology to raise speeds for customers on its 5G networks.

“We are continuously working on the further development of 5G in order to be able to offer our customers the full potential of 5G as quickly as possible. In this context, carrier aggregation is an important step that we have taken as the first network operator in Germany,” said Mallik Rao, chief technology and information officer of Telefónica Deutschland/O2. “The next important step for us will be the launch of 5G standalone.“

The telco said it has initially expanded a 5G mobile facility at Helene-Mayer-Ring 10 in Munich using carrier aggregation. Further locations in Germany will follow soon, the telco said.  

Telefónica/O2 is currently using spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band for the provision of 5G services. Additional frequencies will be added in the future at 700 MHz and 1.8 GHz.

“The bundling of frequencies is one of many building blocks on the way to 5G standalone operation, in which the 5G network will operate without a 4G infrastructure as a basis. O2 will launch 5G standalone operation this summer. Then, for the first time, the O2 network will also offer gigabit speeds, enable applications to communicate in real time with low latency times of just a few milliseconds, and introduce innovative services such as network slicing,” the operator said.

Telefónica Deutschland/O2 recently said it had reached 30 German cities with its 5G technology. The telco said that its current 5G network coverage is being provided by a total of approximately 1,000 5G antennas.

Rao previously said that the telco aims to cover more than 30% of the German population with 5G and provide a nationwide 5G network by 2025.

The European telco said it aims to build around 6,000 5G antennas in the 3.6 GHz frequency band in 2021. In addition, there will be several thousand more 5G stations over 700 MHz and 1800 MHz.

For the 5G core network, the carrier has chosen network equipment supplier Ericsson in 2020 and has already conducted initial 5G standalone tests.

The telco also claims to be the first German network operator to bring the vendor-independent Open RAN technology out of the lab and into the O2 live network. Open RAN sites have already been transmitting since December 2020 in Landsberg am Lech – Germany’s first Open RAN City. From the fall of 2021, O2 will convert further locations to Open RAN.

About Author

Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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