Deutsche Telekom launches 5G in five German cities during IFA media day

Deutsche Telekom launched its 5G network across five German cities — Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Bonn, and Darmstadt.

During a media day prior to the public opening of IFA Berlin, the German operator announced its 5G network is now operational in the five cities.

A total of 129 antennas across the country are now transmitting ‘genuine’ 5G with a bandwidth in excess of 1GB/s.

66 antennae clustered in Berlin’s Mitte district form what Deutsche Telekom is calling “the largest continuous 5G coverage area in Germany”.

“We are bringing 5G to city streets in line with our customers’ needs,” explains Walter Goldenits, Chief Technology Officer at Telekom Deutschland GmbH.

“We’re starting off where data usage is high and are establishing continuous coverage areas in these places. After all, it’s not just about having 5G show up on screen – it’s about experiencing the real strengths of 5G from the very start.”

Coverage will currently be patchy, with 5G service typically available in isolated spots around each antenna. Deutsche Telekom promises to expand its coverage in the initial launch cities to serve larger areas.

Further cities are set to be added over the remainder of 2019. Hamburg and Leipzig are the next two cities in Deutsche Telekom’s 5G rollout plans, with more than 300 antennas set to be installed across Germany by the year’s end.

Deutsche Telekom has different priorities in its five 5G launch cities to learn from its rollout prior to mass deployment:

  • Berlin: The focus in Germany’s capital is to ensure the network can scale to meet the demands of the city, including its tourist hotspots.

  • Cologne: Deutsche Telekom is aiming for a ring of infrastructure in the city centre.

  • Munich: The priority in Munich is to serve businesses with 5G, by the end of the year Deutsche Telekom plans for its network to cover important areas such as BMW Park and the the Unterföhring media center.

  • Bonn: Deutsche Telekom is testing 5G for dual-use in Bonn. The focus will be on business-use during typical working hours and switch to prioritise leisure-use on evenings and weekends.

  • Darmstadt: More general 5G usage appears to be the plan for Darmstadt, with coverage extending towards the city centre and university areas in the coming 18 months.

“We want to build up as much experience as possible in terms of transmission planning during the initial expansion stage in 2019. We’re learning more with every single antenna we set up and adjust,” says Goldenits.

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