German 5G network operators continue to expand


Vodafone reports 800 new 5G locations. Telekom and Telefónica are also not idle. And the new competitor can finally get started too.

The expansion of the 5G networks in Germany is progressing faster than expected. On Wednesday, Vodafone will put new 5G antennas into operation at around 800 locations. This will connect around 300 communities - including Göttingen, Duisburg, Essen and Mülheim ad Ruhr - to the 5G network. The company announced that Vodafone's 5G network has now reached around 20 million people. According to the network operator, this means that it has already achieved its target originally set for 2021.

We are above plan with 5G, said Vodafone Germany boss Hannes Ametsreiter. Vodafone switched the first 5G radio cells live in Germany in 2019 and initially set itself the goal of reaching around 10 million people with 5G by the end of 2020. By the end of the year we will bring 5G to more than 30 million people and many companies in Germany, says Ametsreiter as the new goal for the current year.

Vodafone now has around 7,000 5G antennas at almost 2,500 locations in the network. The network operator is not only using the frequencies in the 3.6 GHz band that were auctioned for 5G at the 2019 frequency auction, but also spectrum at 700 and 1800 MHz. The so-called Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), in which 4G and 5G share the available bandwidth on the frequencies, also benefits the rapid expansion. Most of the work can be done with a software update.

Even the competition never sleeps and is progressing faster than originally planned. Since the start of the rollout in summer 2019, Deutsche Telekom has equipped more than 45,000 antennas with 5G, reaching 55 million people in 4,700 cities and communities. Telekom uses DSS on its 2.1 GHz spectrum in the area. The group also uses the 3.6 GHz band for 5G in metropolitan areas; this currently supplies 25 major cities. All of Telekom's UMTS locations are to be upgraded to 5G by the middle of the year.

The third member of the group started the 5G expansion a little later and initially concentrated on five large cities . Telefónica Deutschland wants to reach over 30 percent of households in Germany with 5G by the end of the year; By 2025, the supply should be nationwide. And now that Telefónica and 1 & 1 Drillisch have agreed on a roaming contract , nothing stands in the way of a fourth competitor: 1 & 1 Drillisch acquired its own 5G frequencies in 2019 and can now start building its own network.

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