German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom has switched on the first 5G antennas in Europe at two locations in downtown Berlin.
The 5G NR antennas fully support the new communications standard, are operating in real-world conditions, and lay the foundations for a nationwide rollout. There are currently six cells launched in total — three in Leipziger Straße, and three in Winterfeldtstraße.
Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board member for Technology and Innovation, said:
“We’re continuing on our strong preparation course for the rollout of 5G in 2020. Today, right in the heart of Berlin, we’re taking the next decisive step – with the successful integration of commercial 5G technology into our network.
We want to ensure that 5G is going to deliver on its promise of enhanced mobility, high speed, and low latency.”
Deutsche Telekom’s current 5G cluster spans a five-kilometre area. By summer this year, the operator plans to extend it by an additional 70 cells across more than 20 sites.
Walter Goldenits, Chief Technology Officer at Telekom Deutschland, comments:
“5G New Radio in Berlin is another major step towards 5G for all. This 5G cluster in Berlin will serve as the basis for our future commercial 5G rollout in Germany.
The antennas are providing important test results. At the same time, they are real elements of what will be our future 5G network. We are preparing the ground so that our network will be ready when the first 5G-capable smartphones appear on the market.”
Most smartphone manufacturers are planning to launch 5G smartphones in 2019. One manufacturer, ZTE, mentioned at MWC this year that it even hopes to be able to squeeze a handset in late this year.
Deutsche Telekom is using 5G equipment from Huawei. Currently, the antennas are using frequencies in the 3.7 GHz spectrum band under a testing license; in general, the 3-GHz band is one of the spectrum bands in focus for initial 5G deployments.