Telekom is right on track with its 5G and FTTH rollout. Srini Gopalan, member of the Telekom Board of Management responsible for business in Germany, and Walter Goldenits, Telekom’s Head of Technology in Germany, provided information in Bonn on the progress of network expansion.
Since the beginning of the year, the company has offered 430,000 new FTTH connections. Telekom’s new 5G mobile network can already be used by 85 percent of people in Germany. They also provided information on the status of reconstruction in the flooded areas. According to current planning, Telekom will rely on fiber optics for reconstruction in 17 parts of communities that were severely affected by the floods and will connect around 35,000 households directly to its fiber network.
Srini Gopalan: “With our modern fiber infrastructure, we offer our customers exactly what they expect from us: the best connectivity in the best networks. That’s why we’re not slowing down in our rollout, but continuing to ramp up our machinery. Our ambition is to be the leader in both fixed and mobile communications. To this end, we are investing over EUR 2 billion a year in fiber roll-out. More than any of our competitors.”
Fiber roll-out making good progress
In the current year, Deutsche Telekom has enabled 430,000 gigabit-capable fiber connections (FTTH, fiber to the home) in the fixed network and laid more than 30,000 kilometers of fiber for this purpose. In July alone, more than 85,000 connections were made. The company is therefore right on target. That remains 1.2 million Fiber connections for the year 2021.
One focus here is on rural areas. Telekom intends to significantly step up its expansion activities here in the coming years. “In communities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants, the digital infrastructure is often not as well developed as in the big cities. That is why we want to implement at least eight million fiber connections in rural areas by 2030. Fiber rollout is a highly complex local business. That is why open dialog with local authorities and their decision-makers is so important to us. That is also one reason why we are increasingly shifting responsibilities and decision-making authority from Bonn to the regions,” says Srini Gopalan.
55,000 antennas in the best 5G network
A total of 55,000 antennas are now transmitting with 5G in Telekom’s mobile network. This means that 85 percent of citizens can already use the new mobile communications standard. Telekom aims to exceed the 90 percent mark by the end of the year.
5G on the ultra-fast 3.6 GHz frequency band is now available in more than 60 cities. Over 2,400 antennas at a total of around 800 locations are ensuring that more and more people can use high-speed 5G.
New additions include the cities of Bad Tölz, Gießen, Göttingen, Leverkusen, Mainz, Münster, Oberhausen, Recklinghausen, Regensburg, Wuppertal and antennas in the districts of Mayen Koblenz, Merzig Wadern, Mettmann, in the Rhein Sieg Kreis and in the Rheinisch Bergischer Kreis. In addition, Telekom has also put additional sites into operation in cities that already have 5G coverage on the 3.6 GHz frequency. “For us, 5G is an ‘and technology’, not an ‘or technology’. Our 5G approach is all about speed and latency. So is urban and rural 5G. We combine frequency bands. And we use the technologies in such a way that our customers have the highest added value,” explains Walter Goldenits.
Telekom is also pursuing the topic of 5G Stand Alone. “We are currently operating stand-alone sites in four German cities and are very satisfied with the tests. This technology will unleash the full potential of virtual and augmented reality, mobile gaming and industrial networking. However, various development steps are still necessary before the switchover is complete, as added value for our customers is our top priority – and this added value lies in providing high-speed coverage over as large an area as possible,” continues Walter Goldenits.
With 5G Stand Alone, the infrastructure in the core network will also be fully upgraded to a new, cloud-based 5G architecture in the future. This further development of 5G is the prerequisite for new applications such as network slicing or edge computing.
Reconstruction in flooded areas makes progress
In the fixed network in particular, the damage caused by the floods has not yet all been repaired. In the affected areas, around 80 percent are now back online. Technicians are working on solutions for almost 20,000 lines so that they too can be switched back on as soon as possible.
When it comes to reconstruction, speed is more important than perfection. Temporary solutions are also being used. However, the infrastructure is often so badly damaged that it has to be completely rebuilt. Deutsche Telekom will directly extend fiber optics in the severely affected areas.
The company has so far identified 17 communities for this purpose. These are: Ahrbrück, Altenahr, Antweiler, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Bad Münstereifel (city center, commercial area, Iversheim, Arloff), Kall (Sötenich, Urft), Schleiden/Schleiden-Gemünd, Stolberg (center, Vicht), Dernau, Euskirchen-Schweinheim, Fuchshofen, Hönningen, Insul Markt, Mayschoß, Rech, Schuld and Sinzig (city center, Bad Bodendorf). All in all Telekom is talking about 35,000 connections.
Surfing on the best network
Telekom’s Fiber network already covers more than 600,000 kilometers. In Germany, the company supplies more than 34.3 million households and businesses with bandwidths of at least 50 and up to 100 Mbit/s for downloads via vectoring. 26.1 million of these can use up to 250 Mbit/s via super vectoring. 2.5 million households can already get a Fiber connection with bandwidths of up to 1 Gbit/s.
In the coming years, Telekom intends to play its part in ensuring that every household and every company in Germany will have a Fiber connection by 2030. The first milestone remains ten million FTTH connections by the end of 2024.