Vodafone has become the first operator in Germany to begin 5G expansion into rural areas using dynamic spectrum sharing.
The technology enables Vodafone antennas to share 700 Megahertz (MHz) spectrum between 4G and 5G services depending on which smartphone the customer is using.
Simultaneously, Vodafone is launching new 5G routers.
“We are building the network for connected driving, for even more reception in the home office and for finally more speed in the countryside too. This is how we create the right mix between bandwidth and reach for Germany," Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Vodafone Germany, commented.
The starting shot for rural 5G roll out was fired last week in Berge (Meschede) following the activation of the 5G network in the Hochsauerland district in Brilon, Olsberg, Bad Wünnenberg and Bad Fredeburg.
German Economics and Digital Minister, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, believes that rural connectivity is an important factor for the digital future of North Rhine-Westphalia.
“5G is the key to driving digital transformation for business and society,” he said. “It is important to supply rural regions as early as possible, because there are many highly innovative medium-sized companies based in rural communities. I am particularly pleased that the mobile phone and 5G expansion is also reaching parts of South Westphalia when there are still 4G coverage gaps. Every closed white spot helps communities and businesses.”
Vodafone Germany’s Chief Technology Officer, Gerhard Mack, said: “We are building 5G smarter so that even more customers benefit irrespective of whether they use a 5G smartphone or an LTE cell phone. For the first time, we are bringing two networks to our customers with one antenna. ”
5G for millions of people
Vodafone Germany is delivering 5G without creating an ‘antenna forest’. A 700 MHz mobile base station provides 5G to an area covering around 20 square kilometres, five times the area that a 3.5 Gigahertz (GHz) mobile base station can supply with 5G.
Vodafone Germany will activate more than 8,000 antennas at 2,800 locations for 5G using 700 MHz this year, bringing the fast network to an area of more than 60,000 square kilometres. This area is significantly larger than, for example, the Netherlands or Denmark.
5G at home
5G reception in homes will also be up to five times stronger than before.
"With low frequencies, we bring high bandwidths deep into the houses," explains Mr Mack.
A new mobile router, the GigaCube 5G will not only support the 700 MHz frequencies but will also convert the 5G signal into a secure wireless local area network.
5G for cars
The 5G expansion, coupled with the expansion of 3.5 GHz frequencies, will bring minimal latency into rural areas. With the increasing decentralisation of data centres using edge computing, data can be transferred to new 5G base stations in the future with virtually no delay.
Vodafone Germany is now building 5G along country roads and highways – making 5G an important building block for connected driving.
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