Deutsche Telekom also announced a smart energy testbed connected by 5G

BARCELONA- Deutsche Telekom expects to launch 5G commercial trials in Europe during 2018, Claudia Nemat, board member for technology and innovation at Deutsche Telekom, told reporters during a press conference at Mobile World Congress 2018.

The executive said that the initial 5G trials will take place in Germany. Nemat highlighted that Deutsche Telekom is currently upgrading its mobile antennas in Germany and several other markets across its footprint in preparation for the future launch of 5G technology. She added that Deutsche Telekom has rolled out 40,000 kilometers of fiber optic last year. Plans for this year include the deployment of another 65,000 kilometers. The network of Deutsche Telekom currently has almost 700,000 kilometers of fiber in Europe.

Meanwhile, CEO Timotheus Höttges said that the development of 5G networks would require less regulatory obstacles. “I hope that we get less regulation in the mobile space and not more ideas like mobile wholesale access or national roaming, which would be counterproductive to the buildout of 5G in our environment,” Höttges said.

The German telecommunications regulator aims to carry out a 5G spectrum auction during 2018. Nemat urged regulators not to overcharge for the spectrum they release to operators.

Nemat also confirmed that the German telco is fully on track to launch commercial 5G services in Germany in 2020. “It is crucial that until then, we gather as much experience as possible with our partners,” Nemat said.

The executive also said that 5G can be a complementary access technology to fixed line access technology. “5G will also be relevant for a number of sectors including energy,” she said.

The European operator also announced plans to build a smart energy testbed using 5G technology in the city of Dresden, in Germany.

The executive said that the 5G testbed will be carried out through cooperation with the City of Dresden and the Dresden University of Technology. The 5G testbed will be conducted until 2023.

“A new 5G testbed will be built, with the goal of supporting the energy transition with a ubiquitous, real-time secure, and efficient 5G communication system,” Nemat said.

“Up to now, energy has been largely distributed in one direction only. In the future, energy will be generated in a decentralized way and must be intelligently controlled and managed. 5G will provide the basis for making this a reality with its much higher data capacity, very quick response times and extremely high level of reliability,” the executive said. She added that during 2018, the first tests through LTE are to be started up before the project is then expanded to 5G technology.

Regarding the firm’s NB-IoT strategy, Nemat said that the firm currently offers this technology in Germany and seven additional markets across Europe. She added that the telco currently has nearly 200 customers in the NB-IoT segment.

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