Deutsche Telekom on Thursday announced that the first four 5G antennas in Europe are now operational in Berlin, offering a live 5G connection in accordance with the preliminary 5G New Radio standards in a real-world setting. A single client connected to one of the antennas is able to benefit from a throughput surpassing 2Gbps, with supported devices in the covered Berlin's Schöneberg district having a latency of only 3ms, the wireless carrier said. The company described the move as the latest step in its efforts to provide consumers and industry watchers with a glimpse of what the fifth generation of mobile networks will be able to achieve in the near future, reiterating how its major 5G deployment and general commercialization operations are set to begin at some point in 2020.
Besides noting how 5G technologies will allow for applications in growing segments like drone delivery, autonomous driving, and modern medicine, Deutsche Telekom representatives also demonstrated some present uses of high-speed and low-latency wireless networks, including real-time virtual and augmented reality streaming. The Bonn, Germany-based telecom giant on Thursday also reiterated its intentions to draft a large-scale 5G buildout plan next year once the 5G standard is clearly defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). The company's latest test was conducted using telecommunications equipment from Huawei with whom the firm has been collaborating for many years. Deutsche Telekom's initiative was also used as an opportunity for promoting its local Low Latency Prototyping Programs seeking to support European developers interested in developing 5G products and services, with the project itself signaling that the German wireless carrier is looking to both deploy the new infrastructure and help it evolve into a full-fledged ecosystem.
While Deutsche Telekom is expected to be the leading entity in the 5G adoption wave on the Old Continent, the company is still behind the United States, Japan, and South Korea in this segment, with the trio planning on deploying consumer-grade 5G infrastructure on a large scale come 2019. The largest mobile service provider in Europe is presently also negotiating with Japanese conglomerate SoftBank over a potential merger of their U.S. subsidiaries – T-Mobile and Sprint.