Deutsche Telekom, the largest wireless carrier and fixed broadband provider in Germany, today announced its current progress and future targets for both its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and 5G network expansions in Germany. As part of its future expansion plans, in 2022, Deutsche Telekom plans to invest ~€6bn in Germany to accelerate its FTTH and 5G network roll-outs in rural areas and metropolitan regions.
Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Network – Deutsche Telekom
Presently, Deutsche Telekom’s fiber optic network covers more than 404k miles (650k kilometers) in Germany. Below are details on the company’s fiber build pacing and total passings for past, present, and future time periods:
Fiber Build Pacing – Past, Present, and Future
Deutsche Telekom is expanding its fiber network in Germany, under the following annual milestones:
- Past: in 2020, rolled-out fiber optics with around 600k fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) passings
- Present: in 2021, roll-out speed doubled to 1.2 million FTTH passings, equivalent to 43.5k miles (70k+ kilometers) of optical fiber laid across Germany
- Future (Short-Term): in 2022, roll-out targets 2.0 million new FTTH passings
- Future (Medium-Term): from 2024, roll-out to average 2.5 million new FTTH passings each year
Total Fiber Passings – Past, Present, and Future
Deutsche Telekom is increasing its total fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) passings in Germany, at the end of every financial period:
- Past: year-end 2020, 2.2 million households passed with optical fiber
- Present: Q3 2021, 2.9 million households passed with optical fiber. Additionally, Deutsche Telekom previously estimated that it would reach 3.5 million households passed with optical fiber by year-end 2021
- Future (Medium-Term): by 2024, 10 million households passed with optical fiber
- Future (Long-Term): by 2030, 8 million households passed with optical fiber in rural areas, meaning communities with fewer than 20k inhabitants
In addition to the Deutsche Telekom objectives above, the company’s GlasfaserPlus joint venture, alongside IFM Investors, will result in 4 million incremental household passings with fiber in rural areas of Germany.
Overall, by 2030, Deutsche Telekom expects that every household and every business in Germany will have a fiber optic connection – driven by its own build-outs, as well as those from its competitors.
Open Access Wholesale Fiber Network
Deutsche Telekom notes that its fiber network expansion will be “open access”. Therefore, the company’s network will be open to all internet service providers (ISPs) and “competitors” to offer broadband services to end users.
5G Network – Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom’s 5G coverage in Germany is being deployed via the 2.1 GHz band, using dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), which delivers similar speeds to 4G/LTE. Additionally, the company is rolling-out the 3.6 GHz band, which relies on 5G Standalone, and delivers speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.
Below are further details on the company’s 5G network deployments for past, present, and future time periods:
5G Network – Past, Present, and Future
Deutsche Telekom is expanding its 5G network, with the following milestones:
- Past: year-end 2020, 45k antennas were transmitting with 5G, enabling 67% population coverage
- Present: year-end 2021, 63k antennas are transmitting with 5G, enabling 90% population coverage
- Future: year-end 2025, target of 99% population coverage and 90% geographic coverage (differential as a result of coverage in rural areas)
Deutsche Telekom notes that 6.0k new 5G antennas were added during 2021. Indeed, this implies that the variance between 2020 and 2021 of 18k antennas, may have included 12k antennas that were added but were not yet transmitting at year-end 2020.
Mid-Band 5G – 3.6 GHz Band
Deutsche Telekom has technically upgraded 3.5k+ 5G antennas at almost 1.2k locations in the 3.6 GHz band for 5G Standalone. As such, mid-band 5G, on the 3.6 GHz band, is now available in 140+ cities in Germany.
Recall that most 5G network deployments to-date have occurred on the Non-Standalone (NSA) version of 5G. Notably, the NSA version of 5G still requires a legacy LTE network to handle certain network tasks such as authentication. Whereas with the Standalone (SA) version of 5G, an LTE network anchor is no longer a requirement.
By implementing 5G Standalone in its core network, Deutsche Telekom gains features such as sub-10 milliseconds latency. In turn, this enables applications like network slicing. Specifically, network slicing is the allocation of network resources in real-time for individual requirements, such as gaming or video streams.
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