Telefonica Germany, which operates under the O2 brand, will activate its 5G network in five German cities on October 3, the company said in a release.
The telco, owned by Spanish telecommunications group Telefonica, will initially offer commercial 5G services in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt and Cologne.
“With 5G, we are starting into a new mobile phone era and democratize high tech,” said Markus Haas, CEO of Telefónica Germany/O2. “Our O2 mobile network connects more than 43 million customers and thus most people in Germany. Therefore, we have a special responsibility to kick-start the data turbo for digitalization of Germany. 5G is crucial for our digital future. This is why we are investing 4 billion euros ($4.65 billion) in the expansion of our O2 network by 2022.”
O2’s 5G network will start with around 150 base stations in the five largest German cities. The telco said that 9 million people in these cities will be able to start experiencing the new technology. O2 will initially launch the service using its spectrum in the 3.6 Ghz band, which was obtained in a spectrum auction in 2019.
“We will bring 5G to more and more cities and especially to rural areas in a short period of time. And in order to get our residential customers into the area much faster than in the past, we will use a broad spectrum of technologies. We will provide all our business customers with clear competitive advantages through the virtualization of our 5G core network”, says Mallik Rao, CTO of Telefónica Germany / O2.
O2 said that its retail customers will be able to experience 5G technology starting October 6 at no extra charge. The telco said that 5G is part of all O2 mobile phone plans that start from 39.99 euros.
“5G is the future. Our O2 brand will make this future affordable and thus accessible to everyone,” said Wolfgang Metze, member of the Management Board of Telefónica Deutschland/O2 who is responsible for retail customers. “We are launching 5G at exactly the right time. The new mobile technology is no longer the sole playground of the ‘early adopters’. It is now becoming increasingly relevant for the digital everyday life of all customers,” Metze added.
Initially, O2 will offer a standard 5G maximum speed of 300 Mbps and will offer 5G-capable smartphones in all price categories. These include devices from Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Google. Additional 5G new devices from other vendors are expected in the near future, the telco said.
Rival operator Vodafone initially launched its 5G network in Germany in 2019, on 3.5 GHz frequencies that it acquired from Telefónica in 2018.
By the end of 2020, Vodafone aims to make 5G available to 10 million people, while total 5G coverage by the end of 2021 will reach 20 million people.
Deutsche Telekom recently announced that its 5G service currently reaches 3,000 towns and municipalities across the country, with nearly 30,000 5G antennas already in operation. The operator said that its 5G service currently reaches half of the country’s population.
Meanwhile, the construction of new entrant 1&1 Drillisch’s 5G network has been experiencing delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to previous reports, 1&1 Drillisch expects to launch its 5G network in 2021.
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