German carrier Vodafone is in the process of deploying 5G technology to provide coverage along the country’s main waterways, the telco said in a release.
Vodafone Germany said it has already activated the first 180 5G antennas at 64 locations along federal waterways.
The operator also said it expects to install approximately 1,000 more 5G antennas at more than 300 locations within the next twelve months. “If sensors and ships exchange data in real time, shipping traffic can become safer and more efficient in the future,” said Vodafone Germany CEO Hannes Ametsreiter.
Vodafone noted that port logistics and sailing events should benefit from the new mobile communications technology, as will the many people who sail, paddle and row on Germany’s federal waterways.
The network of federal waterways in Germany comprises a total of 7,476 kilometers of inland waterways, around 75%o f which are rivers and 25% are canals. The federal waterways also include around 23,000 square kilometers of sea waterways, 450 lock chambers, two dams and more than 100 modern public sea and inland ports. About 4,800 kilometers of the federal waterway network are of major importance for international freight traffic in Europe. Almost all of the major industrial and commercial centers as well as 56 of 74 metropolitan regions in Germany have a waterway connection, Vodafone said.
“The shipping industry has been an important pillar for the supply of food, medicine and protective clothing in recent months. Germany continues to be one of the largest shipping nations in the world. In order for it to stay that way in the future, environmentally friendly and digital technologies are required. Fast networks are the basis for this,” Ametsreiter added.
Vodafone is also testing how digital shipping can be in the future as part of the ‘Förde 5G’ project in the city of Kiel. The network experts of the Düsseldorf-based digitization group will shortly begin activating 5G technology in the inner city area of the Kiel inner fjord.
Soon, a total of 9 5G antennas at three locations will provide connectivity in this area. In the future, tests will be carried with autonomous passenger ferries, the telco said.
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.
Vodafone Germany acquired radio spectrum for 5G mobile networks at Germany’s Federal Network Agency for a total cost of 1.88 billion euros (currently $2.22 billion). It has secured 90 megahertz in the 3.6 GHz band and 40 megahertz of 2100 MHz spectrum The auction ended in mid-June and generated around 6.55 billion euros.
Vodafone Germany previously confirmed that it will continue to pursue a dual-vendor strategy for its networks, with gear from Chinese vendor Huawei and Sweden’s Ericsson.