Deutsche Telekom (DT) announced it has conducted the first video call over a 5G standalone (5G SA) network. The largest European telco installed a standalone antenna in Garching to make the call to Bonn.
After numerous tests, Deutsche Telekom’s technical team has now achieved a breakthrough. The call could be carried out without interruption in a pure 5G environment via a standalone antenna in Garching to Bamberg.
Nearly all 5G networks are standing on the shoulders of 4G infrastructure and technology, but that ‘non-standalone’ is an interim stage to enable the telecoms industry to start promoting 5G.
Vodafone initially launched its 5G network in Germany in 2019, on 3.5 GHz frequencies that it acquired from Telefónica in 2018. Vodafone Germany acquired radio spectrum for 5G mobile networks at Germany’s Federal Network Agency for a total cost of $2.29 billion.
“True technical innovation is made up of implementation strength and pioneering spirit. Telekom has clearly demonstrated both with 5G. More than two-thirds of the people in Germany can already use Telekom’s 5G network today,” said Walter Goldenits, CTO of Telekom Deutschland.
“The next step has also been taken. With our first data connection via 5G Standalone, we are making history again. As the first network operator in Germany,” he noted.
This incremental step is noteworthy – it indicates the transition from NSA to SA is underway in the telecom ecosystem.
Claudia Nemat, Board Member, Technology and Innovation, at Telekom, said, “Our goal is to continue to actively shape the future of mobile communications. 5G standalone is important to be able to use technologies such as network slicing or edge computing.”
She added: “We are very proud to have taken the next innovation step in 5G. With this test, we are once again demonstrating our innovation leadership.”
With DT’s 5G Standalone, the infrastructure in the core network will also be fully upgraded to a new, cloud-based 5G architecture. This further development of 5G is the prerequisite for new application possibilities.
Tests of its 5G standalone
DT first announced tests of its 5G standalone network in February when Walter Goldenits said the Garching test represented the first step towards the 5G standalone live network, although he also noted that a rollout “will then also depend on the requirements of our customers. Technology and the market will play a joint role in further development.”
Goldenits said more than two thirds of people in Germany are now covered by the operator’s non-standalone 5G network (5G NSA), which is anchored to the existing 4G-LTE infrastructure.