Vodafone hits 50% 5G milestone, covering 45 million people, or half the German population

The news: 5G deployment in Germany is gaining momentum as the three major carriers, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, and Telefónica Deutschland, have all switched off their 3G networks to focus on wider 4G expansion and deployment of 5G networks in the country.

Why it’s worth watching: Germany is leading the way to successful nationwide 5G network rollout. Vodafone Germany CEO Hannes Ametsreiter said the rollout of 5G took place twice as fast as originally planned, per Light Reading.

Vodafone Germany’s initial goal was to supply around 20 million people with 5G by the start of 2022. It has more than doubled that number by covering 45 million people, or over half the population of around 83 million. 

  • Vodafone Germany has deployed 18,000 5G antennas at 6,000 locations. Its 5G relies on a mix of frequencies, with 3.6GHz used in city centers and larger venues, 1.8GHz in suburban residential areas, and the 800MHz frequency in rural areas. 
  • Deutsche Telekom said 63,000 antennas are now transmitting 5G, while 3,500 antennas have been upgraded to support 5G standalone. The operator also claimed its 5G network now covers 90% of Germany's population and is aiming to achieve 90% geographic coverage by 2025. 
  • Telefónica Deutschland said it would cover 50% of the population with 5G by the end of 2022, with 30% already achieved by the end of 2021.
  • In comparison, most of the US has access to 5G coverage, on paper, but there’s a lot of confusion regarding 5G mislabeling and instances where carriers reporting 5G network access are actually just increasing 4G-LTE speeds.
  • 5G-C band spectrum, which launches in the US on January 19, isn’t a factor in the Germany deployments as it is still a nascent technology in the country.

The opportunity: Germany’s Big Three carriers all agree that 5G is being rolled out faster than all previous mobile network standards; this has likely been accelerated by cooperation among carriers.

German carriers are also benefiting from standardized 5G frameworks designed to ease deployment in Germany. An agreement between 1&1 Versatel and BUGLAS, the German Fiber Optic Association, allows 70 local operators to participate in 5G expansion.

The big takeaway: Germany is bucking the trend of slow 5G rollout and adoption thanks to thriving competition balanced with standardized frameworks and carrier cooperation.

Related content: Eager to learn more about 5G US mobile network users? Check out our 2021 overview report.

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