Deutsche Telekom chalked out its 5G strategy. The company has formed a new subsidiary, MobiledgeX to focus on the 5G use cases. DT was able to demonstrate that interoperability between technical components from different manufacturers based on the new 5G standard does indeed work.
It is also building a new testbed for smarter energy grid management through 5G is being built in Dresden.
“Digitalization needs infrastructure. We are building networks all over Europe that have excellent quality – both in the fixed network and mobile – and we are already working today with the technology ontomorrow,” says Claudia Nemat, Board member for Technology and Innovation at Deutsche Telekom. “We are a pioneer at 5G. In the last year alone, we laid out 40,000 kilometers of fiber in Germany, that is more than the total network of federal highways in kilometers. We were the first in Europe to bring 5G antennas into the real mobile network. Thereby we ensure that 5G applications will become reality, for example, for energy management or healthcare.”
“The core of our strategy is our network, the network we work on every day, which grows with our customers’ aspirations for the future, and which will take 5G to a new dimension,” says Tim Höttges, CEO, Deutsche Telekom. “We provide the connectivity for today and tomorrow. You can’t see connectivity, but you can experience it: when surfing the web on a plane, when drones assist the fire service, or when your home Wi-Fi is located right wherever you happen to be.”
The network of Deutsche Telekom currently has almost 700,000 kilometers of fiber in Europe. In 2017, the company invested over seven billion euros in Europe. The continuous network expansion constantly improves connectivity and thus from a technical point of view, provides the best network preconditions for the possibilities of today as well as tomorrow.
DT is not the only telco to be focusing on 5G. In fact, the technology is the flavor of this year’s Mobile World Congress. Below are some of the key recent developments related to 5G:
- SK Telecom Chalks Out 5G Strategy
- China Mobile to Collaborate With Nokia and Ericsson For 5G
- Italy’s TIM To Work With Cisco For 5G
- Verizon Completes First 5G NR Call
On the road to 5G
“We are fully on schedule for 5G launch in 2020,” says Claudia Nemat in Barcelona. “It is crucial that until then, we gather as much experience as possible with our partners. One example is our joint approach with the city of Dresden and the Dresden University of Technology to build a testbed for smarter energy grid management through 5G.” In the Johannstadt district in Dresden, 5G will be used for energy management. A new 5G testbed will be built, with the goal of supporting the energy transition with a ubiquitous, real-time secure, and efficient 5G communication system.
Up to now, energy has been largely distributed in one direction only. In the future, energy will be generated in a decentralized way and must be intelligently controlled and managed. 5G will provide the basis for making this a reality with its much higher data capacity, very quick response times and extremely high level of reliability. This year, the first tests through LTE are to be started up before the project is then expanded to 5G technology. The test of smart energy systems with 5G in Dresden will be conducted until 2023. Deutsche Telekom together with the TU Dresden is already researching the future communication standard in 5G:haus.
Technological world premiere
In terms of technology, Deutsche Telekom is setting new milestones that are bringing 5G closer to reality. With its partners Huawei and Intel, the group presented a world first in 5G interoperability. The partners verified a successful transmission using the new 5G New Radio standard between a Huawei commercial base station and Intel’s user device prototype in an operator environment. The prerequisite for 5G is that the entire technology ecosystem must speak one language. The technical verification was conducted on the basis of the 5G New Radio standard. At the end of December, the 3GPPannounced the first implementable specifications for 5G NR, the mobile communications components of the future communication standard.
An important technological step on the path to 5G is Edge. Device element technology including that of processors, storage and large batteries are offloaded to the cloud. The devices themselves are thereby lighter and cheaper and do not overheat. Fewer components in the device improve the form factor and prolong runtime battery life. The intelligence goes into the cloud. It is important that the connection between cloud and device has a low latency. The key is to keep computing power not hundreds of miles away from the user. Data is sent to nearby servers and answered from there. The closer the “brain”, the lower the reaction time.
To further develop the capabilities of edge computing and to make it usable in real business models, Deutsche Telekom has formed its own subsidiary, MobiledgeX. MobiledgeX is designed to provide a platform for developers around the world in order for them to deliver revolutionary ideas for applications that require extremely low latency. The company is established as an independent company, allowing other network operators and industry representatives to join and help shape real-time applications. MobiledgeX is located in Menlo Park, USA, and Berlin, Germany. Edge computing technology is an essential step towards, for example, helping data glasses or augmented and virtual reality achieve breakthrough as these innovations only work in a network with very low response times.
Ready to go: Network for the internet aboard planes in Europe
Faster broadband access will also become standard on the plane. Telekom demonstrated publicly for the first time in Barcelona that the European Aviation Network is ready to use. Telekom with its partners Inmarsat and Nokia have now completed the network: The European Aviation Network is the first integrated satellite and LTE network in Europe. From Norway to Greece and from Portugal to Romania – around 300 base stations were built in 30 European countries in a construction time of around eighteen months. Its EAN satellite, which Inmarsat sent into space last summer, is already fully functioning since September 2017. This will make broadband internet applications 10,000 meters in the air also possible.
A fast, stable and secure network is the basis for future applications such as artificial intelligence or data glasses. “The technology of tomorrow becomes more intuitive, data glasses become the manuals of the 21st century, and speech control becomes for the digital consumer world what the computer mouse was for the PC world,” says Claudia Nemat. “That’s why we work with partners to develop practical solutions to customer problems, and are not just part of a trend.”
“Hello Magenta”: An intelligent assistant for your home
Along with renowned business partners, Deutsche Telekom is developing a voice interface to support customers in their daily life. The Smart Speaker is an intelligent assistant to control different services at home via the keywords: “Hello Magenta”. Deutsche Telekom, together with its partner Orange, intend to offer a device portfolio and voice platform services to customers across Europe.
The opportunity of a European approach is very promising here as there is strong interest from business partners, especially in the retail area. It will be difficult for US companies to fulfil European data protection law and there are strict requirements on data protection in health, insurance and banking under European law. Therefore, it is an excellent opportunity for Deutsche Telekom and Orange.
Deutsche Telekom’s smart voice service will begin in summer 2018 and will allow voice control of connected devices at home. Deutsche Telekom customers can easily control services via simple voice commands e.g. EntertainTV customers can switch channels or decrease volume, SmartHome customers can dim the lights or change room temperature. A voice call can be simply initiated by a voice command and the Smart Speaker will be connected directly to the router without requiring additional equipment.
Ideas for smart glasses with ZEISS
In order to further drive the future issue of smart glasses and augmented reality (AR), Deutsche Telekom has intensified its cooperation with ZEISS. Under the name tooz technologies Inc., the two companies have set up a 50/50 financed joint venture where development projects are pooled. The new firm assumes strategic and operative responsibility for the further development of the optical technology invented by ZEISS and the connectivity contributed by Deutsche Telekom as well as the instantaneous application – the elements critical to the success of market-ready data glasses. Along with more than 40 partners from industry, trade and science, the two companies have already developed application scenarios for private as well as business customers over the past few months within a developer program. The goal is to make the technology available as a license model to manufacturers of smart glasses.