Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom plan indoor 5G trial

Deutsche Telekom is to trial 5G repeaters provided by South Korea-based SK Telecom as part of efforts to ensure that 5G services are available inside buildings as well as outdoors.

The trial with 200 test customers will be launched in the second quarter of 2020: Subject to successful feedback, the 5G repeaters could then be launched in Germany. The device looks to be the one of the first fruits of a joint venture announced by the two telcos in June 2019, with the initial objective of developing 5G repeaters and a 5G in-building offering.

Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom, which are also co-investment partners, said the role of the repeaters is to amplify both 4G and 5G radio frequency signals, mitigating the use of millimeter wave spectrum that generate signals often too weak to penetrate buildings.

Indoor coverage has certainly emerged as one of the toughest nuts to crack with 5G. Solving the problem is important because, according to a widely cited statistic, around 80% of all mobile data traffic is consumed indoors.

Several vendors and wireless carriers are already engaged in finding a solution, as illustrated by recent stadium tests by Verizon and a new collaboration between Corning and Qualcomm.

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— Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

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