Vodafone Germany boasted it was the "first operator" to activate dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) of 700MHz frequencies between 4G and 5G. (Light Reading assumes this is a world-first claim and not simply a case of domestic one-upmanship.)
DSS kickoff took place in the town of Meschede with Ericsson as technology partner. Taking advantage of broader coverage afforded by lowband spectrum – a basestation surfing on 700MHz can apparently cover an area of around 20km squared with 5G, which is about five times the footprint that a 3.5GHz basestation can muster – Vodafone unveiled bold rollout plans.
By the end of its current financial year (March 31, 2021), Vodafone Germany aims to have 8,000 antennas at 2,800 locations capable of dynamically allocating 700MHz spectrum to 5G as and when it's required.
If all goes to plan, the 700MHz 5G footprint will cover more than 60,000 sq km, which is bigger than the Netherlands or Denmark.
Telekom Deutschland also announced expansive plans for DSS tech. The aim is to use 5MHz from its existing 3G spectrum in the 2.1GHz band for both LTE and 5G. Timings for DSS deployment were not nailed down other than sometime this year. Outgoing CEO at Telekom Deutschland, Dirk Wössner, reckoned the operator – with DSS help – will cover more than half of the German population with 5G "in the course of the year."
Gabriel Brown, principal analyst at Heavy Reading, believes there are positive signs – from lab and field trials – that DSS can scale and be commercially deployable this year.
"The technology is proven to work," he says. "US operators, which have pushed hard on DSS, are aiming to deploy this year. In Europe, along with Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, Swisscom has also made the commitment. DSS is shaping up well, although to really push it into the mass-market requires support from across the RAN equipment and device ecosystem."
— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading