Germany's former capital, Bonn, looks to be next on the list of locations that are set to benefit from the higher speeds and lower latency that should be enabled by Vodafone Germany's new standalone 5G (5G SA) network.
The operator flagged that its project, "5G für die Stadt Bonn," has reached a new milestone. The first 5G SA basestations have gone into operation, and the target is to connect the entire population to the 5G SA network by 2025.
Vodafone initially plans to install both non-standalone and standalone 5G antennas at its existing sites in 91 locations throughout the city, including on masts, observation towers, church towers and rooftops.
The operator noted that 21 locations are already equipped with 5G technology, although it has not specified how many sites have been upgraded with the more advanced version. A further 11 5G construction projects are to be completed in Bonn by mid-2023, Vodafone said.
Keeping the lead
Vodafone has certainly been leading the charge when it comes to 5G SA – both in Germany and within the Vodafone Group. It deployed its first 5G SA sites in April 2021 in collaboration with network partner Ericsson.
In November last year, the operator set targets to provide SA technology from all of its 5G sites by 2023.
In March this year, it introduced the 5G+ brand and said more than 10 million customers can currently use 5G SA services at home.
At the time, Vodafone indicated that around 4,000 basestations support 5G SA, and said the aim is to cover all households with the technology by the end of 2025.
More recently, Vodafone joined forces with Deutsche Bahn as part of efforts to improve 4G and 5G connectivity along Germany's 7,800 kilometers of inter-city railway lines. It has also installed 5G SA small cells on street lamps in Cologne, in collaboration with RheinEnergie AG.
Meanwhile, rival Deutsche Telekom has indicated it will launch 5G SA on a commercial basis for consumers in Germany during 2022.
Telefónica Deutschland previously said it is technically ready for 5G SA, but is waiting until there are sufficient devices on the market to activate the network.
Both operators are providing 5G SA services to business customers in the form of private mobile networks.
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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading