The data volume generated globally will increase tenfold by 2020 compared to 2013, according to a study conducted in 2014 by US-based IT company EMC. That would mean 44 billion gigabytes in the networks a year instead of 4.4 billion. The amount of digital data being produced in Germany alone is expected to grow from a current 230 billion gigabytes to 1,100 billion. Networks need to be continually expanded to be able to handle this volume.
Deutsche Telekom has been the largest investor in this area in Germany for years now and will continue to drive network expansion. The main objectives of our pan-European integrated network strategy (INS) form the basis for these activities: growth, efficiency and quality. We will continue to expand our networks, increase the efficiency of our systems and further strengthen our role as a leader in network quality. Our integrated network strategy is in line with the network expansion goals specified by the EU Commission and the German federal government (digital agenda and broadband strategy).
Network expansion based on four pillars
Deutsche Telekom's integrated network strategy (INS) for Europe is based on the four pillars LTE , fiber optics, VDSL vectoring and hybrid. In addition to expanding the LTE mobile network, fiber-optic expansion in combination with VDSL vectoring technology is the short and medium-term focus of Deutsche Telekom's INS for Germany. In March 2015 we launched our integrated hybrid offer, a combination of LTE and fixed-network line, thereby considerably increasing bandwidths throughout Germany once again.
We have defined two goals as part of our INS in Germany that we plan to achieve by 2018: Firstly, we plan to be able to offer LTE connections to 95 percent of the population. Secondly, progress of the fiber-optic network roll-out should allow VDSL vectoring lines with bandwidths of at least 50 Mbit/s for around 80 percent of all households. This is subject to regulatory changes.
Upgrading our network architecture
We intend to make our networks faster and more efficient. To do this, we are going to deactivate all analog PSTN (public switched telephone network) platforms that we no longer need and switch our entire telephone network to IP-based lines by 2018. Thanks to this switch and other measures to improve efficiency, Deutsche Telekom will reduce the carbon footprint of its fixed and mobile networks in Germany by around 40 percent by 2020 compared to 2008. The switch to IP technology, which requires considerably less energy compared to earlier network technologies, will contribute significantly to the overall reduction of CO2 emissions.
We will also rely on fiber optics when updating our network architecture in order to meet our customers' demands for fast network connections. Using fiber optic-based technology, VDSL vectoring, speeds up download data transmission rates to up to 100 Mbit/s and upload speeds even up to 40 Mbit/s. But vectoring requires more energy. To reduce this need for energy, we are working on control solutions for energy-efficient operation of our systems. The combination of IP technology and VDSL vectoring is already considerably more energy-efficient than conventional PSTN technology.
Mobile workplaces, multimedia applications and high-quality online services continually boost the demand for higher bandwidths. We are taking fiber optics closer to our customers in order to ensure the long-term success of our business.
With our network roll-out we plan to make ultra-high-speed Internet available to 80 percent of the German population by 2018. This is subject to regulatory changes. This means that we will considerably expand the fiber-optic network using FTTC , or fiber to the curb. For FTTC, fiber-optic cables are installed in the main cable up to the cable distribution box (the gray street cabinets found on sidewalks in German cities). From there, customers can be provided with large bandwidths via VDSL vectoring using the existing copper cable.
With FTTH , or fiber to the home, the fiber-optic cables are taken into the home. This will enable products with up to 200 Mbit/s for downloads and up to 100 Mbit/s for uploads, for example. FTTC alone already provides download speeds of 50 Mbit/s, which doubles to up to 100 Mbit/s when FTTC is combined with vectoring. Upload speeds are even quadrupled to up to 40 Mbit/s through vectoring.
We have been driving our vectoring infrastructure roll-out since November 2013. Expanding the fiber-optic network, however, involves a great deal of time and financial expense. That is why expansion is currently not economically feasible in some regions and will only be possible through close collaboration between politics and business.
All of the Deutsche Telekom Group's national companies made considerable investments in 2015 in expanding their LTE networks and continue to make rapid progress in network build-out: More than 50 percent of our mobile base stations were equipped with LTE technology in the Europe segment (12 European countries besides Germany) by the end of 2015. Depending on the region, our national companies provide between 35 and 95-percent coverage. We are planning to increase this to between 75 and 95 percent by the end of 2018.
LTE expansion has been well on track in Germany, too. We achieved 90-percent coverage by the end of 2015 and plan to increase this to 95 percent by the end of 2018.
We are also making considerable progress with transmission speeds in mobile communications. We set the standard throughout Germany in early 2014 by rolling out LTE on the basis of the Cat 4 standard. This service in the LTE 1.800 network attains download speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s , 50 Mbit/s more than conventional LTE networks. More than 150 German cities benefit from this service. Speeds of up to 300 Mbit/s have even been possible since fall 2014 with LTE Max based on the Cat 6 standard. Radio antennas have also been set up in many rural regions to enable LTE via the 1,800 MHz frequency.
The hybrid connection is another pillar of our integrated network strategy that literally integrates networks. In fall 2014 we began offering our customers in Germany a combination of IP fixed-line and LTE mobile communications in a single fixed-line product thanks to hybrid technology. When customers require more bandwidth for their DSL connection, our hybrid service automatically activates LTE using a special hybrid router. This means that the transmission rates of both networks are added together. This is particularly useful in areas where we have not been able to offer broadband Internet via the fixed network to date.
In 2014 we became the first mass-market provider worldwide to offer this type of hybrid solution The offer has been available to customers throughout Germany since spring 2015.
connect (01/2016): Deutsche Telekom comes out on top among German mobile network providers for fifth time in a row
The testers from the connect trade journal put Deutsche Telekom in first place when it comes to speed (telephony and mobile Internet). We were the only provider to be rated "very good." More importance was placed on data services than voice telephony compared to previous years.
The 2015 CHIP network test: faster transfer rates, better voice quality - Deutsche Telekom has the best mobile network
Deutsche Telekom won CHIP magazine's network test by a large margin and was even able to expand its lead compared to last year, going from a score of 87.7 in 2014 to 89.3 in 2015. CHIP weights voice quality at 40 percent of the total score, while data usage, especially LTE , accounts for 60 percent.
Stiftung Warentest (11/2015): Deutsche Telekom has best mobile network
The German consumer organization Stiftung Warentest conducted an extensive network test to find out which carrier currently has the best mobile network. Measurements were taken in cities, in rural areas and on trains. According to the results, Deutsche Telekom has the best mobile network. A score of 2.3 earned the company the rating "good." Deutsche Telekom received a score of 2.2 for mobile data connections and 2.4 for voice connections.
connect (09/2015): test winner in IPTV
In August 2015 Deutsche Telekom secured first place in a test of IPTV offers conducted by connect magazine. The company's Entertain IPTV offer came out on top in every test category.
Car Connectivity Award 2015
Deutsche Telekom received the Car Connectivity Award 2015 for the best mobile network in cars. 42,520 readers of "auto motor und sport" and CHIP voted Deutsche Telekom number 1 in the mobile network category for the second time in a row.
Computer Bild (22/2015): Deutsche Telekom has the fastest mobile network
Deutsche Telekom was the only company to receive the rating "good" and took the clear lead ahead of its competitors, who were only rated "satisfactory." All carriers were criticized for their network performance in rural areas.
Telecom Handel reader's choice 2015: best mobile provider of the year for fourth time in a row
Retailers and partner store owners rated mobile communications providers in 23 disciplines. The questionnaire focused on aspects that retailers consider important such as acquisition commission, honesty and reliability, training, complaints processing and retailer hotlines. Participants particularly praised Deutsche Telekom for its network build-out program and MagentaEins plans.