The whole world …
The news, the weather report, and the biggest dictionary in the world. All our favorite series, our entire music collection, and the contents of our bookshelf. Family photos and posts from our loved ones. Street maps from all over the world. What do all these things have in common? Thanks to the worldwide web, we have them with us all the time – no matter where we are.
… together online
Just a few years ago, this was all inconceivable. And today? Now, it’s hard for anyone to imagine anymore how everyday life once functioned without constant access to the internet. Today, (almost) all of us live, learn, and work on the web. At Deutsche Telekom, our aim is to make sure that everyone can #TAKEPART. And the basis for that is fast and high-performance internet access. That’s why we invest billions each year in network build-out. In 2022, our Group-wide investments in network build-out amounted to some EUR 21 billion.
We’re working hard on the network expansion in both the fixed and mobile networks. And we will live up to our responsibility for Germany's digital future. Tim Höttges, Chairman of the Board of Management, Deutsche Telekom AG
Superfast fiber-optic cables
We aim to provide as many people as possible with fast internet lines – whether they live in cities or in rural areas. In our fixed network, we rely on fiber optics: We operate the largest fiber-optic network in Europe – a network with 690,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cable in Germany alone (as of the end of 2022).
This requires a lot of time and money – each kilometer of fiber-optic cable costs an average of 70,000 euros – To lay fiber optic cables faster and more economically, we use microtrenching wherever possible. Microtrenching, in which narrow slits are cut in the asphalt, eliminates the major street excavations that would otherwise be required. Funding programs at the national or state level are a further possibility for cost-effective network expansion. Just like other companies, Deutsche Telekom also applies for such funding.
But connecting to the fiber-optic network is not economically viable everywhere. Our solution in such cases is a hybrid access that combines the speed of a fixed network line with that of a fast mobile network connection, and thereby provides higher broadband speed.
Through the air
We wish it were a thing of the dim and distant past – the mobile coverage gap. By the end of 2021, we had outdone all other network providers by bringing fast LTE mobile communications to 99 percent of households in Germany. The remaining gaps are to be filled as quickly as possible. To achieve that, we aim to get more than 1 500 new cell sites up and running each year. That’s sometimes easier said than done, though, because building or legal regulations mean masts cannot be erected everywhere they are required. To close the final gaps in the mobile network, we are using various levers:
To expand the network infrastructure more quickly and cost-effectively, we are sharing mobile masts with our competitors.
2Seamlessly surfing on the train
In partnership with Deutschen Bahn, we want to close the coverage gaps in our mobile network along the rails of the entire DB rail network by 2026. As a result, train passengers will be able to make phone calls and surf the web without interruptions in the future.
In 2019, we set up a mobile mast for the first time in the Bavarian town of Dettelbach that uses carbon-neutral electricity from a fuel cell. Power supply is often a problem at remote locations. This solution will be able to help in the future to close mobile coverage gaps in a climate-friendly way.
5G on its way
Up to 100 times faster than LTE? That’s 5G, the new mobile standard. 5G is the basis for many forward-looking concepts such as autonomous driving, smart cities, Industry 4.0 and virtual reality. That’s because they all require high-performance, fail-safe internet connections that enable data transmission in real time. To make Germany a 5G country as soon as possible, we have set ourselves a clear goal: We plan to cover 99 percent of the population and 90 percent of the country with 5G by 2025.
5G is up to 100 times faster than LTE. By 2025, we want to provide 99% of households with superfast 5G.
- Status end of 2022
- Target by end of 2025
As of the end of 2022, Deutsche Telekom's 5G network is available to over 94 percent of German households – or 78 million people. At www.telekom.de/netzausbau, you can see where 5G is already available in Germany. T-Mobile US has likewise expanded its 5G network leadership, delivering 5G speeds to broad swaths of the United States with the largest national 5G network.
What we need for 5G
Rolling out a new technology over a wider area is always pioneering work. For us as a society to benefit from the advantages of the new technology as best we can, three things in particular are needed:
We will continue to invest heavily in building out 5G infrastructure. To provide the best coverage in Germany, we currently use three frequencies for 5G. By the end of 2022, 5G was available on the fast, short-wave 3.6 GHz frequency in more than 630 cities and communities. In addition, we use the 2.1 GHz and 700 MHz frequencies, which have longer wavelengths, in rural areas; the two types of 5G frequencies – fast short-wave frequencies and long-wave frequencies (which have longer ranges) – optimally complement each other.
The applicable safety standards must be observed in order to be able to establish a technology in Germany. Our sites comply with the legally specified thresholds.
The task of launching 5G is too big for us to do by ourselves. That is why we are working closely with our partners and local municipalities. Together with research institutes, industry, and local municipalities, we also are trying out innovative application scenarios.
Vienna: The gigabit city
The Austrian national company Magenta Telekom is also driving network build-out forward at top speed: In 2022, it invested around 277 million euros to build and expand its mobile and fixed networks. Magenta Telekom provides gigabit speeds to 1.55 million households and businesses all across Austria, thereby making it the largest high-speed internet service provider in the country.
Network = future
In expanding our network, we are also helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs). Nationwide internet access is an important element in a sustainable infrastructure (SDG 9). It can help create new jobs, for instance, through more company start-ups (SDG 8). Network expansion also lays the foundation for many other positive effects, such as improved access to online educational offerings (SDG 4), more sustainable agriculture (SDG 15), and improved healthcare (SDG 3). The internet is also the basis for solutions that save energy and reduce CO₂ (SDG 13) or improve life in cities (SDG 11). Furthermore, we are helping to achieve SDG 13 with our "green network". And our commitment to a network without hate, and with more civil courage online, is helping to create more peaceful, lawful, and inclusive societies (SDG 16).
Watching it live
In the past 10 minutes, or about the amount of time you have spent reading this text – about 10 additional households in Germany have received the opportunity to order a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) fiber-optic access. How do we know that? We document almost in real time how our broadband expansion is progressing. Deutsche Telekom's network-build-out ticker shows the total number of households that can now order an FTTH plan or a plan with up to 100 Mbps or even more. When it comes to rapid network expansion, it’s quantity that matters the most. But, of course, the quality of the Deutsche Telekom network is also very important to us. For many years, we have regularly received awards for our network quality. In 2022, for instance, we were once again the winner in the fixed-network tests conducted by “CHIP” and “connect” magazines. In building out our fixed network, we also rely on cooperative efforts – such as our joint venture with GlasfaserNordwest – as a strategy for bringing fiber-optic accesses to even more households.
More about this topic