We again made significant investments in the broadband and fiber-optic buildout, our IPtransformation, and our mobile infrastructure as part of our integrated network strategy.
We are building an IP-based network with high transmission bandwidths so that, in the future, we can offer our customers competitive high-speed lines, e.g., by migrating our VDSLnetwork to vectoring technology. In addition, we are investing heavily to offer greater coverage and even higher speeds in rural areas as well. We are also using innovative products for this purpose – like our hybrid router, which combines the transmission bandwidths of fixed-network and mobile communications, thus enabling much higher transmission speeds.
Part of our network strategy is to also systematically build out our mobile networks with 4G/LTE technology to increase transmission rates in all our national companies. Thanks to investments in our 4G/LTE network, our customers enjoy better network coverage with fast mobile broadband. In 2017, we already supplied 94% of the population of Germany with LTE (94 % in Europe). This puts us right on schedule to reach our goal of between 75 and 95 percent network coverage by 2018.
In this section, we will introduce some "Smart Innovation" solutions. The associated business models are based on the most advanced technology and provide an immediate value-add for our customers. At the same time, these solutions are also making an ecological and/or social contribution to society.
We are, for example, utilizing future-oriented and widely available technologies to make cities viable for the future and to develop solutions for social challenges. For this, we are relying on innovative NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) technology, with which we are paving the way for the Internet of Things. NB-IoT devices have a large operating range and long battery service lives. Consequently, this technology provides the basis for many innovative uses that are both cost- and energy efficient. Particularly useful areas of application for NB-IoT are, for instance, smart parking, smart cities, smart meters, as well as transport and logistics solutions.
In early 2018, NB-IoT was already available in more than 600 cities and municipalities in Germany, for instance in the metropolitan areas of Berlin/Potsdam, Cologne/Bonn, the Ruhr district, Mannheim/Heidelberg, and Stuttgart. Progressive rollout in the coming months will see many more cities in ten additional countries being equipped with the new infrastructure. In addition to the USA and Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, as well as the Czech Republic and Croatia will be included in this rollout.
In the area of e-health, we are highlighting, for the reporting year, two innovative applications that provide added social value, in particular, for our customers and for society: the game Sea Hero Quest gives scientists important insights into the spatial navigation ability of individuals of all ages, within minutes – and thus 150 times faster than with conventional research methods. Gamers thus make a direct contribution to dementia research while having fun. The other e-health solution, iMedOne®, is a hospital information system. It creates optimal conditions for connected work and supports hospital processes in multiple ways. This means that physicians and nursing staff, for instance, are able to access required data and functions at all times and everywhere. This makes a significant contribution to cost-efficiency and quality improvement. An efficient and fully integrated hospital information system that can be used on mobile devices thus improves the quality of care.