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  • 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report

New communications standard: network revolution instead of evolution

The current LTE communications standard is a fourth generation standard (4G). LTE is continually developing and can fully meet the requirements of consumers for ever greater bandwidth. We assume that the 4G LTE technology will most likely also become a foundation for a future 5G standard. 5G is currently being discussed and developed in the industry. This will allow us to meet the growing requirements of consumers in the future as well.

However, 5G will be able to do much more - the new functions will be interesting first and foremost for industry. That's because 5G will enable new business models which are still inconceivable according to current standards. This includes innovative solutions for the healthcare sector and automotive industry. All in all, 5G will provide 1,000 times higher capacity depending on the application, 10 times better speed and 10 times faster response time (latency) in comparison with conventional technologies.

Advances on the road to 5G

  • We made further progress with respect to response time in the 5G network in 2017. After we cracked the record latency of one millisecond in 2016, we are now also able to guarantee stable low response times in the 5G network. Industrial applications that rely on a high degree of precision in particular need this reliability. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2017, we demonstrated this using an industrial robot whose response times were always exactly eight milliseconds.
  • We were able to prove the industrial sustainability of 5G and the advantages for the energy sector in another practical test in the spring of 2017. In cooperation with the Berlin-based electricity supplier Stromnetz Berlin and telecommunications company Ericsson, we investigated use cases in the electricity grid within the scope of the 5Grid project. The results showed that highly flexible communications networks will soon be available with 5G, which can adapt to the most varied of requirements. Such electricity grids are needed for the shift towards wind and solar energy. 5G can thus become a key driving force behind the energy revolution in Europe.
  • Together with Ericsson and South Korean telecommunications company SK Telecom, we developed the first intercontinental 5G trial network in the world and presented it in the spring of 2017. To this end, we set up what is called network slices (virtual networks) for Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom in the regions where the two network operators operate. Network slicing enables an operator to offer a network service internationally. Customers would then not need to conclude individual contracts with operators in various countries. Both companies demonstrated this in a test run, during which they set up network slices for, among other things, augmented reality (AR) which allows an augmented perception of reality – for example through smartphones.
  • In September we used the new mobile communications standard 5G New Radio (NR), the future mobile communications component of 5G, for the first time throughout Europe. In Berlin-Schöneberg our network transmitted data over a 5G connection with more than two gigabits per second and a latency of three milliseconds during a field test. This represents an important development step on the road to the worldwide introduction of 5G.