Deutsche Telekom has realised mobile network data rates of 12 gigabits per second in tests, using 6 GHz frequencies.

Mary Lennighan

September 11, 2023

3 Min Read
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Deutsche Telekom has realised mobile network data rates of 12 gigabits per second in tests, using 6 GHz frequencies.

It claims that’s a world record, which is highly likely to be the case given that, in its own words, it generated data speed and bandwidth as much as 12 times higher than current 5G networks.

The German incumbent has been banging the 6 GHz drum for a while. Late last year it declared the frequency band to be “ideal” for mobile communications, having carried out some early testing using a trial licence from regulator the Bundesnetzagentur. This latest test seems to back up that statement and will doubtless help Deutsche Telekom to push 6 GHz up the agenda at the upcoming ITU World Radiocommunications Conference.

To achieve the record speed, the operator combined two data streams, one from a 6 GHz antenna and one from a 3.6 GHz antenna it currently uses for 5G. The highest recorded speed came in at 12.3 Gbps’ that’s by aggregating the performances of the 6 GHz spectrum and the 3.6 GHz, the former bringing around 11 Gbps and the latter 1 Gbps, broadly speaking. It’s all here, in a YouTube video.

It’s not carrier aggregation as such, but the telco expects that in the future this will be possible between the two bands.

The test took place in the town of Alzey, in Rheinhessen, using a rooftop site connected to a small test vehicle designed to simulate a mobile phone; naturally, there are as yet no smartphones that support 6 GHz, something that will in itself be a challenge for the industry to overcome should it end up using the band for mobile.

The vehicle was just 100 metres away from the rooftop site, illustrating the range issue that comes with the higher frequency bands. But Deutsche Telekom notes that the spectrum would be mainly used for inner-city densification – “imagine that it’s a marketplace, restaurant or cafe with many customers using their smartphones,” Driton Emini, VP of Network Evolution and Strategy at Deutsche Telekom suggested during the test – which makes a lot of sense.

Deutsche Telekom, like its peers, is looking to a future where demand for greater capacity and speed from customers will only increase. It believes the 6 GHz band is key to satisfying this demand. It’s not the only one; other operators from Europe and further afield are also championing 6 GHz. But it is one of the most vocal, particularly with WRC-23 just around the corner.

It hopes that its testing of the band will inform thinking at WRC-23, which is due to take place in Dubai from 20 November. Amongst other things, the event will see industry experts get together to decide whether the 6 GHz band can be used for mobile.

Deutsche Telekom seems pretty confident that it can. Abdu Mudesir, Head of Technology at Telekom Deutschland, describes the band as having “the best characteristics” for meeting future demand and says he hopes the WRC will lean in that direction.

Emini is also upbeat about the telco’s prospects on 6 GHz. “We assume that it will be available for mobile communications from the middle of the decade,” he said.

We should gain more clarity on that before the end of the year.

 

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About the Author(s)

Mary Lennighan

Mary has been following developments in the telecoms industry for more than 20 years. She is currently a freelance journalist, having stepped down as editor of Total Telecom in late 2017; her career history also includes three years at CIT Publications (now part of Telegeography) and a stint at Reuters. Mary's key area of focus is on the business of telecoms, looking at operator strategy and financial performance, as well as regulatory developments, spectrum allocation and the like. She holds a Bachelor's degree in modern languages and an MA in Italian language and literature.

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