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DT Recorded 12Gbps Peak Speed for 5G Evolution

The end of 2023 brought with it some exciting news for 5G Advanced and 6G development, as WRC-23 identified 6GHz as the global IMT spectrum.

January 8, 2024

3 Min Read

The end of 2023 brought with it some exciting news for 5G Advanced and 6G development, as WRC-23 identified 6GHz as the global IMT spectrum.

While much of the excitement is forward looking – commercial 6G isn’t expected until 2030 – Deutsche Telekom (DT) is wasting no time getting ready. In fact, the German operator successfully completed 6GHz testing in September 2023, several months prior to the WRC-23 announcement.

And it appears to have been an enormous success, with DT announcing it had achieved mobile network speeds of 12 GB/s during testing on 6GHz frequencies. DT claims that sets a world record.

Perhaps more importantly, it represents a key development in the path from 5G to 6G – which is not nearly as simple as the flip of a switch. Navigating that path requires continued 5G Advanced evolution – or 5.5G. That’s a critical innovation phase en route to the eventual widespread rollout of 6G in 2030 and beyond.

DT’s tests quite literally bridged 5G and 6G: As Telecoms.com’s Mary Lennighan reported recently, the operator achieved its test results by combining one data stream from a 6GHz antenna with a second data stream from a 3.6GHz antenna, the latter of which is the band the company uses for its 5G network. At its peak during testing, DT hit 12.3 GB/s, according to the company.

2024 marks the fourth year of 5G availability and development in Germany, where it first rolled it out in 2021, and coverage has eclipsed 90% of mobile users there, with a typical speed of around 300 MB/s.

Late last year, DT said that capacity and coverage expansions at more than 1,300 sites across Germany mean that more than 95% of the population is now covered by 5G services. Moreover, the 3.7GHz frequency band, which supports speeds up to 1GB/s, is now available in more than 800 German cities and towns. Because of its continued 5G development, DT expects 5G coverage to reach 99% of the country in 2025.

"The 6 GHz spectrum has the characteristic to meet the growing demand of our customers for more capacity and more speed,” Abdu Mudesir, Head of Technology at DT, said in a statement after the operator’s successful 6GHz test. “That is why we hope that the World Radiocommunication Conference will set the direction for mobile radio use.”

Indeed, that was precisely the outcome: The identification of the 6GHz spectrum as the global technical facilitator of the 5.5G and 6G eras.

In the meantime, 3GPP Release 18 will be frozen in the middle of 2024, marking 2024 as a crucial year for 5G-Advanced – or 5.5G evolution, during which it will be put into commercial use and new applications and services will begin to materialize.

5.5G is the key phase from 5G to 6G. Operators and other stakeholders can cultivate various elements – such as terminals, spectrum, and services – necessary for a successful 6G rollout when the time comes. 5.5G is also ripe with opportunities for operators to develop new revenue streams or increase existing lines of business, thanks to various potential innovations in consumer experiences. And 5.5G is key to many other applications, including autonomous delivery and autonomous driving, as well as a vast number of IoT and edge networking use cases.

The 6G era may still seem far away, but 5.5G is just around the corner. Operators like DT aren’t waiting – the work is already being done, with significant 5.5G evolution expected in the year ahead. The WRC-23 announcement regarding 6GHz, in a sense, just makes it official. #Partner Content

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