Deutsche Telekom selects Ericsson for 5G RAN in Germany

Several DT mobile sites will be upgraded with the latest 5G technology standard over the next few years. (Ericsson)

Deutsche Telekom has awarded Ericsson a new multi-year deal to deploy the service provider’s 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) across Germany.

The 5G deal follows a multi-RAN agreement where Ericsson supplied gear for DT’s 2G, 3G and 4G radio networks over the past two years.

According to the terms of this latest deal, several mobile sites will be upgraded to the latest 5G technology standard over the next few years using Ericsson Radio System products and solutions.

It also includes the Ericsson Spectrum Sharing solution, which is based on 3GPP-defined Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) but with added features from Ericsson. The DSS technology enables an operator like DT to share resources between 5G and 4G for the best network performance and eliminates the traditional and time-intensive refarming of spectrum. 

“We are pleased to have found a leading 5G supplier in Ericsson as a partner, who has also convinced us in the past in the modernization of our mobile access network. After the reliable and on-time modernization, the bar for the 5G rollout in the antenna network is naturally also high,” said Claudia Nemat, board member for Innovation and Technology at Deutsche Telekom, in a statement.

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DT CEO Timotheus Höttges told analysts during the company’s first-quarter conference call that the operator will use a mix of low, mid- and high-band spectrum for its 5G deployment, and it will roll out 5G faster than anybody else in Germany. Compared with Vodafone, DT will have four times more coverage already by the end of the year with regard to 5G, he said.

DT and Ericsson also are working together on equipping industrial companies with private mobile networks, or so-called campus networks. Most recently, the partners jointly equipped a BMW factory in Leipzig and a Osram plant site in Schwabmünchen.

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Germany is one country whose government has not banned the use of Huawei equipment. Earlier this month, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that DT had increased its dependency on Huawei as a supplier of 5G parts, a move that DT denied. 

“Deutsche Telekom has said on several occasions that we are moving out Chinese vendors in the mobile communications core network,” the operator stated in a blog. “Fact is that the sales of Deutsche Telekom with Huawei have been declining in the last 3 years.”

DT also said it wants more choice in the antenna network, and to ensure more component diversity in the network and to be able to choose between more manufacturers, it supports the Open RAN initiative.

Dell’Oro Group just finished its RAN market five-year forecast and adjusted its Open RAN projections upward, with Open RAN now approaching a double-digit share of the overall RAN capex by the outer part of the forecast period.