Deutsche Telekom holds live 5G NR trial in Berlin

Deutsche Telekom has activated a 5G New Radio (NR) cluster in downtown Berlin, claiming the testbed will allow it to see how next generation networks perform in real life conditions.

5G NR is the mobile component of what will eventually constitute commercial 5G networks, which are expected to be commercially launched in Europe in 2020, offering faster speeds, lower latency and high capacity.

Deutsche Telekom is using 3.7GHz spectrum under a test licence and the 3GGP’s 5G NR standard which was finalised last December, claiming that this will provide a foundation for an eventual 5G rollout.

Berlin 5G

The initial network covers an area of 5km in the German capital, with six cells with commercial 5G antennas covering Berlin Mitte to Schoeneberg. There are plans to add an additional 70 cells at 20 sites by the summer.

And because the pre-commercial setup is integrated into Deutsche Telekom’s existing 4G network, its engineers will be able to see how it behaves in the real world, not just in a lab environment.

"5G New Radio in Berlin is another major step towards 5G for all”, explained Walter Goldenits, Deutsche Telekom CTO, adding the test is a first for Europe. "This 5G cluster in Berlin will serve as the basis for our future commercial 5G rollout in Germany. The antennas are providing important test results.

“At the same time, they are real elements of what will be our future 5G network. We are preparing the ground so that our network will be ready when the first 5G-capable smartphones appear on the market."

The first 5G networks are expected to go live in 2019, with the US, Japan and South Korea leading the way in development.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.