Start for 5G: The smartphones are still bumping

The 5G network marks the beginning of a new era in mobile communications, and Telekom and Vodafone are massively expanding the new network. Telekom already reaches around every second household, Vodafone plans to supply every eighth inhabitant by the end of the year. At Telefónica and 1 & 1 Drillisch, however, it will still take time for the 5G network to go into operation.

The maximum speeds of several hundred Mbit / s promised for 5G can only be achieved in areas that are supplied in the new frequency range at 3600 MHz. The other bands are simply too narrow for such high data rates. However, the range decreases with increasing frequency, and indoor care also deteriorates. So there will initially be really fast connections where the network is already well developed, i.e. in the cities. In c’t 17/2020 we took a closer look at the expansion of the infrastructure and the range of 5G networks.

Deutsche Telekom is relying on the n1 band at 2100 MHz, where previously only 3G radio was used. Vodafone, on the other hand, preferably uses the frequencies of Digital Dividend II at 700 MHz on band n28. Vodafone hopes that this will provide better coverage both indoors and outdoors. Additional antennas at higher frequencies should create additional capacity at Vodafone wherever it is needed.

The 3G network will be switched off by all German network operators by 2022 at the latest, and Vodafone and Telekom will probably do so in the coming year. The freed-up capacities should then be used for 5G. If you are still using a 3G smartphone, you should switch to a more modern device as soon as possible.

It makes sense to buy a 5G-capable device right away. The new mobile radio technology has now also arrived in the middle class for devices for around 500 euros. In the current c’t 17/2020 we tested five 5G smartphones for 500 euros. However, it turned out that some manufacturers have taken their mouths too far: Not every device works with every German network operator on every 5G band.

Read more about 5G in c’t 17/2020

We also discussed 5G smartphones in c’t uplink 33.8.


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