Vodafone now has over 5,000 5G antennas, reaching more than 16 million people. This means that the network operator has exceeded the target, which was last adjusted upwards in November, when the original expansion target for 2020 had already been reached. Vodafone is relying on a mix of three frequency bands for its 5G network.
More than 5,000 5G antennas in 800 cities and towns are listed in the latest statistics, which were published this morning. New sites have been put into operation, especially in medium-sized cities such as Greifswald and in rural regions such as Köhn or Kolbingen, it said. Every 20 minutes, the company has activated another 5G antenna. In total, Vodafone reaches 16 million people with its 5G network.
The insight into the new statistics shows that Vodafone has exceeded the target set for 2020 for the second time. It was only at the beginning of November that the network operator announced that the annual target of 3,000 5G antennas had already been reached after new 5G sites were activated in more than 300 cities and towns, meaning that 10 million people were able to access the network as of November. By the end of the year, the new target was therefore 15 million people, which was exceeded at 16 million.
Next year, the expansion is expected to continue at the same pace. While there is no adjusted forecast for next year, in November the newly announced target for the end of 2021 was 30 million people with access to the 5G network instead of 20 million.
5G in high, mid and low band
Vodafone’s 5G network relies on a mix of three frequency bands in the high, mid and low bands. In most locations and especially in cities, Vodafone uses 5G frequencies from the mid-band at 1,800 MHz, which provide speeds of up to 500 Mbit/s in the downlink with 5G. Similar speeds have recently also been possible with LTE at these locations after Vodafone increased the capacities for both networks.
Vodafone supplies particularly heavily frequented areas with the newly acquired frequency range at 3.5 GHz in the high band, where 90 MHz are available and enable up to 1 Gbit/s in the downlink. Deutsche Telekom is also taking a similar approach, having recently equipped Bremen and Hanover with the fast 5G variant, so that the network now includes 13 “high-speed 5G” cities in Germany.
Low band with DSS in rural areas
While Deutsche Telekom offers 5G at 3.6 GHz and 2.1 GHz, Vodafone also relies on the low band at 700 MHz, which has a particularly long range of up to 8 kilometers and is still said to be able to achieve up to 200 Mbit/s. However, the low band is only used sporadically and primarily in rural areas to close wireless gaps and offer an alternative to very slow DSL connections via the GigaCube 5G mobile router if no other technologies are available in a region. In the low band, Vodafone uses dynamic spectrum sharing so that LTE is offered in parallel at these locations.