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Deutsche Telekom, in collaboration with Huawei, went live with Europe’s first 5G connection on Sept. 14, based on the latest 3GPP standard. The operator’s commercial 5G network in central Berlin provides over 2Gbps and low latency of 3 milliseconds over a 3.7GHz spectrum link.

Powered by Huawei user equipment using 3GPP specifications for 5G New Radio (NR), the deployment on commercial sites is the first in Europe and marks an important advancement in the global development of 5G.

5G NR will be “critical for meeting our customers’ ever-increasing connectivity requirements that are steadily growing with more and more network connections,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board Member for Technology and Innovation. The achievement, she said, demonstrates the feasibility of DT’s plans to deliver superior customer experience.

Taihua Deng, President Wireless Network, Huawei, said, “Huawei is confident that the partnership with Deutsche Telekom can fully prepare the commercial launch of 5G NR services in Europe by 2020 thanks to 3GPP standardization efforts.”

The implementation in a live real-world setting in central Berlin using Huawei equipment and software is based on pre-standard 5G that closely tracks the 3GPP global standard for so-called ‘Non-Standalone New Radio’.

With the Non-Standalone 5G NR mode for enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) use-case, it is meant that the connection is anchored in LTE while 5G NR carriers are used to boost data-rates and reduce latency. Therefore, 5G NR will be deployed with the evolution of 4G LTE as the baseline for wide-area broadband coverage. The specifications enabling that system will be complete by December 2017 as part of the first drop of 3GPP Release 15.

5G NR has characteristics that make it ideal to meet the sub 6GHz mid-band needs for 5G applications that will require mobility support, wide-area coverage, as well as multi-gigabit throughput speeds and millisecond low latency.

“With this real-world achievement, Deutsche Telekom is making its first important step towards a 5G network launch,” said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO at Deutsche Telekom. “When the standard is defined, we will trial it in 2018 to prepare the ground for a wider deployment of commercial sites and the offering of devices for the mass market as they become available.”