The big German telco says the antennas have been switched on at two locations in Berlin and that they are operating in real-world conditions.
Deutsche Telekom says the antennas, in three cells located in Leipziger Straße and three in Winterfeldtstraße, are based on 5G New Radio (5G NR) – the mobile component of 5G.
“With this technical set-up, Deutsche Telekom has successfully demonstrated Europe's first 5G data connection over a live network. Currently, the Group is deploying an entire 5G cluster in the heart of Berlin,” the company says in a statement on its website.
"Today, right in the heart of Berlin, we're taking the next decisive step – with the successful integration of commercial 5G technology into our network. We want to ensure that 5G is going to deliver on its promise of enhanced mobility, high speed and low latency."
The telco says the 5G cluster in downtown Berlin is initially spanning an area of up to five kilometers wide and the first six commercial antennas are now installed in sites in Berlin's Mitte and Schöneberg districts for test operations.
And Deutsche Telekom says an additional 70 cells are to be installed by summer, across a total of more than 20 sites, resulting in a major 5G testbed right in the centre of the German capital.
"5G New Radio in Berlin is another major step towards 5G for all”, says Walter Goldenits, chief technology officer at Telekom Deutschland.
"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."
Deutsche Telekom says that currently, the antennas are using frequencies in the 3.7 GHz spectrum band under a testing licence and, in general, the 3-GHz band is one of the spectrum bands in focus for 5G initial deployments. It also says that for the pre-commercial set-up in the centre of Berlin, 5G equipment is integrated into the live network infrastructure, meaning it is interacting with Deutsche Telekom's 4G spectrum in Germany.
"This will enable the interconnection and field testing of future 5G services under real-world conditions," the telco says.
The implementation is using commercial 5G equipment from Huawei, as well as software and terminals, based on the 3rd-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standard for 5G New Radio (in the non-standalone version).