Telekom manager michael hagspihl told the news agency dpa. The reason: telecommunications has focused on the 1800-mhz frequency band for the LTE rollout in the cities. "This strategy is now paying off in full for the iphone," said hagspihl, who is responsible for marketing in germany.
In germany, LTE networks are currently being operated in three frequency ranges: 800, 1800 and 2600 mhz. The iphone 5 supports only the 1800 mhz. T-mobile, a subsidiary of deutsche telekom, gives all smartphone customers with appropriately equipped phones access to the LTE network.
However, the full speed of 100 mbit/second is only available at no extra charge in the XL rate plan; in other plans, the option can be booked as well. "We claim to be able to combine an optimal network with the iphone and offer the customer the full LTE experience," said hagspihl. "So far we have covered around 60 cities, and by the end of the year we will have covered 100."
Rival vodafone, which has now landed on the sidelines of LTE, at least with the iphone 5, emphasizes the major gaps in the network of the competition. "So LTE ends at the iphone 5 at the local border in selected cities," said a spokesman. Vodafone recently promised nationwide LTE coverage by spring 2015 – but only in the 800 and 2600 mhz frequency ranges. At the same time, industry experts expect the next generation of devices to support more frequency bands.
At competitor O2, the LTE network has so far only been operating in the 800 mhz frequency range. The fourth provider E-plus does not currently operate an LTE network, but has room to maneuver as far as the 1800-mhz band is concerned. E-plus has been freed from GSM earmarking for its entire 1800-mhz spectrum and could use those frequencies in its LTE rollout, a spokesman confirmed. Tests are currently being conducted with various frequencies, but no decision has been made yet.
LTE networks operate worldwide in almost three dozen different frequencies – but current radio chips can only integrate a few of them simultaneously. This is why, for example, the current ipad cannot use LTE networks in europe at all.
But even on the telecom network, you won’t always be traveling at top speed. "Of course, physically the same applies as for the previous mobile radio operation: if there is very heavy use within a cell, then not everyone will be able to use the 100 mbit per second," telekom manager hagspihl admitted. But in principle, the networks are designed so that the majority of customers should receive this speed.
Telekom does not specify a target date for nationwide coverage. "The strategy is basically: always the fastest network at the respective locations," hagspihl explained. "The question, therefore, is not when will i have LTE nationwide, but when can i offer all customers the next generation of tempo experience on the mobile internet."