Vodafone Germany is increasing the bandwidth of its LTE network by refarming the 2100MHz spectrum it previously used for 3G services and by expanding it by 5MHz for a total of 15MHz in that band. The firm secured the additional bandwidth at the Federal Network Agency’s (FNA’s) auction in summer 2019 and has now started using it for 4G services. In addition, Vodafone plans to switch off its 3G network on 30 June 2021, a move which will further increase the 2100MHz bandwidth used for its LTE service by an additional 5MHz, to 20MHz. Tests of the switchover process are being carried out for around 35,000 residents of Suhl in the south of Thuringia, which is expected to be the first city in Germany in which Vodafone mobile customers can use the entire LTE bandwidth in the 2100MHz.
In the past year, the company has implemented more than 11,000 LTE rollout and modernisation projects, and plans to carry out a further 1,700 measures to optimise the LTE network in the next few months, with a focus on improving coverage along transport routes. Vodafone’s 4G service reaches 98.6% of Germans (around 80 million), while its 5G network – launched in mid-2019 – covered around 16 million people by end-2020, with this set to increase to 30 million this year.