Self-driving cars, smart cities, intelligent factories: the next generation of the mobile communications network will enable the kind of new business ideas that today’s users can only dream of. After all, “5G”, the abbreviation stands for the “5th generation” of the technical standard for mobile communications, is not just a more powerful radio interface. Rather it is a technology that opens up the internet to billions of devices. Instead of today’s human internet that essentially connects people to each other, 5G will turn the internet of things (IoT) into reality. This will open up huge potential for automakers in two distinct areas: 5G to assist autonomous driving in fully connected road traffic; for the digital factory 5G is an indispensable component.
Data highway for self-driving cars
5G will provide the data highway to support automated driving. The new wireless standard can reliably transmit huge amounts of data at high speed and with low latency. That is crucial to support, for instance, direct instant communication between the vehicles of the future. High-speed mobile internet becomes real-time internet with 5G, as the new mobile communications standard transmits data ten times faster than the current 4G standard (LTE). Network availability is equally important. 5G will be rolled out on top of the existing LTE network, which we are now working hard to expand. Deutsche Telekom alone is investing billions of euros every year in extending the infrastructure to achieve its ambitious targets of rolling out 4G to 90 percent of Germany through 2021, and doing the same with 5G through 2025.
High-speed networks for the smart factory
5G will also reliably interconnect the central nervous system of the smart factory; the people, machinery, and processes. Together with industry, Deutsche Telekom is testing the first campus networks for industrial use cases based on LTE today – and evolving to 5G in the future. This is based on a dual-slice approach that combines private and public LTE networks. Over the long term, 5G will be a toolbox – say through network slicing, which flexibly and securely delivers virtual networks with diverse capabilities tailored according to specific customer requirements. Besides preparing the infrastructure, harmonizing the diverse customer requirements will be a key success factor for 5G. Uniform international standards are not the only important aspect here. Capturing the interests of the automotive industry is also essential. So the aim is to bring together the experts from the various industries to set the right key areas when defining the new mobile communications standard and to meet the specific requirements for connected vehicle services with 5G network capabilities. Here global industry alliances, such as the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), offer suitable platforms for network operators like Deutsche Telekom to co-create with partners from the automotive industry to lay the foundations for the mobile communications network of the future.