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Telefónica, Vodafone bring digital DAS to central Berlin

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Telefónica and Vodafone have brought high-bandwidth LTE to Berlin's Fan Mile for the first time, after installing an intelligent digital distributed antenna system (idDAS) to boost capacity.

The operators teamed up with Cobham Wireless on the project, which went live on New Year's Eve. The network provided coverage to more than one million visitors who attended the party.

The Fan Mile, which stretches from central Berlin to the Brandenberg Gate, has proven to be a difficult part of Germany to introduce cellular coverage to, mainly because of strict planning guidelines that ban the use of visible cellular equipment. The large number of attendees at events held at the Mile also proves a strain on mobile networks.

Cobham Wireless used a base station at a hotel some 25 kilometres away and connected it via fibre to 27 idDAS remote units located underground and around the Brandenberg Gate.

The vendor claims this technology helps to reduce capex and opex and can also be expanded to provide more capacity, more frequencies, connect other operators or route services to nearby locations.

Vodafone Germany's Head of Network Planning Enrico Schadock said: “We are immensely proud to lead the way with this new technology and provide our customers with high-bandwidth services no matter how challenging the environment. Following the successful launch of this service we will now look to expand the scope of the system to utilise the full capabilities of this technology, and shift the capacity from the base station hotel to other sites as required.”

Matthias Johannes, Group Leader Business & Special Solutions, Telefónica Germany added: “This new and intelligent technology helps us to meet the demands of a modern and high-speed cellular network. With Cobham Wireless’s idDAS it will be the first time we can flexibly shift our capacity to important hot-spots when it’s required.”