Deutsche Telekom has extended the reach of its Berlin-based 5G testbed, with six cells now covering an area of five kilometres wide.
The testbed, which first launched in September on pre-standard 5G, is based on the 5G New Radio standard and operates on the 3.7GHz band allocated under a test licence from the German regulator.
The cells are split equally between Leipziger Straße and Winterfeldtstraße in Berlin's Mitte and Schöneberg districts. A further 70 cells will be installed across 20 sites by the summer.
The German operator has been working with Huawei on the project and is using its LTE network as a base for the 5G New Radio deployment, as well as rolling out Massive MIMO.
Walter Goldenits, Chief Technology Officer at Telekom Deutschland, said: "5G New Radio in Berlin is another major step towards 5G for all. 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."
The operator used today's announcement to launch its 5G Prototyping Program, which is aimed at accelerating the development of 5G applications. It joins a separate project concentrating on low latency.
Both projects are in cooperation with Deutsche Telekom's hub:raum start-up accelerator and has the goal of tapping into the edge computing and new network features of 5G. Developers will be able to test their ideas in the Berlin network.
Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board member for Technology and Innovation, said: "We're continuing on our strong preparation course for the rollout of 5G in 2020.
"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."
A further testbed, announced at Mobile World Congress and centred on Dresden, will explore smart grids. It used the same event to launch a 5G-centred subsidiary.