Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann, whose company is spearheading the effort, unveiled the new “LTE Network” in Cologne on Wednesday and said it would soon be expanded to Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich.
The network is set to improve mobile web surfing by enabling, in theory, data transfers at a blazing-fast 100 megabits per second. Although these speeds are not likely to be reached in everyday use, the new network will in any case be much faster than the older UMTS network.
German mobile phone companies are looking to introduce high-speed, fourth-generation mobile networks to big cities in response to a dramatic surge in data volumes on the mobile network.
In 2005, less than 1 million gigabytes of data were transferred in this way. This year, more than 70 million gigabytes will be transferred on the network – the equivalent of about 45 million movies.
Driving the explosion is the growth of smart phones, tablet PCs and online video downloads, said Obermann, explaining he anticipates further growth in traffic in future years.
Until now, the LTE network had been concentrated in rural regions that did not previously have fast internet connections.
Reaching a ''milestone''
North Rhine-Westphalia Economics Minister Harry Voigtsberger called the establishment of the network in Cologne a “milestone.”
Fast connections were not a luxury but “absolutely necessary for international competitiveness,” he said.
Cologne mayor Jürgen Roters said that high-speed data connections were just as important as access to a highway or an airport.