DÜSSELDORF (dpa-AFX) – Gentle on the battery and a little faster when establishing a connection: A small proportion of Vodafone customers (Vodafone Group) have been making calls since Friday using the 5G mobile standard, which was previously only used for Internet services. As the first German network operator, the company activated the corresponding technology within a limited framework – a total of a good 300 radio stations in Düsseldorf, Leipzig and Frankfurt, as Vodafone announced on Friday. For the time being, however, this only applies to users of Samsung S23 smartphones, other models from other manufacturers are to be added soon.
Competitors Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica Deutschland ( Telefonica Deutschland ) (O2) have yet to launch 5G telephony for their customers. 5G networks have existed in Germany since 2019, but only for data use. In the future, this will also be the case with Vodafone for telephony, which previously ran using the 2G and 4G radio standards. In the age of the Internet, data use is much more important than classic telephony, especially since many calls are now made via services such as WhatsApp and Signal, i.e. Internet data transmission.
Nevertheless, phone calls remain important for many people. Vodafone is now heralding the 5G era for this area. According to the information, telephone calls via 5G go easy on the battery because the energy efficiency in the network is higher. The reason is that the mobile phone connection remains in one network and does not switch between 2G, 4G and 5G.
Another advantage: the connection to the called party is set up a little faster and the waiting time is reduced. So far, for 2G to 2G calls – most people still make calls over this network – it’s typically around 4 seconds. This drops to 2.8 seconds for 5G to 4G connections and 1.3 seconds for 5G to 5G. In addition, users get a good telephone connection even in large crowds – if they are only in the 4G network in football stadiums or major concerts, it is more difficult.
“Today we activated 5G telephony at more than 300 cell phone sites,” said Vodafone Germany network manager Tanja Richter. Gradually, the improvement will reach more and more places and more and more customers. The transmission takes place via pure 5G technology, so-called 5G standalone. Hybrid technology with 4G components is no longer used.
And what is the competition doing? It takes a different approach and doesn’t want to start on such a small scale as Vodafone is now doing, but only flip the switch when a larger proportion of customers could benefit from it. A spokesman for O2 reports that 5G Standalone (SA) and thus the prerequisite for 5G telephony in the network are being prepared. “We will activate the technology for consumers when it offers them real added value, such as when enough devices in the market support 5G SA and we have real use cases.” A “full” 5G standalone will be offered, which will also comprehensively enable mobile telephony via 5G.
The 5G telephone calls for Vodafone customers with Samsung S23 cell phones in the only three cities so far are not automatic. Because in order to be able to use the new technical method, you have to activate the “5G plus” function in your customer account. Extra costs are not due./wdw/DP/stw
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