German operator Deutsche Telekom and industry juggernaut Siemens are going to build two separate private 5G networks on the ground of the Hanover trade fair.

Deutsche Messe, which operates one of the world’s largest trade fairs in Hanover, northwest of Germany, has secured a private 5G licence from BNetzA (Federal Network Agency), Germany’s communications industry regulator. In order to build “one of the largest 5G campus networks in Europe”, the company turned to Deutsche Telekom for the delivery. The planned private 5G network will cover all the 30 exhibition halls and the outdoor areas, with a total coverage of 1.4 million square metres.

The network will use up to 190 MHz bandwidth on the 3.7-3.8 GHz band that Germany has reserved for private 5G. The broad spectrum is needed to build plenty of redundant capacity to ensure availability, Deutsche Messe said. The network covering the whole exhibition centre will be built in stages, with the first stage lighting up five main halls with more than 70 indoor antennas and the outdoor spaces with 14 outdoor antennas. Deutsche Telekom will also provide a dedicated slice of its public 5G networks to service the Messe premise, to form a so-called “dual-slice” campus network.

“For Deutsche Messe, the early decision to have its own 5G campus network covering the entire exhibition center is a strategically important step. With the allocation of a private 5G license by the Federal Network Agency and Deutsche Telekom as a partner, we are strengthening our core and new business. We are thus offering exhibitors and guest organizers of all trade fairs in Hanover the opportunity to present their 5G-enabled products, solutions and applications live to an international audience,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Board of Management, Deutsche Messe AG. “With the 5G Campus network, Deutsche Telekom is opening up a unique opportunity for our exhibition center to become one of the largest private and self-contained 5G areas in Europe,” Köckler added.

Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, concurred. “Deutsche Telekom is the driving force behind the 5G rollout in Germany – especially for business. With this high-speed 5G campus network, we are delivering a transparent test area for industry here in Hanover,” he said. “Digitization and innovation in Germany will benefit from our strong partnership with Messe AG.”

Separately, the industry heavyweight Siemens will build another private 5G network at the exhibition centre for industrial use in one of the exhibition halls. In addition to providing exhibitors with 5G service during trade shows, the network can be used by external companies for tests and field trials during off season periods.

“In the exhibition hall, innovative solutions for industrial networks are presented using this 5G network infrastructure. One particular feature of the Siemens infrastructure is that it will remain in the exhibition hall permanently and will be handed over to Deutsche Messe for commercial use. This means that other customers can also use the Siemens technology as a test environment for their products,” Messe AG’s Dr. Köckler said. This is particularly beneficial to Messe AG as it will be able to open another revenue source, especially trade shows are still being pushed online by COVID-19.

“New network technologies have always been an important driver for innovation. The same is true for 5G. Through the use of private 5G networks, for example at production sites, companies can make full use of the advantages of this key technology. This paves the way for future-oriented applications – such as mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service engineers,” said Cedrik Neike, Member of the Board of Siemens AG and CEO Digital Industries. “At the same time, the situation in particular in Germany – with the private spectrum in the 3.7 – 3.8 and 26 GHz band – and in Europe offers the opportunity to play a leading role in the use of this future technology,” Neike added.

Siemens may have stopped competing in the public cellular network market when Nokia bought it out of NSN, their telecom network joint venture, back in 2013, the company has not departed from the communications industry. On the contrary, it has been active in sectors like IoT, autonomous driving, digital transformation, and apparently, 5G. The project at Hanover is not Siemens’ first private 5G network either. The company has trialed private industrial 5G in its Automotive Test Center in Nuremberg as well as in its plants in Amberg and Karlsruhe. Siemens stressed that in these systems, it has been “relying exclusively on its own independently developed products and solutions.”

Incidentally, Nokia, Siemens’ former JV partner, has also announced a new private 5G initiative, in collaboration with its public 5G network client Elisa. The project aims to offer industrial-grade networks to business customers including ports, mines, factories, and distribution centres in Finland, another case showing that 5G operators are working increasingly hard to tap into value streams in enterprise markets in addition to their traditional revenue source, the individual mobile consumers.



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