Deutsche Telekom to build ‘a million square metres’ of private 5G at Hanover Fairground
Trade fair operator Deutsche Messe has secured a private 5G licence from German network agency BNetzA for the Hanover fairground in Germany, home to Germany’s flagship Industrie 4.0 event. It has recruited Germany-based carrier Deutsche Telekom to set up “one of the largest 5G zones in Europe” and “Europe’s largest 5G exhibition centre”. The network will cover 1.4 million square metres, including all 30 halls and buildings at the site, as well as outdoor spaces.
Siemens has been appointed alongside to build a separate private 5G network for industrial applications in the main hall in time for the flagship Hannover Messe event in April, which has been forced online by coronavirus (Covid-19). The rest of the site will be covered by the end of the year, using the new frequency allocation in the 3.7-3.8 GHz range. Deutsche Telekom is handling the wider installation, and will set it to run as a ‘dual-slice’ hybrid campus setup with a slice of the public 5G network in tandem.
Exhibitors at the site will be able to use the private 5G network, ringfenced with dedicated bandwidth and localised compute resources, and visitors will receive enhanced 5G access on Deutsche Telekom’s public airwaves. Deutsche Telekom’s remit is to start with private 5G in the five main halls, and the outdoor area and parking lots, before moving to the remaining halls and buildings, and then tying-in with its public network.
It will install 14 outdoor antennas and 70-odd indoor antennas in the initial phase, for the first five halls and outdoor areas. Deutsche Telekom is to hive off a chunk of its frequencies in the 3.6 GHz range for the ‘public’ part. Deutsche Messe said it will make use of a total of 190 MHz of bandwidth at the exhibition centre. It said a redundant mobile network will be installed to ensure high availability and maximum reliability; compute functions will be housed on site.
The Siemens installation in the main hall will remain in the exhibition hall permanently, said Deutsche Messe, and be handed over after the Hannover Messe show for commercial use. Other “customers” will be able to use the Siemens setup as a test environment for their products after Siemens, one of the main exhibitors at Hannover Messe, has left the building in April.
Siemens, which has its own private 5G projects at its automotive test centre in Nuremberg, and plants in Amberg and Karlsruhe, said future users will be able to tweak the network to their own ends – “in terms of performance, reliability, and security”. Siemens has developed its own “products and solutions” for its other private 5G networks, and will install the same in Hanover – “to highlight… this technology and to make it available to industrial users”.
Jochen Köckler, chairman of the board at Deutsche Messe, said: “We are changing from an organizer to an operator of a site for testing and demonstration purposes in high-tech environments. We are developing our exhibition centre into a multifunctional innovation campus.”
He added: “We are 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. 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.”
Tim Höttges, chief executive at Deutsche Telekom, said: “With this high-speed 5G campus network, we are delivering a transparent test area for industry here in Hanover. Digitization and innovation in Germany will benefit from our strong partnership with Messe.”
Hagen Rickmann, managing director for business customers at Deutsche Telekom, commented: “5G will bring fundamental competitive advantages, especially for industry. Production and mobility will benefit just as much as applications for smart cities, logistics, or medical technology. The advantages of this future technology will become tangible at the Hanover exhibition center.”
Cedrik Neike, chief executive of Siemens’ digital industries business, commented: “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. 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.”
The Lower Saxony Ministry of Digitization is putting around €2.8 million into the project. Lower Saxony, in northwest Germany, is one of the only German states to develop a funding framework to support the establishment of research and industry related 5G campus networks. It has funded 11 5G projects in the region, comprising both state-wide and private enterprises initiatives. “No other federal state can boast more awards in this area,” it said.
Bernd Althusmann, minister for economics and digitalization, said: “Covid-19 will lead to long-term changes in the trade-fair business, as well as other sectors of the economy. Deutsche Messe is consistently aligning itself for the future with its 5G smart venue strategy. We now have the opportunity to help shape this structural change and the accelerated digitalization it will bring.”