China’s four major mobile operators have announced they will jointly launch the world’s first 5G cross-network roaming trial in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The service enables users to access other operators’ 5G networks when their operator does not have 5G network coverage. Elsewhere, Deutsche Telekom and the organisation running Germany’s Autobahn network have unveiled a plan to improve 5G coverage on key transport routes. By the end of 2027, Deutsche Telekom is targeting the delivery of 200 Mbps across the 13,000 km road network. The company noted data rates are currently around half those targeted.
According to GSMA Intelligence research , mobile operator capex will reach $1.5 trillion globally between 2023 and 2030, with the vast majority on next-generation networks (5G, 5G-Advanced and the start of investment in early 6G launches). As seen in China, new approaches to network rollout in rural areas and other hard-to-reach places offer a way to improve coverage of next-generation networks at a lower cost. Expanding 5G coverage is key to helping the industry monetise 5G investments. The improved coverage across road networks eyed by Deutsche Telekom, for example, can help spur a range of connected car use cases including entertainment, information, navigation and over-the-air updates.