If your city’s old parking garage needs upgrades, a 5G-focused mobile phone carrier could pay to improve it — and share the fees with the city, Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Tim Hoettges suggested in a wide-ranging Bloomberg interview. Carriers’ evolution from selling data packages to offering larger solutions will kick off a “revolution” in 5G services, Hoettges said, ultimately benefiting consumers, cities, companies, and carriers alike.
As Germany’s largest mobile carrier — and owner of T-Mobile-branded carriers throughout Europe and the U.S. — Deutsche Telekom might not seem like it needs to share parking fees to keep afloat. However, Hoettges explained that the revenue-sharing concept is pragmatic, enabling carriers to directly repay their soon-to-be-massive 5G infrastructure investments. Financing 5G network growth is of particular concern to European carriers, which can’t rely on American- or Chinese-sized customer bases to provide economies of scale.
As 5G deployment takes place, Hoettges expects that carriers will offer new 5G services to cities and companies, jointly delivering superior experiences that can be monetized. Carriers will supply everything necessary to add modern wireless features to an existing business, including 5G networking hardware and IoT devices. For instance, a parking garage could be equipped with 5G-connected vehicle sensors and a payment system, providing drivers with better park-and-pay experiences while compensating the garage owner and carrier. But once the carrier has a significant role in public or private infrastructure, it might be difficult to dislodge.
5G mobile is being touted as society-transforming, thanks to a combination of ultrafast data, nearly zero network latency, and enough capacity to service millions of devices in small geographic areas. Deutsche Telekom’s U.S. arm T-Mobile US has committed to starting its 5G rollout in 2019, while its parent company expects 5G to be widely available in Germany in 2020. Hoettges believes that the average person will own six internet-connected devices by 2020, and that Germany alone will have millions of connected cars, machines, and factories by then.