Federal Network Agency

Mobile communications

The development of mobile radio networks in Germany

UMTS network 3rd generation (3G)

2004 saw the launch of UMTS networks in Germany. This digital mobile radio network, largely focussed on data communication, supports the D and E networks which to some extent have reached maximum capacity, especially in cities and densely populated areas. Compared with the D and E networks, noticeably higher data rates can be attained in the UMTS network.

E network – 2nd generation

In 1994 and in 1998 a new mobile radio network, also based on the GSM standard, was taken into operation. These two networks operate mainly in the 1800 MHz frequency range and are referred to as the E networks. Apart from the different frequency ranges in which they operate (900 and 1800 MHz), the E and D networks hardly differ with regard to their functionalities. The mobile radio network operators claim to have a customer base of nearly 110 million, all networks taken together.

D network – 2nd generation (2G)

With the introduction of the two D networks in mid-1992, mobile communications became digital and above all, European. It is now possible to use the D networks nearly all over the world for telephone calls and data communication. Basis for the cellular digital D networks is the GSM Standard which was drawn up at European level. For technical reasons, all the countries in which D networks were established (more than 220 states) have comparable network structures and their radio installations hence also have comparable field strengths.

C network – 1st generation (1G)

With the launch of the C network, also an analogue network, all subscribers in Germany were reached under a single call number. Unlike the A and B networks, the C network was operated in the 450 MHz frequency range. Like today's D, E and UMTS networks, the C network also had a nationwide cellular structure. However, subscriber numbers were severely restricted for technical reasons.

B network – 1st generation (1G)

In 1972 the A network was replaced by the B network. This enhanced analogue mobile radio network also used the 150 MHz frequency range. In this network, subscribers were able to set up their own calls.

A network – 1st generation (1G)

With the A network, a mobile radio network suitable for daily use was first introduced in Germany in 1958. At that time, calls had to be set up and terminated manually. The A network was an analogue mobile radio network operating in the 150 megahertz (MHz) range.


Mobile radio installation sites

Subject to adherence to the relevant legal provisions, the planning and installation of a mobile radio network is the responsibility of the network's operator. To determine the sites for fixed mobile radio base stations, the operators use computer-based procedures which take into account the topographical conditions, development density and vegetation as well as anticipated customer numbers for each cell to be created (a cell is created by a base station).

Not every newly required cell (mobile communications site) results in a separate radio installation site. The mobile radio network operators often share the use of sites. The Federal Network Agency keeps track of such sites.



More information

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Date of modification: 2010.07.14

Additional Information

Technology - abstract

- Overview

- Limits

- Technology

- Applications

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