Deutsche Telekom to Offer 200 Mbps with Hybrid Wireline/LTE Router

Deutsche Telekom’s (DT) new hybrid router is intended to improve broadband speeds in Germany’s sparsely settled areas by using both copper wire based DSL and stationary but wireless LTE broadband. DT last week announced the router’s nationwide availability at the Mobile World Conference.

We first reported on the concept in an article about a Lantiq chip and product design to accomplish just that in June 2013.

We do not know whether Lantiq’s chips are in the new DT router — or some other company’s. What is certain is that the copper wire DSL and LTE together will ensure a more consistent speed for streaming videos.

If the hybrid router can indeed provide speeds of up to 200 Mbps, as DT says, it’s probably 80 to 100 Mbps of that over a VDSL2 vectoring copper wire broadband and 100 Mbps or so over LTE — although those speeds both sound ambitious. Subscribers in sparsely settled areas would be happy to get one-half of the 200 Mbps. There are no applications currently that require speeds in excess of 100 Mbps — not even three or four simultaneous 4K streams.



DT’s rural Germany: broadband customer is king


“In rural areas we have build-out obligations and it could help people out of the digital divide,” CEO Tim Höttges told reporters at MWC. “Cable operators have never invested in these areas — they have always hit the sweet spots.”

Monthly cost Wireless Speed Fixed Line Speed Total Broadband Speed
€29.95 ($34) 16 Mbps 16 Mbps 32 Mbps
€34.95 ($39) 50 Mbps 50 Mbps 100 Mbps
€39.95 ($45) 100 Mbps 100 Mbps 200 Mbps

Not bad, eh? By comparison to the US, it certainly beats what AT&T is offering in much of its footprint, what Verizon and Frontier are offering in their all-copper footprints — as are CenturyLink and too many other telcos.

DT said it would add a pay TV service next year. Its subscribers could of course buy a smart TV, Blu-ray player, Apple TV, Roku or such and immediately begin watching a fast growing amount of compelling content from an OTT service.

DT plans to offer the hybrid router in its footprint outside of Germany such as in Hungary.


What’s Good for the Goose

If the integration of DSL and LTE is good enough for DT in sparsely populated areas, it’s good enough for Telefónica Germany (TG), the country’s second largest telco, which offers landline and DSL services including high-speed VDSL services that it provides as a result of having a local loop unbundling deal with DT. It has about 4 million DSL/VDSL subscribers. TG is said to be testing an integrated DSL/LTE product.


DT’s Challengers

DT’s big challenge is the cablecos. It’s learning what other telcos have already experienced. For example, Vodafone’s Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s largest cableco, is offering 200 Mbps in some locations now and in November it will extend that to its entire footprint — 1.8 million residences. Tele Columbus has said it will offer 400 Mbps in some locations next month.

As we reported last month, DT is evaluating a 250 Mbps version of “super vectoring” from Huawei Technologies. But, it’s not an industry standard and telcos tend to avoid using non-industry standards because they are proprietary and generally available only from a single source.

Then there’s, which we’ve been told DT is evaluating but is avoiding for the moment because requires the fiber node be located closer to the residence than VDSL2 Vectoring.

All this shows that telcos do not have a singular strategy that is simple and straight forward such as the one the cablecos have with DOCSIS in it various but compatible versions. Telcos are deploying some form of DSL and/or VDSL2 bonding and/or VDSL2 Vectoring and/or and/or FTTH.

DT further muddles the broadband technology strategy mixture by adding stationary LTE.

Cablecos Telcos
DOCSIS DSL in several versions
VDSL in several versions
VDSL2 bonding
VDSL2 Vectoring

Having a single set of broadband technologies reduces the cablecos’ costs for …

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