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Telekom is slowing down UMTS – that’s why your internet may now be slower

Telekom-Logo

Telekom-Logo

UMTS is considered an outdated network technology. But there are still many clients on the telecom network that cannot use LTE. For too long, Telekom has failed to give discount stores online marketing approval for LTE. Telekom had planned to shut down UMTS later this year. A few days ago, however, there were signs of a change of direction: UMTS will continue to exist beyond 2020. However, effective immediately, Telekom is holding back. UMTS has gotten significantly slower across the country.


Numerous measurements in much of Germany show that more than 13 Mbit / s are no longer possible via Telekom’s UMTS. The reason for this: Telekom has reduced the frequency spectrum for UMTS. Instead of up to 2 x 10 MHz bandwidth as before, UMTS now only sends 2 x 5 MHz to all tested masts. YouTuber Tobske let us know this.

A few days ago, Tobske was the first to find a transmission mast in Wittlich in which 5G and LTE were already transmitting on UMTS frequencies. Officially, says Telekom, this is a test. At the national level, this operation would not be possible locally, because Telekom uses more frequency spectrum for test operation there than it actually has available.

Will LTE and 5G soon be rolled out nationwide on UMTS frequencies?

It can be assumed that Telekom now only uses 5 MHz instead of UMTS in the 10 MHz spectrum and that by the way it uses 5 MHz for LTE and / or 5G. With the newly introduced DSS procedure, Telekom could even send 5G and LTE in parallel. However, with the 5 MHz spectrum, you would not expect a large bandwidth. However, for the moment, the frequency spectrum appears to be unused.

If you can only use UMTS due to your tariff, a missing LTE cell phone or insufficient LTE reception, the Telekom measure is disadvantageous. Because when frequencies are turned off, UMTS automatically slows down. Our tests resulted in readings in the megabit range often in the single digits. We did not achieve more than 13 Mbit / s in any of the tests. According to Tobske’s observations, some stations are so overloaded that they can no longer be used.

Telekom: customers shouldn’t notice a difference

Telekom does not assume that customers will have problems. A company spokesperson informed us that Telekom tests had shown “that despite the reduction in spectrum used for 3G, the change in speed is hardly noticeable in daily use.” 3G to 4G network (and 5G) […] the speed that can be experienced on the 3G network is generally of the same order of magnitude as before [erhalten bleibe].

Customers need not worry about not being able to use the internet or just being able to use it slowly in the current situation. If there is isolated congestion on the network, investigate.