Deutsche Telekom, SPL test flying mobile communications station in Germany

BERLIN, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Deutsche Telekom and its British partner Stratospheric Platforms Limited (SPL) have tested a flying mobile communications station, Germany's largest telecommunications company announced on Monday.

Several test flights with a remote-controlled aircraft flying at an altitude of around 14 kilometers had been conducted in Germany's federal state Bavaria at the beginning of October, according to Deutsche Telekom.

During the test, which was the first of its kind worldwide, according to Deutsche Telekom, a smartphone successfully received a signal from the antennas on the aircraft, enabling voice calls, video calls, data downloads and web browsing.

"We have shown that we can bring fast Internet and connectivity anywhere in the future," said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, member of the SPL board on behalf of Deutsche Telekom and managing director of Deutsche Telekom's subsidiary Deutsche Funkturm.

"Particularly in areas that are difficult to access with traditional mobile masts, flying base stations will be a useful and cost-efficient addition to our mobile communications network," added Jacobfeuerborn.

Deutsche Telekom noted that "due to the high flight altitude and an almost unobstructed view of the ground, an airplane can use special antennas to supply radio cells with a diameter of up to 100 kilometers," supplementing the existing mobile phone network on the ground.

SPL and other partners were jointly developing a hydrogen-powered and remote-controlled aircraft. According to Deutsche Telekom, the first flight is planned for mid-2022.

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