First 5G fuel pumps go online in Germany

Europe’s first petrol stations with super-fast 5G internet went online in Germany on Monday, telecoms giant Vodafone and French energy firm Total said.

The first sites to be kitted out with the technology are in the cities of Dusseldorf and Erfurt, a Vodafone spokesman said.

The project is designed to allow customers to pay for fuel using their mobiles, while also providing a next-generation mobile phone signal for the area.

Total operates around 1,200 petrol stations in Germany.

The 5G connection is to be used to control price displays and digital advertising boards. The technology is made possible by a stationary 5G router, or “Gigacube 5G,” which receives the 5G signal from the mobile phone network and transmits it to a network distributor at the filling station.

“5G leads to competitive advantages not only in huge industrial halls. The new mobile phone technology is also needed where we don’t immediately suspect it – even when refuelling,” Hannes Ametsreiter, chief executive of Vodafone Germany, said in a statement.

Using mobile phones is banned at the pump due to their flammable batteries, so customers would need to use their devices at the checkout areas.

Germany’s auction of frequencies for the new super-fast telecoms standard ended in June 2019 after a long bidding battle. Mobile phone companies paid a total of 6.55 billion euros (7.17 billion dollars) for access.

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