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German 5G Auction Process Attracts Four Applications

German communications regulator Bundesnetzagentur confirmed it had received applications from four companies to take part in its 5G auction, a process scheduled for late March.

Although regulator did not reveal the identity of the interested companies, local press reports suggested that Telefonica Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, as well as newcomer 1&1 Drillisch will take part in the process.

The regulator said it will start now to assess the suitability of the applications as it aims for an auction starting date in the second half of March.

However, the regulator’s plans could be under threat, as the country’s three mobile operators have filed legal actions against the terms of the auction.

In November, the Bundesnetzagentur published the final draft conditions for the country’s 5G auction. Bundesnetzagentur President Jochen Homann said the proposal had been revised from the original terms, taking into account numerous comments from interested parties.

Among the final draft conditions are a required minimum data rate of 100 Mbps available by the end of 2022 in 98 percent of households in each state, all federal highways, all main roads and along the major railway routes. Also, each existing carrier must also install 1,000 5G base stations and 500 other base stations in defined areas by the end of 2022. At the end of 2024, 5G coverage should be extended to seaports, main waterways and all other road and rail routes in the country. The regulator said that the minimum coverage rules will not be applicable to any new entrant.

The regulator’s documentation also includes the expectation that operators would work together on providing coverage in areas not economically viable for each to install their own equipment.

The telecoms services regulator will also offer regional licenses for spectrum in the 3.8 GHz and 26 GHz range; several German car makers and industrial companies have already announced plans to take part in the process.

Volkswagen said that its car unit Audi is already working with equipment supplier Ericsson to test a 5G laboratory, according to German press reports. Daimler said that in partnership with a network provider, it will deploy 5G with the main aim of implementing smart production methods.

German chemicals giant BASF also said it will apply for a local 5G license as part of its drive to digitalize production, while Robert Bosch, the privately-held automotive supplier, said it will apply for local licenses to power its production facilities across the country. Siemens is also interested in acquiring regional 5G licenses for its Siemensstadt production facility in Berlin and its plant in Erlangen.―RCRWireless News

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