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German Regulator Publishes Draft Terms of 5G Spectrum Auction

The regulator aims to award spectrum in the 2GHz and 3.6GHz band in the first quarter of 2019.

Germany’s Federal Networks Agency (BNetzA) has presented the draft terms for the 5G auction planned for early 2019.

The draft terms of the 5G spectrum auction do not require successful bidders to provide nationwide 5G coverage, but require a coverage of 98% of the households as well as sufficiently good coverage along federal and state highways.

We need to be ambitious but also realistic,” said Jochen Homann, president of BNetzA. “We are already setting demanding conditions to improve mobile networks. For example, we demand data transfer speed be doubled in 3 years.” The guideline requires successful bidders to provide coverage to 98% of household with 100 Mbps speed by the end of 2022 and 300 Mbps by the end of 2025. “National coverage of 5G will be excessively expensive,” added Homann.

The country’s three telcos — Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland — have previously said that deploying 5G all across the country would be a difficult target to achieve.

The proposal on the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands has been sent to the regulator’s advisory board, which will give its opinion on 24 September. The body will reach a final decision on the spectrum auction terms in November.

Earlier this month, Germany’s antitrust regulator called for a fourth mobile carrier to enter the domestic market when 5G licenses are auctioned in 2019.

The Federal Cartel Office’s head Andreas Mundt suggested that market concentration has left Germany’s economy lagging behind its rivals in the race to build connected factories or put self-driving cars on the road. Mundt also called for existing mobile carriers to open up their networks on a non-discriminatory basis to third parties such as service providers and virtual mobile network operators (MVNOs).

Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland have said that allowing network access to other operators and MVNOs would put them at a further disadvantage, as these firms will not have to invest significant resources in network infrastructure. – RCR Wireless

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