5G Auction in Germany: Three lawsuits and a new participant

The bumpy 5G auction in Germany (picture: pixabay).The bumpy 5G auction in Germany (picture: pixabay).

The country at the heart of Europe has a major problem: mobile services. Not only are there still a lot of dead spots in the German mobile phone network, but there are also going to be difficulties in the setup of the future 5G network. Even before the allocation of 5G frequencies and the auction closing date several complications arose.

Telefónica, Vodafone and Telekom sue federal agency

After the German Federal Network Agency announced under which conditions the licenses would be awarded last November, there was strong resistance against those. First Telefónica (O2) announced it would take legal action against the terms, followed by Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom later.

The federal authority requires the above-mentioned providers to supply all German motorways with at least 100 megabits per second (Mbit/s) and a maximum of 10 milliseconds (ms) latency by the end of 2022. In addition, 98 percent of all German households in each federal state are to be supplied by 2022.

What is the problem?

“From our point of view, the terms and conditions of allocation adopted by the Federal Network Agency contain legal uncertainties and barriers to investment”, a Telefónica spokesman informed the Handelsblatt.

Indeed, it might be difficult to achieve the objectives of the Federal Network Agency within the required period. In addition to numerous bureaucratic obstacles, limited construction capacities and citizens’ initiatives also stand in the way of antenna expansion necessary for a 5G network.

United Internet wants to participate

Although this news is not all that surprising, United Internet (1&1 Drillisch) also announced its intention to participate in the auction. Originally, the provider opted out, as there were no defined rules on national roaming in the requirements for auctioning frequencies. The decision may have been taken as a result of a possible cooperation with the Chinese telecommunications supplier ZTE.

Ultimately, it remains exciting how and when the auction will start anyway – or whether the Federal Network Agency might have to come up with completely new auction rules. The clock’s ticking.

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