- The Federal Network Agency has set high minimum standards for companies that want to participate in the auctioning of 5G frequencies.
- By 2022, about 98 percent of households in every federal state should be provided with speeds of at least 100 megabits per second.
- The big mobile operators are not very enthusiastic about it.
Now the way is clear for fast internet via mobile. The Advisory Council of the Federal Network Agency approved on Monday the procurement rules for the fifth generation mobile network, called 5G – with very strict conditions. Therefore, successful bidders must ensure that at the end of 2022, 98 per cent of households in each state are provided with speeds of at least 100 megabits per second. The same applies to motorways, major motorways and railways. By the end of 2024, the offer should be extended to other transport routes.
They also have to build 1000 so-called base stations for 5G, in addition to 500 base stations with 100 megabits per second in "white spots". "The imposition of a delivery obligation must ensure a rapid network expansion," it says in the decision of the network bureau. The decision was preceded by months of struggle, especially with regard to the extent to which newcomers have a chance to win tenders. For them the conditions are now weakened, they can also hope to use roaming on existing networks. The incumbent network operators must use their networks, where the new providers do not have their own networks. "Our decision creates important conditions for the digitization of the economy and society," said Jochen Homann, CEO of Netzagentur. The allocation of frequencies ensures planning and investment safety and contributes to the rapid expansion of mobile networks. That is exactly what critics doubt. The global association of mobile operators, GSMA, sees too little incentive for mobile operators in the procurement rules to expand the network as quickly as possible. "It's like when someone tells you to race in a marathon, but the distance remains the same," says Brett Tarnutzer, a GSMA expert in the field of mobile frequencies. He considers the conditions for network coverage unrealistic. Criticism also comes from proponents of consumers. The rules would not offer enough competition, said Klaus Müller, head of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations. "The already stagnating competition on the mobile market is being cemented further," he criticized. "The problem of white spots in the countryside will continue to accompany us for a while."
Companies can now apply for an auction approval on 25 January and they have to enter the stage in the spring. "This is an important step towards the gigabit society," said CDU politician Joachim Pfeiffer, who chairs the advisory board. The plan is a "leap forward" in quantity and quality. Finally, he also sets additional conditions for the so-called latency: for example, along motorways and large federal motorways, it can not be longer than ten milliseconds before the network responds to a request. This makes "Germany the 5G leading market in Europe", praises Pfeiffer.