German Regulator Allocates Additional Radio Spectrum to Mobile Networks
Published on: 1st Jan 1970: 1:33am
Germany's Federal Network Agency has allotted the frequency blocks in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands that were auctioned on an abstract basis in May. A lottery was required for most of the frequency blocks.
Following the allotment proceedings, Telefonica O2 Germany now has the first two blocks in the 800 MHz band. The two middle blocks have been allotted to Vodafone, with both upper blocks in the 800 MHz band going to Deutsche Telekom.
"Now that all frequency blocks purchased have been allotted, fast broadband provision, including to rural areas, is now in the hands of the companies" stressed Matthias Kurth, Federal Network Agency president. "Network operators can now finalise their network plans and build and expand their networks swiftly. With the allotment of the 800 MHz frequencies in particular, the regulatory conditions are in place for innovative applications to develop and unrestricted access to fast Internet to be established under competitive circumstances.
In May, a total of around 360 MHz from the 800 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2 GHz and 2.6 GHz bands was auctioned for wireless access. In the auction, the four mobile network operators E Plus, Telefonica O2 Germany, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone obtained the frequency blocks on an abstract basis for the most part, though some were auctioned for a specific spectral position.
"The auction has opened up numerous new development perspectives for the network operators. The spectrum is a springboard into the future of mobile communications. With new technologies, wireless broadband can develop into a real alternative to fixed broadband networks", said Kurth.
The frequency blocks auctioned for a specific spectral position were mainly assigned to the successful bidders directly after the auction. This applies to frequency bands 1.8 GHz and 2 GHz, which can now be used on a technology and service-neutral basis.
For the frequency blocks auctioned on an abstract basis in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands, successful bidders initially had the option of agreeing on the position of the frequency usage rights within three months. Since no agreement could be reached between the companies, it fell to the Federal Network Agency to allot these frequency blocks in an open and transparent procedure.
With the help of the frequencies in the 800 MHz band, the so-called Digital Dividend, broadband Internet access is to be established in rural areas in particular. The three network operators Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica O2 Germany purchased the frequencies in the 800 MHz band and are therefore subject to a roll-out obligation to cover areas underserved with broadband (so-called white spots).
"In the interests of the consumer, the Federal Network Agency welcomes a coordinated approach to network expansion in the underserved areas, if this happens in a way that complies with competition law", explained Kurth. "We have revised the Infrastructure Sharing Principles of 2001 in order to take into account the technological developments since then whilst at the same time observing technology neutrality. Furthermore, additional cooperation options are in sight, especially with regard to broadband strategy, and particularly the supply of services in rural areas."