Germany’s national telecoms regulator, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), announced it would hold auctions for 5G frequencies in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz spectrum range. Still, the regulator will not hold auctions for the allocation of 5G frequencies until the first quarter of 2019 at the earliest, as opposed to this year, according to a new timetable released by the regulator, reported German business daily Handelsblatt.
Under the agency’s timetable, the network advisory council responsible for setting up the 5G auctions will meet 24 September and present a first draft of the licensing and auction conditions, with a final draft slated to be approved 26 November. Participants will then need to be approved for the auction, which will be in held in spring 2019, said Handelsblatt. Affected parties now have a month to file a complaint against the regulator’s decision.
Handelsblatt attributed the delay for the auction to ongoing arguments over the conditions network operators will need to fulfill for purchasing these frequencies. The Bavarian-based CSU, the sister party of Chancellor Merkel’s conservative CDU, in particular is insisting that operators provide nationwide 5G coverage and aiming to maximize auction revenues to subsidize Germany’s broadband rollout. As a result, the party is trying to influence the decision on auctioning procedures, said Handelblatt.
A round table for example is scheduled to be held between Germany’s Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer of the CSU and mobile network operators in July before the advisory council produces its first draft for auctioning conditions.
Still, mobile operators are working to win over Germany’s federal states to reduce the federal government’s influence on 5G, wrote Handelsblatt. Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica are working on a “mobile pact” with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia where operators ensure 99 percent of households have access to 4G and that existing coverage gaps along main transport routes are closed by the end of 2019. In return, the government of NRW will support mobile operators by ensuring the conditions for 5G are “economically reasonable” and rejecting a 5G universal service requirement.