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United Internet CEO Calls for 4th Mobile Network in Germany
Source: www.telecompaper.com
Source Date: Monday, March 26, 2018
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: Germany
Created: Mar 26, 2018

United Internet CEO Ralph Dommermuth has called on German regulators to facilitate a fourth mobile network in Germany to create more competition as the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) prepares to auction off 5G frequencies, reported German daily Die Welt.

The Federal Network Agency has said it is aiming to determine the ground rules for the spectrum auction this summer before frequencies on the 5G spectrum are auctioned off by the end of the year. But it’s still unclear whether players other than Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Germany, the country’s three big mobile providers, will be allowed to participate in the auction, wrote Die Welt.
If a new provider did join in the 5G auctions, it would “be imperative” they were able to close roaming agreements allowing them to use existing networks during the construction of the 5G network, said Dommermuth. Otherwise, they would be limited to offering radio communications in only a few parts of Germany, he added. 

Similar roaming regulations were used to support the creation of the network used by O2 Germany. 

Vodafone CEO Hannes Ametsreiter has already rejected Dommermuth’s suggestion, however, saying it would result in “four bad networks” and a lack of investment incentives, wrote Die Welt. Instead, Ametsreiter said it was up to German politicians to create conditions that entice providers to invest in 5G networks. 

Ametsreiter also criticized other auction conditions currently under consideration, including a provision requiring network operators to grant service providers like Freenet or Drillisch access to their 5G networks. The Vodafone CEO said this would impair investment and was unnecessary in Germany’s “highly developed” mobile market.

Ametsreiter also warned that Germany would not be able to generate an internationally competitive 5G network if a portion of the frequency spectrum was reserved for regional providers. Currently, the Federal Network Agency is in talks to set aside one-quarter of spectrum for regional players like city network operators.  

But mobile network operators would be prevented from offering the fastest possible speeds given a lack of access to frequencies, resulting in Germany having a “second-class mobile network,” said Ametsreiter. 
The Vodafone CEO also cautioned that Germany will to need erect 100,000 new antenna sites to develop its 5G network in the 3.5 GHz range. But this is “unfeasible” given the expected political resistance and construction difficulties, he added. Instead, Germany should run 5G frequencies in rural regions in the 700 and 800 MHz ranges, said Ametsreiter.
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