Telefonica, VATM call for Germany to follow French model for 5G licences

Tuesday 13 March 2018 | 15:01 CET | News

Telefonica Germany CEO Markus Haas and VATM, the German association of telecommunications companies, have expressed support for the "French model" of allocating 5G frequencies as the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), Germany’s national telecoms regulator, prepares to launch another consultation round for auctioning 5G spectrum.

Telefonica’s Haas cautioned that an expensive 5G auction would entail "disproportionate burdens" for firms that counteract Germany’s goal of becoming a leader in 5G. Instead, Telefonica recommended the Federal Network Agency introduce a mobile frequency agreement for Germany to revise the country’s spectrum policies and make the more investment friendly.

Haas pointed to France as an example in 5G regulation after the French government and mobile providers reached a deal in January to forgo auctions for spectrum licenses in return for further investments in coverage. Haas suggested a similar deal could work in Germany where usage rights in the 2 and 3.6 GHz bands are extended instead of auctioned off. 

The VATM likewise called for the Federal Network Agency to develop a new mobile framework for Germany and said the regulator needs to set the right incentives to prioritize operators’ investments in 5G rather than focus on "profit-maximizing" auctions. The association suggested operators’ coverage requirements for nationwide 5G could be anchored in public law in return for regulator’s abstaining from auctions, in order to set up an investment-friendly framework.

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