Telefónica Deutschland's three-point plan for nationwide mobile communications coverage:Call for a fast and comprehensive mobile broadband service in Germany

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Telefónica Deutschland's three-point plan for nationwide mobile communications coverage
The end of the 5G frequency auction is only the beginning of a necessary overall mobile communications concept for all participants from industry and politics to trigger sustainable investment impulses for Germany's digital infrastructure. A departure from the previous practice of awarding frequency usage rights and a close alliance between politicians and the investing network operators could enable the necessary leap towards full digital coverage for all inhabitants of Germany. The frequency auction which just finished has deprived the mobile telecommunications industry of investment resources amounting to 6.55 billion euros for the network rollout. The special national auction design itself contributed only part to this. In particular, the fact that the Federal Network Agency reserved a total of 100 MHz of the available 400 MHz in the 3.6 band for local use, thus artificially reducing the frequencies that can be used nationwide by the investing network operators, determined the course of the auction and the associated costs. In view of the currently emerging interest from the economy and the frequency-technical necessities, this reservation still appears to be disproportionately high. At the same time, the requirements for network expansion are increasing. For this reason, all those involved in business and politics must now seize the opportunity as quickly as possible to work together and without prejudice on an overall concept for the mobile communications infrastructure in Germany. Rapid and decisive action in close cooperation between politicians and investing network operators can now provide the urgently needed investment impetus for rapid and comprehensive network expansion even in this environment. Germany's business community and consumers rightly expect everyone involved to have a high-performance broadband network available nationwide as soon as possible. "With the conclusion of the 5G auction, politicians and the Federal Network Agency must now immediately set the course for an efficient 4G and 5G expansion and remove existing barriers to investment," says Markus Haas, CEO of Telefónica Deutschland. "To this end, we are today presenting a three-point plan for mobile communications that creates the necessary investment incentives and brings Germany to a digital infrastructure that our economy and our nation rightly demand."

Three-point plan for an accelerated expansion of Germany's digital infrastructure for the benefit of Germany's citizens

Photo: Shutterstock / The Hornbills Studio
In essence, the three-part plan defines the cornerstones of a necessary overall concept for mobile communications, as politicians had already promised before the auction. The plan includes, among other things, quick and long-term access to a suitable long-range spectrum for the investing network operators as well as expanded cooperation and subsidy options.
  • Supply impulse through extended access to long-range spectrum:
In order to obtain faster mobile broadband, especially in underserved regions, the Federal Network Agency should rapidly extend to 2040 the long-range frequencies already on the market (at 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz), which expire in 2025 and 2033 respectively, for network operators investing nationwide and commissioned with corresponding coverage requirements in the area. This would lead to new legal and planning security for the network operators and trigger a corresponding investment impulse. On the basis of this spectrum availability, these network operators, as a continuation of the mobile communications summit of Federal Minister Scheuer, could achieve a coverage of at least 99% of the population and all major traffic routes with LTE by 2021 and with 5G by 2025. At the same time, this will lead to a supply of around 98% of the total area of the Federal Republic of Germany. Such an agreement could be made by means of a public law contract.
  • Extended commercial cooperations:
More comprehensive commercial cooperation opportunities and initiatives of the network operators who are tasked with nationwide rollout are decisive for the success of a significant expansion of the network expansion in the countryside. This includes in particular the joint use of so-called passive infrastructure such as mobile masts, the technical operation of these facilities and the connection of the sites to fiber optic cables. The legal framework for this must be based on commercial agreements rather than on imposed obligations.
  • State support programme for the last gap closure in the area:
In order to close any remaining gaps in the supply of households and land, for which there is demonstrably no possibility of market-based development by the network operators, there is a need for a state subsidy programme for the expansion of mobile communications, as recently proposed by the Federal Council, as well as the cost-effective provision of corresponding locations in the hands of the federal or state governments. The proceeds from the finished auction and unused funds from existing infrastructure development programmes form a solid financial basis for this.

Credits: Telefónica Deutschland
Markus Haas
"All those involved must now seize the opportunity to immediately create the basis for an efficient and rapid network expansion in Germany for the benefit of the citizens of this country. This cannot take place against, but only in solidarity with the network operators who invest nationwide and who will bear the commercial burden of the expansion", says Markus Haas. "The private mobile network operators have more than two decades of know-how to set up mobile networks efficiently and quickly. The politically desired infrastructure and price development in mobile communications cannot be achieved by a state infrastructure company, by new roaming obligations or by new penalty catalogues. What Germany needs is genuine cooperation between the state and network operators with a long-term perspective."