The number one in German mobile sets the course for 5G:Telefónica Deutschland acquires valuable frequency spectrum for the latest mobile radio technology 5G

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Credits: Shutterstock, Anton Khrupin
Photo: Shutterstock / Anton Khrupin
In the mobile radio frequency auction that has come to an end, Telefónica Deutschland has secured 90 MHz nationwide spectrum for the high-performance mobile radio standard 5G with a running time up to 2040. With 5G on Telefónica Deutschland's O2 network, the company's 45 million private and business customers will benefit from the highest transmission speeds and shortest response times in the future. In particular, the company will provide industry 4.0 with 5G as a major partner in the expansion of production and manufacturing plants. In addition, the frequency package is an important building block for innovative business models and coping with the massively increasing volume of data. Telefónica Deutschland has invested EUR 1.425 billion in the new frequencies.

  • New frequencies increase network capacity and network speeds available in the future
  • With the acquired spectrum of 90 MHz, Telefónica Deutschland now has a comprehensive mobile communications spectrum at eye level with the competition
  • CEO Markus Haas: "We have acquired a valuable frequency package that ideally complements our existing spectrum and will enable us to remain the Mobile Customer & Digital Champion for our customers for the next 20 years".
  • Necessary further course-setting for the expansion of digital infrastructure in rural parts of Germany

As part of the 5G frequency auction, Telefónica Deutschland acquired 2 paired blocks in the 2.1 GHz range and 7 unpaired blocks at 3.6 GHz, which brings the total new spectrum to 90 MHz. The company will pay 1.425 billion euros. If the company's existing spectrum is included, Telefónica Deutschland has 310 MHz of mobile spectrum (with effect until the end of 2025) and therefore a very competitive frequency position.

Investing in the web experience and building the foundation for new business models

Markus Haas
"We achieved a good result in the auction and acquired a valuable frequency package that ideally complements our existing spectrum and will enable our ambition of being the Mobile Customer & Digital Champion for our customers also in the next 20 years," says Markus Haas, CEO of Telefónica Germany. "The new frequency equipment optimizes our network management, opens the way to new business segments and will also enable our many millions of customers to enjoy an even more attractive user experience and thus a plus in mobile freedom in the digital world." The auctioned spectrum will run until 2040. The Federal Network Agency will formally allocate the spectrum to the company in the 2.1 GHz range with one block effective January 1, 2021 and with another block effective January 1, 2026. The 3.6 GHz spectrum will be available gradually over the next few years and in full from 2022. Due to its physical propagation properties, the currently acquired spectrum will, in a first step, supply conurbations and industrial sites in particular with high data rates and low latency times via 5G. 5G technology also enables much more effective capacity management, so that network performance and overall capacity will increase as the standard becomes more widespread. In this context, private consumers will also successively benefit from 5G as the availability of corresponding terminals increases in the mass market. The availability of frequency spectrum below 1 GHz is also conducive to a faster, more extensive broadband expansion. This spectrum is currently used by some network operators for 2G or 4G applications and is regularly available again after 2025 (800 MHz spectrum) or 2033 (700 & 900 MHz spectrum).

Massive 4G expansion provides fast broadband coverage across the board

Up to a comprehensive expansion of 5G, German mobile communications customers will benefit from improved mobile broadband coverage much earlier through the ongoing intensive expansion of 4G and, above all, in rural areas. By 2018, Telefónica Deutschland had already connected as many new LTE stations to the network as no other provider in Germany, and plans to increase this number considerably again in 2019 - to around 10,000 new LTE network elements by the end of the year. The number of fiber-optic connections to mobile communications sites will also increase considerably in the current year.

Germany's digital infrastructure requires bundling of all forces

Credits: Telefónica Deutschland
Valentina Daiber
This expansion also contributes to the political demands for better Internet access outside the conurbations, which had dominated much of the debate on frequency allocation. "We remain convinced that frequency allocation via auction was counterproductive for the expansion of mobile communications in Germany. The course of the auction showed that the design as well as the insufficient amount of available frequencies drove up the costs. From the consumer's point of view and for Germany as a business location, these investment funds would be much better spent on network expansion," says Valentina Daiber, Chief Officer for Legal & Corporate Affairs. "We therefore renew our appeal to policymakers and regulators for an extension of the 2025 and 2033 phase-out spectrum to promote a faster spread of mobile broadband across the country. Telefónica is also focusing on the expansion of commercial cooperation models in order to accelerate expansion. We are prepared to work closely with competitors willing to invest in network expansion." CEO Markus Haas is convinced: "This important phase for the country's digital future can only succeed if everyone involved joins forces. In this context, Telefónica Deutschland will make a significant contribution to the political goals of nationwide broadband coverage and cooperate closely with the German federal government, the German Federal Network Agency, the federal states and municipalities as well as the investing network operators."