CEO Markus Haas in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung:"Politics and business must finally sit down at one table"
The expensive frequency auction has deprived the market of billions, at the same time the network rollout requirements demand a lot from the mobile operators. In an interview with Redaktions Netzwerk Deutschland (RND), CEO Markus Haas explains that sanctions do not promote network expansion and that Germany now needs politicians and business to join forces. In the following, we publish excerpts of the interview. The complete interview was published in the print edition of the Berliner Zeitung of July, 16th 2019. At present, there is much discussion about better infrastructure, especially in rural areas. Did the frequency auction as an instrument help to achieve this? Markus Haas: A very clear no. As before in the past, huge sums were spent on a piece of paper. This money is now lacking for the network expansion. That's why the expensive auction should not have taken place at all. As Telefónica Germany, we have always advocated alternative paths. The frequencies should be better allocated against concrete network rollout commitments. But politics decided otherwise.
Markus Haas: The auction deprives the market of billions. At the same time, the new frequencies are subject to conditions that cannot be met at by the spectrum assigned within the auction due to its physical properties. All those involved in politics and business must therefore finally sit down at one table and find a solution together on how we can swiftly secure Germany's digital future with the right infrastructure. [...] Will the current plans of the Federal Government concerning sanction threats in the event of delayed expansion bring us any further? Markus Haas: Such one-dimensional actions do not take us any further. On the contrary. Sanctions only distract from the complex reasons why mobile networks are not yet where they should be in Germany today. The obstacle in this country is not only expensive auctions. Complex approval procedures are also slowing down the expansion of fast Internet. Here the communes are called upon to become considerably more efficient in their cooperation. It is unacceptable for communes to complain about white spots on the one hand, while on the other hand not wanting to have mobile masts on their own properties. We often experience this. [...] In your opinion, what do private customers really want? Netflix in HD quality currently seems to be the maximum demand of private customers.
Markus Haas: Data consumption has increased to an extent that we could not have imagined a few years ago. Until recently, O2 private customers only used a few megabytes per month. Today it's several gigabytes. This is just the beginning. Everyday applications can be used with LTE for a long time to come. But at some point we will also see applications in the private sector, such as telemedicine, that require different transmission speeds. Today, we must lay the foundations for tomorrow's high-speed networks. This can only be achieved by politicians and business working hand in hand. Doesn't a diffuse and irrational feeling of being lost and forgotten also play an important role in the complaints about a lack of development in rural regions? Markus Haas: Absolutely, you notice that when you talk to customers or members of parliament from sparsely populated districts. The overall political demand to roll out 5G nationwide, irrespective of actual demand, is accompanied by a feeling of discrimination against rural regions in comparison with cities. It is a fact, that even in rural areas fast Internet is urgently needed. It also annoys me personally when I am in the mountains and it takes forever until a website is set up on my mobile phone. We are doing everything we can to bring fast broadband ever further into the depths of the country.