Mobile radio frequencies:An eight-year extension creates the greatest possible benefit for Germany

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Credits: Telefónica Deutschland
Mobile communications play a key role in Germany's competitiveness
Why the country needs a comprehensive, preferably eight-year extension of the frequency spectrum in times of AI and advancing digitalization. The globalized economy is facing further upheavals. The Internet of Things and the incipient triumph of artificial intelligence are creating new opportunities for digitalization. To ensure that Germany's economy remains internationally competitive and that people can benefit from the achievements of the new era, politicians and the Federal Network Agency must set the right course.

8x8 for Germany:

Eight arguments why the country, people and the economy would benefit most from a comprehensive eight-year frequency extension:

1. Mobile communications play a central role in Germany's competitiveness High-performance networks are fundamental to ensuring that Germany's economy, which is based on high technology and progress, remains internationally competitive. In 2022, mobile communications contributed 670 billion euros to European economic output through productivity effects (3.2%). [source: GSMA] [Source: Mobilfunkweltverband GSMA] 2. digitalization needs speed - not brakes Germany is lagging behind in digitalization. The country can only catch up by accelerating the expansion of its networks. Germany only ranks 39th out of 41 industrialized nations in terms of frequency of use and satisfaction with digital government services. [Source: Boston Consulting Group] 3. decarbonization and climate protection require the best networks Digitalization is one of the central key factors for the sustainable transformation of the economy. There is no time to lose in this area. Digitalization can save around 163 megatons of CO2 per year by 2050. [eco Association] 4. new technologies make the network more sustainable A rapid expansion of 5G and fiber optics will make a huge contribution to achieving climate targets, as the telecommunications network itself consumes less energy per byte. 5G is up to 90% more energy-efficient than old mobile communications standards. [Nokia] 5. participation of rural areas grows with the networks The priority must be to close remaining gaps in coverage and increase network capacity - especially in rural areas. The O2 network already supplies over 99% of German households with at least 4G and 93% of the population with 5G. 6. with an eight-year extension, more extensive pension obligations are possible In the event of new, ambitious coverage obligations, a timeframe of five years would be very ambitious. With an extension of eight years, such coverage obligations and even more would be possible. 7. far-sighted frequency planning prevents new network gaps and increases planning reliability A frequency auction and subsequent redistribution of the mobile radio spectrum can lead to mass outages in mobile communications. This is confirmed by studies by Prof. Peter Rost of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Fraunhofer Institute. New frequency ranges below 700 MHz (UHF band) and at 6 GHz could be available to mobile communications from around 2031. If the frequencies due to expire in 2025 are extended until 2033, a joint large-scale allocation could then take place, taking into account the regularly expiring, extended and new frequencies as a whole. Such a large-scale spectrum allocation would create real added value for all market participants and counteract the risks of a spectrum shortage. 8. competition in the mobile communications market is working Contrary to what some commentators have suggested, competition in the German mobile telecommunications market is working - with positive effects on investment, the economy and consumers. This is shown not least by a study conducted by the WIK Institute on behalf of the BNetzA. One in five mobile connections in Germany is marketed by MVNOs - more than in any other OECD country [OECD]. An extension until 2033 would also not put the new network operator 1&1 at a competitive disadvantage: 1&1 has secured long-term access to a nationwide mobile network for its customers with both the announced national roaming agreement with Vodafone and the existing agreement with Telefónica. 1&1 will therefore be in a position to offer technically and commercially attractive retail tariffs nationalwide on the basis of these advance services.
Update 13 May 2024 / 3 pm
Credits: picture alliance / dpa / Sven Hoppe
Markus Haas
"We share the goal of politicians to create the best possible digital coverage for people wherever they live, work and travel. The Federal Network Agency is making a good decision for the country and setting the course for a promising digital future for Germany. Every megahertz and every euro of expansion is needed for the networks of the future. O2 Telefónica welcomes the authority's understanding to push ahead with the network expansion quickly by extending the spectrum. As a network operator, we are shouldering additional expansion requirements over a short period of time for the planned extension, which represents a real feat of strength. A five-year extension is a step in the right direction to make Germany the European 5G champion. An extension of the frequency usage periods by eight years would be more expedient. This would have enabled even better planning and further expansion impetus for Germany's digital infrastructure."