Urgent request for legal clarification of the auction rules:

"Billions in 5G cannot be invested on the basis of unclear rules."

Telefónica Deutschland is seeking legal clarity on the auction design for the upcoming 5G mobile communications standard with an urgent court application for the forthcoming auction procedure. This has no influence on the timetable for the network expansion of the technology.
Credits: Shutterstock, Anton Khrupin
Photo: Shutterstock / Anton Khrupin
Since the beginning of last year, intensive discussions have been taking place between telecommunications providers, the Federal Network Agency and politicians about an accelerated expansion of the digital infrastructure in Germany and the award rules for the upcoming 5G mobile communications standard. At the end of December, nine companies filed suits against these conditions submitted by the Federal Network Agency at the end of November - more than ever before in any of these proceedings. In this context, Telefónica Deutschland had criticized, among other things, the roll-out obligations that could not be fulfilled with the spectrum at auction. This means a de facto recourse to existing spectrum, which is already covered by other expansion requirements. In addition, there is the lack of clarity in the regulations on cooperation with alternative providers and on domestic roaming in Germany. "This legal uncertainty is extremely unhelpful for the necessary massive investments in future network expansion. Billions in 5G cannot be invested on the basis of unclear rules. It must be in the interest of all involved that clarity and planning security are created here before an auction," says CEO Markus Haas. An urgent application filed yesterday with the Administrative Court in Cologne should make this possible.

Legal proceedings without consequences for network expansion

Credits: Telefónica Deutschland
Markus Haas
If the court were to rule in favour of this application, this could lead to a delay in the award procedure. This would give the Federal Network Agency more time to draft a legally secure and thus investment-promoting award design. However, this would not have any influence on a large-scale launch of 5G in Germany. This is because the spectrum available for auction for this purpose will not be allocated to the successful participants until the end of 2020 anyway. Even a delayed auction would therefore still leave sufficient time for the preparations for network expansion - especially since there is currently neither sufficient network technology nor terminal equipment available for the network standard. Also, there won’t be any setbacks for the additional provision of broadband data connections to the population, which politicians have rightly called for. The 4G expansion is running at full speed with all providers and is reaching ever larger regions of the state and has been agreed in nationwide and regional mobile radio pacts. CEO Markus Haas: "We continue to pursue the goal of fulfilling our commitments made in the Mobile Communications Pact with Minister Scheuer in July 2018. We want to implement better framework conditions for investments, such as those that the German government wants to create, directly in additional network expansion". The current legal procedures are independent of this.