Germany

Information current as of 04 June 2019

What is the state of 5G deployment in Germany?

All the mobile network operators in Germany – Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone – started testing 5G in 2018 1
http://www.informationszentrum-mobilfunk.de/artikel/5g-erste-pilotprojekte-und-tests-in-deutschland
:

  • Deutsche Telekom built up 5G test networks in different German cities (e.g. Berlin, Hamburg and Darmstadt).
  • Telefónica tested 5G networks e.g. in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich).
  • Vodafone built up 5G test installations in Dusseldorf.

Which telcos and communications players are launching 5G services?

All the mobile network operators (MNOs) in Germany – Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone and the new entrant Drillisch Netz – are planning to launch 5G services.

Are there any public tenders for spectrum licenses?

Yes, the 5G spectrum auction (2 GHz and 3.6 GHz) started on 19 March 2019 and ended on 12 June 2019 after 52 days and 497 rounds of bidding. The bidders have to pay in total more than EUR 6.5 bn; 420 MHz of spectrum was awarded 2
https://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/EN/2019/20190612_spectrumauctionends.html?nn=404530
:

Amount of spectrum

Award price

Drillisch Netz AG

2 GHz: 2 x 10 MHz
3,6 GHz: 50 MHz

EUR 334,997m
EUR 735,190m
total: EUR 1,070,187m

Telefónica Germany
GmbH & Co. OHG

2 GHz: 2 x 10 MHz
3,6 GHz: 70 MHz

EUR 381,104m
EUR 1,043,728m
total: EUR 1,424,832m

Telekom Deutschland GmbH

2 GHz: 2 x 20 MHz
3,6 GHz: 90 MHz

EUR 851,520m
EUR 1,323,423m
total: EUR 2,174,943m

Vodafone GmbH

2 GHz: 2 x 20 MHz
3,6 GHz: 90 MHz

EUR 806,501m
EUR 1,073,188m
total: EUR 1,879,689m

In addition to that nationwide frequency spectrum, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) intends to allocate frequencies in the 3.7 to 3.8 GHz range separately for local 5G purposes upon request. By doing so, it intends to create the possibility for local and regional 5G networks to be operated – inside and outside of or on private properties. Other companies will then be able to operate their own 5G local or regional networks. However, there will be no obligation for nationwide frequency holders to enter into a national roaming agreement with local or regional 5G network operators.

What are the conditions?

On 14 May 2018, BNetzA decided to auction the nationwide frequency usage rights regarding the frequency ranges 2 GHz and 3.4-3.6 GHz. On 26 November 2018, BNetzA announced the final award conditions and auction rules for the 5G spectrum auction. The spectrum will be allocated for the period until 31 December 2040. The spectrum allocations are combined with several coverage obligations regarding households, federal highways, national roads, waterways and railways:

1. Coverage of population and minimum quantity of base stationsy the end of 2022:

  • Coverage of population: at least 98% of households in each federal state must have at least 100 Mbit/s (downlink per antenna sector); the newcomer Drillisch Netz must fulfil different coverage obligations – at least 25% of households by the end of 2023, and at least 50% of households by the end of 2025.
  • Minimum quantity of base stations:
    • 1,000 5G base stations and
    • 500 base stations with at least 100 Mbit/s in "white spots" to be put into operation.

2. Coverage requirements for transport routes:

  • coverage of other mobile network operators will be taken into account.
  • by the end of 2022:
    • all federal motorways (→ approx. 18,000 km) with a minimum speed of 100 Mbit/s and a maximum speed of 10 milliseconds (ms) latency.
    • the federal roads (with specific connecting functions; → approx. 5,350 km) with at least 100 Mbit/s and at most 10 ms latency
    • railways with more than 2,000 passengers per day ( approx. 21,000 km) with a minimum of 100 Mbit/s.
  • By the end of 2024:
    • all other federal highways ( approx. 32,700 km) with a minimum speed of 100 Mbit/s and a maximum speed of 10 ms latency.
    • all national and state roads (→ approx. 80,000 km) with at least 50 Mbit/s.
    • the seaports and the core inland waterway network (approx. 4,500 km) with at least 50 Mbit/s.
    • all other railways (approx. 20,000 km) with at least 50 Mbit/s.

Further details can be found under the following link.

What has the government said regarding spectrum licenses for commercial use?

The government announced that Germany needs a high-capacity mobile communications network throughout the country so that all regions, households and companies can benefit equally from the advantages of digitisation. This applies not only to the major conurbations, but also to rural regions. A complete mobile voice and data supply is long overdue. For this reason, radio gaps should be a thing of the past as soon as possible. The government is pursuing the clear goal of making Germany the lead market for 5G in order to maintain prosperity and sustainable growth. Germany is determined to remain a pioneer in innovation – 5G is an essential key technology for this 3
https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/digital-made-in-de/frequenzvergabe-und-mobilfunkstandard-5g-1546640
.

Are the rules for 5G already drafted, and if so, what do they say?

The rules were published on 26 November 2018. Details can be found under the following link.

What are or would be the rules for granting competitors access to the new 5G networks, once they are deployed?

The final award conditions and auction rules for the 5G spectrum auction in Germany stipulate that 5G frequency holders are obliged to negotiate the sharing of radio capacity with service providers on a non-discriminatory basis. However, there is no obligation to enter into an agreement.

Authors

Jens Neitzel
Dr. Jens Neitzel
Rechtsanwalt