Germany’s 5G spectrum auction will impose minimum service obligations on the spectrum it puts up for sale later this year

Deutsche Telekom has launched legal proceedings against the German government over obligations it has imposed on telcos looking to rollout 5G services across the country. 

Germany has stated that any telco purchasing spectrum at its 5G auctions must also commit to meeting minimum coverage areas, as well as making their infrastructure available to new entrants.

According to a report in German newspaper Die Welt, all three of Germany’s mobile network operators have now legally objected to the ruling, which would greatly reduce the barriers to entry for a potential fourth player to enter Germany’s mobile telecoms sector when 5G is launched. 

Germany was initially set to proceed with its 5G auction in the first quarter of 2019, however the latest legal challenge brought by Deutsche Telekom could delay the process. The country’s telecoms regulator had set a deadline of the 25th of January for telcos to submit their initial bids for the spectrum that will underpin their respective 5G rollout initiatives. 

Deutsche Telekom opposes the spectrum obligations on the basis that they will discourage investment in hard to reach, rural areas.  The company’s legal appeal will be based on the idea that the obligations disincentivise network owners from investing in network infrastructure for which they no longer have exclusive usage rights.   

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