Lawmakers call on BNetzA to impose strict coverage requirements on spectrum licences

German politicians have criticised the country’s telco watchdog for not including strict coverage obligations as part of its draft 5G auction rules.

A letter from the ruling Christian Democrat party seen by Reuters called on the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) to require Germany’s three mobile operators – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and Telefonica Germany – to provide coverage along transport links and in rural areas. The letter also calls for operators to be forced to open up their networks to rivals in parts of the country where the latter don’t have coverage.

The BNetzA plans to auction frequencies in the 2GHz and 3.6GHz bands in spring 2019.

Under draft rules published earlier this week, the regulator said it is considering limited coverage requirements, but pointed out that the spectrum in question is better suited to improving capacity than coverage. BNetzA president Jochen Homann said the watchdog plans to sell off airwaves "better suited to covering a wide area" in the next few years.

As they stand, the BNetZa’s draft rules do not represent "a solid basis" for the 5G auction, said the Christian Democrats’ letter, according to Reuters.

The draft rules are currently being reviewed with the aim of finalising them in November.