Germany is set to kick off its 5G auction process but the GSMA says it must learn lessons from other European nations in order to maximise the success of its 5G rollout

The GSMA has warned German regulators to listen to industry concerns over the country’s proposed spectrum auctioning process, or risk jeopardising its 5G future. 

“The mobile industry is essential to delivering on Germany’s vision for 5G leadership. We are alarmed that – despite real and substantial concerns raised by the mobile industry on the original proposals – the proposed terms make the situation worse by doubling down on unrealistic conditions that puts Germany’s 5G future at risk,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA. 

“Operators in Germany have invested billions in the country’s networks and have proven through history that they are committed to investing and providing innovative services. German consumers and businesses will be the ones to lose out from unreasonable obligations that make investment in 5G rollout uneconomical,” he added.

The GSMA raised three distinct concerns over the auction process, which it says could harm Germany’s position as a European leader on 5G. 

Initially, the GSMA cited concerns over the coverage obligation associated with the 3.6GHz band, currently set at 98 per cent of the population with 100Mbps speeds and 10ms latency. 

"Although the frequencies on offer can provide very high capacity, they only cover a relatively small area and are not well suited to wide area coverage such as countryside roads, waterways and railways. The investment needed to achieve the obligations far outweighs the value of the licenses," said a GSMA spokesman.

Secondly, the GSMA said that the the roaming and wholesale obligations attached to the 3.4 – 3.6GHz band created "a critical level of legal uncertainty and [would] deter investment in 5G networks in Germany."

Finally, thee GSMA drew attention to the fact that one quarter of the total spectrum on offer (100MHz) will be reserved for local use.

"This undercuts Germany’s efforts at 5G leadership, by driving up spectrum costs and limiting the amount of spectrum available for nationwide usage," it said.

The GSMA also lamented what it called the "massive advantages" afforded to new entrants to the market, which allow them to meet significanlty lower coverage targets. 

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