The German telco said the 5G conditions would discourage further development of mobile infrastructure across the country
German telecom operator Deutsche Telekom has filed a lawsuit against the 5G auction rules set by Germany’s communications regulator Bundesnetzagentur before the Cologne Administrative Court, local press reported. All three network operators in Germany now have legal complaints filed in regards to the 5G auction rules, according to Die Welt.
The obligations of the 5G auction are “unrealistic and create legal uncertainty,” a Deutsche Telekom spokesman reportedly said.
German mobile operators were subject to additional requirements on expansion of their mobile networks as part of the terms for auction participation. The network regulator set a January 25 deadline for auction submissions, saying the sale would begin in early 2019, but revised the preconditions for participation.
The German government has proposed a change to the Telecommunication Law in order to enforce local roaming to close the gaps in mobile service in rural areas. The change in law would mean that in future providers would be required to share spectrum and infrastructure in areas where it isn’t economically feasible for each to install its own equipment. Also, a new market entrant without its own current, developed network, could bid for a 5G license.
Deutsche Telekom’s suit claims the new preconditions discourage further development of network infrastructure, particularly in rural areas of the country.
Telefonica Deutschland also recently filed a lawsuit at the Cologne Administrative Court. The telco said that under the proposed conditions, mobile operators have to invest massively in areas that would not be covered by 5G frequencies provided in the auction process.
In November, the Bundesnetzagentur had published the final draft conditions for the country’s 5G auction. Bundesnetzagentur’s President Jochen Homann said the proposal had been revised from the original taking into account numerous comments from interested parties.
Among the other final draft conditions are required minimum data rates of 100 Mbps available by the end of 2022 in 98% of households in each state, all federal highways, all main roads and along the major railway routes. Also, each existing carrier must also install 1,000 5G base stations and 500 other base stations in defined areas by the end of 2022. At the end of 2024, 5G coverage should be extended to seaports, main waterways and all other road and rail routes in the country. The regulator said that the minimum coverage rules will not be applicable to any new entrant.
Bundesnetzagentur’s document also includes the expectation that operators would work together on providing coverage in areas not economically viable for each to install their own equipment.
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