The country’s three mobile carriers had filed legal claims to challenge the terms of the 5G auction
A German court has dismissed the legal claims filed by the country’s three mobile carriers against the terms of an incoming 5G spectrum auction, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) said.
This decision, which is final, paves the way for the auction of 5G frequencies scheduled to take place on March 19.
Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland had filed legal claims seeking to put the process on hold, arguing that the terms of the auction were onerous for participating carriers.
The Cologne Administrative Court found the BNetzA had acted within its powers to require participating operators to commit to providing 5G network coverage covering 98% of households by 2022 to qualify for the process.
In January, German communications regulator Bundesnetzagentur confirmed it had received applications from four companies to take part in its 5G auction.
Although regulator did not reveal the identity of the interested companies, local press reports suggested that Telefonica Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, as well as newcomer 1&1 Drillisch will take part in the process.
Since that date, the regulator has been assessing the suitability of the applications.
In November, the agency had published the final draft conditions for the country’s 5G auction. Bundesnetzagentur President Jochen Homann said the proposal had been revised from the original terms, taking into account numerous comments from interested parties.
Among the final draft conditions are a required minimum data rate 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.
The regulator’s documentation also includes the expectation that operators would work together on providing coverage in areas not economically viable for each to install their own equipment.
Earlier this month, the BNetzA also confirmed that it will award spectrum for the provision of local 5G services in the second half of this year. Under this process, German companies will be able to apply for spectrum in the 3.7-3.8 GHz band.
Several German car makers and industrial companies have already announced plans to take part in the process.