Operators in Germany are reportedly being hampered by delays in the issue of permits for the buildout of their LTE networks, with the Financial Times Deutschland citing industry estimates that there are 8,000 applications from Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone Germany, O2 Germany, and E-Plus in the pipeline.

According to industry group VATM, the delays result from staff shortages at the federal network agency (Bundesnetzagentur), as well as the need for new software to support the process. It noted the role that mobile operators play in the delivery of broadband services to German consumers, and the potential economic benefits this can bring – which are being delayed due to administrative issues.

Under the terms of the 800MHz LTE licence issue, operators must first deploy networks in underserved areas, before being able to use these frequencies in urban areas. Earlier this month, Bundesnetzagentur said that these requirements have now been met in nine of 13 federal states with insufficient broadband coverage, enabling a wider deployment of networks.

“I expect the companies to continue using the spectrum efficiently after the restrictions have been removed so that broadband coverage will be further increased,” said Jochen Homann, president of the agency.

With regulatory requirements met in many regions, operators are now looking to serve more populated areas, where the revenue potential is greater. Jurgen Grutzner, head of VATM, said that the administrative delays lead to “very significant additional economic burdens” for the operators.