Germany’s communications regulator published its final draft of conditions for the country’s 5G auction, including increased coverage requirements and an expectation operators would cooperate on national roaming.

President of regulator Bundesnetzagentur Jochen Homann said the proposal had been revised from the original: “in the light of numerous comments, keeping in mind what is technically, economically and legally possible.”

Following the publication of the original proposal in August, politicians, operators, potential newcomers and industry groups have all waded in with requests and opinions on what should – and should not be – required of the country’s three MNOs.

If adopted fully, the document requires minimum data rates of 100 Mb/s available by the end of 2022 in: 98 per cent of households in each state; all federal highways; all “main” roads; and along the major railway routes.

Each existing operator must also install 1,000 5G base stations and 500 other base stations in defined areas by the same timescale.

At the end of 2024 coverage should be extended to seaports, main waterways and all other road and rail routes in the country – though data rate requirements in some areas will be lower. Coverage across motorways and other major road routes will also be subject to strict latency requirements.

The detailed minimum coverage rules will not be applicable to any new entrant.

Yesterday, the GSMA urged regulators not to impose “unnecessary conditions” on the auction, with director general Mats Granryd adding the country risked “undercutting its 5G future”.

National roaming
In terms of the controversial national roaming plan, which has been savagely attacked by Deutsche Telekom, Bundesnetzagentur’s comments were less detailed, though it appears the country is pressing on with the policy.

The document noted an expectation operators would work together on providing coverage in areas not economically viable for each to install their own equipment. Bundesnetzagentur plans to act as a “referee” in such discussions.

In its statement, the regulator said its rules would lead to improved supply in rural areas but promote the rapid introduction of 5G with high data rates and low latency. It added: “proportionality is maintained by taking into account cooperation and crediting options and significantly lowering the minimum bids.”

The draft now goes to an advisory council for discussion at its meeting on November 26. The auction itself is slated for 2019.