Germany begins controversial private 5G scheme - Mobile World Live

Germany begins controversial private 5G scheme

21 NOV 2019

German authorities opened applications from businesses for private 5G licences, a policy slammed by operator executives for creating an artificial spectrum shortage and driving up prices at the auction held earlier this year.

In a statement the Bundesministerium fur Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi), which has the remit for the economy and power sectors, announced enterprises could apply for private 5G licences from today (21 November). Frequencies are available in the 3.7GHz to 3.8GHz range and cover limited areas.

The department’s representative for digital economy and start-ups, Thomas Jarzombek, said: “Germany is one of the global pioneers in the private use of 5G. Here we lay the foundation for disruptive change. The local frequencies now allow companies to build their own network from day one.”

“So far, companies have been dependent on telecommunications providers. That’s a big step forward. It is even possible what was previously unthinkable: to build mobile networks, disconnected from the Internet. That offers a whole new level of security.”

The policy has been far from popular within the mobile industry and was one of the reasons, alongside stringent coverage targets, why the country’s operators were so scathing about the 5G allocation process held earlier this year.

In June, Germany’s three existing operators and newcomer 1&1 Drillisch committed to spend a combined €6.6 billion on licences for 5G spectrum.

During the process, and several times since, operators bemoaned the costs being incurred. The most vocal executive on the issue, Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges, blamed authorities for creating an artificial spectrum shortage, which helped to drive-up prices leaving fewer funds for actual build-out.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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