Telefonica Germany added its voice to growing concerns over the requirements authorities may place on operators deploying 5G networks, warning they could end up being unfeasible.

Markus Haas, CEO of the operator (pictured), said while the use of 5G to deliver the country’s digital future is a “clear goal”, achieving this requires “enormous financial strength”, meaning investment security is a priority.

The operator also noted that high spectrum prices, particularly where these are paid up-front before frequencies are available, can impact the rollout of infrastructure. Haas warned proposals contained in a draft 5G spectrum auction plan could prove to be impossible to meet “economically or technologically”.

Haas’ comments echo those of German regulator Bundesnetzagentur, which last week acknowledged political desires for nationwide coverage could prove “excessively costly” to operators.

But it does want to tighten requirements for fast internet services (for example providing 100Mb/s coverage of major roads) which would place burdens on operators.

The frequencies being made available are not best suited to broad coverage, which could come later when additional spectrum reaches the market. The regulator also noted supporting technologies such as fibre will also be more widely available in the future.

Haas also criticised other mooted elements of the spectrum auction, including the danger of a “service provider obligation through the back door”. While the regulator had said it will not make support for competing service providers obligatory, it stated “very clearly that companies need to negotiate”.

This arbitration process could “devalue the acquired spectrum”, Telefonica Germany said.

Bundesnetzagentur is set to submit proposed auction rules this week, after which stakeholders can submit comments. An auction is expected to start early in 2019.