Vodafone Germany filed an emergency application with a German court regarding the country’s planned 5G auction, stating a “recent rush procedure” by a competitor had changed the legal situation.
While action by Germany’s big operators is not new (filings were made at the turn of the year) a new action has prompted the latest move by Vodafone to “be legally heard here and also to represent its own legal interests”.
Although Vodafone did not name the rival which prompted the move, earlier this month Telefonica filed what it described as an “urgent request for legal clarification of the auction rules”, which it warned could delay the process.
In a statement issued on 15 February, Vodafone said it “has always been and is still interested” in a quick 5G process, as it wants to deploy 5G “fast and wide” in the country. But it noted the original auction conditions submitted by Bundesnetzagentur have been “greatly altered” by external pressure, with new conditions created which make 5G investment more difficult, rather than easier.
Telefonica’s argument was that rollout obligations could not be met with the spectrum being made available, meaning existing frequencies would have to be used, which is already covered by other coverage targets. Regulations with regard to cooperation between operators and domestic roaming were also branded unclear.
Noting that the current draft regulations lack the clarity needed ahead of billions of euros of investment in 5G, Vodafone said the three main operators had already brought actions before one broke ranks.
It was not just the big players which put forward arguments: Telefonica stated a total of nine companies made representations, more than ever before in a similar scenario.
Vodafone Germany made its latest filing with Verwaltungsgericht Koln, the administrative court of Cologne.