LIVE FROM THE EUROPEAN 5G CONFERENCE, BRUSSELS: Deutsche Telekom’s SVP 5G Alexander Lautz (pictured, centre) called on the automotive industry to contribute to the cost of roadside coverage in sparsely populated areas rather than expecting operators to foot the bill.

In a session on business cases for 5G, Lautz slammed the attitude of some companies in the automotive industry, accusing them of expecting a higher quality service than consumers, over a bigger range and for a much lower price.

“They have to bring something for the table,” he demanded. “If automotive paid what consumers do [for handset connectivity] for each car maybe we could immediately invest in better quality.”

Discussing connected cars specifically he added: “The big question is who’s going to pay for the coverage? So far the automotive industry thinks ‘we can get it for free because we get the streets for free.’ The Government says they will build the streets but digital infrastructure private companies have to pay”.

“If there are going to be coverage obligations [on MNOs] there is going to be an increase in consumer prices, so the consumer will end up paying for this.”

Lautz noted governments and the European Union should also invest in roadside communications infrastructure so the burden is not placed squarely on MNOs.

In addition to attacking attitudes in the automotive sector, the comments are also a thinly-veiled criticism of the coverage obligations contained in Germany’s 5G auction rules, which have specific requirements for provision along with the country’s transport network.

Although skeptical on the connected car business case, Lautz stated there were many strong vertical use cases for 5G including within industrial settings and providing fixed wireless broadband.