Germany completed the clearance of the 700MHz band, which had previously been used by broadcasters, with operators now free to use the bandwidth to improve coverage.

In a statement, regulator Bundesnetzagentur said use of the band for mobile would provide a coverage boost in rural areas, due to the relatively long-range transmissions available on the frequency.

The spectrum was auctioned to operators in 2015, with Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica Deutschland and Vodafone Germany all winning allocations.

Clearance of the 700MHz band is mandated by the European Union and must be completed by 30 June 2020 unless permission is gained from EU authorities for a two-year extension.

Announcing the completion of the process in Germany, the regulator warned operators they must “observe the protection of foreign broadcasting uses” in parts of the country close to borders with nations yet to clear the band.