Germany may be forced to postpone 5G spectrum auction slated for March as Telefonica has filed an emergency motion seeking a temporary halt to mobile spectrum auction.
Several companies have already filed legal complaints that were to have been considered independently of the auction so not to delay the process.
Germany’s UMTS auction for 3G airwaves back in 2000 raised around 50 billion euros for the state but the regulator has lowered minimum bids for the 5G auction round, meaning the 5G proceeds are likely to be a fraction of that figure.
Germany’s Finance Ministry expects to raise between 4 and 5 billion euros or $4.6-$5.7 billion from the auction of spectrum for 5G mobile services, business daily Handelsblatt reported in October.
Deutsche Telekom in January 2019 filed a lawsuit against Germany’s Federal Network Agency protesting preconditions for participating in a next-generation mobile network frequency auction.
Germany says bidders for 5G mobile frequencies must invest to expand the country’s mobile network.
Germany’s three main network operators – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland – have now all sued the network agency seeking to determine the legality of the new preconditions.
Michael Ott, a spokesman for the Cologne administrative court, said Telefonica’s 60-page motion was received on Monday, Reuters reported.
It was unclear how quickly the court would rule on the matter because the BNetzA federal network regulator, which set the terms for the auction, must first have a chance to respond.
“The petitioner wants to use the emergency motion to achieve a temporary halt to the mobile spectrum auction,” Ott told Reuters.
Germany’s No.3 mobile operator behind Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone has criticized a requirement to extend geographic coverage and increase data speeds as onerous.
Operators have also criticized the terms on which they should provide roaming access to their networks to any new market entrant.
Telefonica is already required under conditions imposed by European Union regulators on its 2014 merger with E-Plus to make available 30 percent of its capacity to virtual network operator 1&1 Drillisch.
Drillisch, a unit of United Internet, has applied to bid in the spectrum auction, raising the prospect of a shift from three to four players in Europe’s largest market.
Deutsche Telekom earlier said it will launch commercial 5G operations in Germany in 2020, as long as enough commercial devices are available.
Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges said the company would invest 5.5 billion euros or $6.32 billion a year in building Telekom’s broadband network in Germany.
BNetzA will auction spectrum in the 2.0 Gigahertz and 3.6 Gigahertz bands that are best suited to data-intensive industrial or urban applications – and not to plugging holes in Germany’s existing networks.
Also on offer will be frequencies in the 3.7-3.8 Gigahertz and 26 Gigahertz ranges that are suitable for local applications, such as creating superfast networks for industrial campuses.
Deutsche Telekom , Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland and United Internet have applied for the 5G license through the 5G spectrum auction.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday Germany needs guarantees that Huawei Technologies will not hand over data to the Chinese state before the telecoms equipment supplier can participate in building its 5G network.