Germany starts 5G spectrum auction with all operators joining

Germany has started 5G spectrum auction on Tuesday, with all telecom operators joining the race, Reuters reported.
5G and 4G connections forecast
Italy last year raised 6.5 billion euros from 5G spectrum auction. France is yet to hold 5G auctions.

Germany’s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) is auctioning off 41 blocks of spectrum in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands. There will be several rounds of bids.

Germany will conduct spectrum auction in all 41 blocks simultaneously and publish results online after each round. Minimum bids range between 1.7 million and 5 million euros and total 104.6 million euros.

Germany’s three telecom network operators — Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland – will attend the 5G auction. 1&1 Drillisch, a virtual mobile operator controlled by United Internet that wants to run a fourth network, will also be participating in the 5G spectrum auction.

Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica filed lawsuits to delay the auction, arguing that its requirement to provide 5G coverage to 98 percent of households by 2022 was too costly. They also criticized rules for network sharing, arguing they would make life too easy for new market entrants.

The Cologne Administrative Court threw out those lawsuits on Friday. Outstanding litigation may yet lead to the results of the auction being reviewed, although BNetzA says it is on firm legal ground.

BNetzA has declined to forecast proceeds. German government will reinvest the 5G money in upgrading Germany’s broadband networks.

Germany raised 5.1 billion euros or $5.8 billion by selling 4G frequencies during the last auction in 2015. In 2000, a 3G auction raised more than 50 billion euros.


Germany resisted calls from the United States to shut Chinese network vendors Huawei and ZTE out of its 5G build-out due to national security concerns.

Telecom regulators have tightened rules on all network vendors instead of banning Huawei outright. These won’t bid in the auction but will be key partners in upgrading network infrastructure, CNBC reported.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Berlin would tighten security criteria for all 5G network vendors. The government will change the law to ensure that all components used in the 5G networks will be secure and that there will be no violations against data protection rules.