National roaming is increasingly becoming the issue in the awarding of the new licenses for 5G. Applicants like Telekom resist a general use of their own networks.
The time has come: For the first time there are four applicants for the 5G licenses. With 1 & 1 Internet, another company is entering the battle for the coveted frequencies. But the euphoria for more competition and thus perhaps falling tariffs will also be slowed down again. Because shortly before the end of the application deadlines for the free frequencies at the Federal Network Agency, the politicians in Berlin have thought again and demanded stricter conditions and award criteria. Particularly controversial is the introduction of national roaming. It should ensure that in sparsely populated areas consumers can also be connected via other radio networks. But that also means that it would no longer be attractive for the telecommunications giants to expand their own network as fully as possible, if everyone has access to it. At least that is what critics say of national roaming. Whether there will be a nationwide coverage, remains questionable. Despite these many uncertainties, Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica have applied for the frequencies to be awarded in addition to 1 & 1 Internet.
Masses of radio masts
Despite these uncertainties, the German Telekom continues to push forward and announced in a blog post under the title “5G network as a basis for autonomous driving” on its website to equip all major transport routes such as highways and rail lines with the 5G network by 2025. This is a mammoth task, because 5G belongs to the category of capacity frequencies, which means that it can forward a lot of data in the shortest possible time, but only over short ranges. Already in the last post on the subject Bitkom boss Achim Berg pointed out that at a distance of no more than one kilometer each would be needed between radio masts. In such a scenario, citizens’ initiatives are likely to emerge just aiming to prevent that.
Whether the current timetable will be kept, is also far more than questionable. Because before the submission of applications, many telecommunications companies have filed against the award and auction rules of the Federal Network Agency for the award of frequencies in the areas of 2 Ghz and 3.6 Ghz before the Cologne administrative court. A judgment is not yet spoken in the present cases. It therefore remains to be seen who gets the thick pieces of the 5G cake. The frequencies are planned to be auctioned this spring.