Harsh criticism of parameters for 5G

Things are getting serious. At the end of November, the Federal Network Agency launched the approval process for the 5G frequency auction. Soon after criticism of the frequency band started hailing.

Shortly after the Federal Network Agency announced the final conditions of the auction and auction rules for the 5G frequency auction, there was already some criticism. Achim Berg, President of the industry association Bitkom, put it very clearly: “The requirements counteract their goal of bringing 5G to the people and the companies as quickly as possible. If you want to expand the area, you must also provide area frequencies.”

Berg refers to the fact that the spectrum is being auctioned at 3.6 gigahertz, which, however, is totally unsuitable for land supply due to unfavorable propagation conditions. According to Berg, instead of 60,000 radio masts now in the 3,6-band 800,000 radio masts would be needed to supply 98 percent of households with 5G. “Germany would have to be spiked at a distance of one kilometer each with radio masts and be dredged or milled up in a checkerboard pattern. The first citizens’ initiatives are already being established to oppose this,”emphasizes Berg.

The Bitkom is therefore of the opinion that frequency bands below one gigahertz would be more useful, since these would not even need every tenth radio mast. “Politics should immediately agree with the network operators on a consistent frequency policy, instead of auctioning spectrum piece by piece,” said Berg.

The second criticism of the association is the bargaining requirement for national roaming and a service provider regulation. In the opinion of Bitkom, the referee role of the Federal Network Agency threatens a backdoor obligation that inhibits and invalidates network investments. “A national roaming leads to a equalization of the nets and leverages the competition. This ultimately hurts consumers,”says Berg.

What the telecommunications companies make of it, will now show. The Federal Network Agency has published the quality parameters which the applicants must comply with. Until January 25, they have time to submit their applications for approval. The auction will start in spring 2019.

Defined quality parameters by the Federal Network Agency:

  • by the end of 2022, at least 98% of households per state have at least 100 Mbps,
  • by the end of 2022 all federal motorways with at least 100 Mbit/s and no more than 10 milliseconds (ms) latency,
  • until the end of 2022 the federal highways with connection function levels 0/1 with at least 100 Mbit/s and at most 10 ms latency,
  • by the end of 2024 all other federal highways with at least 100 Mbit/s and at most 10 ms latency,
  • by the end of 2024 all national and state roads with at least 50 Mbit/s,
  • by the end of 2024, the seaports and the core network of inland waterways with at least 50 Mbit/s,
  • by the end of 2022 the railways with more than 2,000 passengers per day with at least 100 Mbit/s,
  • to supply all other railways with at least 50 Mbit/s by the end of 2024, as well as by the end of 2022
  • 1,000 “5G Base Stations” and
  • 500 base stations with at least 100 Mbit/s in “white spots” in operation.

For newcomers differing supply requirements apply. They have to

  • supply at least 25% of households by the end of 2023 and
  • supply at least 50% of households by the end of 2025.

Newcomers who only purchase 3.6 GHz frequencies have

  • to supply at least 25% of households by the end of 2025.

Newcomers who purchase 3.6 GHz frequencies have

  • 1,000 “5G Base Stations”

Ralf Johanning

Ralf Johanning studied political science and works as a freelance journalist. For over ten years now he reports on the transportation and logistics industry. The priorities include topics such as telematics, software, and ICT. In 2006 the trained editor, Head, and Press Officer founded the editorial office Alte Schule with his partner Ann-Christin Wimber.

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