German network operators make good progress in fulfilling the LTE expansion requirements of the German Federal Network Agency. Telefonica Deutschland says it has successfully completed penultimate stage of LTE rollout in line with Federal Network Agency requirements. The regulatory authority has been informed about the construction of 5089 new LTE base stations since the beginning of the year, the company announced on Monday. The target of 4940 base stations has thus been met. Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have also reached the interim goal.
The allocation of mobile frequencies from the 2015 spectrum auction was linked to requirements for the rapid expansion of LTE networks. By the end of 2019, network operators had 98 percent of households nationwide and 97 percent of households per state with a minimum data rate of 50 MBit.
Deadlines to comply
During an inspection in January, the regulatory authority found that all three network operators had not fully complied with the requirements. The companies were given a deadline until the end of the year to comply. In the process, the Federal Network Agency also set milestones that they have to meet along the way, with the threat of fines if they fail to do so.
Telefonica Deutschland narrowly missed a first milestone in June, but met the grace period granted by the Federal Network Agency and was thus able to avoid a threatened penalty payment. After reaching the interim target on time at the end of September, the network operator still has to roll out around 2,500 more LTE stations by the end of. "We are very confident that we will achieve our roll-out targets by the end of the year," said CEO Markus Haas.
Competitors have also reached their interim targets. "We submitted our coverage data to the Federal Network Agency on time before 30. September 2020", said a Vodafone spokesperson. "We believe that we have met the coverage requirements of the 2015 LTE auction for all German federal states." Telekom had already been certified by the Federal Network Agency as having met the milestone ahead of schedule.
O2 launches with 5G
Meanwhile, Telefonica Deutschland launched its 5G network over the weekend as announced. In the five major German cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt and Koln, O2 transmits via 5G at a total of 150 base stations. The frequencies in the 3.6 GHz band purchased at auction in 2019 will be used. "We will bring 5G to more and more cities and especially rural areas in a short period of time", announced CTO Mallik Rao.
O2 customers with a suitable smartphone and tariff (from O2 Free L) will be able to use 5G from the 6. October to be used at no additional cost. Customers who will be using a "5G ready"-rate during the course of the year are also included at no extra charge. Existing customers without "5G ready" Can switch to a 5G plan as part of a contract extension.