With an additional network expansion, the number of dead spots for mobile phone users in Germany will be reduced, especially in rural areas. The federal government has concluded contracts with mobile network operators Telekom, Vodafone, Telefónica and 1 & 1 Drillisch, as the news agency dpa reports. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) spoke of an "expansion offensive" for rural areas.
Specifically, the contracts provide for a supply of 99 percent of households nationwide with LTE by the end of 2020 and of 99 percent of households in each state by 2021 - including in area countries. This should improve the supply, especially in rural areas. However, the expansion targets refer to the number of households - and not to the area. And: Since it's only about 99 and not 100 percent supply, there will continue to be places where a modern mobile phone coverage is missing.
In return, the federal government now allows network operators to extend their payment obligations from the 5G frequency auction 2019 with annual installments over a period until 2030, according to the ministry. In June, 5G frequency blocks had been auctioned to the four providers Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefónica and 1 & 1 Drillisch. They paid a total of 6.55 billion euros.
Scheuer said more than 1,400 new cell towers were to be built for the new targets. "This is a clear signal that the expansion of mobile communications in previously underserved regions is being driven forward with full force."
Expansion speed should be significantly increased
Network operators already have an obligation to provide mobile broadband to 98 percent of households across Germany by January 2020. This condition was imposed on them when auctioning frequencies in 2015. Now it should be 99 percent of households. Scheuer said in July 2018 that half a million households could be connected to the mobile network.
With the now decided expansion the portable radio operators want to cooperate among themselves more strongly and share the financial burden. The planned at least 1400 additional mobile masts should be open for use by any operator. The boss of Vodafone Germany, Hannes Ametsreiter, said, with the mobile pact the expansion speed is increased clearly.
"Now we have planning security"
German Telekom boss Dirk Wössner said: "One year after the mobile radio summit, we have taken a decisive step to close dead spots." In return, there is agreement on the terms of payment for the award of 5G licenses. "That's important, because now we have planning security and can get started with 5G."
In connection with the 5G auction, there had already been further expansion requirements, for example for the supply of highways, federal and regional roads as well as all train routes and important waterways.