German Government Clears Auction of 700 MHz Spectrum
The cabinet of the German Federal Government
has approved a regulation allowing the regulator Federal Network Agency (FNA) to allocate spectrum in the 700 MHz band for mobile broadband. Frequencies in the 700 MHz band have been used for terrestrial broadcasting so far and will become available due to the planned migration of broadcasting services from DVB-T to DVB-T2. These lower frequencies are especially valuable since their extraordinary propagation characteristics allow them to cover larger geographic areas with less infrastructure compared to higher frequencies.
The government’s decision is part of the “Digital Agenda”
under which the government aims to promote the roll-out of fast high speed mobile broadband in rural areas and has set its goal to provide all households with download speeds of at least 50 megabits per second by 2018.
The FNA published a final decision
on the award of spectrum in the 700 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands and in the 1.5 GHz band on 28 January following a public consultation launched in 2013 and a draft decision published in October 2014. According to this decision 700 MHz spectrum can be used gradually for mobile communications services from 2017 and for mobile broadband from mid-2018.
Endeavours to free the valuable 700 MHz frequencies for mobile broadband have been highly contentious and have especially been opposed by broadcasters. Nevertheless the government and the Federal States agreed to include the 700 MHz spectrum in a meeting of December 2014. Germany will be the first country in Europe to allocate spectrum in the 700 MHz band for mobile broadband
. The auction is scheduled for the second quarter of 2015 and accordingly will take place in May or June.