Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefonica Germany, and Drillisch win 5G spectrum

The four telcos paid €6.55 billion for 420MHz worth of spectrum.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

After 497 bidding rounds, Germany's Federal Network Agency Bundesnetzagentur(BNetzA) announced the results of its 5G spectrum auction, with Deutsche Telekom winning the most lots in the 2GHz and 3.6GHz bands.

In total, 420MHz was purchased for €6.55 billion.

Deutsche Telekom paid the most with €851.5 million for 40MHz in the 2GHz band and €1.3 billion for 90MHz in the 3.6GHz band; followed by Vodafone, which paid €800 million for 40MHz in the 2GHz band and €1.07 billion for 90 MHz in the 3.6GHz band; Telefónica Germany purchased 20MHz in the 2GHz band for €381 million and 70MHz in the 3.6GHz band for €1.04 billion; and Drillisch purchased 20MHz in the 2GHz band for €335 million and 50MHz in the 3.6GHz band for €735.2 million.

German telcos can now begin work for the deployment of their 5G networks after a three-month long bidding process.

"The auction leaves a bitter aftertaste," Deutsche Telekom CEO Dirk Woessner said in a statement. "The result is a dampener on our network buildout. Spectrum, again, is much more expensive in Germany than elsewhere. Network operators now lack the money to expand their networks."

The new entrant, Drillisch, also criticised the award terms of the 5G spectrum auction.

"We would have liked to see a stronger commitment to more competition in the award terms. As a new player, we would invest directly in a powerful 5G network -- in contrast to the current oligopoly of the network operators who want to expand their current antenna locations step by step," Drillisch CEO Ralph Dommermuth said.

The telcos will need to use more than a single vendor in building their 5G networks after the BNetzA published in March a set of planned additional security requirements for telco networks within the country.

The planned requirements will force German telcos to avoid using a single vendor, and only "trained professionals" will be allowed to work in security-related areas. In situations where telcos outsource this type of work, "professionally competent, reliable, and trustworthy contractors" must be used.

"Systems may only be sourced from trustworthy suppliers whose compliance with national security regulations and provisions for the secrecy of telecommunications and for data protection is assured," BNetzA added.

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