German spectrum auction raises EUR5.08bn

22 Jun 2015

After 16 days and 181 rounds of bidding, Germany has raised a total of EUR5.081 billion (USD5.8 billion) from the sale of 270MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz, 900MHz, 1500MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands. According to telecoms regulator the Federal Network Agency (FNA, also known as Bundesnetzagentur or BNetzA), all three of the country’s mobile network operators ‘were successful in bidding for spectrum in line with their business models’. The market’s smallest network operator, Vodafone Germany, was the biggest spender, bidding a sum of EUR2.091 billion for spectrum in the 700MHz (2×10MHz), 900MHz (2×10MHz), 1800MHz (2×25MHz) and 1500MHz (20MHz) bands. Deutsche Telekom unit Telekom Deutschland (TD) was awarded 700MHz (2×10MHz), 900MHz (2×15MHz), 1800MHz (2×15MHz) and 1500MHz (20MHz) frequencies for a combined EUR1.792 billion, while market leader Telefonica Deutschland will pay a total of EUR1.198 billion for 2×10MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band, 2×10MHz in the 900MHz range and 2×10MHz of 1800MHz frequencies.

With the conclusion of the sale, Germany has become the first European country to sell off spectrum in the 700MHz band for mobile broadband services, in a move aimed at accelerating the deployment of high speed services in rural parts of the country. So far the frequencies have been used for terrestrial television, but the FNA’s goal is to use the 700MHz spectrum to achieve almost complete nationwide population coverage of broadband internet access – as is already the case with mobile voice telephony. As such, the frequency usage rights include a coverage obligation of 98% of the population.