Germany’s mobile network operators have agreed with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Bundesministerium fur Verkehr und Digitale Infrastruktur, BMVI) to improve 4G network coverage to 99% by the end of 2020. The announcement follows an industry meeting between Telefonica Deutschland, Vodafone Germany and Telekom Deutschland (TD) with Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer. The three operators originally pledged to cover 98% of German households with LTE services by 2020 under the terms of the 2015 national frequency auction, but have now agreed to increase this to 99% of homes by the end of that year. Furthermore, Telefonica, Vodafone and TD have committed to ensuring that 99% of homes in each federal state are able to access 4G networks during 2021. This will require the rollout of an additional 1,000 base stations in areas currently without coverage, and the upgrade of another 10,000 existing base stations.
In turn, Reuters reports that Scheuer has promised to ease the terms of next year’s 5G auctions, with operators only having to pay for new spectrum once it is allocated, which could save the industry around EUR1 billion (USD1.2 billion).