FNA publishes options for 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2600MHz spectrum allocation

23 Jun 2021

Germany’s Federal Network Agency (FNA, or Bundesnetzagentur) has published its ‘Principles and Scenarios for the Provision of 800MHz, 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz Spectrum’. The paper has been drawn up ahead of the expiry of the spectrum usage rights in these bands at the end of 2025. It follows the publication of the FNA’s ‘Spectrum Compass’ for market consultation in August last year, which contains initial considerations on the future availability of frequencies in the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2600MHz bands, and aims to give companies the greatest possible legal and planning security at an early stage so that they can continue to invest in their networks. The FNA has evaluated the responses received and is now consulting on its principles and scenarios with the aim of evaluating market players’ interests and exploring the next possible steps.

The five scenarios presented include a spectrum auction, an extension of spectrum usage rights, a combination of the two, an ‘operator model’ and a tendering process. The paper also considers a ‘negative auction’ as an option, whereby the successful bidder would be the one needing the least funding for rolling out mobile coverage to areas that are not financially lucrative (this option should also be considered in context with other forms of funding). The FNA’s objective is to improve broadband coverage, especially for communities in rural areas, and the regulator will take particular account of this objective when making the spectrum available again from 2026. At the same time, the aim will be to promote sustainable competition in infrastructure and services.

The deadline for comments on the paper is 23 August 2021.

Germany, Federal Network Agency (FNA)