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Aerial view with fictitious digital networking over the landscape

Source: Fotolia / Sergey Nivens

At the 2018 mobile communications summit, mobile communications network operators announced that they will improve coverage in rural areas significantly by means of an upgrading campaign. By the end of 2021, 99% of all households in every federal state are to be covered with LTE. The Federal Government and mobile communications network operators Telekom, Vodafone, Telefónica and 1&1 Drillisch today concluded contracts, making the operators' pledge legally binding. In return, the Federal Government allows network operators to spread the payment of the liabilities from the 2019 auction of frequencies by paying in annual instalments up until 2030.

Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer said:

By the end of 2020, 99% of German households will enjoy uninterrupted phone calls and web surfing - mobile communications operators have now made a legally binding pledge to achieve this. To this end, more than 1,400 new mobile communications antennas will be erected. This is a clear signal that the upgrading of the mobile communications network in, so far, poorly served regions is being progressed at full strength.

Markus Haas, CEO of Telefónica Deutschland, said:

The pact adopted today means good news for our 45 million customers in the o2 network. We have joined forces with policymakers and industry to create the conditions for expanding our highly modern network even faster and further. To raise digital connectivity in Germany to world-class level, we must now be brave in taking the next steps.

Dr Dirk Wössner, Board member of Telekom Deutschland, said:

One year after the mobile communications summit, we have taken a decisive step to eliminate dead spots. We are keeping the promise to upgrade the network - by eliminating white spots systematically, every day. We now have about 30,000 mobile communications sites in our network. In return, we have agreed on the terms of payment for the allocation of 5G licences. This is important because we now have planning certainty and can start the 5G roll-out. We do not only want to deploy 5G quickly but, above all, in contiguous areas. It is particularly vital to eliminate white spots. This provides the basis for a future 5G upgrading also in these areas.

Hannes Ametsreiter, Vodafone CEO for Germany, said:

Today, we are already completing one LTE construction project every three hours in Germany, thereby closing more and more dead spots - also in rural areas. Now, with the “Mobile Communications Pact”, we are again increasing the upgrading speed substantially. Our objective is to work together with policymakers to make Germany even more digital.

Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of 1&1 Drillisch AG, said:

By building new mobile communications sites, we, as newcomers, also want to contribute to providing rural areas with highly modern mobile communications technology. The fact that this upgrading is carried out in cooperation with the three other network operators is a first and important step. Because no network operator will be able to build a high-performing 5G network for the whole of Germany on its own.

The contract includes the following items, among others:

  • With a coverage target of 99% of all households in Germany by the end of 2020 and 99% of all households in every federal state by 2021, coverage will improve quickly and substantially, particularly in rural areas.
  • The cooperation among mobile communications operators will be strengthened and the financial burden of the upgrading will be shared: concluding the contract with all four mobile communications network operators means the erection of a total of at least 1,400 additional mobile communications antennas that are available to all operators.
  • In return, the Federal Government is supporting mobile communications network operators by providing the payment facilitations set out in the contracts as a follow-up to the allocation of 5G frequencies.

In addition to the contractually stipulated upgrading pledges, further upgrading targets in the context of the 5G auction have been agreed:

  • Covering, by the end of 2022, all federal motorways with at least 100 Mbit/s and not more than 10 milliseconds (ms) in latency;
  • by the end of 2022, all federal highways of link function levels 0 / 1 with at least 100 Mbit/s and not more than 10 ms in latency;
  • by the end of 2024, all other federal highways with at least 100 Mbit/s and not more than 10 ms in latency;
  • by the end of 2024, all regional and federal roads with at least 50 Mbit/s;
  • by the end of 2024, all sea ports as well as the core inland waterway network with at least 50 Mbit/s;
  • by the end of 2022, all railway infrastructure accommodating more than 2,000 passengers per day with at least 100 Mbit/s;
  • by the end of 2024, all other railway infrastructure with at least 50 Mbit/s;
  • as well as putting into operation “5G base stations” and 500 base stations with at least 100 Mbit/s in “white spots” by the end of 2022.