An internal paper sent to the Bundestag Digital Commission by the Federal Network Agency and available to dpa lists companies’ progress in expanding mobile connections. Normally, the authority publishes only the general case, i.e. coverage of the three service providers together. However, a distinction is made in the internal document between companies. This shows that Telefónica still has a lot to do in meeting state requirements in many federal states.
According to the newspaper, Vodafone is the furthest in expansion, with the antennas reaching 98.3 percent of German households in April and enabling a transmission rate of at least 100Mbps. Deutsche Telekom’s share is 98.2 percent and Telefónica’s is 95.1 percent.
By the end of 2022, companies must have at least 98 percent coverage, according to the official frequency auction coverage requirements for 2019. This value must be achieved in every federal state, not just the national average. This is an tightening compared to earlier expansion requirements because, for example, very high values in city states cannot be taken into account in order to compensate for lower values in sparsely populated states.
The Federal Network Agency report shows that all network operators in many federal states have not yet reached their goal. However, the distance that Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom still have is relatively short: Telekom is below the 98 percent mark in seven Vodafone states in six federal states, sometimes very close. Telefónica does not meet the requirements for coverage in 12 of the 16 federal states – in some cases very clearly: in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the company has only 88 percent coverage and in Bavaria 90 percent.
For the report, the Federal Network Agency used data from companies. Values from April 2022 are likely to be higher in light of the continued expansion of the network. After the implementation deadline of December 31, 2022, it will be randomly examined by the regulatory authority.
For Telefónica, the case of having to catch up is not new: O2 already had major problems with the frequency requirements for the 2015 auction and arrived too late. At the time, the Federal Network Agency granted the deadline extension, but did not impose fines.
And what does Telefónica say about the numbers? A company spokeswoman noted significant scaling progress and noted the 50Mbps band, which was part of the coverage requirement for the 2015 frequency auction. Here the O2 coverage values are actually very high.
However, the 50 megabit specification does not apply to supply requirements that must be met by the end of 2022; The value of 100 MB is applied here. An O2 spokeswoman said the offering should “now largely only be updated to 100 megabits per second.” “We are very confident that we will also be able to meet the following supply requirements.” Network expansion is being pushed forward “significantly in order to achieve all objectives”.
The spokesman for the economic policy of the parliamentary group of the Free Democratic Party, Reinhard Hoeben, is critical of the development situation of Telefónica. “At the 2019 auction, the company knew exactly what specifications it would accept,” says the liberal. “Telefónica should never again bet on the fact that if the deadline is not met, the Federal Network Agency will give it another generous extension and no fine will be imposed.”
BONN (AWP International)