German cell phone operators won’t be required to allow national roaming when they roll out 5G services, the nation’s network service stated in a document, which could make it harder for new entrants to take on the incumbent providers.
The auction for your 5G, or fifth generation, spectrum licences at Europe’s largest telecoms market is planned for early 2019 and specifics are being closely-watched to ascertain whether smaller contenders will have a realistic chance to compete with the established players.
But there are worries among industry analysts that market concentration has left Europe’s largest economy lagging its rivals in the race to build network-dependent connected factories or put self-driving cars on the road.
Germany’s antitrust regulator last week called for a fourth mobile operator to go into the marketplace for its 5G auction, rebutting arguments in the”Big Three” that more competition could hit investment.
The suggested terms for the 5G auction, laid out in a document from network agency Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), do not include a binding commitment to permit national roaming – which would allow a new entrant rent network access where it lacks coverage – a key demand of smaller participant United Internet, which will be considering bidding.
Without the roaming commitment the incumbent operators may select whether they want to permit the new entrants access to their networks, by way of instance, in rural areas.
The proposed provisions, which will be discussed by BNetzA’s advisory board on September 24, also foresee that 98 percent of German families will need to be supplied with a high-speed connection of 100Mbps at the end of 2022.
At least 50Mbps must be available for busy regional and long distance railroad traffic lines.
“The policy obligations may not be not quite as extraordinary as BNetzA clarifies them but at first sight do impose material capex requirements on the network operators, in our view,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a note.
Deutsche Telekom, late on Thursday, said it anticipated the BNetzA to refrain from additional regulatory interventions into the cell phone market, adding the suggestions were counterproductive.
Vodafone, meantime, criticised requirements to provide federal primary roads with 100Mbps as”improper”, warning of high costs.