Germany’s 5G spectrum allocations well received by GSMA – but with a caveat

The German government’s decision to release the entire 3.4 to 3.8 GHz band (C-Band) has been well-received by the GSMA with an eye on the development of global 5G services – albeit with a twist.

Putting the entire available spectrum in this critical band in a timely manner shows Germany’s commitment to European and global 5G leadership, the industry firm noted. But at the same time, the GSMA has warned about some of the currently proposed conditions on the allocation of those mandatory frequencies could slow the country’s 5G future.

According to GSMA director general, Mats Granryd, spectrum is a limited resource and it must be used and managed as efficiently as possible to ensure a 5G future that will benefit all.

For instance, the proposed coverage obligations for the 3.6 GHz band seem to disregard the laws of physics when it comes to the propagation characteristics of this mid-band spectrum. Even though these frequencies offer very high capacity, they cover only small area and are not ideal to wide area coverage like spectrum in lower bands. A combination of frequencies will be vital in order to provide extensive rural coverage of mobile services. That is why, coverage obligations should provide the possibility of using any, and all, spectrum at an operator’s disposal to achieve the ambitious coverage conditions and deliver the best quality of services for consumers and industry alike. Moreover, coverage obligations should be practical and not overburden mobile network operators.

Deutsche Telekom announced last month that its 5G network was 80% ready and expected 99% coverage by 2025. Company CEO Timotheus Höttges has stated that around 22,000 of the operator's 27,000 mobile sites were now connected to high-speed fibre-optic. An agreement was also reached with its competitor Telefonica who will use the operator’s fibre-optic network to connect its own mobile base stations.

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