Expansion of networks: Scheuer presents mobile strategy

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BFederal Ministry of Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer (CSU) wants to revamp the German mobile network and has submitted a five-point plan. "In our country, uninterrupted surfing and telephoning must come naturally – not in the distant future, but as quickly as possible," said Scheuer on Saturday in Berlin, according to the announcement.

For this purpose, planning, approval and expansion of 4G and 5G networks are to be accelerated and existing mobile gaps in the 4G network are to be closed. "In order to do so, network expansion has to pick up speed, if necessary, support for regions that are uneconomical for mobile network operators, and increase public acceptance," said Scheuer. Previously, the newspapers of the Funke media group had reported on Scheuer's mobile strategy.

It provides, among other things, "white-spot auctions". Unproven areas are to be summarized and advertised. The company, which has the lowest subsidy requirement for development, receives the contract and funding from the federal government.

"Where there is no mast, there is no reception"

In addition, more public plots are to be made available as sites for broadcasting facilities. "Where there is no mast, there is no reception," said Scheuer. The number of usable locations for mobile network expansion is limited. Therefore, federal, state and local governments should offer land from their stock "against a moderate usage fee". For this model contracts would be developed. Also, the construction of new mobile phones will be approved faster and will take in future no more than four months.

Expansion especially in rural areas

Despite all investments, there are still areas with poor mobile phone and internet coverage. On Friday, the federal government and mobile operators had agreed on additional mobile network expansion, especially in rural regions. A contract stipulates that by the end of 2021 99 percent of households in each state will be provided with LTE – also called 4G. This is equivalent to more than 90 percent of the area, as it was called in the Federal Government. To date, operators are required to cover at least 98 percent of households with fast mobile Internet by the end of 2019.

The willingness of the mobile operators Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefónica and 1 & 1 Drillisch to sign the contract has also to do with financial motives. Because now they may settle the bill for the expensive 5G frequencies later than previously provided. The four companies will have to shell out a total of 6.6 billion euros in order to pay for the frequency range for the ultra-fast mobile radio standard acquired in June in a federal auction. Now their payment obligations will be stretched until 2030. As a result, companies save interest on loans and have more financial resources for investment.

The upcoming mobile standard 5G, which is extremely important for the economy in particular – keyword Industry 4.0 – is to be introduced as quickly as possible, according to Scheuer's plans. In at least 10 cities, there should already be 2021 a 5G coverage. The federal government promotes pioneer regions and model projects.

Overall, the CSU politician relies on cooperation with the mobile phone companies. His strategic plan, however, also provides for significantly higher fines for the violation of supply requirements from the frequency allocation – instead of currently up to 100,000 euros then up to one million euros or up to two percent of annual revenue.

(TagToTranslate) Andreas Scheuer (t) CSU (t) Funke Media Group (t) Mobile Broadcasting (t) 5G (t) Expansion

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