FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany is the auction of the frequencies for the fifth-generation mobile services, now in the 10th week, has signed a contract for 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in bids so far.
The amount in a record 405 auction rounds for the 41 blocks on offer has exceeded forecasts as operators slug it out to secure spectrum to run ‘smart’ factories and offer super-fast broadband to the home.
Market leader Deutsche Telekom has complained that the regulator has forced up the prices by offering too little spectrum.
Deutsche Telekom leads in 13 out of the blocks, with competitor Vodafone ahead in 12 and Telefonica Deutschland in eight, according to the auction results published by the Federal Network Agency (Bnetza).
New participant 1&1 and Drillisch, a ‘virtual’ mobile player is controlled by the United Internet, leads in eight blocks, as billionaire CEO Ralph Dommermuth pursues his dream of Germany’s fourth operator.
Drillisch and United Internet, have slashed their dividend payouts to save money so that they can remain in the game.
Industry bosses say that inflated auction costs would undermine their ability to invest the billions needed to build 5G networks – as happened in a pricey spectrum auction in Italy last year.
Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Emma Thomasson; Editing by Susan Fenton