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German Spectrum Auction Set to Proceed in 2010

16 октября 2009

Germany’s Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur, will be proceeding with its proposed spectrum auction in the first half of 2010.  The head of the regulator’s advisory council, Ulrich Junghanns stated that concerns cited by the European Union Commission should be dismissed and that the auction should proceed.

The auction which includes 4G and UMTS wireless spectrum was announced this past summer and is expected to raise over EUR 4 billion.  A total of 340 MHz is up for grabs in the 3.5 to 3.8 GHz range as well as 1.8, 2.0 and 2.6 GHz spectrum.   It will also include valuable allocations in the 790 to 862 MHz spectrum being released by broadcasters as they migrate to DTV.

The European Union Commission and a number of smaller wireless operators have expressed concerns about the auction process.  The commission stated that it is “deeply concerned about the German telecoms regulator’s decision to ignore the Commission’s advice on how to ensure fair competition in the allocation of the digital dividend in Germany.”   In general, the assertion by the commission and operators is that larger wireless operators will be unfairly favoured in the auction.

Operators o2 Germany and E-Plus have both suggested that they are considering legal action to challenge the auction.  Both operators want the regulator to provide fair access, and especially for the 800 MHz spectrum, to all operators.  They propose that the way to provide fair access is for the Bundesnetzagentur to place limitations on the bidding rights of larger operators.  Not surprisingly, larger incumbents T-Mobile and Vodafone expressed support for the regulator’s advisory council decision and aren’t pressing for changes.

WiMAX vendors will be watching the auction with more than a passing interest.  One of the auction’s goals, besides acting as a source of cash for the German government, is to help deliver on its broadband strategy.  This strategy is intended to provide nationwide coverage at speeds of 1 Mb/s by the end of 2010 and 75% reach at 50 Mb/s by 2014.

Access to additional spectrum should go a long way toward extending coverage into those previously unserved or underserved rural territories of Germany.  In these rural areas where there is little or no existing infrastructure, WiMAX has the potential to provide a cost effective and compelling connectivity solution.   According to Ashish Sharma, VP Corporate Market Development, Alvarion sees a “very positive future for WiMAX in rural and emerging markets.”

Regardless, the demand for spectrum to augment voice services for the incumbents or to extend broadband access for smaller operators is certain to exceed supply.  And whether it is scaling backhaul or adding new broadband access that needs to be addressed, the WiMAX ecosystem is almost certain to benefit.


Источник: 4G Trends

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