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Germany launches 5G spectrum auction, potential new operator submits bids

Germany's Federal Network Agency on March 19 announced the start of its auction of 41 blocks of spectrum in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands for 5G networks.

United Internet AG unit 1&1 Drillisch AG has bid €20 million apiece for 10 blocks of spectrum in the first round, Reuters reported. United Internet CEO Ralph Dommermuth has prepared about €2.8 billion in financing, with the intention of becoming a mobile network player in Germany.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom AG, Vodafone Group PLCs Vodafone Kabel Deutschland GmbH and Telefónica SA's Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG have offered minimum opening bids for selected blocks. Minimum bids fall between €1.7 million and €5 million, with an estimated total of €104.6 million for all blocks being auctioned.

The launch of the 5G spectrum auction comes after the three operators sought to delay the bidding, contending that the government's requirement to provide 98% high-speed coverage by 2022 is onerous. The operators' suit was dismissed by the Cologne Administrative Court on March 15.

In relation to 5G buildout, the Federal Network Agency earlier in March introduced tougher security requirements for telecommunications networks and services, which will "apply to all network operators and service providers."