Entering a well-understood, three-player mobile market seems to be a major challenge not only in Hungary, but also in Germany, where the local telecoms regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), still has only four years of marathon-length frequency auctions. incumbent is present in the segment, although a significant amount of frequency frames have also been acquired by a new entrant. The 5G launch, meanwhile, is fast-paced at the market leader, with Deutsche Telekom already reaching half of Germany with its next-generation network.
Following last year's 497-round bidding at BNetzA's auction from March to mid-June, Drillisch Netz A.G. carried out two 5 MHz duplex units in the 2 GHz band and five additional 10 MHz units in the 3.6 GHz band, while Telefónica acquired the same amount of 2 GHz spectrum, but in total carried seven blocks in the 3.6 GHz band. Both Telekom and Vodafone acquired 4-4 duplex units in the 2 and 9 10 MHz units in the 3.6 GHz band. Overall, the new entrant paid just over € 1 billion for the frequency licenses obtained.
However, the fourth German operator, operating under the 1 & 1 Drillisch brand, has not been able to launch its commercial service to date. However, the company has successfully concluded a frequency lease agreement with Telefonica in the 2 GHz band until it can use its own blocks (which may take place in 2026) and has also concluded national roaming agreements with competitors for rural areas – a similar option is Hungarian authorities did not give the fourth service provider, DIGI, which entered the market last May.
So apparently everything would be up for grabs, but according to the official justification, the construction of the 1 & 1 Drillisch network was significantly delayed by the coronavirus epidemic, so the company did not receive building permits at many sites (the company has to build the application network
Meanwhile, market leader Deutsche Telekom is rapidly developing its 5G network by updating the software of existing stations. The company was the first in Germany to launch next-generation technology a year ago, and today the network reaches half of Germany’s population – approximately 40 million people. The pace of development and the potential of SRAN (software-based radio access medium) are well illustrated by the fact that the service provider switched on 5G technology at 18,000 German stations in five weeks, which is now available on 30,000 stations.  Compared to Deutsche Telekom, the two rivals, Vodafone and Telefónica, are significantly behind, the former previously promising 5 million Germans access to 5G by the end of this year, the latter by 2022 that 16 million will be able to use its 5G network.
Gellert is Technology Editor at Counting News Media and contributor at other major tech publications. Her interests includes testing new gadgets and reading.