Germany raised 6.55 billion euros ($7.4 billion) from its 5G mobile spectrum auction, the Federal Network Regulator (BNetzA) said on Wednesday after a near three-month battle that will see a fourth operator enter the market.
The sum pledged in a record 497 rounds of bidding for the 41 blocks on offer was more than analysts had expected, while operators complained that the price they were paying would sap their ability to invest in next-generation networks.
“The auction leaves a bitter aftertaste,” said Deutsche Telekom’s Germany chief Dirk Woessner. The market leader bid 2.17 billion euros for 130 Megahertz of the 420 MHz of spectrum being allocated in the 2 Gigahertz and 3.6 GHz bands.
“The result is a dampener on our network buildout. Spectrum, again, is much more expensive in Germany than elsewhere,” added Woessner.
Deutsche Telekom’s Austrian unit recently bagged 5G spectrum far more cheaply.
The end of the auction fires the starting gun to upgrade networks to run connected factories or ‘smart’ cities in Europe’s largest economy, which is lagging countries like the United States, Japan and Korea that are already starting to roll out 5G services.
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