Germany’s 5g rollout is underway. Tangible 5G developments in Germany started with 5G spectrum auctions in 2019. The German telecoms regulator, FNA had published the 5G spectrum auctions’ terms and conditions in November 2018.

These included coverage obligations for the operators winning 2.1GHz and 3.6GHz band licenses to supply minimum speeds of 100Mbps to at least 98% of households by the end of 2022.

Operators must also install 1,000 5G base stations and additional 500 base stations in the ‘white spot’ areas.

As planned, in March 2019, the regulator auctioned 5G spectrum with a total of 420MHz in the 2.1GHz and 3.6GHz bands. The three major operators – Deutsche Telekom, O2 Germany, and Vodafone Germany, secured respectively 130MHz (for US$2.5 billion), 90MHz (for US$1.6 billion) and 130MHz (for US$2.1 billion) of spectrum. The fourth contestant, 1&1 Drillisch, acquired 70MHz (for US$1.2 billion) of spectrum.

First 5g launches

Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have already launched 5G in 2019. They are gearing up to accelerate their 5G rollouts for consumer and enterprises. Deutsche Telekom is focusing on expanding 5G coverage with plans to connect 20 major cities by mid-2021.

The telco rollout of 5G services in metropolitan areas first, afterwards expanding to less densely populated areas. Vodafone is planning to deploy 120 5G base stations in German cities including Berlin, Bremen, Leipzig, Dresden, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt by March 2020. The target is to connect 10 million people to the 5G network by the end of 2020.

Accelerated rollout for O2

O2 Germany is embarking on an accelerated rollout of 5G technology to extend 5G network coverage across five German cities. These include Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt by March 2020. Rollouts are planned across 30 cities covering a total of 16 million people by end of 2022.

It has collaborated with China-based Huawei and Finland-based Nokia equipment providers. The aim is to build 5G network infrastructure across Germany.

Gearing up for the roll-out of 5G services, 1&1 Drillisch, a subsidiary of United Internet, acquired 70MHz of 5G spectrum in June 2019 and established its position as the fourth Mobile Network Operator in German telecom sector.

Private 5G networks

Telecom operators in Germany are also bringing 5G campus networks to various industry verticals. Together with Mercedes-Benz and Ericsson, Vodafone is establishing 5G private networks for vehicle production in the Mercedes-Benz “Factory 56” in Sindelfingen.

Deutsche Telekom deployed 5G campus solutions on clients’ production facilities like lightbulb manufacturer OSRAM or carmaker BMW. Vodafone Germany and airline operator Lufthansa have launched a private 5G campus network in an aircraft hangar in Hamburg airport.

The 5G adoption will be driven by telcos offering large data allowances, zero-rated data options as well as increasing 5G coverage. GlobalData expect 5G to account for a 31.2% share of total mobile subscriptions by 2024.