Bonn According to a report, the network operator Telefónica (O2) is far from being as far as its competitors when it comes to mobile phone expansion. An internal paper, which the Federal Network Agency sent to the Digital Committee of the Bundestag and which is available to the dpa, lists how far the companies are in the mobile network expansion.
Normally, the authority only publishes the status as a whole, i.e. the coverage of the three providers combined. In the internal document, however, a distinction is made between the companies. It is clear that Telefónica still has a lot of work to do in fulfilling state requirements in many federal states.
According to the paper, Vodafone, whose antennas reach 98.3 percent of German households in April and enable a transmission rate of at least 100 Mbit per second, is the furthest along in the expansion. Deutsche Telekom comes to 98.2 percent and Telefónica to 95.1 percent.
By the end of 2022, the companies must have a coverage of at least 98 percent, according to regulatory supply requirements of the frequency auction 2019. This value must be achieved in every federal state and not only in the federal average. This is an aggravation compared to older expansion requirements, because, for example, very high values in city states cannot be taken into account in order to compensate for low values in sparsely populated area states.
The report of the Federal Network Agency shows that all network operators in several federal states are not yet on target. However, the distance that Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom still have to travel is comparatively short: Telekom is below the 98 percent mark in seven and Vodafone in six federal states, some of which are very close.
Telefónica does not meet the coverage requirement in 12 of the 16 federal states – and in some cases very clearly: in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the company is only with coverage of 88 percent and in Bavaria of 90 percent.
Telefónica is used to being behind
For the report, the Federal Network Agency used data from the companies. In view of the ongoing network expansion, the values from April 2022 are now likely to be higher. At some point after the implementation deadline on December 31, 2022, they will be randomly reviewed by the regulatory authority.
For Telefónica, the situation of having to catch up is not new: O2 already had major problems with the frequency requirements of the 2015 auction and came to the finish line very late. At that time, the Federal Network Agency granted deadline extensions, it did not impose fines.
And what does Telefónica say about the numbers? A spokeswoman for the company referred to major expansion progress and referred to the bar of 50 megabits per second, which was part of the supply requirements from the frequency auction 2015. Here, the O2 coverage values are now actually very high.
However, the 50 megabit requirement does not apply to the supply requirements that must be met by the end of 2022, but the 100 megabit value applies here. The supply “largely now only needs to be updated to 100 megabits per second,” said the O2 spokeswoman.
“We are very confident that we will also meet the next supply requirements.” We are making massive progress in expanding the network in order to achieve all our goals”.
The economic policy spokesman of the FDP parliamentary group, Reinhard Houben, is critical of the state of expansion of Telefónica. “At the 2019 auction, the company knew exactly what requirements it was getting into,” says the liberal. “Telefónica should not bet again on the fact that if the deadline is not met, it will again receive a generous extension from the Federal Network Agency and no fine.“