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Germany’s 5G spectrum bandwagon grinds on – where will the auction end?


The country’s 5G spectrum auction enters its tenth week, with bids worth €6 billion so far.

The amount has been raised in a record of 405 auction rounds for the 41 blocks of spectrum that are on offer.

It has exceeded expectations, except perhaps the worst fears of the operators.  Deutsche Telekom complained ahead of the auction that the regulator was making too little spectrum available and that, along with allowing a fourth entrant, Drillisch, into the market, would push prices to damaging levels.

Deutsche Telekom leads in the bidding for 13 blocks of spectrum, with Vodafone leading in 12 and Telefonica Deutschland in eight.

Drillisch cuts dividend to stay in bidding

New entrant 1&1 Drillisch, currently a virtual mobile network provider, controlled by United Internet, is ahead in the bidding for eight blocks, as its billionaire CEO, Ralf Dommermuth, looks to become Germany’s fourth operator.

Divident payouts for Drillisch and United Internet, have been sharply reduced to conserve cash and stay in the bidding.

Last year’s spectrum auction in Italy also exceeded all expectations, raising €6 billion in bids, which critics say has drastically reduced the funds Italian operators have available to invest in 5G deployment.