Germany's telecoms regulator declared that the country's mobile networks have met the coverage requirements associated with the 800MHz band in North-Rhine Westphalia and Saarland. That means T-Mobile, Vodafone and Telefónica's O2 are now allowed to use the frequencies assigned to them in the band as they want in the two federal states.
"I'm very happy that the coverage requirements have already been fulfilled in two states in such a short space of time," Matthias Kurth, president of Bundesnetzagentur, the federal networks agency, said in a statement. "Following the auction, the companies quickly started broadband expansion, ensuring rapid progress. I expect the frequencies to continue to be used efficiently now, leading to further improvement in broadband coverage."
The German regulator auctioned wireless spectrum in the 800 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2 GHz and 2.6 GHz bands in early 2010. The 800MHz frequencies had coverage requirements attached to them. Germany's federal states had identified the areas that had little or no broadband coverage, and these areas were grouped into four priority stages for wireless broadband coverage.
That means network operators were obligated to roll out broadband connections progressively to the towns and cities based on the priority stages. The 800 MHz license holder must first provide at least 90 per cent coverage to these areas before they can move to the next priority stage.
The operators have rolled out LTE in the 800 MHz band. O2 Germany, for instance, is marketing its service under the name "O2 LTE für Zuhause (at Home)" and is offering download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps for a per month charge of €39.90 (discounted to €29.90 for the first six months). The package includes 10GB per month for residential customers and 12GB per month for small business users, with download speeds being reduced to 384Kbps if these data caps are exceeded during the month.
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