Rising German mobile data usage triggers call for 2G refarming

The German Federal Network Agency (FNA) is pushing to have current GSM spectrum refarmed for mobile broadband use. This move comes as the FNA revealed that mobile data traffic in Germany is increasingly rapidly--tripling in volume over the past two years.

The government agency is calling for spectrum within the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands--which is currently used for 2G GSM services-to be made available for mobile broadband use starting in 2017, according to Handelsblatt.

At present, E-Plus is the only German operator that has been granted permission by the telecoms regulator to use the 900MHz band for mobile broadband traffic, while other operators are only allowed to offer GSM services on the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequencies.

An investigation by the FNA into the reallocation of these two bands for mobile broadband has not resulted in a firm recommendation, and the agency has asked the mobile industry and consumer lobby groups for input by July of this year.

FNA President Jochen Homann told Teltarif: "In order to properly estimate the future development of markets and technologies, we invite all interested parties to present the facts and forecasts on the short, medium and long-term developments in the field of wireless network access, together with estimates to manufacturer appropriate equipment."

Any liberalisation or refarming of the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands could cause upset among the existing operators given that they paid a total of €4.4 billion in May 2010 to acquire additional spectrum.

For more:
- see this Handelsblatt article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Teltarif article (translated via Google Translate)

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