Deutsche Telekom chief wants sensible 5G spectrum auctions

Deutsche Telekom
Timotheus Hoettges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, before the annual shareholders' meeting of the company in Bonn, Germany May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – Deutsche Telekom on Thursday urged Germany to auction frequencies for 5G mobile services on reasonable terms to ensure that there is enough money left over to invest in infrastructure.

“We can only spend each euro once – either on spectrum or network build-out. My suggestion would be on buildout,” CEO Tim Hoettges said in a speech to the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

Germany’s Federal Network Regulator plans to hold the 5G auctions in early 2019. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government hopes to raise billions of euros in proceeds from the allocation of mobile spectrum.

Deutsche Telekom, the market leader, is concerned that if the auctions are too costly that would sap its ability to invest. It also says that glass fiber – which can offer gigabit data transmission speeds – should be free from regulation.

Hoettges said that infrastructure arm Deutsche Funkturm would build 1,200 sites this year and 2,000 next year. By the end of 2018, Deutsche Telekom aims to offer fast LTE mobile services to 95% of its customers in Germany and Europe.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by Arno Schuetze and Jason Neely)

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