The German Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA - this is the new authority incorporating RegTP) has opened a public consultation on the procedure for the granting of rights-of-use for frequency spectrum in the 3,5 GHz band for fixed wireless access.
2 x 84 MHz is free in the 3410-3494 MHz band and 3510-3594 MHz band. This spectrum will become available from 2006 onwards, except in the city of Osnabrück and in the city of Bremerhaven. The opening of other bands is under consideration (3600-3800 MHz and 5725-5875 MHz).
With regard to the available spectrum in the 3410-3494 and 3510-3594 MHz bands, the BNetzA proposes to grant licences on the basis of technology neutrality, although broad technical specifications for the use of the bands for fixed wireless access purposes are detailed in a so-called 'corner stone paper' published by the BNetzA (pages 21-22).
T-REGS Note: The BNetzA explicitly states in its proposals that the licences should not allow the provision of mobile services; this is expressed on page 18 of the corner stone paper.
The proposed process for granting the frequency licences consists of a complex, multi-step procedure.
Candidates for the spectrum would be entitled to apply under paragraph 55, section 3 of the German Telecommunications Act. This is an application for an individual frequency licence. Each candidate would be able to apply for a maximum of 2x7 MHz paired spectrum in any area.
No parties or undertakings would be excluded from submitting an application (i.e. operators which control other local access infrastructure, including Deutsche Telekom, would be eligible).
The BNetzA would, after receipt of the applications, assess whether there is scarcity of spectrum. If the number of applicants is low, and if all applicants can be served, the rights-of-use of the frequencies would be granted directly.
If the regulator considers that there is a situation of scarcity, the applicants will be allowed to attempt to forge agreements amongst one-another. If such an agreement is reached, the BNetzA would then register the (accordingly amended) applications. If no agreement can be reached, a public consultation would be held and an auction process will be launched.
The licences will expire on 31 December 2016.
The deadline for responding to this consultation is 27 Sep 2005.
For a discussion of frequency licensing for wireless broadband, in Germany and in other EU Member States, please contact Alexa Veller.