Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica Germany will be the first European operators given access to the 700MHz frequency band after Germany’s Federal Network Agency admitted them to next month’s spectrum auction.
The Bundesnetzagentur will begin auctions for Germany’s 700MHz band on 27 May. The country’s three largest operators will take part in an auction of a total of 270MHz from the 700MHz, 900MHz and 1500MHz bands.
Mobile operators have long sought access to the 700MHz frequency on the grounds that it will offer relief for straining networks.
It is the only frequency band widely considered as being able to support harmonised spectrum use, allowing operators to share resources.
The band also provides better coverage both indoors and outdoors, allowing telcos to deliver higher performance at lower cost.
Frequencies in the 700MHz range have until now been used for terrestrial television. Last year, UK regulator Ofcom revealed plans to begin moving broadcasters off the 700MHz frequency band to make it available to mobile operators by 2022.
However, the switch to Digital Video Broadcasting Second Generation Terrestrial - or DVB-T2 - in Germany means that the band will now be available to the country’s mobile operators, the Bundesnetzagentur explained.
The agency said this will allow operators to roll out faster networks using fewer base stations and help towards its goal of bringing mobile broadband coverage to 98 percent of the German population.
Jochen Homann, President of the Bundesnetzagentur, said: "We expect the auction to provide a strong impetus for a rapid rollout of the broadband networks, especially in rural areas."
This came after the EC revealed in January that it was seeking views on whether the frequency should be made available exclusively to mobile operators.