BONN (dpa-AFX) - Federal Network Agency President Klaus Müller has reaffirmed the plan to oblige Germany's established mobile network providers to roll out a nationwide mobile network by 2030. "I have not yet been convinced by any counter-argument," Müller told the German Press Agency in Bonn. In mid-May, the regulatory authority proposed that by 2030, the cell phone networks of the established operators must provide 99.5 percent of Germany with a download speed of 50 megabits per second. This benchmark has long been exceeded in cities and some rural areas, but not yet in other regions.

Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hottges had rejected such an obligation as disproportionate and "hardly feasible", especially as it would not benefit customers. Regulator Müller takes a different view. Such an expansion requirement would be achievable, and it would be important for people in Germany, for example in rural areas. "If the 99.5 percent were achieved, Germany would have good mobile coverage right up to every milk can." In the data-driven digital age, in which cell phone networks enable technological innovations and can make work in agriculture easier, for example, Müller believes this is necessary.

The expansion obligation should be 99.5 percent and not 100 percent, because in some places in the mountains or in other impassable areas, good cell phone reception is not possible, even from the network agency's point of view. Sometimes there is simply no one willing to rent a plot of land for a mobile phone mast. The incumbent network operators are to commit themselves to the 99.5 percent area requirement and other regulations in return for the extension of certain usage rights for frequencies.

A consultation phase on the Federal Network Agency's proposal will run until July. It will then make a final decision on the list of conditions and thus on the guidelines for the future expansion of the mobile network in Germany. Compared to the usual budgetary requirements - i.e. the obligation to expand in terms of households and not in terms of area - the new requirement would be more stringent./wdw/DP/zb