Network operators are making headway with cellular coverage on traffic routes

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Germany’s network operators have significantly improved their mobile phone coverage on motorways and ICE routes. The Federal Network Agency announced on Monday that these main traffic routes would now be fully supplied with the LTE standard. The regulatory authority had checked whether Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica (O2) met the requirements of a mobile phone auction in 2015. At that time they had undertaken to enable 50 megabits per second to be downloaded from the antenna on the routes. The mobile phone users, in turn, “usually” have to be able to surf with at least 10 Mbit per second.

The requirement should actually have been met by the end of 2019, but the industry did not manage to do so. The companies only reported execution at the beginning of this year – and the Federal Network Agency had to follow up again and point out deficiencies. In some places the companies also cited an exception: where the installation of cell phone masts was “legally or actually” not possible, cellular communications can be worse than it should be.

Examples of this are areas where there is no radio mast property to rent or buy, or stretches through nature reserves where permits are very difficult to obtain. In such areas along the main traffic routes there are now radio signals, but these are relatively weak. From the network agency’s point of view, the network operators rightly make use of the exemption.

The expansion requirements from 2015 are now ticked. The pressure on the providers remains. Because now the companies are working on fulfilling the requirements that come from the frequency auction of 2019. According to this, by the end of 2022, for example, they have to supply all motorways, important federal highways and train routes on which more than 2000 passengers are on the move with at least 100 Mbit per second.

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