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Sometimes the smartphone shows an E, then again LTE or even 5G: there is still no generally good cell phone signal in Germany. But it takes time to eliminate the dead zone.


Germany’s mobile network operators are late in closing white spots, ie 4G dead spots. As can be seen from a report submitted by the Federal Network Agency to the Advisory Board, none of the three incumbent operators is likely to meet the relevant expansion requirement.

Many planned radio stations are not yet built

At the 2019 frequency auction, companies committed to installing 500 new radio stations with previously “white spots” by the end of 2022. According to the report

  • Telephone (O2) only 45 years old
  • telecom 28 years old
  • vodafone 12 years old

Companies want to give each other access, each responsible for a third of the white spots.

White dots aren’t actually a dead spot

The letter is in dpa’s possession and will serve as a basis for discussion for the advisory board meeting next Monday. The network agency said the reasons for the delays were varied. “Here it is necessary to check in each case what reasons are given for the delay and whether the network operators are responsible for the delays.”

White dots are areas where neither 4G/LTE nor 5G radio signals are received. The expansion requirement states that a download at 100 megabits per second should also be possible here.

Obviously, white dots are not dead spots according to the federal authority’s definition, because at least 2G phone signals can be received there. However, in the age of the data-driven Internet, many Germans probably perceive white spots as a dead zone.

True dead spots in only 0.32% of areas

According to the website Broadband-monitor.de, in October 2.94 percent of Germany’s territory had white spots. There is also an 18.56 percent area of ​​”gray dots” where only one or two of the three network operators transmit. 0.32 percent of the area has real dead spots – not even 2G can be received there.

In addition to the specification for white dots, the 2019 auction terms include a requirement to cover at least 98 percent of households in each federal state with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second by the end of 2022. Referring to reports from companies in Bonn at the beginning of November, representatives of the authorities said, “Telecom has so far fulfilled the requirement in 12 federal states, Telefónica in five and Vodafone in 13 federal states.”

In the letter from the Federal Network Agency, the competent authority urges network operators to submit detailed documentation for each delayed location:

The purpose of this is to check whether the delays are caused by the relevant mobile network operator or by third parties.

The official also cites the possibility of fines. It’s questionable whether the network agency will actually pull that sharp sword out: Despite O2’s blatant misconduct after the 2015 auction, the official left it on warnings.

Source: ZDF

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