When Germany auctioned LTE frequencies in 2010, operators were required to first deploy the high-speed internet technology in rural areas before deploying to the more lucrative urban areas.
Now having met many of their rural obligations, carriers are complaining of bureaucratic delays for their big city broadband plans at the Bundesnetzagentur, Germany’s network regulating agency.
The Financial Times Deutschland reported last week that there is a backlog of more than 8,000 applications by Vodafone, Telefónica, E-Plus and Telekom Deutschland for LTE deployments.
“The statutory maximum of six weeks of processing time is often exceeded by several months,” said Juergen Grützner, the head of VATM, Germany’s telecom operators association, in a letter to the BNA in early May.
Mobile network operators are investing millions of euros every month for the expansion of mobile sites often in rural places, according to the VATM. The delays for urban broadband deployment represent a significant financial burdon for the companies.
Grützner pointed to the inadequate staffing at the BNA as the primary problem.
According to a BNA spokesperson, the agency is looking to add new staff and continues to work toward the introduction of new, faster software to help speed up the process.
In a follow up statement released on May 16, the VATM said the agency had promised to remedy the delays. “We expect that the new president of the Federal Network Agency, Jochen Homann, will find fast and pragmatic solutions in order to accelerate the deployment of broadband networks again,” Grützner said. He also promised, in turn, that the VATM will monitor the situation to see whether the promised improvements are realized.