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Germany Could Have Four 5G Players Following Auction

January 28, 2019 / Anne Morris

One of the worst fears of Germany’s three incumbent mobile network operators (MNOs) may now be realized: the market’s upcoming 5G spectrum auction could usher in a fourth MNO to the market less than five years after the number of mobile network players was reduced from four to three. 1&1 Drillisch, the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that in 2014 enabled Telefónica Deutschland to gain approval for its merger with rival E-Plus, has now announced it will apply to participate in the auction of 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz spectrum bands and, if successful, will build and operate its own 5G network. The MVNO will join Telefónica Germany, Telekom Deutschland (Deutsche Telekom’s local unit or NatCo), and Vodafone Germany as bidders in the 5G auction, which is now expected to take place in March. 1&1 Drillisch also said it has secured $3.2 billion in credit lines to finance the acquisition of new spectrum assets.