Having acquired valuable spectrum within the 800 MHz band, Vodafone Germany has indicated it will launch LTE services targeted at rural areas within the next 12 months.
CEO Fritz Joussen confirmed that Vodafone Germany will initially focus its LTE investment on upgrading base stations in so-called 'white spots', or rural areas that are currently without broadband access. "I am sure that [these areas] will be connected in approximately twelve months time," said Joussen. He added that operators that were first to provide broadband connections to consumers in these areas would reap the rewards.
Once LTE coverage had been provided for these "white spot" regions, Joussen said that it would look to upgrade its remaining network to support LTE over the next three years.
But the exec warned the two other Germany mobile operators that acquired 800 MHz spectrum to be aware that the fixed line provider Deutsche Telekom is looking to provide stiff competition. "The company has already accelerated its DSL expansion in unserved areas since the frequency auction," he said. "They will quickly try to acquire subscribers before competition arrives from mobile products."
Commenting on the likely bandwidth German consumers could expect from LTE, Joussen said: "I'm pretty sure that we can provide access speeds of 5 Mbps in rural locations, and up to 70 Mbps in cities."
The German spectrum auction, which ended in May, saw Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Vodafone and Telefonica O2 each secure two 10 MHz blocks in the key 800 MHz band, but KPN's E-Plus missed out on the most valuable spectrum.
According to the German network regulator, Vodafone paid €1.42 billion for a total of 12 spectrum blocks, Telefonica O2 paid €1.38 billion for 11 blocks, Deutsche Telekom spent €1.3 billion for 10 blocks and E-Plus paid €283.6 million for 8 blocks.