Companies including Audi, Daimler, BASF and Siemens have already expressed interest in obtaining spectrum for 5G applications

Germany’s main industry associations is urging communications regulator Bundesnetzagentur to award local spectrum in the 3.7 GHz-3.8 GHz range as quickly as possible.

Industry associations representing automotive, chemical, mechanical and electrical firms put out a statement saying that the 100 MHz band promised in May 2018 must be made available to industry in full without delay.

“The industry associations VCI, VDA, VDMA and ZVEI welcome the fact that four mobile communications companies will bid in the nationwide 5G auction instead of three as originally expected. This will encourage competition and make the overall process more dynamic,” the associations said in a statement. “But it must not restrict the award of local frequencies because Germany needs rapid allocation of all the promised local frequencies if it is to become the leading market and the leading provider in industrial 5G applications.

“Local frequencies form the basis for private 5G networks at plants and for spatially confined industrial applications. They give our member companies the necessary flexibility for expanding 5G so that it will be secure, swift and powerful, independently of network operators,” the associations added.

They also highlighted that local networks supplement expansion to provide universal network coverage by the mobile communications operators and guarantee the 5G connection density needed for industrial applications.

Earlier this week, Bundesnetzagentur confirmed it had received applications from four companies to take part in its 5G auction, a process scheduled for late March.

Although regulator did not reveal the identity of the interested companies, local press reports suggested that Telefonica Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, as well as newcomer 1&1 Drillisch will take part in the process.

The regulator said it will start now to assess the suitability of the applications as it aims for an auction starting date in the second half of March. However, the regulator’s plans could be under threat, as the country’s three mobile operators have filed legal actions against the terms of the auction.

Several German car makers and industrial companies have already announced plans to take part in the process to award local 5G licenses.

Volkswagen said that its car unit Audi is already working with equipment supplier Ericsson to test a 5G laboratory, according to German press reports. Daimler said that in partnership with a network provider, it will deploy 5G with the main aim of implementing smart production methods.

German chemicals giant BASF also said it will apply for a local 5G license as part of its drive to digitalize production, while Robert Bosch, the privately-held automotive supplier, said it will apply for local licenses to power its production facilities across the country. Siemens is also interested in acquiring regional 5G licenses for its Siemensstadt production facility in Berlin and its plant in Erlangen.

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