WiMAX auction in Germany

WiMAX auctionAfter auctioning Germany’s UMTS/3G licenses for around 50 billion Euro the german government is working on the next round… Again there’ll be an auction, again there are more bidder than licenses. But the technology is named now WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access). The auction will happen in this calendar year and will be held for each of 16 Germany’s regions.

At the moment there are 1221 offers from 102 companies (Alcatel, Arcor, Deutsche Telekom, Broadnet, City Carriers like Netcologne and Kabel Deutschland (biggest TV cable provider)). 9 offers apply for Germany-wide services but only 3 companies can get this frequencies. Because german government doesn’t see a chance for a compromise solution they have now decided to auction the frequencies. But will it be the same success story for the government like 2000 with UMTS? And will the companies make the same fault – paying to much money without a chance to amortise the invest?

Why is it so important for so many bidders to go for this auction? WiMAX is designated as the metropolitan area network (MAN) technology that can connect Wi-Fi hotspots with each other and to other parts of the Internet and provide a wireless alternative to cable and DSL for last mile broadband access. However, the field of uses is broader and overlaps those for mobile WAN (wide area networks) and WLANs.

It’s not only “the last mile” – it’s a bit more: The technology provides up to 50 km linear service area range and allows connectivity between users without a direct line of sight. This might be the opportunity to connect business or consumer housholds with shared data rates up to 70 Mbit/s, which, (enough bandwidth to simultaneously support more than 60 businesses with T1-type connectivity and well over a thousand homes at 1Mbit/s DSL-level connectivity!). While Deutsche Telekom (DTAG) wants to connect households and companies which are to expensive to connect with cable the incumbant’s competition tries to get independant of DTAG infrastructure.

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