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Euro on Sunday position: With 5G back to normal faster: what infrastructure expert Schickel advises | message


by Dietmar Schickel, guest author of Euro am Sonntag

Dhe most important thing for Germany is the return to normalcy. It is essential to quickly identify possible dangers. For example: Interrupting the infection chains at an early stage in order to avoid a second large wave of infections in the approach. Apps are to contribute to this, which immediately report possible dangers in everyday life to the user.

However, without a quick upgrade of the networks, each COVID-19 app will only be able to provide accurate information in part. The denser the network – especially in the metropolitan areas – the more precise the meaningfulness of the tracked information. That means: Every new mast on a roof is a practical step towards normalcy. Investments in it can be made quickly and effectively. Private investors are ready.

If there were enough locations for new mobile radio systems and the permits did not drag on for so long – on average they take up to two years – the pace of digitization would really increase across Germany. Another problem is the sometimes irrational fears among the population. Despite contrary study results, health impairments caused by radiation from the radio masts are still claimed. Everyone wants fast networks, but many go on the barricades when a new transmission tower is erected.

Without cooperations, much more cell towers are needed

As a consultant for the development and implementation more needs-based digitalization Among other things, my colleagues and I help housing companies to market their roof and building space fairly, as well as mobile operators in the provision of fiber optic networks and the establishment of basic towers for faster implementation of 5G offers.

While it is common in the USA for mobile phone companies to rent slots on the towers of special operating companies, local providers own many masts themselves – or at least are still involved in them. Only a sixth of all mobile radio towers in Europe belong to neutral owners, the consulting firm EY (Ernst & Young) calculated.

Independent operators are quite effective here: on average, 2.4 network operators, i.e. different mobile operators, use these masts, reports EY. On the other hand, only 1.3 providers sit on the towers of the telecom companies on average – usually the network operator on its own. Without cooperation, a country needs a lot more masts for good cell phone coverage.

But the radio tower market is currently on the move: Many telecommunications companies are working to at least partially sell their masts or at least to share more towers. The reason: The necessary expansion of the infrastructure for the implementation of 5G technology.

Politicians are demanding billions of additional investments from mobile phone providers in the coming years to finally make the new 5G mobile phone standard available. Even the fastest LTE technology to date has not reached all of Germany. The mobile operators are in a quandary: on the one hand, they should quickly plug dead spots and, on the other hand, they are building a technically completely new infrastructure for 5G. Most of them come up against a deficiency, which is not of a financial nature. We are currently seeing a strong demand for passive mobile communications infrastructure in the capital market.

Solution: In the United States, it is common for network operators to give neutral providers orders for new masts and then to rent them from the tower companies there. So far, network operators in Germany have preferred to commission their own tower companies rather than other market participants. The result: fierce competition for the already scarce space. In addition, because the mobile phone networks in Germany have grown independently of one another, not every operator’s location fits into the networks of the others.

Market observers know that in the coming years thousands (but not hundreds of thousands, as conspiracy theories are currently claiming on the Internet) will need additional mobile phone locations in Germany to meet the growing demand, especially because of the new 5G technology. Without resorting to the willingness of neutral providers to invest, new bottlenecks will quickly arise.

In the meantime, we have raised funds to support us so that we can become active in the 5G area with our own company. With Glaas5, a company for fiber optic networks and 5G, at least housing companies and mobile phone providers should be able to enter into a faster dialogue in order to accelerate further developments in the area of ​​5G expansion.

Use federal networks on roads and rail for 5G

It also makes sense to use towers together because it usually takes several months before you can conclude contracts with property owners and network operators and receive building permits.

The investment of neutral providers is already working today. In sparsely populated or technically difficult regions, where the expansion for a company alone is hardly profitable, it only works through cooperation with neutral providers.

Along roads, rails and rivers, as well as in parallel structures such as the federal network of motorways and the technical facilities of the railway, it will be decided in the future how quickly Germany will progress in expanding its digital infrastructure.

The current Covid 19 pandemic is a possible driver for the faster digitization of the German network infrastructure. Clarification from the results of scientific studies would reduce the diffuse fears of many citizens against new radio antennas. There is no health risk below the valid limit values ​​- this has been proven by thousands of studies worldwide. If technology can also help alleviate the effects of the pandemic more quickly, these fears will decrease again.

DSC Dietmar Schickel Consulting

Dietmar Schickel built one of the first regional cable service companies in Germany on behalf of Bertelsmann AG in Berlin. In 1990 he took over the management of marketing and sales for the entire group for Tele Columbus Holding. After leaving the company after 27 years, he founded the consulting company DSC Dietmar Schickel Consulting in 2014.


Image sources: Dietmar Schickel Consulting, THINK b /

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