Germany and South Korea go nuts for 5G while Blighty subsists on test bed crumbs

Huawei with you!

It seems the rest of the world can't get enough of 5G – Germany has just raised €6.6bn (£5.8bn) in its spectrum auction, and more than a million folk in South Korea have subscribed to a 5G contract.

Meanwhile, Blighty is still tentatively dipping its toes in the water.

Teutonic titan Deutsche Telekom took on Vodafone and others in a bidding battle that lasted 52 days and closed yesterday. It splashed the most (€2.2bn) but complained of the high price it was forced to pay.

"The network rollout in Germany has suffered a significant setback. The price could have been much lower," said Dirk Wössner, member of the board of management for Telekom Deutschland.

"Once again, the spectrum in Germany is much more expensive than in other countries. Network operators now lack the money to expand their networks," he grumbled, adding that the whole thing left a "bitter taste".

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When Britains's spectrum auction closed last year, which included a chunk of 5G spectrum on the 3.4GHz band, a total of £1.36bn was raised – although that also included the 2.3GHz band for 4G services.

Another spectrum auction for 5G is due next year, which will include the 3.6-3.8GHz band.

EE has just launched the first 5G services across six cities, with Vodafone to follow in July and Three in August. In contrast, about 85 South Korean cities will have 5G connectivity by the end of the year.

Keen not to miss out on the 5G hype action, the UK government yesterday splashed £40m to run a new round of 5G mobile networking projects as part of its 5G Testbeds and Trials programme. This new phase of the programme will support work in the logistics and manufacturing sectors.

A spokesman from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport would not confirm or deny whether the department will consider bids from controversial kit maker Huawei.

It is understood that the department is awaiting the outcome of the government's forthcoming Supply Chain Review, and will reflect that in its considerations when it comes to future 5G investment from Huawei. ®

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