Germany raised around 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) from the sale of 5G frequencies to telecoms firms, the Federal Network Agency, stated on Wednesday, announcing the result of a 3-month auction.
Its sale surpassed expectations of between three billion and five billion euros, and the payout will go towards closing the digital gap in a country whose wireless networks rank only 46th in the world for download speeds.
The network agency said in a statement that the country’s three main mobile network providers — Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Germany (O2) — and 1&1/Drillisch, which specializes in internet services, bought the 41 frequency blocks on offer, with Deutsche Telekom taking the lion’s share.
The 5G network is the latest high-speed generation of cellular mobile communications.
5G promises drastically quicker transfers of data, making possible widespread use of artificial intelligence and other high-tech advancements such as self-driving cars and “telemedicine”.
Berlin may require the winning bidders to offer the service to at least 98 percent of German households and along motorways and rail lines.
The US has admonished Berlin to bar operators from building networks on hardware from Chinese tech firm Huawei, supposing that the equipment might help Beijing spy on Western companies and governments.