And another LTE success story today: When recently traveling in rural areas in Germany I knew, but was still surprised, that LTE is available in many remote places. This is due to the rules of the 2010 spectrum auction that required mobile network operators to deploy LTE in the 800 MHz band in rural areas first before they could move on to bigger cities. And this has indeed been done as I noticed that LTE was available in many places where 3G was absent. That, for example, solves lack of cellular Internet coverage I have experienced in the past at many remote highway restaurants that were so far only covered by GSM networks. Quite a different experience this time around. Great!
This brings to mind a recent blog post over at Stephen Temple's site about the three goals that a government can achieve by assigning spectrum:
- Money for the treasury
- Improving network coverage
- Lower prices for consumers
Obviously these goals are at odd with each other and it's in a government's hands to balance and steer the result, e.g. by doing an auction and by setting the right rules for the auctions and deployment afterward. In the case of Germany, the requirement to deploy in rural areas first has significantly benefited national network coverage. Prices for telephony and Internet access are not the lowest in Europe but, from my point of view, on an acceptable level. And as far as money for the treasury was concerned, they didn't go away empty handed either. To me that looks like a good balance.