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5G cell tower on a high-rise building: now standard in many places

Photo: Roberto Pfeil / dpa

Germany's mobile phone providers are making progress in expanding their mobile phone networks. 5G antennas already reached 89 percent of the country's area in July, 5.1 percentage points more than half a year earlier, the Federal Network Agency announced.

Compared to July 2022, it was even an increase of 38.1 points. The further the expansion, the more difficult it becomes. This is due, for example, to the fact that in some places companies cannot find suitable land for rent to erect masts there. For the slower 4G wireless standard, area coverage was 97.2 percent in July, an increase of 0.2 points since January 2023 and one percentage point since July 2022.

Hesse has the worst coverage nationwide

There are three established mobile network operators in Germany, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica (O2). With 1&1, a fourth company is in the starting blocks. However, there had been criticism of the construction of the 1&1 network in particular, saying that the expansion was too slow. The network agency even opened a fine procedure.

The current figures for the expansion illustrate progress. However, their significance for consumers is limited, because they are bundled values: If a network operator in a village has 5G antennas, but the other two network operators do not, the village in question is still considered to be supplied - even though customers of the other two network operators do not get a 5G connection there. The figures come from the network operators and are published by the Federal Network Agency every three months.

Among the federal states, Hesse had the worst 82G coverage in July with 5.5 percent, while in Baden-Württemberg (82.6 percent) and Rhineland-Palatinate (82.9 percent) it was only marginally better. The situation was best in the city-states, where grid expansion is relatively easy. For Bremen, the telecommunications companies reported a combined 5G coverage of 99.99 percent. Among the territorial states, Schleswig-Holstein achieved the best score with 96.8 percent, while Lower Saxony (92.8 percent), Saxony (92.5 percent) and North Rhine-Westphalia (92.1 percent) also performed well.