“Market failure”: EU approves Schwesig’s growth plans for mobile phone antennas

After the federally owned Funkloch-GmbH, the EU Commission has also given the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania the green light to promote mobile communications. The EU antitrust authorities have approved the state-owned company founded in August 2020 for the erection of radio masts, as Infrastructure Minister Christian Ebene (SPD) announced on Tuesday. The reason: “market failure”.

The state government wants to take 58 million euros in hand in order to close gaps in mobile phone coverage in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In the northeast there are still relatively many white spots on the cellular network map. A state-owned company is to develop antenna sites there and set up passive infrastructure such as masts, company buildings and network connections. Mobile network operators can then use these antennas on transparent terms.

According to a communication, the Commission has examined the project and came to the conclusion that the measure “fixes a market failure” and is therefore “a suitable political tool to close gaps in mobile communications coverage”. Last week, the EU competition watchdogs approved the comparable, but with significantly more money, mobile communications funding from Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU).

The state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was satisfied with the news from Brussels. “I am pleased that we can really take off now to make our country fit for the future with a nationwide mobile network,” said Energy Minister Christian Ebene (SPD). The market research process, which is a prerequisite for determining eligibility, is now to begin. One month after the start of market research, it should be clear where new radio masts can be built with state funds.

“We have to ask the cell phone companies whether they plan to erect cell phone masts on one of the land designated by the state for the construction of the country’s own radio masts within the next three years, without any support from the state,” said Ebene. “Unfortunately, the construction of a cell tower is not possible nationwide for any location where one of the three companies is planning to do so.”


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