On 14 September 2011 the BNetzA announced that three companies, Telekom Deutschland GmbH, Vodafone D2 GmbH and Telefonica Germany GmbH & Co. OHG, have met the coverage obligation in the 800 MHz band in North-Rhine Westphalia and Saarland and are now able to use the frequencies assigned to them in this band as they wish in the two federal states. Spectrum for wireless network access in the 800 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2.0 GHz and 2.6 GHz was auctioned in early 2010. Assignments of the 800 MHz frequencies all involved progressive coverage and roll-out obligations. Prior to the auction, the federal states had identified towns and districts with little or no broadband coverage, which were grouped into four priority stages depending on their number of inhabitants. When using the 800 MHz spectrum in the states, a network operator is obligated to provide broadband connections progressively to the towns and cities, in line with the individual priority stages. Towns and districts with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants have top priority (priority stage 1) for mobile broadband provision. The next stages then include access for larger towns. The 800 MHz assignee must first provide at least 90 percent of the population in the towns and districts of the previous stage with broadband, before moving on to the next level.
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