Steel grid mast for mobile communication infrastructure

Deutsche Funkturm grows to over 30,000 sites in Germany

  • Biggest Tower Company in Germany and one of the largest in Europe
  • Roll-out focus in rural areas and along transport routes to support 5G
  • Sites for Deutsche Telekom, infrastructure sharing for all other mobile network operators

Münster, 12.11.2019: DFMG Deutsche Funkturm GmbH has established its 30,000th radio site in Germany. This underlines the company's role as the biggest German provider of radio infrastructure and one of the largest Tower Companies in Europe.

"Nobody in Germany builds as much as we do," says Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CEO of Deutsche Funkturm. "Particularly in rural areas and bearing the licening requirements of the previous frequency auction, our roll-out is making a significant contribution to achieving future-proof mobile communications infrastructure in Germany." The conditions imposed in the allocation of frequencies stipulate, among other things, that by the end of 2022 mobile communications providers must supply at least 98% of households in each German federal state and ensure internet speeds of at least 100 Mbit/s for all federal motorways and railways that have more than 2,000 passengers per day. This can only be achieved through targeted, intensive expansion of the infrastructure.

"We have 'built' our status as the leader in Germany and as one of the biggest tower companies in Europe, not through acquisitions, but through organic growth in the truest sense of the word", says Bruno Jacobfeuerborn. Deutsche Funkturm primarily builds the mobile communications network for Deutsche Telekom, but, as an independent tower company, it also offers its mast sites and towers to all other network operators for shared use. "White spots (areas with no coverage) pose an economic challenge, especially in rural areas, and require alternative approaches. The construction of parallel infrastructure is neither financially feasible nor welcomed by the local authorities," says Mr Jacobfeuerborn. "Therefore, by sharing our sites we can help to collectively broaden coverage in these areas in particular." Today, the company already markets half of its mast sites to multiple mobile neutwork operators, supporting the recently agreed expansion cooperation between Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica in Germany.

Faster mobile communications expansion
Outside inner-city areas Deutsche Funkturm primarily uses spun-concrete and steel lattice masts for its expansion of mobile communications. The company builds sites with enough static capacity, enabling possible extensions by further network operators. This also allows additional transmission technology, 5G being an example of this. The construction of a new site starts with the search for a suitable site and ends with the handover to a mobile network operator. This process can range from a few months to several years. The main challenges, often causing delays for the roll-out of mobile communications, are the current permit processes alongside the search for new locations. The company has published a map of “sites on delay”.

In August, Deutsche Funkturm made an agreement with the Free State of Saxony concerning the use of state land to hasten the expansion of mobile communications. In addition, a joint-working group has been created to accelerate the building application process. "By making suitable state land available more quickly, we can build future-proof mobile network infrastructure for all network operators in Saxony," says Bruno Jacobfeuerborn. The aim is to reach similar agreements with other federal states, cities and local authorities.

On the lookout for spaces to set up radio infrastructure
Deutsche Funkturm is constantly on the lookout for suitable areas to host its mobile communication sites. Generally, the company rents properties or roof areas for at least 15 years, paying rent at the market rate. Interested parties find here more information about site requirements and how to offer suitable sites.