How does the Associations Agreement improve dialogue about mobile network extensions?

<--break->In July 2001, the national associations of local authorities (German Association of Cities – DST, German Association of District Councils – DLT, German Association of Towns and Municipalities – DStGB) and the German mobile network operators agreed a joint approach to extending the mobile phone network. This agreement is the basis of dialogue about the future of mobile telephony in Germany.

The most important aim of the Associations Agreement is to enable local authorities to participate in the selection of new mobile network installation sites. The interests of cities, districts and municipalities and those of the network operators are taken into account. By fully informing local authorities and the public and by closely cooperating and openly communicating with the corresponding authorities, local interests are reflected in the dialogue with network operators. This allows operators and local authorities to expand the infrastructure and avoid disputes.

Improved information exchange about existing and planned mobile network sites

Both mobile network operators and the national associations of local authorities consider information about existing site data an important resource and the Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway (Bundesnetzagentur) has a complete and up-to-date database containing this information. Both parties agreed to find a solution involving the Federal Network Agency. Since the summer of 2002, local authorities have access to the site database at the Federal Network Agency where they can research data for all the fixed mobile network installations in Germany.

The Associations Agreement further states that every mobile network operator must regularly offer local authorities the option to discuss the current status of network extensions and any future plans. This acknowledges the local authorities’ need for current information. These talks can also be held at the regional level, in consultation with the corresponding local authorities.

Local authorities and mobile network operators both favour a direct and fast exchange of information on an expert level. Thus, each operator appoints a contact person for the local authorities who will be responsible for answering questions regarding mobile telephony and the operator’s mobile installation sites within the municipality’s area. The municipalities’ contact person is the corresponding senior official, when no other department is designated.

Expert report: Successful cooperation and improved exchange of information

Independent expert opinions, published regularly since 2002, have acknowledged the positive outcome of these agreements and their implementation.

Communication between mobile network operators and local authorities about the location of new sites for mobile network installations has improved greatly since the voluntary commitment was made in 2001. There are now far fewer disagreements.