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Germany admits four companies to 5G frequency auction

A surveillance camera is pictured in front of the headquarters of Vodafone Germany in Duesseldorf September 12, 2013. A hacker has gained access to one of Vodafone Germany's servers and has stolen the personal data of about 2 million customers, the company said on Thursday. The hacker had access to customers' names, addresses and bank account numbers, the group said, adding the person did not get any passwords, security numbers or connection data. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS CRIME LAW)

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has admitted four companies to take part in an auction for fifth-generation (5G) mobile network frequencies, the Federal Network Agency said on Monday.

Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefonica Deutschland and 1&1 Drillisch, a unit of United Internet, can participate in the auction that will begin on March 19, the regulator said.

The regulator added the auction date could be changed due to ongoing legal proceedings.

Germany's three main network operators - Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland - are all suing the regulator to determine the legality of new preconditions for participating in the auction.

Germany stipulated that bidders for 5G mobile frequencies must invest to expand the country's mobile network and potentially allow new entrants, like United Internet, to use their infrastructure.


(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Emma Thomasson; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Mark Potter)