State aid: Commission approves €50 million German scheme to support roll-out of infrastructure for mobile communication services in German Land of Hesse

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €50 million German aid scheme to support the deployment of state-of-the-art mobile networks in unserved areas of the German Federal State (Land) of Hesse. More specifically, the public support will cover the deployment of passive infrastructure (electricity connections, ducts, masts) for mobile communication services (voice and mobile data). The scheme aims at providing at least 4G capabilities in areas where no mobile communication services are currently available and where no private company is expected to invest within the next 3 years. The municipalities of the Land of Hesse where the relevant areas are located will receive funds in the form of direct grants or loans to either build the infrastructure themselves or to tender its construction or operation to third parties. The use of the supported infrastructure will be open to all interested Mobile Network Operators (“MNOs”) on equal and non-discriminatory terms The Commission concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules. In this respect, the aid scheme will contribute to the EU’s connectivity objective of providing access to mobile services throughout the EU territory, in all places where people live and work, including remote rural areas. At the same time, the scheme will help reduce important inequalities and the digital divide in the State of Hesse. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.55578 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.