Telefonica plans to sell radio masts for 1.5 billion euros

Telefonica

Telefonica Germany already sold a good 2,000 transmission towers to Telxius in 2016.


(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The Spanish telecom giant Telefonica is conducting negotiations with telecommunications infrastructure company Telxius on the sale of radio masts from its German subsidiary Telefonica Deutschland, according to a media report. The Spanish newspaper “Expansion” reported on Friday that a sales sum of 1.5 billion euros was under discussion.

It is about up to 10,000 masts. Telxius is more than 50 percent owned by Telefonica, further shareholders are the financial investor KKR and the investment fund Pontegadea, which belongs to the textile billionaire Amancio Ortega. Telefonica and Telefonica Deutschland did not want to comment.

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False incentives, fraud, debt: the side effects of the corona crisis

The Chancellor is in top form in times of corona crisis. Angela Merkel explains complicated population doubling rates and reproductive numbers. But she also knows everyday things. “They have to be washed or ironed regularly, put in the oven or in the microwave,” Merkel explains how to care for respiratory masks. “Even if that sounds a bit housewife, so to speak.”

The omniscient state – embodied in the chancellor. The subjects are explained life down to the smallest detail. With this self-image, Merkel takes “measures that have never existed in our country before”. Fundamental rights are restricted, the economy is pushed to the brink and then supported with unprecedented aid.

One of Merkel’s closest confidants, Peter Altmaier, is more than enthusiastic. “An uncle who brings something is better than an aunt who plays the piano”, the Federal Minister of Economics remembers of his childhood.

And what is brought along! If you add up everything the federal government now wants to offer to combat the corona crisis, you get a gigantic sum of at least 1.2 trillion euros. No other country in the world has raised so much money in relation to its economic strength.

Germany has a full 35 percent, far more than the EU average or the USA. Federal finance minister Olaf Scholz did not understate what he promised a few weeks ago: “It is not spilled, but padding.”

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The increase in importance and power is unique. Never in the history of the Federal Republic has a government intervened so quickly and deeply in public life and thus in the economy. After the financial crisis, German government debt rose by 315 billion euros in one year. The value of the federal, state and local governments will be far exceeded in this crisis. “I am worried whether we will be able to return to normal economic policy,” says Lars Feld, Germany’s top economy.

The measures to protect health are understandable. But the question increasingly arises: what side effects do the multi-billion dollar rescue programs have? The free market is disturbed, competition is distorted, prices lose their signal strength.

“As much market as possible, as much state as necessary”, the famous words of former Federal Minister of Economics Karl Schiller lose their meaning every day.

There is a risk of higher prices, inefficient companies and loss of wealth. It is significant that more and more companies are turning to the Bundeskartellamt during the corona crisis in order to be exempted from cooperating with competitors. The new spirit of state economy speaks.

Spend as much as you can. The year 2020 will be disastrous. Kristalina Georgiewa (IMF chief)

Certainly, help for companies with no fault of their own must be provided. But with the flood of support funds, the risk of misallocation is high. Capital and labor are tied up in companies with below-average productivity, less investment and innovative strength.

A few weeks ago, after a parliamentary request from the FDP for possible support from zombie companies, the Federal Ministry of Finance had to admit that “necessary market processes of creative destruction are hindered”.

The concern is justified that the state is eating itself too deeply into the economy, throwing privacy and data protection partially overboard and that the influence on the market will not be reversed after the end of the crisis.

A look at history suggests little good. The federal government is still 25 years after the IPO Deutsche Telekom still the largest single shareholder.

Fundamentally, there is a problem that is known in the economy as moral hazard: companies and citizens behave irresponsibly or carelessly due to existing false incentives. The news of fraudsters sneaking up subsidies is increasing.

“The state is a lousy entrepreneur”

The appearances of Altmaier and Scholz are characterized by superlatives. At the federal press conference, they will be presenting the rescue packages worth billions to the public with great regularity. “This is the most comprehensive and effective guarantee that there has ever been in a crisis,” said Altmaier in mid-March. “This is the bazooka, we’ll look for small arms later,” the Federal Minister of Finance said at the appearance.

The small arms that have now been added are quite large-caliber. Scholz announced a debt-financed supplementary budget of 156 billion euros. This includes an emergency fund with a volume of 50 billion euros, which is aimed at the self-employed and small businesses with up to ten employees.

The federal guarantee for the state bank KfW is increased by up to 450 billion euros. And then there is an Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) with a volume of 600 billion euros. The majority is earmarked for government guarantees to keep companies liquid.

100 billion euros are reserved for possible investments, i.e. partial nationalization of companies. The battered Lufthansa is already holding talks about state participation.

You can still hear Altmaier’s words: “The state is a lousy entrepreneur.” The Federal Minister of Economics at least dedicated the most beautiful hall in the ministry to Ludwig Erhard. But he is currently just as far away from Erhard’s mantra as the Germans are from summer leaves in Mallorca.

Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (standing) and Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (front)

The father of the “German economic miracle” throbbed to measure, he remembered sentences, the state should not be a player, but an arbitrator in the economy. Now the state is preparing to take over the entire football club.

No other industrial country is helping its economy with such large sums as the Federal Republic. This shows a new evaluation by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He does not criticize Germany, on the contrary. “Spend as much as you can,” advises IMF chief Kristalina Georgiewa. The economic situation is too depressing.

The Council of Experts is now assuming that the economy will decline by more than 5.5 percent this year. This is the case that was previously treated as a worst-case scenario. The economic downturn would be worse than in the global financial crisis. 725,000 companies have registered financial difficulties and short-time work.

Including: hospitals. Health Minister Jens Spahn ordered them at the beginning of March to postpone all planned operations. For the hospital operator, this means severe revenue losses. More than a third of the intensive care beds are not occupied. With the Hospital Relief Act, the federal government created a regulation to compensate the clinics for the failures. But that’s far from enough.

This is the bazooka, we’ll look at small arms later. Olaf Scholz (Federal Minister of Finance)

Some private organizations have registered short-time work, including the Schön-Klinik group. The head of the German Hospital Society, Gerald Gaß, sees the time for a “careful, gradual resumption of regular care”.

Spahn also said last week that clinics could “gradually return to normal”. “We do not want to keep 40 percent of the intensive care ventilation beds in Germany permanently”, said the minister.

The pressure on the companies is huge, the need for help is great. This year alone, the federal government is raising 156 billion euros in new debt. The federal states are also preparing an extensive flood of money for pumps.

According to a survey by the Handelsblatt newspaper among the 16 state finance ministries, they are currently planning 65 billion euros in new debt to fight the crisis. In addition to the federal government’s huge € 1.2 trillion rescue package, the federal states are also helping their companies and the self-employed. Bavaria alone has launched a fund with 60 billion euros.

The IMF chief not only welcomes the gigantic aid package in Germany, the monetary fund also calls for thorough control. “Keep the bills,” said Georgiewa. Transparency and accountability should not be put off in the face of the crisis. Whether Germany is world champion in this discipline, doubts are increasing.

Risk zombie company

The financial crisis shaped a saying by the former head of central bank in Europe, Mario Draghi: “What ever it takes”. In this crisis, it becomes a “Whatever, take it!” Aid is mostly spent without checking, the money cannot be distributed quickly enough.

According to an overview by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economics, over 26 billion euros were applied for by KfW Hilfen. Almost 13,000 of the more than 13,200 applications were approved. In other words, almost anyone who wants help gets it, most likely companies that didn’t have a working business model before the pandemic.

This easily creates zombie companies that are only alive because of generous state aid. After all: With the large sums, the KfW steering committee seems to be examining it more closely. So far, around 8.5 billion euros have been approved. So it takes a little longer for the large-volume applications.

In contrast, the self-employed and small businesses with up to ten employees are suspiciously fast. So far, according to the overview of 1.65 million applications, around 1.1 million have been approved and more than nine billion euros paid out. These are not loans, but aid that does not have to be repaid.

“Speed ​​and thoroughness go hand in hand: it is carefully checked who receives the money,” Finance Minister Scholz promised. But is that true? North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin were even recently forced to suspend immediate payments because large-scale fraudsters wanted to get to the pots.

There are also problems with honest entrepreneurs. In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, the self-employed and small businesses are always granted the maximum amounts of EUR 9,000 and EUR 15,000 – regardless of need. This practice is not well understood in the Federal Ministry of Economics. Because a flat-rate payment of maximum amounts was actually not intended.

The aid should amount to up to 9,000 euros for companies with up to five employees and up to 15,000 euros for up to ten employees. The emphasis here is on the “up to”. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the actual amount should be based on sales and operating expenses for the next three months. An entrepreneur with zero euros turnover and 1000 euros costs would be entitled to 3000 euros in emergency aid.

But these details were lost somewhere in the confusion between the federal states and the federal states. The up to 50 billion euros are provided by the federal government. Although federal money is at stake, it is up to the federal states how much they scrutinize companies. In Hamburg, for example, a liquidity check is required. Other countries are significantly less strict so that aid can flow as quickly as possible.

In Berlin, more than a billion euros were paid out to solo and small entrepreneurs within days. And the Berlin Senate also admits behind the scenes that surely there are also deadweight effects. Since no examination was carried out, almost everyone received 14,000 euros in a combination of federal and state funds. These include the self-employed, who normally have annual sales that are significantly lower, they say.

Some recipients are now voluntarily repaying the aid for fear of sanctions. But whether a subsequent thorough examination is possible to convince fraudsters is skeptical in financial management.

Dangerous false incentives

The economic nonsense, which is operated partly in the name of Corona, is great. Governments in the federal and state governments are increasingly creating the illusion that they can regulate everything with state trillions. And more and more, government intervention and expansion is creating false incentives in all areas of the economy, which can be revenged bitterly.

Take the housing market as an example: the Federal Minister of Justice, a woman from the SPD, wanted to protect the tenants. The result is a half-baked law that gets small landlords into trouble. The law was so badly made that solvent companies like Adidas or Deichmann used the gaps and simply suspended the rent payments. Only after a storm of indignation did Adidas row back.

Take the example of KfW loans: After the institutes hesitated to pass on the subsidized loans from the Staatsbank KfW to companies because they still had to bear ten percent of the default risk, the state assumed full liability. With the danger that house banks will now be able to provide loans to companies that have long been bankrupt.

The banks don’t care, they are released from any liability, but of course they still make good money from their business. The fool is the taxpayer who has to answer for the defaults.

Example of short-time work: Short-time work allowance is a tried and tested crisis instrument. The state replaces up to 67 percent of net wages. However, the SPD was not enough. In the coalition committee on Wednesday, she pushed for an increase to 80 percent.

It is the most comprehensive and effective guarantee that there has ever been in a crisis. Peter Altmaier (Federal Minister of Economics)

However, a general increase would have significant deadweight effects: Many companies are already increasing short-time benefits from their own resources. Apart from that, the short-time work allowance is not meant to secure the standard of living, but rather to ensure the survival of companies and thus avoid unemployment.

In other areas, the federal corona strategy is rather arbitrary. The craft complained that the vehicle registration offices were closed. There is also much discussion about opening shops up to the limit of 800 square meters. This border was communicated at least improperly and caused confusion and indignation among the shopkeepers.

Now a Hamburg administrative court has declared the 800 square meter rule to be illegal. The court could not understand why opening larger sales areas alone should attract more people to the city center. Necessary infection protection measures could be followed at least as well in larger stores as in smaller facilities.

Whimsical and impractical was initially the requirement that repair shops were allowed to remain open, but the sales rooms had to be closed. Many craftsmen wondered if they could lead the customers through the sales room into the workshop. Another detail from this series of undesirable side effects of the rescue policy.

The border closures, for example with the Czech Republic, mean that the bricklayers are missing in the construction industry and the harvest workers in agriculture from Romania. The state decides a lot, but the consequences are borne by the entrepreneurs and their employees.

The argument for the state’s rapid generosity in the crisis is: rather spend more now to prevent the economy from crashing and millions of jobs be lost than have to finance mass unemployment for a long time. This approach is absolutely correct. But it also remains true: somehow the state rescue billions have to be financed at least in the medium term if the next generations are not to be overwhelmed.

Currently this is done through the use of reserves and debts. Germany certainly has scope. The Federal Republic had just pushed the debt level to below 60 percent, thereby meeting the Maastricht criteria for the first time in many years in 2019. But that will be the last time for a long time.

As a result of the corona crisis, the federal government expects a general government deficit of 7.25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year. The debt ratio as a share of all debts in GDP is estimated at 75.25 percent, as can be seen from the German Stability Program 2020.

“The projection is currently subject to very high levels of uncertainty,” says the current report. In other words, the debt level could be even higher. This mainly depends on how high the losses are that the federal government will incur from its guarantees and sureties.

Given the huge commitments, some in the grand coalition are trying to put the brakes on. “I don’t like the fact that we almost always get new suggestions every hour, what else can you do,” said Union leader Ralph Brinkhaus. “All of this must also be paid for.”

In a crisis, the state’s money is loose. Some sense their chance to finally implement long-held plans.

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Vodafone warns of attacks on 5G antennas in Germany

Attacks on 5G cell towers

A 5G transmitter was destroyed in an arson attack in Huddersfield in Northern England.

(Photo: AFP)

Dusseldorf The network operator Vodafone has warned of attacks on cell towers in Germany. Arson attacks have already taken place in several EU countries. Similar things could happen in Germany, said Vodafone Germany boss Hannes Ametsreiter on Wednesday.

“These activities can endanger life,” said Ametsreiter. In the UK, a cell tower near a hospital was destroyed, and emergency calls could not be made. That is a worrying development.

The background to the attacks are conspiracy theories that have linked the expansion of 5G mobile communications to the outbreak of the corona pandemic. Masts had been damaged or destroyed in Great Britain, the Netherlands and Cyprus.

Despite attempts by scientists and politicians to calm the population, concerns about similar events in Germany are increasing. Vodafone technical director Gerhard Mack said: “We must not fool ourselves.” The expansion of 5G mobile radio is still in the early stages in Germany. In the Federal Republic, “many thousands of new masts” would still have to be built to supply the population with 5G.

German industry in particular had been pushing for a 5G supply that was as extensive as possible. She hopes to be the basis for new products, better networking of production and the basis for applications such as autonomous driving.

Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom announced on Wednesday to significantly expand the expansion of 5G mobile radio in Germany. Telekom wants to supply half of the German population with 5G this year. That would correspond to about 40 million people. “We have big plans for 5G and will bring the latest mobile communications standard to large parts of Germany this year,” says Telekom Germany boss Dirk Wössner.

Vodafone also announced that it would make its 5G network available to around ten million people in Germany this year. In the beginning, Vodafone focused on the cities, said Ametsreiter. “Now we’re bringing 5G to the area.”

Important frequencies for 5G were auctioned in Germany last year. In addition to Telekom and Vodafone, Telefónica Deutschland and the newcomer also secured themselves for a total of 6.55 billion euros Drillish, behind which the group United Internet (Brands 1 & 1, GMX, Web.de) stands, frequencies. The nationwide expansion of mobile radio technology will take years.

More: This is how scientists assess the theories about the relationship between 5G and corona.

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Conspiracy theory about Corona is spreading

Corona graffiti

A graffiti on a wall in Kensington in Great Britain links the corona pandemic to 5G mobile communications.

(Photo: REUTERS)

Dusseldorf When the first arson attacks on 5G cell phone antennas were carried out in Great Britain, experts at most took notice. But the situation changed within a few weeks. In the UK, more than 60 cellular antennas have already been set on fire. Authorities in the Netherlands, Cyprus and Ireland have now registered similar attacks.

The background to the attacks is a conspiracy theory that has become increasingly widespread in Europe over the past few weeks. In online forums, people claim that there is a direct link between the outbreak of the corona virus and the expansion of the latest 5G cellular standard. Scientists and experts are against it.

Nevertheless, there is growing concern about attacks in Germany. The president of the digital association Bitkom, Achim Berg, said: “Autonomous companies have just started an arson attack on a telecommunications network in the middle of Berlin.” Berg said that operators always take precautions to protect their networks. “Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that infrastructures that have been expanded in the area can be successfully attacked.”

The network operators in Germany are watching the situation. On VodafoneSpokesman said: “In the UK, there have recently been cases in which individual locations of the telecommunications infrastructure have been damaged because individuals are constructing a link between 5G and the corona virus.” The spokesman emphasized: “There is no scientific evidence or evidence for these claims. 5G, like its predecessor technologies, is a safe bet. ”

The company takes constructive criticism from concerned people seriously. “We also have an open exchange with cell phone critics,” said the spokesman. “Cases in which the infrastructure was affected by vandalism are currently not known to us in Germany.” Therefore, no additional security measures are currently being taken.

Great skepticism about network expansion

The other network operators also expressed similar comments. “Fortunately, damage to mobile phone locations due to arson, for example, occurs very rarely in this country, and the majority is pure vandalism,” said a Telefónica spokeswoman. “We do not currently see an increase, which is why there are no additional protective measures.”

At Telekom it was said: “There are always cases of vandalism,” said one Telekom spokeswoman. “But we are currently not seeing any change in us.”

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The development comes at a time when there is already great skepticism about network expansion in Germany. The digital association Bitkom conducted a representative survey. Almost one in two (48 percent) spoke out against the construction of new cell towers. The Federal Network Agency had only discovered a few days ago that Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica are lagging behind the minimum requirements in expanding their networks in Germany and that there are still too many dead spots.

For years, scientific studies have dealt with the question of whether and what influence cell phone radiation has on people. The Stiftung Warentest recently summarized many of the available studies. In the analysis, the consumer organization came to the conclusion: “The research findings provide little cause for concern.”

ARD science journalist Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim did a research More specifically, a possible connection between cell phone radiation and cancer diseases and came to the conclusion: “So far, there is no conclusive hypothesis – no idea yet – how cell phone radiation could theoretically trigger cancer.”

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Telekom receives final approval for US merger

T-Mobile merges with Sprint

Dusseldorf The Deutsche Telekom has received final approval for the reorganization of its business in the United States. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California public utilities regulator, pioneered the merger of the Telekom subsidiary on Thursday T-Mobile US with the Rival sprint free.

This finally seals the billion-merger of number three and number four in the US mobile communications market. The companies had already started merging their businesses two weeks ago.

The merger creates a powerful player in the American mobile market. T-Mobile, as the merged company should be called, has a market capitalization of around $ 110 billion.

At the end of 2019, the two companies had a combined total of 140 million customers and sales of almost $ 80 billion. Telekom anticipates $ 43 billion in synergies after costs are deducted.

Of the DaxCorporation controls 67 percent of the voting rights in the combined company and receives the largest share in the new company with 43 percent. The Sprint majority owner Soft bench takes over 24 percent, the rest goes to free shareholders.

Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges said at the end of the deal to Handelsblatt: “We can become number one on the market.” Telekom could become the market leader AT&T and Verizon unlock.

More: Interview with Telekom boss Höttges: Of the In an interview, Dax’s board speaks about the stability of the network, a possible corona app – and the great challenges of the pandemic.

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Hamburg considers itself a founding metropolis – the great self-deception

Hamburg Everything was ready for the typical Hamburg self-praise: an event room with a view of the Alster and the five main churches, mini-burgers and Fritz-Kola, plus a colorful presentation. However, the last start-up event of the Hamburg Invest business development agency and the local PwC consulting office came shortly before the corona shutdown to settle the assembled start-up scene with its location.

“Hamburg is a master of self-deception when it comes to the tech environment,” said the founder of the navigation software provider Wunder Mobility, Gunnar Froh. “It starts with the embarrassing regional airport.” Glad is not just any frustrated founder, but the boss of one of the largest and fastest growing flagship startups in the city.

His thesis: The city ignores the facts. There was a lack of demonstrable successes such as large exits by founders. Instead, a lot of “PR talk and frosting”, also in the PwC study just presented. “I’m only in Hamburg with my company for private reasons,” said Froh.

In the first wave of Internet start-ups around 2000, Hamburg was considered to be Germany’s Internet capital – with once sounding names like Kabel New Media, Pixelpark and network pilots, including the AOL Germany headquarters. The high point of this first wave, which was mainly driven by advertisers, was 20 years ago.

The statistics on investments and start-ups show that Hamburg is far behind Berlin and Munich in the current boom of software and tech start-ups compared to Germany. To many in the city, the new reality has not yet penetrated.

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But that would be necessary in order not to lose the connection completely. In the coalition negotiations that Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) wants to start with the Greens shortly, the topic should play a secondary role at best. With the current Corona aid, the town hall has so far referred to federal aid when it comes to startups and prefers to think about measures for music clubs and showmen.

“In terms of the number of new start-ups, we are on par with Berlin,” Tschentscher said in an interview with Handelsblatt in February. “Compared to the rest of Germany, Hamburg still has the most IT employees, even if individual decisions are not in our interest.”

In fact, the city is visibly losing traction – at least if it is not about the sheer number of start-ups from the ice cream parlor to the auto repair shop, but rather about startups. According to the start-up monitor of the consultancy EY, the inflow of venture capital to Hamburg fell in the past year against the national trend by 54 percent to 254 million euros.

“In Hamburg, we still draw a lot from what was created ten or 15 years ago and we take advantage of small progress. But even much smaller cities like Riga have developed much faster, ”says Daniel Barke, founder of the freelance agent WorkGenius.

Not enough talent on site

The city is also losing importance for the big players from the USA: Google For example, which has had its official Germany headquarters with many advertising salespeople on Hamburg’s ABC-Straße for many years, employs another 1,500 people in its German IT development – but in Munich, where the group is building a global data protection center.

Also Apple and Amazon increase in Bavaria and Berlin. This is shown by a train journey itself: the new offices of Google, Scout24 and Citric are lined up next to each other on the tracks towards Munich Central Station. When entering Hamburg, the focus is primarily on new apartments in HafenCity.

This is not only due to the fact that, unlike Berlin and Munich, Hamburg failed decades ago to move the trade fair and airport to the outskirts and all too often equates economic policy with port funding. Above all, tech companies in Hamburg lack access to specialists who regularly switch from start-up to start-up in Berlin and always come fresh from the TU in Munich.

“We hardly find any talent on site,” confirms Wunder founder Froh. In Hamburg there were only 5,000 potential programmers at all, he calculates – far too little. The result: out of ten hires a month, he had to attract eight from abroad. Even the positively colored PwC survey among start-up founders shows this: “One in three describes access to qualified personnel in Hamburg as poor,” says PwC site manager Thorsten Dzulko.

One of the causes: the weak position of Hamburg’s universities in IT courses. According to the PwC study, not one of them is from Hamburg among the top 10 start-up universities. Universities from Munich and Berlin are ranked first, third and fourth.

The competition is not just national. “We don’t compete for talent with Berlin, but with London and Amsterdam,” says Froh. The search for talent in Berlin is also easier because the city is now more international, WorkGenius founder Barke agrees: “In Berlin I hear a lot of foreign languages ​​on the street, hardly in Hamburg.” Even to the Welcome Center of the Residents’ Registration Office, employees would have to find new ones Accompany people without knowledge of German to translate.

Froh demands that the city should set itself specific goals, such as increasing the number of programmers tenfold within ten years: “Capital does not really have to be local. But it would be nice if employees could be found locally more often. ”

The shortage leads to unusual steps: The provider of the supplier platform “Who delivers what”, Visable, even bought the Berlin start-up used.de – not because of the business model, but to be represented in the capital with its own team. This should help the former book publisher after a management buyout to convert it into a digital house by giving them local access to talent and networks.

Hamburg politicians have recognized the problem of a shortage of skilled workers, but solutions are still taking place. The “Ahoi Digital” program, which was announced in 2017, was to create 35 additional computer science professorships and 1,500 additional study places. However, a small request from the CDU opposition at the end of 2019 showed that only three professorships had been appointed, only 190 study places were created, and only € 5 million out of € 32.9 million in additional money.

The slow pace is also problematic because public initiative in Hamburg has to fill gaps that, for example, fill private actors in Berlin. While in the capital, corporations like that Deutsche Telekom, Consultancies such as Roland Berger and start-up networks set up their own start-up centers and meeting places, public actors have to step in in the Hanseatic city.

In the immediate vicinity of the central station, for example, cranes are currently rebuilding the US pavilion from the Milan World Expo. The project “Hammerbrooklyn” emerging there, named after a district of Hamburg, is also intended to network start-ups and corporations.

However, the project is not supported by the internet economy, but after protracted negotiations by a foundation – including the economic institute HWWI and a real estate investor, as well as Roland Berger digital boss Björn Bloching and advertiser Mathias Müller-Using. The urban subway operator Hochbahn is said to be one of the first users of the start-up building. The plans are correspondingly airy.

Corona crisis threatens Hamburg start-ups

But such optimistic initiatives, including one Hub for logistics start-ups in an old warehouse in the Speicherstadt and the relocation of a branch of the Silicon Valley accelerator Plug & Play are still urgently needed. Because the start-up scene lacks networking. Kathrin Pietschmann from the venture capital arm of the local eyewear company Fielmann is disillusioned: “There is no event here where we meet our network,” she says.

Relevant events such as the Berlin Internet conference Noah were missing in Hamburg. The event has blossomed splendidly in recent years Online Marketing Rockstars (OMR) is aimed primarily at advertisers, less at tech people and venture capitalists. Because of Corona, it will be canceled this year.

At the same time, the financial support does not get going. A year and a half ago, the city designated the Hamburg venture capitalist Neumann Partners as a partner for a Hamburg fund with up to 100 million euros after a tender. Up to ten million euros are to come from the local development bank IFB, which currently has its hands full with the Corona aid.

The first closing of the fund at EUR 35 million, which was actually aimed for at the end of 2019, has not yet taken place due to a lack of funds raised – and should become even more difficult in the impending recession. Other important investors, such as the highly active founder capital Eventures, moved to Berlin years ago and are driving the scene there.

In the corona crisis, it could be particularly tight for Hamburg start-ups. “Now it’s important to get in touch with investors quickly,” says Froh. But the Berlin founders are much better networked with donors. He also fears that many employees recruited from abroad could travel to their home country as soon as the travel restrictions drop. That would increase the shortage of graduates from North German universities.

There is already a first Corona victim among the start-ups: A few days before Easter, holiday home broker Casamundo came to an end. Two years ago, the Berlin competitor HomeToGo took over the Hamburg company and actually agreed to keep the location on the Elbe.

“Because of the corona crisis, it is not possible to continue operating the Hamburg office. It’s a shame for us, ”said a HomeToGo spokesman. However, the new owner had previously moved some Casamundo functions to Berlin. Now only the brand from the Hamburg foundation remains.

Barke from WorkGenius is now critically criticizing his location: “If I were to start up again, I would not do it in Hamburg, but in the United States.” Since the beginning of the year, his company has been looking for ten IT staff in Hamburg and New York. All positions are already filled in the US city, only two in Hamburg. But moving is not possible – after all, he has almost 70 employees in Hamburg. Wonderful founders Froh criticized that there were no positive examples as inspiration.

The much praised Hamburg unicorn About You, with a valuation of over a billion euros, was actually founded by the Otto Group. And the millionaires from the first wave of Hamburg’s internet today preferred to invest in secure real estate business rather than in new start-ups.

Such a fundamental criticism stems from disappointed love for the location – and the quiet hope that the city could still manage to catch up. “The basic requirements are there. So now we have to put our finger in the wound, ”says Barke.

After all, successful networks have emerged in the niche – for example in logistics, fintech or games. “We should not try to become a second Berlin or a second Munich, but rather build an ecosystem with our own strengths – together with the universities and the large local companies,” warns Barke.

Wunder-Chef Froh also sees a great advantage for Hamburg: “Talents from abroad want to stay with us once I have shown them the Reeperbahn and the quality of life on the Alster and Elbe.”

More: End of the gimmicks – some future laboratories will have to close in the corona crisis

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Telekom, Vodafone and O2 fail to meet network specifications

Dusseldorf For years there has been a dispute over the quality of mobile communications in Germany. The federal government wanted to create the exemption in 2015. With the award of the mobile radio frequencies in 2015, it imposed targets for minimum coverage on the three network operators. Now the network agency is determining: No company has met the requirements.

The deadline had actually expired at the beginning of this year. The Federal Network Agency had taken the time to understand the results. Authorities chief Jochen Homann made a clear announcement to the public on Tuesday: “We want to see verifiable improvements over the next few months that will ensure that the requirements are fully met by the end of the year.”

On top of that. “This expressly includes the fact that we may impose fines and fines,” said Homann

The Federal Network Agency set goals in 2015. This includes that by the beginning of 2020, 98 percent of all households in Germany and 97 percent of households in each federal state must be supplied with a data speed of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbit / s) and antenna sector. In addition, motorways and rails should also be fully supplied.

Connection and data interruptions while driving on the main traffic routes should actually no longer exist in Germany today. But the reality is obviously different. The results at a glance:

Deutsche Telekom

Even the industry leader was unable to meet the requirements. According to the network agency, Deutsche Telekom “narrowly missed” the requirements in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. The main traffic routes were also not completely supplied. The authority reported a value of 97 percent for motorways and 96 percent for railways.

At the end of 2019, there was still some catching up to do in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, Telekom admitted on request. A spokesman said the company is continuously expanding its network. “We have now also exceeded 97 percent in Saarland,” said the spokesman. In addition, Telekom had the best network in the mobile radio tests of the magazines “Chip” and “Connect” for the first quarter of 2020.

Telekom admitted that there was room for improvement in the motorways and railways. There is a plan to supply the routes completely. However, the approval of the necessary locations for cell towers is a challenge.

Telekom Germany boss Dirk Wössner complained: “We are already expanding beyond our commitments and could already have an even higher LTE coverage today if it were not so difficult to get new antenna locations and obtain permits in many places.”

Vodafone

The authority accused the network operator of not complying with the requirements in four federal states. These are Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. In addition, the network agency found that only 96 percent of motorways and railways were only 95 percent supplied.

A spokesman for Vodafone said there was a “difference of opinion” between the company and the agency about the interpretation of the supply requirements. Since the beginning of the year, the network operator has “implemented” 2400 LTE construction projects. “We are therefore confident that we will also comply with the stricter interpretation of the Federal Network Agency,” said the spokesman.

Telefónica Germany

The network operator behind the O2 brand was by far the bottom of the review by the Federal Network Agency. In all 13 federal states, the supply requirements were not met. In addition, only about 80 percent of the main traffic routes are supplied.

Handelsblatt learned that the Federal Network Agency Telefónica has therefore set tight partial deadlines. In order to meet the requirements, 7600 mobile phone locations would still be necessary, it says in a letter to the advisory board of the Federal Network Agency. By the end of June, Telefónica is to build 40 percent of the locations. The share should increase to 65 percent by the end of September and all necessary locations should be established by the end of the year, the authority dictated to the company.

A Telefónica spokeswoman said: “We have presented a clear plan on how we will achieve the missing percentage points from the expansion requirement of 2015.” The company is convinced that it can fulfill the plan. “It is in our own interest to provide large parts of the population and area with mobile communications as quickly as possible,” said the spokeswoman.

The consequences

The Federal Network Agency requires network operators to report each month how many mobile phone locations they have put into operation. The authority wants to check this information on a random basis. Otherwise, the authority faces fines.

More: Actually wants 1 & 1 Drillishly become the fourth network operator in Germany. But the corona virus becomes a problem – and there is more.

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Boom through home office: tech companies are reaching their limits

Dusseldorf, San Francisco Since Anton Döschl has been working in the technology sector, he has experienced a number of special situations, such as the CeBIT at their weddings or the financial crisis in 2008. The past few weeks have been “probably the most intense” in his career, says the manager. He is responsible for the IT group Cisco Sales and advice on communication and collaboration solutions, including the Webex system. And that is in demand more than ever.

Because public life is severely restricted by the coronavirus epidemic, companies send their employees to their home offices and connect them with video conferences and virtual meetings. Authorities, medical practices and schools are also dealing with the technology. Many of them contact Döschl and his team. “The number of strokes has increased enormously.”

While work is breaking out in large parts of the economy, tech companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Zoom and Teamviewer, which offer systems for virtual collaboration, are experiencing a special boom. The situation is similar with network operators like that Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone or Telefónica. Worries about a bottleneck or failures make the round.

In a conversation with the Handelsblatt a few days ago, Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges gave the all-clear: “Our network runs completely smoothly without a single major failure.” Telekom had to upgrade in some places and the fixed network in particular was in demand again.

The head of Telekom, on the other hand, saw difficulties elsewhere: “There are some services, such as video conference providers, that are reaching their limits in terms of their capacities. Sometimes it’s the capacity of corporate networks. But it’s not because of the telecommunications networks. “

While the mobile and broadband networks have so far been able to withstand the rush, there are difficulties in their places. Technicians have to upgrade the data centers regularly, the sales representatives handle the mass of inquiries.

Sometimes the systems reach their limits. Even social media like Facebook and Twitter have been in demand for a long time. The corona crisis is a technical test – but when it pays off economically is open.

Video conferencing is becoming the norm

Webex is a platform through which users can chat, hold video conferences and edit documents, much like teams from Microsoft or Zoom from the US company of the same name. Many customers are currently working on the introduction of such solutions. “They are faced with the massive challenge of getting the employees into their home office,” says Döschl, who is currently having all the conversations himself from his home office.

If necessary, video conferences are also used in politics, education and healthcare. Chancellor Angela Merkel last reported from quarantine. A university in Rome switched the lectures to distance learning for 4800 students within 48 hours. Yoga and guitar teachers can also continue teaching. And even doctors and clinics are trying out the technology.

The data traffic is growing enormously. At the De-Cix Internet hub in Frankfurt, the volume increased by ten percent within a week, and the number of video conferences even doubled during this period.

The operating company emphasizes that the core network is designed for this – as soon as a certain threshold is reached, it increases capacity. However, there may be delays for individual users.

The rush is so big that even technology giants like Microsoft or Google Book failures. Of all things, the collaboration and communication service Microsoft Teams had to struggle with greater difficulties on the first day of the numerous school closings in Germany. Other providers of video and telephone conferences have had to admit technical problems time and again.

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What Ex-Siemens CEO Löscher expects as chief controller at Telefónica

So far, the Spanish mobile phone company Telefónica has given its German subsidiary little freedom. The business of management in Germany was always monitored by Spaniards as chief overseers. That has changed. A well-connected manager has taken over the chairmanship of the supervisory board in Germany since April: ex-Siemens CEO Peter Löscher.

At Telefónica Deutschland Löscher is an old acquaintance. He sits on the board of directors of the parent company Telefónica. Löscher has been very well connected in Spain for a long time. His wife is Spanish and his late father-in-law Agustí Montal Costa was president of FC Barcelona. Löscher lives in Munich and Barclona. Already in his Siemens– He often flew to Catalonia at the weekend.

At Siemens, his commitment ended up not very happy. When the then supervisory board chairman Gerhard Cromme presented Löscher, the tall manager, to the amazed public as the new Siemens boss in May 2007, many in the house had to check the name first: It was an Austrian who was already at General Electric, Aventis and Merck had worked.

The business economist, son of a sawmill operator from Villach in Carinthia, had played in the Austrian national volleyball team. The surprising staff was only possible at the time because the biggest German bribery scandal had shaken the proud company Siemens to its foundations.

In his first term in office, Löscher was able to show success. He cleaned up thoroughly in the corruption-plagued company. He was able to convey his mantra – “only clean business” – credibly. Like almost every Siemens boss before him, he fundamentally restructured the company and initially divided it into three divisions. He significantly improved the margins and brought the group closer to the model of General Electric, which had long been considered inaccessible, in terms of profitability.

But his leadership style was risky. He was not considered to be the hard-working – however, in return, he always explicitly took the private life of his employees into account at the weekend. However, Löscher did not work extremely deeply into the topics, but relied on those responsible for operations.

In his second term, margins crumbled, Löscher had to issue several profit warnings. Some in the group suspected that CFO Joe Kaeser thought he was the better CEO and let Löscher appear.

Back home in 2016

The two couldn’t be more different. Kaeser always spoke eloquently and also spoke deeply about strategic topics. Löscher was binding in direct contact, but rather brittle and bulky in public appearances. He finally had to leave Siemens in 2013, and Kaeser took over as CEO.

After Siemens followed an intermezzo in Switzerland for Löscher. In 2014, the Russian oligarch Wiktor Wekselberg made the Austrian a strong man in his Swiss holding company Renova. The company holds shares in the Swiss companies Sulzer, OC Oerlikon and Schmolz + Bickenbach. But after two years, both managers went their separate ways again. According to media reports, the Russian and the Austrian have become increasingly alienated because of the lack of business success.

Löscher then went back to his home country as the head of the oil and gas group’s supervisory board OMV. But at the largest industrial company in the Alpine Republic, Löscher retired in the past year. The trigger for his withdrawal was the massive influence of the then conservative right-wing populist government under Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) on the part-state company in Austria. Even the then finance minister Hartwig Löger could not change Löscher, who had been the chief supervisor of OMV since 2016.

In a letter that became known in the media, Löscher criticized the increased state control at the energy company in Vienna. As much as he could understand the political claim of an economically stronger perception of interests and state influence of the Austrian government, “I am also very entrepreneurial,” wrote the “foreigner” Löscher at the time. The former Siemens boss was regarded as an excellent chairman of the supervisory board at OMV, who worked with ambition in the global energy business.

At Telefónica in Germany, he now has to show that he can monitor the work of the mobile operator well. The company behind the O2 brand has been far behind in terms of the quality of its network for years Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone.

One reason for this: expanding the network is expensive. And so far, the mother in Spain insists on lavish dividend payments. At Telefónica in Germany, there is hope, according to Handelsblatt information, that he can give the national company more financial leeway so that the company can succeed in catching up with Telekom and Vodafone.

More: Ex-Siemens boss Löscher cedes to OMV as chief overseer.

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The corona crash destroyed 19 trillion euros on the stock exchange

Bull and bear in front of the Frankfurt stock exchange

Historically unique losses in global equity markets.

(Photo: Oliver Ruether / laif)

Dusseldorf The money could be used to repay all of Europe’s public debt, and there would still be five trillion euros left: the 50,805 listed companies worldwide lost 19.4 trillion euros in just six weeks, according to Handelsblatt calculations. In such a short time, this decline is historically unique.

The courses worldwide lost 24 percent, in Germany the 755 listed companies were hit even harder with a loss of almost 30 percent. All local companies together currently cost 1.4 trillion euros. Alone Apple and Microsoft reach a total market value of 1.95 trillion euros.

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