The three largest telecommunications providers in Germany, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Vodafone, have announced a partnership to build 6,000 new mobile sites in order to improve broadband coverage in the country. The companies are planning to work closely together and share the use of the network, aiming to provide the best possible mobile broadband coverage for customers in rural areas, as well as along road, rail and inland waterway transportation routes. This is a condition that the operators are required to fulfill as specified in the 5G spectrum auction held by German federal regulators earlier this year.
Dirk Wossner, Telekom Deutschland’s Managing Director, said, “The planned collaboration is a milestone for network expansion in Germany. Our common goal is to eliminate coverage gaps in the mobile network as soon as possible. Sharing infrastructure is nothing new for us. Sharing it at this scale, however, is a major step in the right direction. After all, high-speed internet and excellent voice quality on road, rail and water are vital for an industrial country like Germany that relies on mobile communications.”
The announcement also indicates that 1&1 Drillisch AG, which became Germany’s fourth mobile network supplier after the 5G spectrum auction, has been invited to participate in this collaboration to expand the network, provided that it makes the same contribution as the others to the deployment plans. Drillisch currently uses the networks of Telefonica and Vodafone, and has much fewer subscribers than any of the mobile operators.
According to a statement by Deutsche Telekom, the collaboration to provide the appropriate technical infrastructure as well as building and operating additional mobile masts and towers, will save a significant amount of time and money for all parties. The participating companies will set up an equal number of new sites which can then be used by the partners on the same conditions, and be equipped with their own antennas and the appropriate network technology.
Markus Haas, CEO of Telefonica Deutschland, said, “Mobile communications will be the most important technology in the coming decade. And we are pooling our resources to put Germany in an ideal position. This collaboration is an outstanding example of intelligent cooperation towards taking the next logical step. We must join forces if we are to consolidate Germany’s position as a leading business location that is ready to take on future challenges. Together, we will take digital transformation in Germany to the next level.”
In addition, the Federal Cartel Office has been informed about the cooperation plans. Moreover, the Federal Network Agency has already made it clear that it approves the idea of the joint use of infrastructure. All details of the collaboration should be agreed upon and concluded no later than spring 2020, and it is expected that joint network planning activities will begin almost immediately.