Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica Deutschland, and Vodafone plan to collaborate in order to build 6,000 new mobile masts in Germany, as part of a joint push to close gaps in network coverage.
The "rival" companies will expand their mobile communications networks to achieve the best possible mobile broadband coverage for customers throughout Germany, especially in rural areas and along road, rail and inland waterway transport routes.
The three telecommunications providers plan to coordinate the set-up and operation of up to 6,000 new cell sites and have signed a letter of intent to this effect. 1&1 Drillisch AG has been invited to participate in this network expansion collaboration. A prerequisite for joining the collaboration is that the operator must be willing to take on an equal share of the expansion projects as the other parties.
In contrast to working independently, joining forces to provide the relevant technical infrastructure and to construct and operate additional mobile masts and towers saves a significant amount of time and money. The plan proposes that each company participating in the collaboration should set up an equal number of new sites which can then be used by the collaboration partners and fitted with their own antennas and the appropriate network technology as required.
Following a total investment of around 6.5 billion euros for the auction of the new spectrum licenses in summer 2019, the agreed cooperation serves to largely close white spots in sparsely populated regions and along traffic routes in an economically viable way. The coverage requirements imposed by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) at the spectrum auction in 2019 call for investments worth billions of euros. The three mobile operators claim that the conditions imposed upon them are excessive and do not comply with applicable legislation.
Germany's Federal Cartel Office has been informed about the collaboration plans. The Federal Network Agency has already made it clear in the past that, in principle, it considers the joint use of infrastructure to be meaningful. Additional details of the collaboration should be formally agreed at the latest by spring 2020.
"The planned collaboration is a milestone for network expansion in Germany”, states Telekom Deutschland’s Managing Director Dirk Wössner and adds, “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”.