The roll-out of a fourth mobile network in Germany can start: 11 Drillisch has accepted a contract offer from its competitor Telefonica Deutschland for national roaming, the company announced Monday. Final details of the contract are to be clarified by May, but the agreement is already binding.
The cooperation with Telefonica is a prerequisite for Drillisch to build its own network. Germany currently has mobile networks operated by Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica (O2). Drillisch wanted to become number 4. Telefonica had presented its latest proposal as "a competitive final offer that is fair to both parties" . 11 parent company United Internet has to pay rent for the capacity used in the O2 network.
No own grid without roaming
2019 had 11 Drillisch buys frequency spectrum for around 1.1 billion euros for the first time at auction. However, Drillisch did not want to use this for its own network until its cell phone customers were not in a radio hole during the years-long construction phase away from the first locations, but were instead supplied via national roaming.
This is similar to international roaming abroad: in locations where the Drillisch network does not offer sufficient coverage, the user can switch to the already expanded O2 network. Without this access, the company had little chance of competing with the established providers.
Telefonica complies with EU requirements
Drillisch therefore negotiated with all three established network operators. Finally, the company reached an agreement with Telefonica Deutschland. The Munich-based company took over its competitor E-Plus in 2014. This reduced the number of German mobile network operators from four to three.
By imposing conditions on the merger, the EU Commission therefore wanted to make it possible for a fourth network operator to gain a foothold in the German market again. To meet these requirements, Telefonica has been working with 1 since 20141 Drillisch together. This cooperation has so far ensured, among other things, that 11 was able to offer its own rates on the Telefonica network.
However, this original agreement from 2014 is only valid as long as Drillisch does not have its own network. The new agreement means that the cooperation will continue. However, this is only about 2G, 3G and 4G – the new mobile phone standard 5G is not included in the deal. Drillisch wants to make this possible for its customers via its own antennas. Drillisch is part of the United Internet Group and had purchased spectrum for the 5G mobile standard at auction in 2019.