Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica Deutschland team up for network expansion. An interview with Dirk Wössner, Managing Director of Telekom Deutschland.
Mr. Wössner, you announced today that Deutsche Telekom will be connecting mobile base stations owned by your competitor Telefonica with your fiber-optic network. That came as a surprise to many people.
Dirk Wössner: …I have to say, I'm surprised that they're surprised. After all, it's no secret that network operators cooperate with one another – with both broadband expansion and mobile communications. And we've been doing so for years. We reached an agreement with Telefonica back in 2011 to connect their mobile base stations to our fiber-optic infrastructure. We will now be increasing the number of sites to 5,000 in the coming years. The fact that we're extending the term of our collaboration and connecting significantly more antennas than originally planned proves that voluntary cooperation works. We don't always need legal provisions and regulations.
How do both sides benefit from the cooperation?
Wössner: We are Germany's digitalization engine: no one is upgrading more than Deutsche Telekom. But network expansion is very expensive, which is why we're looking to recoup a portion of our investments. One model involves connecting other network operators to our fiber-optic infrastructure – and in turn investing these proceeds in the upgrade of our own networks. This is also sensible with regard to allocation of the 5G frequencies next spring.
Nevertheless, some people wonder why Deutsche Telekom is helping a direct competitor.
Wössner: Although we're competitors, it's our shared responsibility as network operators to bring Germany into the digital age quickly. Our cooperation benefits millions of people throughout Germany – both Telefonica customers, who enjoy a better network, and our customers, whom we can serve even better with the improved funding situation. And in the end, it's still clear: when it comes to the quality, size and coverage of our networks, we're still far ahead of the competition, with or without collaborations like this one.
Thanks very much for talking with us.