- Telekom and Telefónica / o2 overcome several hundred 4G “gray spots” in 2021
- Customers of both companies benefit from better network coverage
- Agreement reinforces collaborative network build-out strategy
Before the end of the year, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica / o2 aim to overcome several hundred “gray spots” in 4G network coverage for their customers. The partners will share active network technology at the sites. Unlike previous joint projects, such as site sharing or the operator agreement to close white spots, no second separate wireless technology or additional antennas must be installed with this approach. The two companies have now signed a letter of intent.
Not all operators have the same network coverage at present, particularly outside residential areas and away from major transit routes. The result is “gray spots” – areas in which not all operators can offer their customers mobile network access via 4G. These sparsely frequented areas often pose financial challenges for operators when setting up and operating separate infrastructures using their own network technology.
Active network sharing planned
The agreement just concluded between Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica / o2 aims to close this coverage gap and resolve the financial shortcomings: Both companies plan to implement active network sharing at several hundred selected antenna sites to fill “gray spots” in Germany. A new technological approach in the networks of both providers will make this possible. Ultimately enabling operators to offer all customers 4G access in the 800 MHz frequency band at each site.
“Joint projects like this are becoming increasingly important to network build-out – in both broadband and mobile communication. Together with Telefónica / o2 we can make an important contribution to providing better, uninterrupted LTE coverage in Germany,” said Srini Gopalan, Managing Director of Telekom Deutschland. “We're teaming up with our competition to ensure that even more people in Germany can use a better network. This agreement further attests to our conviction that digitalizing Germany works best through cooperation.”
“Germany needs to step up digitalization. German consumers and business are demanding rapid progress in mobile network coverage to this end. This requires a concerted effort on the part of all involved. Co-usage of sites is an important step in this direction and a positive signal to Germany’s mobile communications customers,” said Telefónica Deutschland / o2 CEO Markus Haas when signing the letter of intent.
The parties are in touch with the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) and Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) regarding the planned collaboration.
Operator initiatives for improved network coverage
Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and Telefónica / o2 have already joined forces to develop areas with no coverage at all to date (“white spots”): In fall 2019, the three national mobile network operators signed a general agreement covering just under 6,000 new sites. Each operator builds their assigned infrastructure share and grants the other players usage rights to the resulting passive network infrastructure. Unlike the joint project announced today, only structural infrastructure such as mobile masts and power supply is shared in the white spots. Each operator provides the transmission technology and antennas themselves in their particular area.
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