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Telefónica partners DT and Vodafone to cover Germany’s 4G grey-spots

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Unlike their previous agreement, this will include the active radio elements, not just the passive tower infrastructure.

Telefónica Deutschland has reached agreements with Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Vodafone Deutschland to share their ‘active’ networks in hundreds of so-called ‘grey spots’ – areas which only have 4G coverage provided by one operator.

The idea is to ensure all three meet their obligatory population coverage targets without the heavy cost and delay of duplicating network infrastructure.

This is part of Telefónica Deutschland’s strategic plan to increase its network and profitability as it moves towards deploying Open RAN technology. Earlier this week the German operator announced it intends to roll out Open RAN to 1,000 sites, starting the at scale deployment this year.

Live versus passive

This differs from the agreement DT, Vodafone Deutschland, and Telefónica Deutschland reached in autumn 2019, when the three joined forces to develop areas with no coverage at all (white spots).

That older agreement covered almost 6,000 planned new sites, but each operator builds its assigned infrastructure share and grants the other players usage rights to the resulting passive network infrastructure – meaning only structural infrastructure such as mobile masts and power supply.

Each operator must still provide their own transmission technology and antennas per shared mast.

Stepping it up

When signed the letter of intent with DT, Telefónica Deutschland, CEO, Markus Hass, said, “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".

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.” There's more here about Telefónica Deutschland's agreement with DT.

"We are creating even more network with fewer masts: cooperations such as these strengthen Germany's infrastructure…All this shows that whether in white or grey spots, network operators move closer together with fair partnerships, to bring an even better networking experience to all their customers, "said Vodafone Deutschland CEO Hannes Ametsreiter [translated from German]. Here is more about Telefónica Deutschland's deal with Vodafone Deutschland.