Dusseldorf Last summer there was a fundamental change in the German mobile communications market. Internet entrepreneur Ralph Dommermuth had set himself the goal of establishing the established network operator Deutsche Telekom. Vodafone and challenge Telefónica. To do this, he wanted to set up a fourth network operator.
In the auction of 5G frequencies alone, the United Internet-Subsidiary Drillish Netz AG from around one billion euros. After the auction ended in June, things became quiet about Dommermuth and his ambitious plans.
As the Handelsblatt learned, Dommermuth’s group around United Internet was able to agree on a framework agreement after months of negotiations with the Federal Association for Broadband Communication (Breko), in which many city network operators are united. This provides that the approximately 200 Breko companies together with the United Internet subsidiary 1 & 1 Versatel push ahead with fiber optic expansion in Germany and above all want to help open up 5G mobile phone locations.
The step has a signal effect. The expansion of the future 5G mobile communications standard is closely related to the expansion of the fiber optic network in Germany. An antenna can usually only be used reliably for 5G if it has been connected with fiber optics. However, the expansion is expensive and many construction companies are overloaded. It can sometimes take months or years for a construction company to tackle an optical fiber project.
United Internet tries to avoid this bottleneck. Versatel operates an approximately 50,000 km long fiber optic network, is active in 250 German cities, including 19 of the 25 largest cities in Germany. However, this is not enough for the expansion of 5G mobile radio. For comparison: Deutsche Telekom’s fiber optic network spans more than 500,000 kilometers.
5G expansion of 1 & 1 take off
Versatel technical director Claus Beck said: “The cooperation with Breko and its members means that the planning of the 5G mobile network of our sister company 1 & 1 Drillisch continues to gain momentum.” Breko managing director Stephan Albers said the framework agreement enables the networks without long negotiations to provide for mobile phone locations. “Many will participate because it is an attractive business model,” emphasized Albers. Versatel is a member of the Breko.
For United Internet, however, a core problem remains unsolved. It will be many years before the company can offer its own network across Germany. The agreement with Breko can accelerate the expansion in rural areas. But nothing more.
For months now, United Internet has been negotiating with the three major network operators Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica to share their infrastructure. So far, however, according to Handelsblatt information, no agreement has been reached. United Internet was not satisfied with the network operators’ offers. They complain that United Internet wants to buy valuable access to expensive infrastructure for little money.
United Internet originally pushed for legally guaranteed guarantees for the shared use of the other networks, so-called national roaming. The president of the Federal Network Agency, Jochen Homann, had argued: “It is not legally possible to oblige companies to let third parties online and to dictate prices.” However, he had said that all providers were subject to a negotiation requirement and a ban on discrimination.
United Internet insists on these rules. “If no timely solution emerges, the Federal Network Agency will have to exercise its referee role,” said a spokesman. The company had already complained to the advisory board of the Federal Network Agency about the procedure of the network operator. The “mirror” had first reported on the step. A formal complaint to the authority is still pending. However, a review process could take months to years.
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