Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Vodafone have announced a partnership to build 6,000 mobile sites to improve broadband coverage in Germany. The country’s three major operators will share the use of the network. 1&1 Drillisch, which recently acquired spectrum to become the fourth mobile operator in Germany, has been invited to participate in the work on the shared network, as well.
The companies will each build an equal number of new sites, which can then be used by the partners on the same conditions and be equipped with their own antennas and network technology.
The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) set new coverage requirements for the network operators in the recent award of 5G frequencies, including covering more traffic routes. The network operators expect the agreement to share infrastructure will help them meet the targets, including coverage along roads and train lines and in so-called white spots, especially in rural areas.
Even in highly developed countries such as Germany and the U.K., achieving full nationwide coverage has proved elusive. Due to the size of the investment involved, and to the very nature of a national networks, the goal will continue to be so unless operators cooperate to build it. Sharing expenses will lead to a unified system of networks with uniform standards that will yield much more reliable service for all users. And all the operators will benefit from it; a narrowly competitive approach simply will not work. This is truly a case of a rising tide lifting all boats.
In addition, there is an element of urgency here, in that the German regulator has established coverage requirements that operators must meet in order to be eligible to utilize the newly allocated 5G frequencies. It is, therefore, very much in the interest of each that all meet these standards as soon as possible, shoring up 4G/LTE in order that they may reap the benefits of 5G when it comes online.