25 years Telefónica Germany / O2:From the homezone to the trampoline of digitization

Markus Haas: "With 5G the decade of mobile communications begins in our anniversary year."
July 21, 1995 marks the birth of today's Telefónica Deutschland / O2. 25 years ago, the predecessor company VIAG Interkom became the 4th mobile network operator. Today, the company connects more than 42 million people in mobile communications alone. Another more than 2 million via the fixed network. And a steadily growing number of machines. With increasing digitalization, the company will in future have an even greater impact on all areas of life and work. "With 5G, the decade of mobile communications begins in our anniversary year. We are 5G-ready. With every technological leap - 2G, 3G or 4G - we have repeatedly opened the door to a new world for our customers," says CEO of Telefónica Germany / O2 Markus Haas on the occasion of the company's 25th anniversary.

The mission:democratization of high tech

The mission that the company is pursuing is the same as when it was founded in 1995: the democratization of "high tech". The founding idea did not focus on what was technically possible, but on the greatest actual customer benefit. In short: the best customer experience at the best price. "Almost 25 years ago we invented the "Homezone". Today we offer our customers 'Digital Freedom unlimited' - unlimited data volume at an affordable price," explains CEO Markus Haas.

Leap into the 5G era with opportunities for climate protection

Credits: Henning Koepke
5G is to be launched this year on the O2 network in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt.
The next mobile communications standard now offers the opportunity for a sustainable development of economy and society. "With 5G we will become the trampoline of digitalization. Thanks to us, companies and consumers can jump higher and further in the digital world," Haas emphasizes the significance of the current technological leap. And more than that: 5G antennas require around 90 percent less energy than previous network technologies for the same data volume. At the same time, comprehensive networking in all areas of the economy and society offers the opportunity for ecological efficiencies - in traffic planning, urban planning, energy management, logistics, production and much more. Digital technologies can cut global greenhouse gas emissions by around 20 percent. Telefónica Deutschland / O2 plans to launch 5G in the O2 network this year in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt. By the end of 2022, the company will turn 30 more cities in Germany into 5G cities and supply 16 million inhabitants with 5G via the O2 network.

To the top with innovations and cooperation

Technological leaps such as 5G have shaped the past 25 years of the company and the telecommunications industry as a whole: 2G made telephony mobile, 3G enabled mobile Internet access, 4G digital entertainment and the office was finally mobilized. Along the way, the company has repeatedly set standards in the market with innovations and has strengthened its position and expanded its range of services through cooperation and takeovers:
  • In 1997, two years after the founding of VIAG Interkom, the company received its fourth German mobile communications license as the basis for launching its own mobile communications network.
  • The acquisition of the frequencies at the UMTS auction in 2000 opened the door to mobile Internet use for the company and its customers - always and everywhere.
  • In 2002 VIAG Interkom became O2 Germany, and in 2005 the Spanish Telefónica S.A. became a shareholder and the company thus became part of a leading international telecommunications group.
  • In 2011 Telefónica Germany / O2 took over the fixed network operator Hansenet and will change from a pure mobile operator to a full-service provider.
  • In 2012, the company goes public as Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG and since then has been one of the largest stocks in the MDax.
  • This IPO created the conditions for the integration of the E-Plus Group in 2014, since when no provider has been connecting people in mobile communications in Germany.
  • As a result, the company completed the world's largest network integration outside China by the end of 2018 and modernized its network infrastructure with tens of thousands of construction measures.
  • In 2019, the company launched the largest investment program in its still young history. By 2022, around 4 billion euros will be invested in the O2 network - to further consolidate the 4G network and to rapidly build a 5G infrastructure.
Today, the portfolio of Telefónica Deutschland / O2 includes mobile services, fixed network offers, complete solutions for medium-sized companies and industry or service offers such as mobile banking or mobile TV.

Climate Neutral in the Next Years

And the company is also addressing another major challenge of our time through digitization and networking: Telefónica Deutschland / O2 wants to become climate-neutral in the next few years. The company is using two main levers on the road to climate neutrality: Using green electricity and also saving electricity. Telefónica Deutschland / O2 has been using energy from renewable sources 100 percent since 2016. By the end of 2019, the company has also reduced energy consumption per data volume by a good 56 percent compared to 2015. This means that the consumption targets for the end of 2020 have already been significantly exceeded one year earlier than planned. The company is currently working on an ambitious new climate strategy for the coming years.