Grey Spots Initiative:Telefónica / O2 and Deutsche Telekom share network infrastructure in grey areas for further improved network coverage
Telefónica / O2 and Deutsche Telekom plan to close several hundred so-called grey spots in 4G network coverage for their customers before the end of the year. At the sites, the partners will share active network technology. Unlike previous collaborations such as site sharing or the operator agreement to close white spots, no second separate radio technology or additional antennas need to be installed in this approach. The two companies have now signed a corresponding letter of intent. Particularly outside residential areas and away from major traffic routes, not all operators have the same network coverage today. This creates so-called grey areas - areas in which not all providers can offer their customers mobile network access via 4G. In these less frequented areas in particular, it is often economically challenging for operators to build separate infrastructures and operate them with their own network technology. The agreement now concluded between Telefónica / O2 and Deutsche Telekom is aimed at addressing this coverage and profitability gap: both companies plan to implement so-called active network sharing at several hundred selected antenna sites in order to close further "grey areas" in Germany. This is made possible by a new technological approach in the networks of the two providers. At the site, the operators offer all customers 4G access on the 800 MHz frequency band as a result.
"Germany must become more digital. To achieve this, German consumers and the business community are demanding rapid progress in mobile coverage. This requires a joint effort by all stakeholders. Cooperative site sharing is an important step on this path and sends a good signal to Germany's mobile customers," said Telefónica Deutschland / O2 CEO Markus Haas at the signing of the memorandum of understanding. "Cooperations are becoming increasingly important in network rollout - whether broadband or mobile. Together with Telefónica / O2, we can make an important contribution to better and uninterrupted LTE coverage in Germany," said Telekom Deutschland CEO Srini Gopalan. "We are working with our competitor so that even more people in Germany can use a better network. This agreement is further proof of our conviction: The digitization of Germany is best achieved together." The parties are in contact with the Federal Cartel Office and the Federal Network Agency regarding the planned cooperation.
Operator initiatives for improved network coverage
Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica / O2 are already pulling in the same direction to develop previously completely unserved areas ("white spots"): in the fall of 2019, the three mobile network operators active throughout Germany concluded an agreement in principle for almost 6,000 new sites. Each operator builds on a pro rata basis and grants the other parties a right to use the resulting passive network infrastructure. In contrast to the cooperation announced today, only the structural infrastructure such as radio masts and power supply will be shared in the white spots; the transmission technology and antennas will be provided here by each operator independently.