Nearly two years ago, it was clear that there would be a fourth mobile network again in Germany. At the time, United Internet secured valuable frequencies to create its 5G network at an auction run by the Federal Network Agency. However, since creating your own network infrastructure costs a lot of time as well as money, the budding network operator made it clear, like a mantra: We need to tackle national roaming. When the parent company of 1 & 1 does not have its own network yet, it wants to access the existing mobile network infrastructure via national roaming. Similar to what Viag Interkom (now O2) did at Deutsche Telekom’s network.
1 & 1 5G: tough negotiations behind closed doors
Problem: Despite the supervision of the Federal Network Agency, it was not clear for a long time who this network partner could become. None of the three German network operators wanted to enter into national roaming with United Internet. The fear of giving too much space to a new competitor was too great. United Internet negotiated with Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica Deutschland for months – nothing happened. Occasionally, Ralph Dumermouth, president of United Internet Corporation, would interact with reporters on phone conferences in an angry or resigned manner over questions about the situation. And this despite it was always evident that Telefónica Deutschland would be United Internet’s first point of contact in the months of negotiations.
Because Dommermuth has already made some smart moves in the previous months. Among other things, service provider Drillisch was taken over in 2017 – including its right to use 30 percent of Telefónica Deutschland’s network capacity. The basis for this participation in the network infrastructure was a requirement on the part of the European Union Commission. In 2014, it agreed to merge Telefónica with E-Plus, but at the same time forced the new heavyweight mobile operator to sell parts of its private network to a competitor. And across technologies. Drillisch hit.
Local roaming is possible until 2034
The hack came in February 2021. United Internet reached a tentative agreement with Telefónica on a national roaming agreement. And now new details have been revealed. In principle, United Internet subsidiary 1 & 1 Drillisch has the right to access the Telefónica Deutschland network infrastructure via national roaming until 30 June 2025. 1 & 1 has the right to extend this contract twice. Once until June 30, 2029 and then again on demand until June 30, 2034, maximum. Ultimately, the actual duration of national roaming depends on how quickly 1 & 1 Drillisch establishes its own mobile network in Germany. Because clients hardly accept big dead spots. However, as long as it is there, the national roaming will continue.
Also important to United Internet: The agreement reached now stipulates that prices will drop annually. With a retroactive effect from July 2020. It also applies to the MBA MVNO (Mobile Access – Mobile Virtual Network Operator) contract between United Internet and Telefónica Deutschland, under which legal skirmishes have occurred between the two companies in recent months. . As part of the comprehensive agreement now reached, the ongoing legal process initiated by 1 & 1 Drillisch will be discontinued. According to 1 & 1 Drillisch, the recently negotiated terms are lower than the recently settled prices under Telefóncia’s MBA MVNO contract. For its part, Telefónica maintains that the national roaming agreement is linked to valuable revenue streams.
With high returns from the agreement, we’ll become O2 Further strengthening the network and accelerate our expansion again. The agreement also ensures that our network investment in rural areas will pay for itself much faster than previously planned.
Telefónica Deutschland CEO, Marcus Haas.
The starting point of the 1 & 1 mobile network remains unclear
It remains unclear when exactly 1 & 1 will launch its mobile network. The only thing for sure is that the beginning of the national roaming agreement with Telefónica Deutschland begins with the launch of its 5G network. From this time on, all new customers will have access to the 5G network from 1 & 1 Drillisch, and in areas yet to be developed, access to the GSM and LTE mobile network of Telefónica via national roaming. The same applies to customers who buy United Internet from brands such as 1 & 1 or Many discounted brands They migrated to the new network.
1 & 1 Drillisch customers who are currently using a SIM in the Telefónica Netz network will be migrated gradually during a contractually defined transition period after the initiation of the 5G network by 1 & 1 Drillisch and will continue to have access to all network technologies available in the Telefónica mobile network until then Germany – from GSM to 5G. After a period of time specified under the contract, existing customers are only provided with 5G via the 1 & 1 Drillisch 5G network.
From January 1, 2026, access restrictions to Telefónica Deutschland’s LTE network will apply in various contractually defined areas. Since these are large city areas where the 1 & 1 network is supposed to be built first, this is negligible.