E-Plus and O2 Germany cosy up

Being a distant 3rd and 4th in the German mobile market has prompted E-Plus and O2 Germany to discuss jointly bidding for forthcoming spectrum and even network sharing. The two companies believe they have been separately discriminated against in the spectrum process, and by combining their bids could up their chances of success.

E-Plus and O2 Germany have said they are at a disadvantage compared with market leaders T-Mobile and Vodafone, which entered the market much earlier and are already in possession of more spectrum than E-Plus and O2

"Telefonica and ourselves will look at this jointly, because we are in the same boat," said Ad Scheepbouwer, CEO of E-Plus's parent company, KPN. "We both are being discriminated in the [spectrum] process and we need to look at all of our options," he added.

Complaints have already been raised over whether Germany's mobile auction will be competitive, with the EC criticizing the process and Germany's Federal Network Agency defending the way the auction for the valuable 800MHz spectrum will be held.

E-Plus also revealed it may consider network sharing with O2 Germany to reduce costs, which provoked rumours that the two firms could merge their struggling mobile operations. However, Scheepbouwer said that the possibility would only make sense if the price was high enough.

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