No operator consolidation necessary in Germany, says regulator

Hoping to quell growing speculation that E-Plus and O2 Germany were in merger talks, the German telecoms regulator has stated that consolidation among the operator community would not be welcomed.

Having failed to win any 800MHz spectrum in the recent German auctions, the viability of KPN's subsidiary, E-Plus, was increasingly being seen by analysts as questionable.

However, Matthias Kurth, president of Bundesnetzagentur, the country's network regulator, said that all operators had been able to double their spectrum, and he considered it unlikely that consolidation would happen.

According to Kurth, the prospect of fewer mobile operators in Germany would not be received well, and that the market (the largest in Europe) was presently 'balanced.'

Commenting on the outcome of the auction, Kurth said that Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica each won bids for two 10MHz blocks in the 800MHz band, while KPN won eight spectrum blocks in other frequencies. "No one went away empty handed," said Kurth.

In an effort to diffuse further any merger rumours, Kurth added that E-Plus was not required to deploy LTE networks in rural areas, a condition that only applied to those that were successful in bidding for 800MHz spectrum.

Separately, the CEOs of KPN and Telefonica have each ruled out any possible mergers between their German subsidiaries.

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