Report: Deutsche Telekom mulls pan-European network sharing deals

Deutsche Telekom (DT) is looking to slash network costs across its European mobile operations by forging network sharing partnerships with other operators, according to a report in the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

The company has confirmed to the newspaper, via an unnamed spokesman, that it is actively discussing with France Telecom (FT) Orange the possibility of merging their networks in Romania, and is also considering a similar arrangement for their networks in Austria and Slovakia.

DT and FT Orange have already agreed to merge their entire operations in the UK, and only a few weeks ago announced a deal to jointly build an LTE network in Poland. Insiders have suggested that such a move could save the two firms "several hundred million euros" by 2015.

While the discussions with FT Orange would seem fairly advanced, DT also appears to have looked at network sharing arrangements in other countries where it provides mobile services. According to Handelsblatt, DT has studied the possibility of partnering in all of the 13 countries where it has operations. "We're looking at each country, including Romania and Austria," a Deutsche Telekom spokesman told the newspaper. "But we are talking here not just with France Telecom, but also with other competitors."

An indication of Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann's determination to push forward with improving profits was clearly evidenced with the sale of T-Mobile USA to AT&T. The US division had consistently achieved returns below the group's average, and the Obermann was said to be unwilling to invest the billions of dollars required to build an LTE network.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article
- see this Handelsblatt article (translated from German)
- see this MediaFax article
- see this Business Review article

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