Telefónica Deutschland aims to offer same network quality as rivals by 2017

Telefónica Deutschland intends to put itself on an equal footing with Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Germany by offering the same network quality as its rivals no later than 2017.

The company, which in October completed the acquisition of E-Plus to form a new mobile giant in Germany, also said it will continue to focus on a more flexible service offering, rather than following the general industry trend towards converged service bundles.

In an interview with German business newspaper Handelsblatt, Thorsten Dirks, the new CEO of Telefónica Deutschland, said the operator would be able to demonstrate the first benefits of the network merger to its customers in the first half of 2015.

Previously the market's third and fourth mobile operators respectively, Telefónica Deutschland and E-Plus have lagged behind their rivals because of lower network investments in the past. However, Dirks--the former CEO of E-Plus who is described by German media as the "enfant terrible" of the mobile sector--said the merger will enable the operator to catch up on lost ground.

Furthermore, Dirks wants to take a different strategic direction from the rest of the industry by only partially following the so-called "quad-play" trend of bundling together fixed and mobile telecoms services with TV: "Flexibility is important to the German customer," Dirks said, adding that consumers in the country want "to select and combine individual products."

Telefónica Deutschland assumed the position as the leading mobile operator in Germany with 41 million subscriptions after formally completing the acquisition of 100 per cent of E-Plus from KPN on Oct 1.

The new German operator has a total of 47 million fixed and mobile subscriptions and pro forma revenue of €7.9 billion ($9.8 billion) (in 2013). The merger is also expected to produce synergies of around €5 billion. Dirks is also joined by Markus Haas as COO, and Rachel Empey as CFO.

Telefónica Deutschland has also announced since then that it intends to cut its workforce by around 1,600 full-time positions by 2018 as a result of the merger.

For more:
- see this Handelsblatt article (in German)

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