Telefónica to start O2/E-Plus network integration in 2016

Telefónica Deutschland is to formally begin the consolidation of the O2 Germany and E-Plus GSM and 3G networks in January 2016, and also said it plans to enable "joint LTE use" from the middle of next year.

The German operator has been working on the integration of the two networks since it acquired E-Plus from KPN last year. It introduced national roaming between the two 3G networks as a first step in May this year, and has also agreed to transfer 7,700 redundant mobile-tower sites to Deutsche Telekom.

Markus Haas, COO of Telefónica Deutschland, described the network integration as a "major technical project that's unique in Europe and will contribute as expected to the synergies we have promised the market."

The company stressed that the consolidation has been planned so that there will be as little service disruption as possible for customers.

The operator has already reported significant benefits from the merger. In its second-quarter results, it said its core profit -- which it calls OIBDA -- rose by 13.5 per cent to €453 million ($480 million). Sales increased by 1.3 per cent to €1.95 billion.

At the time, analysts from Jefferies International noted that merger synergies were "tracking comfortably ahead of expectations."

Telefónica Deutschland said the network integration process is expected to take five years to complete and in 2016 will focus on densely populated urban areas. The company aims to reach 60 per cent of the population with its new, integrated network in the first year.

At the same time, the company said it is continuing to rapidly expand its LTE network and plans to enable joint LTE use from mid-2016.

In December last year, the company said it intended 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.

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.

For more:
- see the Telefónica Deutschland release

Related articles:
Telefónica Deutschland sees E-Plus merger benefits in Q2 results
Telefónica Deutschland transfers 7,700 mobile towers to Deutsche Telekom
German spectrum auction raises more than €5B
Germany's Airdata files challenge to Telefónica-E-Plus merger
Telefónica Deutschland CFO: We have changed the market in Germany forever
Telefónica Deutschland makes confident start to 2015

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