Vodafone, Telefónica step up convergence in Germany

Germany has been a particularly active market for converged and VoIP services because of its high landline costs, and two of its main carriers are looking to step up their fixed/mobile activities. Telefónica is combining both sides of its offering in the country, while Vodafone Germany has unveiled software that it hopes will move the goalposts in convergence, allowing users to prioritize available broadband connections - 3G, Wi-Fi or fixed - and move automatically between them as conditions change.

This is the goal of many developments by operators and device makers, especially in the area of \'adaptive radios\', which automatically detect the best connection according to user criteria, such as cost or speed. But this is an early commercial offering, called \'Vodafone Zero Click Connect\', though technologically it is only a first step, relying on the cellco\'s existing mobile broadband PC dashboard. Users can choose manual, prompt or automatic handover modes, and resellers can configure the software for contract or pay-as-you-go deals.

Vodafone will trial it in Germany, mainly in the business sector at first, but is likely then to roll it out in France and then other European territories, and in the consumer space.

Over at Spanish-owned Telefónica, the operator is creating Telefónica O2 Germany, which will unify fixed and mobile sales and marketing operations, initially for the business market, as well as the landline wholesale business. This mirrors the recent moves by Deutsche Telecom/T-Mobile and Vodafone Germany to offer fully bundled services to German businesses.

Johannes Pruchnow, the former CEO of Telefónica Deutschland, now head of the new business division, said in a statement: \'The most important aspect is our modern IP-based landline and wireless infrastructure. But, thanks to the integration of the two telecoms businesses, we will now be able to advance with the merger of these two infrastructures even more quickly than before.\'

Rethink Wireless

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