DT, Telefonica, Vodafone agree to share 6K new cell sites in Germany

cell tower
1&1 Drillisch AG has also been invited to participate in the joint expansion project. (Pixabay)

Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica Deutschland, and Vodafone have signed a letter of intent to team up on the construction and operation of up to 6,000 new cell sites for expanded mobile coverage across rural areas and transportation routes in Germany.

The network sharing agreement is meant to help curb costs and speed up timelines associated with achieving controversial coverage requirements in rural areas that were imposed on the operators by German federal regulators in connection with the country’s 5G spectrum auction earlier this summer. The spectrum auction raised about 6.55 billion euros ($7.4 billion) but left a bitter taste for some of the country’s mobile providers.

Deutsche Telekom in announcing the pact said the three mobile operators continue to believe the requirements that call for investments worth billions of euros “are excessive and do not comply with applicable legislation.”

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Under the new network sharing agreement, each company will set up an equal number of new cell sites, which can then be used by the other partners and fitted with their own antennas and network technology as needed. The pact is expected to be formalized and additional details disclosed by Spring 2020.