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1&1 to accelerate construction of Germany’s fourth mobile network: Report

1&1 to accelerate construction of Germany’s fourth mobile network: Report
Image courtesy of 1&1

1&1 said it will initially provide FWA services through its 5G network

German operator 1&1 announced plans to speed up the deployment of the fourth mobile network in Germany, including the deployment of 1,000 5G base stations this year.

In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of 1&1 parent company United Internet, said that the telco’s mobile network will initially provide 5G fixed wireless access services (FWA). He said that 5G mobile services will be available for smartphone users around mid-2023.

As part of the commitments included in the license that the telco had obtained in 2019 for the provision of mobile services, 1&1 is obliged to deploy at least 1,000 base stations this year. The 1&1 network must reach at least 25% of German households by the end of 2025 and at least 50% by end-2030, as part of those commitments.

Dommermuth reporetly said that the new network will be profitable within a few years. “We are investing heavily in Germany’s digital infrastructure. The costs for the acquisition of radio frequencies, the orders from network equipment suppliers and radio tower companies amount to around 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in the next few years.”

“Our goal is not only to build the most modern mobile network in Europe, but also to achieve the expansion targets earlier,” said Dommermuth.

1&1 currently provides mobile services to nearly 11 million customers, mainly through a wholesale arrangement with rival operator Telefonica Deutschland.

Since the acquisition of its 5G license, the company has been selecting tech partners for the construction of its network. 1&1 had selected Japanese company Rakuten Group to design, build and operate a fully virtualized mobile network based O-RAN technology. The telco has also signed a long-term tower rental agreement with Vodafone Group’s Vantage Towers AG.

In August 2021, 1&1 and Rakuten Group announced a long-term partnership to build the former’s mobile network in Germany. Through this deal, Rakuten became the general contractor for the 1&1 mobile network.

Specifically, Rakuten will take over the build of the active network equipment and will also be responsible for the overall performance of the 1&1 mobile network. The German telco will have access to the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) stack of access, core, cloud and operations solutions as well as to its partner network. The deal also stipulates that Rakuten will provide its orchestration software so that the 1&1 network can be operated in a highly automated manner.

Rakuten Group also previously announced the launch of Rakuten Symphony as a new business organization to spearhead the global adoption of cloud-native open RAN infrastructure and services, including the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) by mobile network operators, enterprises and government bodies.

With operations across Japan, the United States, Singapore, India, Europe and the Middle East Africa region, Rakuten Symphony aims to bring together all of Rakuten’s telco products, services and solutions under a single global portfolio to offer 4G and 5G infrastructure and platform solutions to customers worldwide.

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