Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone: Fighting "gray spots" together

Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone are teaming up to improve LTE coverage in rural areas and along traffic routes. The two companies plan to implement active network sharing at a total of 4,000 selected antenna sites to eliminate "gray spots" across Germany. All of the involved areas are currently only served in LTE quality by a single provider. A new technological approach in the networks of both providers will make it possible.

Back in November, Germany's three mobile network operators – Vodafone, Telekom, and Telefónica – announced plans to eliminate up to 6,000 "white spots" across the country. The term describes areas where there is no mobile reception.

In addition, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom now also plan to cooperate in areas where only one of the two partners currently offers LTE – known as "gray spots." The collaboration aims to create a better mobile experience for customers of both companies – both in rural areas and along traffic routes.

The two companies have now signed a letter of intent. Talks with Germany's Federal Cartel Office and Federal Network Agency are currently underway. The companies hope to launch the project in 2020.

"With the envisioned cooperation, we can make an important contribution to providing better, uninterrupted LTE coverage in Germany," said Dirk Wössner, Managing Director of Telekom Deutschland. "We're teaming up with our competition to ensure that even more people in Germany can use a better network. Joint projects like this are becoming increasingly important to the network build-out – in both broadband and mobile communication." 

"By working together, we can create even better networks for Germany – and eliminate gray spots where Vodafone or Deutsche Telekom customers didn't have good reception," said Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Vodafone Germany. "It's an important milestone on our way to a digital Germany. And for our customers, a crucial step toward an even better network."

A key element of the cooperation talks is that each company will provide the other with access to an equal number of mobile communications sites for LTE coverage. It exclusively targets "gray spots" in rural areas and along significant traffic routes. Initial analyses have identified some 2,000 potential sites on each side. 

With the new MOCN (multi-operator core network) approach, both companies can eliminate their individual coverage gaps in an economically efficient manner. Customers of Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom will enjoy a vastly improved customer experience. Each company is also free to sign similar agreements with other providers.

The companies' independent network build-out is not affected by the agreement. Both companies will continue to invest in their proprietary mobile networks. 

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