Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges (pictured) reportedly took aim at the fourth operator in Germany, 1&1, appearing to criticise the company’s much delayed 5G network rollout.

Bloomberg reported Hoettges made the comments about 1&1 at Deutsche Telekom’s AGM yesterday (10 April), describing the company’s 5G offering as “just one big white spot” which had left a large part of Germany uncovered.

Hoettges apparently stooped short of specifically naming 1&1, but said Germany’s newest network operator struggled to roll out 5G infrastructure despite coming from a “privileged position” after securing “some of the best spectrum” in an auction held in 2019.

1&1’s challenges in launching commercial mobile services are well known: in 2022 it stated it would fall short of a German regulatory target to deploy 1,000 5G sites by the end of that year, meaning it had to push the timeline to mid-2023.

It then missed the updated goal.

To provide services, 1&1 has signed roaming agreements with its competitors in Germany.

“This other operator rarely builds a network of its own,” Hoettges added.  

Notably, 1&1 did make progress with an open RAN push at the end of 2023, claiming to be the first operator in Europe to commercial deploy the approach to provide 5G services.