Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges (pictured) warned prospective new entrant United Internet if it bids in the country’s 5G auction it must expect to build its own networks rather than renting cheaply from other MNOs.

In an interview with German newspaper NRZ, the Deutsche Telekom chief said United Internet brand 1&1 would probably only enter the auction if it was able to rent antennas and other infrastructure “at very low prices”, while rivals spent billions on equipment.

Hoettges added rules allowing this would result in “unfair competition”, accusing 1&1 of wanting similar regulation to that in place providing low wholesale rates for its fixed network.

In the frank interview, Hoettges said it was like “building a house and renting a floor to a competitor at a price that does not cover your expenses,” adding Deutsche Telekom was not Goliath and its rival no David, with 1&1 worth “more than Porsche”.

The comments come a day after United Internet’s chief fuelled speculation the company was considering making a play in Germany’s 5G auction.

In an interview with Reuters, United Internet CEO Ralph Dommermuth said his company would consider becoming Germany’s fourth mobile operator if authorities guarantee favourable national roaming terms.

He added if no commercial agreement could be reached between the operators a “neutral third party” should step in.

United Internet provides fixed and broadband services for the German market using Deutsche Telekom’s wholesale network. It also provides MVNO services through brand 1&1 which uses Telefonica Deutschland’s network.