Ralph Dommermuth, a billionaire and CEO of one of Germany’s largest ISPs, urged authorities to pass regulation to support a new mobile network operator in the country, Die Welt reported.
The United Internet chief said a fourth operator would provide increased competition, but added regulators must first force existing players to enable national roaming on existing infrastructure while 5G networks were being constructed.
Without a national deal, Dommermuth said a new provider would be forced to offer limited, local offerings – making the business case less appealing. In the event national roaming was mandated, his company – parent of MVNO Drillish – would assess a launch, he said.
Similar roaming obligations were imposed on Deutsche Telekom when Viag Interkom – now O2 Germany – entered the market but were removed once the new operator had sufficient infrastructure to support its own national coverage.
Germany’s authorities are in the process of finalising terms for the auction of spectrum earmarked for 5G, which could be shaped to include provision for a fourth network operator.
The country was reduced to three operators – Deutsche Telekom, O2 Deutschland and Vodafone Germany – in 2014 when O2 parent Telefonica Deutschland acquired rival E-Plus.
In September 2017, United Internet completed the acquisition of Drillisch. The MVNO has an agreement in place with Telefonica Deutschland for network access and acquired shops and employees from the operator as part of terms imposed on the latter’s E-Plus deal.