Germany’s competition regulator revealed it is examining whether Vantage Towers or Vodafone’s local unit unlawfully hampered newcomer 1&1’s progress in building its mobile network.

In a statement, Bundeskartellamt announced it was assessing whether German and European competition law had been violated by either party as a result of potentially “impeding 1&1’s options for co-using radio masts”.

The move follows a complaint by the new mobile operator filed earlier this year, with the issue surrounding delays over the provision of sites as part of a contract signed in 2021.

Bundeskartellamt explained “the provision of the agreed locations was massively delayed and continues to be delayed”, adding the newcomer “relies on the use of these locations to start its own mobile network, which is scheduled to become operational this year”.

President of the authority Andreas Mundt added: “It is a key task of competition law to set fair rules of play for companies’ business practices. Powerful and dominant companies must not unfairly impede other companies. We will therefore scrutinise whether there are sound reasons for a delay in the provision of antenna locations for 1&1.”

Separately 1&1’s progress in rolling out its 5G network is being assessed by German telecoms regulator Bundesnetzagentur, with a potential fine on the table if it has breached commitments agreed to when buying spectrum in an auction in 2019.

In its Q1 financial results statement, released in May, 1&1 conceded it had “significantly fallen short of the first interim target of 1,000 5G antennas by the end” of 2022, blaming “the unexpected and almost complete loss of our main supplier, Vantage Towers”.

It, however, noted at the time it was confident its partners’ commitment will be fulfilled and it will make-up some lost ground.