German rivals end bitter roaming row - Mobile World Live

German rivals end bitter roaming row

15 FEB 2021

Telefonica Deutschland and 1&1 Drillisch agreed outline details of a fresh national roaming deal after a lengthy disagreement over pricing, with both sides claiming a positive result after the European Commission (EC) helped thrash out a compromise.

In its statement, Telefonica noted it had “prevailed” after “long, intensive negotiations” whereas 1&1 Drillisch CEO Ralph Dommermuth said the agreement was a milestone he was “delighted” by.

The agreement ends a lengthy row on wholesale charging, with the two set to finalise the other contract terms by mid-May. The initial period of the deal will be five years backdated back to July 2020, which can be extended twice.

Telefonica said the contract provided it with greater clarity for network planning.

Dommermuth said the pact would allow 1&1 Drillisch to provide customers with nationwide coverage during the buildout phase of its own 5G network. The operator is set to become a full MNO after winning spectrum in Germany’s latest auction.

Uneasy alliance
Telefonica’s German unit has had an MVNO agreement in place to supply 1&1 Drillisch since 2014, a deal signed as an EC condition to get the former’s acquisition of rival E-Plus cleared.

In 2020, a row erupted between the operators over a wholesale price increase being imposed.

1&1 Drillisch argued the new charges were not justified and demanded retroactive price cuts. Independent experts were called in to assess various grievances between the two, with the EC eventually stepping-in to mediate.

Earlier this month, the EC told Telefonica to improve its initial offer. 1&1 Drillisch subsequently accepted the improved terms.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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