Vodafone Germany agreed an exclusive national roaming deal to deliver 5G services to the country’s newest operator 1&1 from the second half of 2024, in a partnership that could last for up to 18 years.

The companies stated Vodafone will provide 5G coverage to areas not served by 1&1’s own network, and will also include access to 2G, 4G and future mobile technologies.

Vodafone and 1&1’s deal spells bad news for Telefonica Deutschland, which is currently providing 4G mobile network access to 1&1 as part of a contract which runs until June 2025.

The roaming cooperation with Vodafone will commence on 1 October 2024 at the latest, for an initial period of five years, which can then be extended by a further 13 years.

For Vodafone, the agreement is a welcome boost for its German unit, which has been underperforming. The company expects the deal will be cash flow accretive from its 2026 financial year.

Terms agreed were sparse, with 1&1 stating it will pay a fixed price based on the percentage of Vodafone’s network its customers use.

1&1 has faced issues in rolling out its own 5G network and it could be on the hook for a fine from regulator Bundesnetzagentur if it is found to have breached terms agreed when buying spectrum in 2019.