Following its takeover of E-Plus, Telefonica Deutschland has vowed to get on equal footing with rivals T-Mobile and Vodafone when it comes to network performance.

In an interview with Handelsblatt, CEO Thorsten Dirks (pictured) set out 2017 as the date when the new entity will have parity with its two competitors.

Subscribers to Telefonica Deutschland and E-Plus will start to feel tangible benefits from their combination in the first half of next year, said Dirks.

The acquisition of E-Plus by its smaller rival was completed in October. The deal created Germany’s largest operator in terms of mobile connections. It has 46 million connections against T-Mobile’s 40 million and Vodafone’s 34 million (GSMA Intelligence, Q3 2014 figures).

However, due to much lower investment, E-Plus and Telefonica Deutschland lagged their rivals in network quality testing, as well as their rollout of 4G networks.

Now, Dirks believes the new entity can hit back at speed. “We will catch up very quickly in terms of the network. Over the next two years, we want to be on par with the competition,” he said.