Vodafone Germany signed a preliminary contract with Deutsche Telekom to access the incumbent’s high-speed broadband network, opening the door to offering so-called “quad-play” services.
Last month Deutsche Telekom received conditional regulatory approval to upgrade its copper access network to VDSL2 via a process called vectoring, which promises maximum download speeds of up to 100Mb/s – double the amount its current VDSL technology can offer.
As part of its draft proposal, the German Federal Network Agency (FNA) said Deutsche Telekom would have to give VDSL2 access to competitors.
Deutsche Telekom’s agreement with Vodafone is based on a “contingent model”, which allows competitors to obtain lines from the German incumbent at reduced charges. In return, they undertake to purchase a certain volume.
Vodafone intends to purchase both VDSL and the new vectoring lines once they are installed.
The cooperation agreement between Vodafone Germany and Deutsche Telekom has still to be submitted to FNA and the Federal Cartel Office for approval, but Deutsche Telekom says Vodafone Germany is scheduled to start accessing its broadband access network before the end of the year.
Vodafone Germany, under investor pressure to step up its efforts in the quad-play space – and so compete better against fixed-line incumbents with mobile operations, as well as cable operators with MVNO deals – was reported earlier to be weighing up a €10 billion bid for Kabel Deutschland, a German cable operator.
Not all markets are favourable to mobile operators offering fixed-line services, as France Telecom-owned Mobistar has dicovered in Belgium. Due to a lack of competition in the fixed-line market, which raises wholesale prices, Mobistar decided this week to suspend the marketing of its residential fixed-line products. The operator says it is awaiting more favourable regulation.