After an intensive phase of planning and testing, Germany’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Telefonica Deutschland, will begin the nationwide consolidation of the GSM and UMTS networks of O2 and E-Plus in January 2016, in a process that is expected to take five years to complete. The network integration will focus on densely populated urban areas, to enable as many customers as possible to benefit swiftly from the improved performance of the joint network. Telefonica Deutschland aims to reach more than 60% of the population with its new, integrated network within the next year. In parallel, the company continues to rapidly expand its LTE network and also plans to enable joint LTE use from mid-2016. Telefonica Deutschland completed its EUR8.55 billion (USD9.06 billion) acquisition of Dutch telecoms company KPN’s German mobile unit E-Plus in October 2014.
In an initial step, Telefonica Deutschland activated national roaming across UMTS networks for all O2 and E-Plus customers in May 2015. From next month the firm will begin the technical integration of the UMTS and GSM networks. The team selected the best transmitter sites with the optimal geographical distribution; the firm says it is able to convert individual transmitter stations within a few hours and fully implement the network merger in a given area within a week. ‘As a leading digital telecoms company, we want to provide our customers with the best network experience,’ commented Markus Haas, chief operating officer of Telefonica Deutschland, adding: ‘Following the successful introduction of national roaming, the integration of the mobile networks is the next key step on the road to even better and denser network coverage. We’re talking about a major technical project that is unique in Europe and will contribute as expected to the synergies we have promised the market.’