1&1 Announces Expansion of 5G Network Access for Smartphones, Partnerships Restructured

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1&1 Announces Expansion of 5G Network Access for Smartphones, Partnerships Restructured

From December 8, 2023, 1&1’s 5G network will be accessible via smartphones. The operator announced this on November 22, 2023. “At that point, the network will be fully operational,” the company stated. Presently, 1&1’s mobile network only encompasses 60 activated sites, as per CEO Ralph Dommermuth’s statement to Handelsblatt.

National roaming will be available on Telefónica Deutschland’s 2G/4G/5G network. However, 5G wasn’t previously included in the agreement. “Starting from summer 2024, 1&1 plans to utilize national roaming services from Vodafone, gradually reducing reliance on Telefónica Deutschland,” 1&1 explained.

With only 60 of its own antennas, 1&1’s mobile network primarily relies on approximately 28,000 O2 Telefónica sites spanning across the entire country. “As of December 2023, we’ll offer 4G smartphone plans through our network combined with national roaming from Telefónica,” stated a recent letter to shareholders. The national roaming will function automatically within Telefónica Deutschland’s 2G/4G/5G network, the network operator clarified today.

Open RAN with minimal proprietary antennas?

On August 2, 2023, 1&1 announced its intention to terminate its partnership with Telefónica Deutschland and, instead, opt for national roaming with Vodafone. According to a report by Manager Magazin, this move will potentially deprive Telefónica of an estimated 750 million euros annually from 1&1.

By the end of 2022, 1,000 1&1 antennas were supposed to be operational, distributed proportionally per state. However, as of January 3, 2023, only three to five antennas were in place. Consequently, the Federal Network Agency initiated an investigation into 1&1’s network deployment.

Despite the previous setbacks in network expansion, 1&1’s claims of having the “first mobile network in Europe based on innovative Open RAN technology” and labeling its few antennas as the “most advanced mobile network in Europe” have increasingly become a subject of ridicule within the industry.

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Mark Brannon
Tech journalist Mark Brannon explores the digital frontier, delivering engaging news and in-depth features on cutting-edge innovations and industry developments.