As announced at the end of the 5G auction, 1&1 Drillisch AG will rent frequencies from Telefónica to set up its own 5G mobile communications network. 1&1 Drillisch, known for mobile phone providers such as sim.de, smartmobil or simply, would like to further expand its market share in comparison to established network operators. “The agreement now reached is a further step on the road to building our 5G network,” emphasizes Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of 1&1 Drillisch AG.
So far only “ tenant “
As part of the fusion of Telefónica and E-Plus in 2014, 1&1 Drillisch leased 20 percent of the capacity of Telefónica’s mobile communications networks. The company from Maintal also uses Vodafone’s network infrastructure. In the new 5G age, the German telecommunications company now wants to set up its own mobile communications network.
During the auction of mobile radio frequencies in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz ranges, which ended in June 2019, 1&1 Drillisch purchased a total of two frequency blocks of 10 MHz each in the 2 GHz range and five frequency blocks of 10 MHz each in the 3.6 GHz range. The company, which is majority-owned by United Internet, invested around 1.1 billion euro in this project. While the 3.6 GHz spectrum is already available, the frequencies in the 2 GHz band will not be usable until January 1, 2026.
Launch in 2021
In principle, the new network operator plans to launch its own 5G network from 2021. “With the spectrum leased from Telefónica, we will bridge the period until our own frequency blocks in the 2 GHz range can be used,” says Ralph Dommermuth.
Specifically, the rented frequencies are two blocks of 10 MHz each in the 2.6 GHz range. Drillisch Online GmbH, a subsidiary of 1&1 Drillisch AG, and Telefónica Deutschland have now signed a corresponding contract. The agreement is based on a voluntary commitment by Telefónica as part of the EU fusion clearance of the merger with E-Plus in 2014. The two frequency blocks will be available to 1&1 Drillisch until 31 December 2025. The agreement is still subject to the approval of frequency leasing by the Federal Network Agency.