1&1 Launches Own Mobile Network: Good for Customers, Bad for o2?

Last Updated: 8. Dezember 2023By

Today, after nearly 10 years, Germany will once again have four network providers as telecommunications provider 1&1 launches its own mobile network. To mark the official celebrations at the company’s headquarters, Federal Minister for Digital Infrastructure Volker Wissing of the FDP will be in attendance. This small step for customers is a big step for 1&1.

For all other regions, 1&1, which is currently a purely virtual network provider, will rent access to the network of its competitors. Until now, 1&1 customers have had access to the network capacities of o2, which will remain the same for the time being. From next summer, the contract will then switch to Vodafone. This means that customers with a 1&1 tariff will then be logged in to the Vodafone network wherever the provider from Montabaur has not yet built up its own capacities.

For Vodafone, this is a lucrative deal, while for o2 there is a considerable financial gap after the switch after almost 10 years. 1&1 itself still has a lot to do: only 200 radio masts are planned to be active by the beginning of 2024. Originally, 1,000 antennas were to be activated by the end of 2022. 1&1 has repeatedly cited problems in the supply chain for the delayed network connection. The Federal Network Agency is considering a fine for 1&1 due to the delayed network connection.

From next year, things will really get going: 1&1 must accelerate to meet the requirements of the authorities. By the end of 2025, at least 25 percent of German households must be covered by the network, and by the end of 2030 at least 50 percent of households must potentially be supplied with the 1&1 network. For this, tens of thousands of additional radio masts must now be built up and activated in the coming years. In total, 1&1 wants to invest around 5 billion euros in network expansion by 2030.

Customers in areas with previously low network coverage are hoping that the new player in the market will close the radio gaps for which Germany is still internationally known. If you travel by train through rural areas, it is not uncommon to have difficulty connecting your mobile phone to the internet. There is still a lot of catching up to do here – not only for 1&1, but also for the three established network providers, which have neglected these areas in recent years. The Federal Network Agency has also recently threatened consequences.

On the trading start on Friday, the 1&1 share initially rose: investors gave the paper a course plus of 1 percent to celebrate the day.