1&1 gets ready to launch its own mobile network in Germany

1&1 said it expects to launch 5G services with its own network infrastructure during 2024

German operator 1&1, which is owned by United Internet AG, has been working in recent months to create the conditions to launch mobile services using its own network infrastructure, the company said in a statement.

The company said its network is fully virtualized and based on Open RAN (O-RAN) technology.

“The 1&1 core network was interconnected with all national and international networks, the functionality of the mobile services was intensively tested and certified by all well-known smartphone manufacturers,” the company said.

“By the end of this month, 1&1 is expected to have around 110 decentralized data centers and around 500 antenna locations, which can be used for the installation of 5G antennas and connection to fiber optics. In addition, around 300 rental agreements for new antenna locations should be in place by then,” 1&1 added.

Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of 1&1, confirmed that the company will launch 4G services via its own network infrastructure in December, while 5G services will be offered during 2024.

“We are now launching our mobile services in December with 4G as a first step and are temporarily offering new customers 5G tariffs in the proven MVNO business model. From next summer we will have 5G in the new national roaming with Vodafone and at the same time we will activate the mobile 5G functions in our network. At this point, we will stop selling 5G MVNO tariffs in parallel,” said Dommermuth.

1&1 previously said that it aims to provide 5G services to a quarter of German households by the end of 2025 and to half of them by the end of 2030.

In August, 1&1 said it has signed a long-term roaming deal with compatriot operator Vodafone Germany, which will enable the provision of 5G service at a national level.

Under the terms of the binding agreement, the two parties committed to finish up a final national roaming cooperation as soon as possible. The national roaming cooperation will include the “non-discriminatory provision” of national roaming services in areas that are not yet covered by the new 1&1 mobile network and will comprise the access to Vodafone’s 2G, 4G and 5G networks as well as future mobile standards and technologies.

Vodafone will start providing roaming services one year after the conclusion of the final national roaming cooperation or October 1, 2024 at the latest. The roaming cooperation with Vodafone will be valid for an initial period of five years, which can then be extended by a further 13 years.

The German operator also has an ongoing roaming deal with Telefonica, which is expected to expire in June 2025.

1&1 had previously selected Japanese company Rakuten Group to design, build and operate a fully virtualized mobile network based O-RAN technology. In August 2021, 1&1 and Rakuten Group announced a long-term partnership to build the former’s mobile network in Germany. Through this deal, Rakuten became the general contractor for the 1&1 mobile network.

Earlier this year, 1&1 also launched 5G services with fixed wireless access (FWA) technology.

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