On January 19, 2021, the FCO announced that it would closely monitor cooperation agreements between Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and Telefónica (operating in Germany under the “O2” brand), aimed at closing gaps in their mobile networks and improving network coverage in Germany as a whole.[1]

Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone had already agreed to cooperate in this area last year, but the FCO had insisted that the agreements must also include Telefónica, to prevent a competitive disadvantage for individual operators. The three incumbent mobile network operators will grant each other access to their 4G networks in comparatively low-traffic areas in order to close smaller dead spots in areas that would often not be economically viable for an operator to roll out its own networks, but that are otherwise already covered by other operators. The FCO will continue to monitor the specific design of the cooperation agreements to ensure that they do not unnecessarily restrict competition in the mobile communications market.

[1]      See FCO’s Press Release of January 19, 2021, available in English here.