Report: O2 is under pressure to expand the mobile network | Free press

When it comes to mobile networks, Telefónica has long been regarded as the number three in Germany with its O2 brand. But now the article shows the weaknesses compared to the competition.


According to the report, the operator of the Telefónica (O2) network is not as far away as its competitors when it comes to developing mobile communications.

An internal document that the Federal Network Agency has sent to the Bundestag’s Digital Committee and which is available to dpa lists how far companies have come in developing mobile communications. Typically, the authority only publishes the general status, ie the reach of the three suppliers combined. However, the internal document distinguishes between the companies. This clearly shows that Telefónica still has a long way to go in meeting state requirements in many Länder.

According to the newspaper, Vodafone is the most developed, with antennas reaching 98.3 percent of German households in April and allowing transmission speeds of at least 100 Mbit per second. Deutsche Telekom is 98.2% and Telefónica 95.1%.

Clear target

By the end of 2022, companies must have coverage of at least 98% in line with the official 2019 frequency auction coverage requirements. This figure must be achieved in each federal state, not just the national average. This is a tightening compared to the older build-up requirements because, for example, very high values ​​in city-states cannot be taken into account to compensate for low values ​​in sparsely populated states.

According to a report from the Federal Network Agency, all network operators in several Länder have not yet achieved their target. But the distance between Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom is relatively short: Telekom is below 98 percent in seven Länder, and Vodafone in six Länder, sometimes very close. Telefónica does not meet the coverage requirement in 12 of the 16 federal states – and in some cases very clearly: in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the company has coverage only 88 percent and in Bavaria 90 percent.

The Federal Network Agency used company data for the report. The April 2022 figures are likely to be higher due to the ongoing network expansion. After the implementation deadline of 31 December 2022, they are to be randomly checked by the regulatory authority.

Nothing new for Telefónica

For Telefónica, the catch-up situation is not new: O2 already had serious problems with the frequency requirements of the 2015 auction and arrived very late. Meanwhile, the Federal Network Agency was extending deadlines but not imposing penalties.

What does Telefónica say about the numbers? A spokeswoman for the company referred to the significant progress in expansion and referred to the 50 megabits per second bar, which was part of the 2015 frequency auction coverage requirements. Here the O2 coverage values ​​are actually very high.

However, the 50 Megabits specification does not apply to the delivery requirements which must be met by the end of 2022; the value of 100 megabits applies here. Supply has to “largely now only be updated to 100 megabits per second,” an O2 spokeswoman said. “We are very confident that we will be able to meet the next delivery requirements.” The expansion of the network is being advanced “massively to achieve all goals”.

The economic policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Reinhard Houben, is critical of Telefónica’s development. “At the 2019 auction, the company knew exactly what specifications it was accepting,” says the liberal. “Telefónica should not re-bet that if the Federal Network Agency misses the deadline, it will receive another generous extension and no fine will be imposed.” (dpa)

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