• TDE has pushback from BNetzA and Bundeskartellamt on competition flashpoints. 1&1 Drillisch calls in backup in roaming talks.

Deutsche Telekom: Elsewhere in Germany

Deutsche Telekom: Elsewhere in Germany

Source: Drillisch

  • Prospective challenger 1&1 Drillisch turned to the German regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), to help resolve problems experienced in progressing national roaming talks with Telekom Deutschland (TDE) and Vodafone Germany (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #97 and passim). The provider — currently a virtual operator — is turning to the regulator for arbitration as it considers that the operators are not fulfilling obligations to meaningfully negotiate on roaming, as agreed when they were awarded 5G spectrum in 2019. Number-three player Telefónica Deutschland has not been referred as 1&1 Drillisch said that negotiations between the two operators are still ongoing (and appear wrapped up in a wider, ongoing dispute over their current capacity arrangement). Despite the Drillisch call for a prompt resolution, the extent of BNetzA’s powers on this matter appear limited.
  • Germany’s Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) indicated that it was looking into TDE’s planned infrastructure‑sharing partnership with Vodafone Germany, amid competition concerns. Andreas Mundt, President of the regulator, told Handelsblatt that the Bundeskartellamt was in talks with both involved parties and “other market participants” as it investigates the tie‑up. In February 2020, the pair provisionally agreed to jointly expand their network at 4,000 “grey spots” (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #92).
  • The BNetzA ruled that TDE was exploiting its enterprise market position by regularly failing to meet deadlines on wholesale contracts. In response, the BNetzA implemented new binding rules that will sanction operators that flout contractual obligations in the future. Verband der Anbieter von Telekommunikations- und Mehrwertdiensten, an association of telecoms and value‑added service providers, lodged a complaint against TDE in 2019, drawing support from service providers including BT Germany, EWE Tel, and Vodafone.
  • Deutsche Telekom (DT) vocalised its support for a controversial government proposal to reform the Telekommunikationsgesetz (Telecommunications Act/TKG), claiming the statusquo hinders fibre expansion. Current law permits landlords to bundle broadband and TV packages within rental contracts — a policy which would be outlawed under the proposed TKG reforms. DT’s backing for the proposed change is likely linked to its desire to disrupt cable rivals’ bulk relationships with housing associations.
  • TDE expanded the sports content available on its MagentaTV platform through an agreement to provide sports streaming upstart DAZN’s app. MagentaTV customers will have access to DAZN’s Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Europa League coverage as well as other sports programming. DAZN, along with Sky Deutschland, has acquired live pay-TV rights for Bundesliga and Bundesliga2 matches for the next four seasons from 2021 (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #95). Its agreement with TDE follows a similar deal with Vodafone.
  • TDE flagged an expansion of LTE availability to cover “99%” of the Bavarian motorway network. The move builds on TDE’s commitments, outlined in 2018, to build 1,000 new towers in the region by the end of 2020, with a focus on improving coverage along transport links (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #76 and passim). It also comes with TDE and other operators remaining under pressure over LTE coverage obligations along transport routes, and other areas (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #91).