Telefónica Deutschland to start integrating O2 and E-Plus in January 2016

Telefónica Deutschland is to start the process of integrating the UMTS network it acquired from the purchase of telco E-Plus with the GSM infrastructure built by O2. The integration work will begin in January 2016, while the company continues to build out its LTE network. By around mid 2016, it says, the plan is to enable both networks to use LTE.

The integration work will focus on densely populated urban areas initially as Telefónica Deutschland aims to reach 60% of the population when the integrated network is completed in five years time.

Telefónica Deutschland claims the networks have both been fully audited after an intensive phase of planning and testing in preparation for the challenging large-scale project. Having decided which transmitter sites will create the optimal geographical distribution it reports it is now ready to embark on integration. In the first steps of the process, in May 2015, Telefónica Deutschland activated national roaming in the UMTS networks for all O2 and E-Plus customers.

Since September the telco has conducted localised test runs which, it says, gave it sufficient information on how to convert individual transmitter stations within a few hours and to fully implement the network merger in a given area within a week. For this reason, it says, it is confident that there will be minimal network disruption and the customer experience of subscribers is unlikely to be affected.

The UMTS network that Telefonica Germany acquired from E-Plus infrastructure is the best in Germany and extends well beyond urban areas, according to Markus Haas, Chief Operating Officer of Telefónica Deutschland. The user experience of mobile data services has been improved by UMTS in areas where customers previously had no LTE coverage, Haas said. This project is the first of its kind in Europe, according to Haas.

“Following the successful introduction of national roaming, the integration of the mobile networks is the next key step on the road to even better and denser network coverage,” says Haas.

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