Vodafone calls for German government help with ultrafast broadband rollout | News | DW | 05.05.2019
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Vodafone calls for German government help with ultrafast broadband rollout

Complaining about the costs, the head of telecoms giant Vodafone in Germany has called on the government to invest in "last mile" broadband connections. Germany has been slow to speed up its internet networks.

The mobile operator wants to increase the number of homes with ultrafast connections in Germany by two million over the next year; up to around 11 million.

Vodafone recently agreed to pay €19.6 billion ($22 billion) for Liberty's cable networks in Germany, which include Unitymedia, and those in eastern Europe. If the deal goes ahead Vodafone will probably have 22 million ultrafast connections in Germany within three years.

Related: Huawei and Germany: 5G relationship status is complicated

Fueling competition

However, in an interview with Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Vodafone's German chief, Hannes Ametsreiter, said that connecting from the network to individual homes, the so-called last mile, was "extraordinarily challenging."

"It is enormously expensive to rip the road on your own," Ametsreiter said, suggesting that Germany looks at how broadband is rolled out in Spain and Portugal, where the state invests in the infrastructure, laying empty pipes, just as it builds highways.

"Each provider could then pull its cables through these pipes. That's more efficient. And that would fuel competition," Ametsreiter added.

He has not yet received a response from Berlin to his idea. 

Read more: Germany's 4G mobile network one of worst in Europe 

Cost cutting in Italy and Spain

Elsewhere, Vodafone said in January that it planned to cut up to 1,200 jobs in Spain amid a drop in revenue and profits in a fiercely competitive telecommunications market.

The company launched a €1.2 billion cost-cutting plan in November as it faced heavy losses.

Vodafone is the ninth-largest telephone operating company listed by total revenues, with $64.5 billion (€57.5 billion). Deutsche Telekom is in fifth place on the same list with revenues of $76.8 billion.

kw/jm (dpa, Reuters)

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