Telefonica, KPN to reopen talks on network sharing in Germany-report
MADRID, April 11
MADRID, April 11 (Reuters) - Spanish telecom operator Telefonica and Dutch group KPN are set to reopen talks over sharing their mobile networks in Germany, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
Such a network-sharing deal for their German subsidiaries O2 Germany and E-Plus would help cut capital expenditures for the two highly indebted groups.
Telefonica Deutschland Chief Executive Rene Schuster told Reuters in February the unit was open to network sharing deals, but that there were no active talks underway at that time.
02 Germany and E-Plus each hold 16 percent of the German mobile market, and trail leaders Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom, which each hold 34 percent shares.
The two leaders are investing massively to upgrade their networks with fourth generation mobile technology that boosts speeds by up to five times, leaving 02 Germany and KPN outgunned.
The two companies held talks last year on a possible sale of KPN's E-Plus to Telefonica, which fell apart because Telefonica's high debt made the deal impossible during the Eurozone debt crisis.
A Telefonica spokesman declined to comment on the Financial Times report. KPN also declined to comment.
Telefonica already shares networks with competitors in Britain, Mexico and Brazil, but sources familiar with the matter cautioned that any similar move in Germany would be at a very early stage.