Germany's Drillisch leases Telefonica Deutschland spectrum to bridge 5G gap

FRANKFURT, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Virtual network operator 1&1 Drillisch said it leased mobile data spectrum from rival Telefonica Deutschland to hold its own as the No.4 player in the competitive German market.

Drillisch said on Wednesday it bridged some frequency gaps by securing two blocks of 10 MHz in the 2.6 GHz band until end-2025, drawing on commitments that Telefonica made in 2014 to get European antitrust approval for the purchase of E-Plus.

Drillisch in June emerged as a burgeoning mobile carrier rival for larger Telefonica, Vodafone Group Plc and Deutsche Telekom, in Germany’s 6.55 billion euro ($7.22 billion) 5G spectrum auction, but some of its frequencies will not be operational until 2026.

“With this agreement, we are taking a further step on the way to setting up our own 5G network,” said 1&1 Drillisch Chief Executive Ralph Dommermuth.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Telefonica said the lease would not impinge on its investment campaign to enlarge its mobile network.

($1 = 0.9073 euros)

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Lisa Shumaker