German mobile operators team up to plug network holes

(Reuters) - Telefonica Deutschland said on Monday it would team up with competitors Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone to build 6,000 new mobile masts in Germany, as part of a joint push to close gaps in network coverage.

The approach, supported by the network regulator, seeks to meet coverage requirements without further straining the finances of network operators after they spent 6.5 billion euros ($7.2 billion) on frequencies for 5G services.

Telefonica Deutschland, controlled by Spain’s Telefonica, said that 1&1 Drillisch - a virtual network operator that also won 5G spectrum and plans a fourth national network - had been invited to join the group.

Further details of the cooperation should be agreed by spring 2020 at the latest, Telefonica Deutschland said in a statements. The joint network would be rolled out soon afterwards.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine, editing by Thomas Escritt