The gloves are off in Germany but Telekom is still the heavyweight to beat

Competition is set to reach fever pitch in German telecoms, as Telekom has emerged as the victor in OpenSignal’s first look at the market. Telekom has dominated the awards table in our inaugural State of Mobile Networks: Germany report, thrashing its rivals in five out of seven of our categories including 4G download speed and 4G availability.

Our measurements found Telekom’s users experienced the fastest 4G download speeds by far at 33.6 Mbps, over 12 Mbps faster than Vodafone’s average tested speed of 20.9 Mbps, and more than double O2’s 16.6 Mbps.

This trend was repeated in our 4G upload metric, where Telekom’s speed of 11.5 Mbps was close to 5 Mbps faster than either of its rivals in our measurements. Telekom also led fairly comfortably in our overall download speed metric, where its average speed of 30.2 Mbps was over 13 Mbps faster than either of its rivals.


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Telekom was also way ahead of the pack in our 4G availability metric, where its score of 81% easily beat Vodafone and O2 by nearly 12 percentage points. However, Vodafone is pushing the former incumbent in urban 4G availability, managing to fight out a draw with Telekom in four of Germany’s largest cities.

Challenger Vodafone has been investing heavily in its own mobile network upgrades, while its recent buy of Unitymedia sees it mount a serious challenge to Telekom in the multi-play sector, while giving it access to high capacity fiber networks to support mobile data growth.

Veteran champion Telekom isn’t resting on its laurels though, as it continues to upgrade its networks, re-farming its 900 MHz spectrum for 4G and rolling out small cell technology to urban areas. The former incumbent operator already owns a significant amount of high-speed fiber backbone, enabling it to roll out a high-capacity backhaul network relatively rapidly in comparison to its rivals.

Meanwhile, O2 has only just completed its merger with E-Plus, as the brand and customer migration to the O2 network was finished last year. O2 has gained some spectrum assets from the merger, but not a huge amount, and the distraction of the deal has played a part in allowing O2’s rivals to pull ahead in the race to 4G. But far from being on the ropes, O2 now holds the lion’s share of German mobile subscribers, and will be looking to make its own play for the title.

Once the dust settles on the Unitymedia deal, we’re expecting an impressive bout as Vodafone challenges the champion Telekom, while a resurgent O2 throws its hat into the ring. We’ll definitely be watching the fight for German mobile dominance with interest over the next few years.

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