1&1 AG creates first mobile network in Europe built on Open RAN technology

1&1 AG creates first mobile network in Europe built on Open RAN technology

1&1 AG, a telecommunications provider, has launched its first Europe-wide mobile network using Open RAN technology. This accomplishment marks a milestone for the company, which will become a fourth German network operator.

“The commissioning of our Open RAN network underscores our position as pioneers who now provide evidence in Germany that the world’s most modern network technology is fully functional,” noted Ralph Dommermuth, the CEO of 1&1 AG.

Open RAN refers to a standards-based approach to building equipment used in the radio-access segment of telecom cellular networks. With open standards for software and hardware interoperability, telecom providers are looking to lower the cost and complexity of systems that were traditionally built and maintained by a single vendor such as Nokia, Ericsson, or Huawei.

Rakuten Group was announced in 2021 as one of the key partners that is providing 1&1 the Open RAN software expertise needed for building the critical infrastructure for its wireless services. Other vendors include Mavenir and Altiostar on the software side. Initially, servers from Dell and Supermicro, and routers from Cisco will power applications while antennas from NEC and Communications Components (CCI) will be used. The company noted it is the only mobile network operator in Germany that does not utilize Huawei antennas.

The new network was first tested in August 2022. The company says they designed “1&1 5G at home” to use this network as a fixed wireless service offered as a replacement for traditional DSL, cable internet and fiber optic home lines. The plans for 1&1’s smartphone rate plans are due for launch in the summer, along with the national roaming services provided by Telefónica.

National roaming is a technique used during the construction of new mobile networks. It allows customers to maintain internet access and make phone calls, even in areas not yet covered by the network’s development. Antennas from the partner companies are automatically used in these regions until coverage improves.

1&1 had previously experienced delays in the rollout of its new network. As a result, the company has restructured its rollout process, and currently, 235 sites are under construction. The first interim target of 1,000 radio masts is expected to be achieved by this year. The company aims to meet its obligation to cover 50 percent of all households by 2030.

“We expect to achieve this goal by commissioning about 12,600 radio masts and more than 500 regional data centers,” added Dommermuth.

The affiliate 1&1 Versatel is in charge of connecting the facilities to the fiber optic network. The company holds one of the largest German fiber optic networks connecting data centers and antenna locations. 1&1 says it has extensive experience operating telecommunications and data centers.

1&1 AG offers its customers mobile and broadband access services and value-added applications such as home networking, online storage, video on demand and IPTV. 1&1 AG says its brands target different market segments — from customers looking for value to those seeking a more premium experience.

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