Germany's two largest telecommunications carriers have announced a "significant" expansion of their partnership, with Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica Deutschland to work together on interconnecting their mobile and fibre networks. Under the expanded agreement, around 5,000 Telefonica Deutschland mobile base stations will be connected using Deutsche Telekom's fibre-optic backhaul, which they said would enable 5G upgrades in future. The two had first signed a mobile backhaul contract back in 2011, with Deutschland Telekom MD Dirk Wössner calling the expansion "an important step toward ensuring the future viability of Germany's mobile communications infrastructure". "The resources that we save will be dedicated directly to our own network upgrades and the development of 5G," Wössner said. "Deutsche Telekom is building and operating the largest fibre-optic network in Germany by far.
Intel and Ericsson have partnered to develop a software and hardware management platform for 5G, network function virtualisation (NFV), and distributed cloud. The two companies will combine Ericsson's software-defined infrastructure (SDI) management software and Intel's Rack Scale Design for the multi-year project. "Our infrastructure manageability collaboration with Ericsson will help communications service providers remove deployment barriers, reduce costs, and deliver new 5G and edge services with cloudlike speed on a flexible, programmable and intelligent network," Intel Network Platform Group SVP Sandra Rivera said. It will help carriers deploy open cloud and NFV infrastructure, Ericsson head of Cloud and NFV Business Area Digital Services Lars Mårtensson added, with the product to be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona later this month. In September, Intel had said its technology would be used by Ericsson as well as Nokia in the first series of 5G deployments globally.
The roughly €19 billion deal would face a possibly lengthy European Union antitrust review, but if completed, would create one of the continent's biggest telecommunications operators, selling the industry's holy grail "quad-play" package: cable, internet, wireless and landline-phone service on a single bill. The Financial Times reported earlier Tuesday the two companies were nearing a deal. The deal would represent the latest in a global trend of wireless carriers acquiring cable operations, or vice versa, to offer quad-play packages. Wireless carriers need high-speed cable networks to quickly transmit data to cellular towers for 5G, the coming generation of mobile networks that promise to be fast enough to enable near-instantaneous movie downloads and innovations such as self-driving cars. Both companies have said they have engaged in various forms of merger talks with each other in recent years.