SlideshowVodafone-Liberty Merger Doubtful in Germany, Says Analyst

German Fisticuffs
The bosses of Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have been in combative spirits about dealmaking in Germany.
The bosses of Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have been in combative spirits about dealmaking in Germany.

Clifton K Morris 4/25/2018 | 2:46:36 PM
Huge issue to legacy networks I can see why DT would be apprehensive to allow Vodafone access to physical network infrastructure throughout Germany. Cable technology‘s speeds and upcoming technology in assymetrical DOCSIS 3.1 (perhaps it will be called 3.2) directly competes with legacy DSL, fiber, and twisted-pair infrastructure DT owns and manages throughout the country.

Cable Technology is faster than fiber, and coupled with new advances in the US on 5G fixed wireless services would require DT to obtain massive amounts of permits to compete with DT’s state-owned twisted-pair copper monopoly. The company is inadequately positioned to compete with the technology itself. If it didn’t lobby and pursue regulators to block it, the company would essentially be enabling a competitor.

Still it’s troubling because it seems with lack of R&D investment, and an upgrade path to coax networks, Germany stands to have slower speed internet connectivity than the rest of the world. In the US, AT&T and Verizon both saw the physical limitations of twisted-pair copper years ago. AT&T “abandoned certain copper assets” years ago, stated installing coax in apartment buildings earlier this year (even in markets where it is an incumbent). Verizon’s FIOS services and platforms are also coaxial based. Twisted-pair copper, with its limited bandwidth, has a shorter lifespan than many believe. At AT&T in Network Information Services, we had a saying- “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and this response from DT is nothing short of that.

Perhaps there is middle ground which could be reached. I wonder if DT would be willing to instead entertain a sale of the US wireless presence to Cable Companies (with infrastructure from the TimeWarner Cable acquisition) as part of a deal with Cable TV networks in the Eurozone. Perhaps that could be negotiated through Liberty’s holdings with Charter/Spectrum, and include technical skill which comes with a position of stock or seats on each company’s board. It’d take a lot of thoughtful negotiations for a American-Eurozone asset swap like that.
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