We had the pleasure of interviewing Malte Abel, Head of Regulatory Telecoms, Vodafone ahead of Connected Germany 2022 which is being held in Mainz on December 6-7 2022.

  1. Can you introduce yourself and your role?

My name is Malte Abel. I am heading the Regulatory Telecoms at Vodafone in Dusseldorf. Before joining Vodafone in March 2021, I spent several years in the energy industry in various regulatory and legal positions.

In Regulatory Telecoms we are dealing with the framework for fixed and mobile networks. In addition, the new consumer protection rules are part of our tasks.

  1. What has the impact of regulatory reform been on enabling faster network deployment?

The reform of the telecommunications law came into effect in December 2021.

It introduced useful options to streamline the approval procedures, such as completeness fictions for submissions. Yes, this can enable faster network deployment but depends on concrete actions by the federal states.    

In addition, we have seen new regulatory tools to enable a level playing field on the growing FTTH market (e.g. the concept of equivalence of input and improved duct access). Again, this “light” regulatory approach can only help with faster gigabit rollout if Bundesnetzagentur implements it in a consistent way. We are not there yet, e.g. the regulatory situation for FTTH-cooperations of Deutsche Telekom is still unclear.

Finally, the right to fast internet has been introduced and is currently rolled-out. We see the wide scope of the rollout with skepticism as regulated rollout is a hurdle for private rollout.

  1. How can the regulatory environment continue to evolve within Germany?

In my view the focus needs to be on implementation of the new rules.

Our goal at Vodafone is the gigabit supply to all households. So, the need to replace the copper network by gigabit networks is common sense. 32 m households already have access to gigabit networks, thereof 24 m households connected by Vodafone. While investor interest remains high, we will only be successful if telecommunication, regulator and politics cooperate closely.

A few points to highlight:

  • We need subsidies only in areas without existing gigabit networks
  • Regulatory interventions (e.g. universal services) should be limited
  • New laying techniques need to be allowed more quickly
  1. What are you most looking forward to at Connected Germany?

Of course, I’m looking forward to interesting conversations and meeting people in real life that I only know from virtual meetings so far.

You can hear from Malte and the rest of our amazing speaker line-up by joining us at Connected Germany – follow the link to secure your place!