Year of probation for Ralph Dommermuth

Cell tower

United Internet is facing a major problem: It will take years, maybe even a decade, to build its own cellular network.


(Photo: dpa)

Montabaur His competitors call Ralph Dommermuth a free rider. But nobody in the industry is as feared as the entrepreneur from Montabaur in Rhineland-Palatinate. His companies have millions of customers in Germany. Now he wants to rebuild his company and thus also change mobile communications.

The 57-year-old sits in a bare conference room at his corporate headquarters and talks about nothing less than his greatest strategic advance. He wants with that United Internet AG, of which he is CEO and largest shareholder, will change from being a middleman to a network operator – and will challenge the three largest telecommunications groups in Europe.

“In the past few months we have worked out a detailed network plan, negotiated with suppliers and expanded our fiber-optic network further so that we can connect thousands of 5G antennas,” said Dommermuth in an interview with Handelsblatt. “We are ready to go.”

To do this, Dommermuth is radically changing its business model. He no longer wants cellular services from operators like Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica, but become a provider with your own infrastructure. He has already bought frequencies for 5G mobile communications for one billion euros.

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