Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges has hit out at German mobile operator 1&1 over its 5G shortcomings.

As reported by Bloomberg, Höttges didn't specifically name 1&1, but called out the nation’s newest network for its slow rollout of 5G infrastructure.

Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim H├Âttges
Tim Höttges

He described the telco's delayed 5G network as “just one big white spot," and said that the carrier has left parts of the country uncovered, despite winning spectrum in 2019 and coming from a "privileged perspective."

“This other operator rarely builds a network of its own,” Höttges said during the company's AGM earlier this week. 1&1 relies on the mobile network infrastructure of Telefónica Germany and Vodafone.

1&1 was awarded spectrum by German regulators following the merger between Telefonica SA and E-Plus and purchased 5G spectrum as part of its push to build its own network.

The telco has previously blamed Vodafone for its delayed 5G rollout.

In February 2023, the company said Vodafone had obstructed its plans, and filed a grievance with the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) relating to this claim. It pinpointed Vodafone's tower unit, Vantage Towers, as being responsible for the hold-up.

1&1 and Vodafone penned an agreement in 2021 for the shared use of 3,800 existing antenna sites for the new 1&1 network. The investigation is still ongoing.

This agreement defined expansion targets for last year, however, 1&1 says these targets were missed 'almost completely,' noting that by the end of 2022, it only had a total of five 5G antenna sites, when around 1,000 sites were expected by the start of 2023.

1&1 eventually launched its 5G mobile services in December, opting to build an entirely Open RAN network, with support from Rakuten Symphony.