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Vodafone GmbH

legal form GmbH
founding 1990
Seat Dusseldorf , GermanyGermanyGermany 
management AustriaAustria Hannes Ametsreiter ( CEO )
Number of employees 16,000 (June 30, 2019)
sales 10.306 billion euros (2018/2019)
Branch telecommunications
Website www.vodafone.de
Status: 2020

Vodafone campus in Düsseldorf
The location of Vodafone at the Ratinger Rehhecke

The Vodafone GmbH is a German subsidiary of British mobile phone company Vodafone Group . In Germany , it offers mobile communications , DSL , cable internet , landline telephony , cable television and IPTV . With over 52 million SIM cards switched in the first quarter of 2020, Vodafone is one of the largest mobile communications providers in terms of number of connections in Germany together with Telekom Deutschland and Telefónica Deutschland Holding .


The group locations of today's Vodafone GmbH are in Düsseldorf - Heerdt (Vodafone campus and headquarters), Eschborn and Berlin (group representative office). There are also a total of eight regional branches: Hamburg and Hanover (north region), Berlin (north-east region), Dortmund (north-west region), Eschborn / Frankfurt (Rhine-Main region), Radebeul / Dresden (east region) , Munich (south region), Stuttgart (south-west region) and Ratingen / Düsseldorf (west region).


First logo by D2 (1992–1999)

Vodafone GmbH was founded in 1990 in Düsseldorf. In the course of the hostile takeover of the Mannesmann Group by the Vodafone Group in 2000, telecommunications activities were incorporated into Vodafone GmbH in the following years. Furthermore, the Vodafone Foundation Germany was founded later .

History of mobile communications

In 1988 the Federal Ministry for Post and Telecommunications put out a license for a GSM network. As a result, several applicant consortia were formed, including a consortium led by Mannesmann AG . On December 8, 1989, the Mannesmann consortium was awarded the GSM license. In December 1989, Mannesmann Mobilfunk GmbH (MMO) emerged from the successful applicant consortium as the first private German network operator based in Düsseldorf. Peter Mihatsch (1940–2018) was the chairman of the management board . By the end of 1990 the number of employees had risen to 350. In February 1991, the GSM license was also extended to the area where German reunification was to join .

After the A , B and C network of the German Federal Post Office , the digital mobile network " D-Netz " has now been set up in Germany according to the GSM standard. For the first time, the Bundespost had a competitor in the mobile communications sector with Mannesmann - the networks were each marketed with the abbreviation “D1” (Bundespost) and “D2” (Mannesmann) to distinguish them. Commercial operation of the D2 network began with the delivery of the first terminals on June 30, 1992. By the end of 1992, the 100,000. Customer in the D2 network .

The mobile phones were initially offered through television dealers and department stores at a price of just under DM 3,000. With around 200 antenna stations, D2 initially began in some major German cities such as Hamburg, Bremen, Hanover, Frankfurt am Main and Stuttgart. By the end of 1992 the D2 network reached 80 percent of Germany. The fees were below those of the existing C network of the Post. Transitions to the Telekom fixed network were planned from the start. From December 1993 the company was in the black.

Logo of D2 Mannesmann (1999–2002)

At Mannesmann, the product name changed in 1999, from initially "D2 private" to "D2 Mannesmann"; the word "private" had lost its appeal. The Mannesmann competitor Deutsche Bundespost initially operated its GSM network under the "D1" brand - the Central Office for Mobile Communications at Deutsche Bundespost was responsible for D1 , while the successor Telekom was the GSM network and the like. a. listed as "T-D1" at DeTeMobil, and finally as "T-Mobile".

For Vodafone, this acquisition meant an enormous increase in market share, especially as it meant that Mannesmann took over several companies in cell phone companies outside of Germany. Some holdings were integrated (e.g. Omnitel in Italy or SFR in France), other parts of the group had to be sold due to official requirements (Orange in Great Britain) or were sold voluntarily ( Telering in Austria).

With the brand change from D2 to Vodafone in 2002, Mannesmann Mobilfunk GmbH was renamed Vodafone D2 GmbH .

History landline

Logo of Arcor AG & Co. KG

At the time, Vodafone's fixed-line network emerged from a joint venture between Mannesmann and Deutsche Bank called Communications Network International (CNI). In June 1996, CNI took over 49 percent of DBKom , the outsourced telecommunications division of Deutsche Bahn . This resulted in the then Mannesmann Arcor AG & Co. KG in 1996/1997, as the nucleus of today's corporate division. After the takeover of Mannesmann by Vodafone, it was renamed Arcor AG & Co. KG.

Arcor had secured a number of investments and takeovers over the years. The largest takeovers include o.tel.o communications GmbH & Co., callisto germany.net GmbH and ISIS Multimedia Net GmbH & Co. KG. o.tel.o was operationally integrated into Arcor in 2001 and has since played no role in the fixed network. Arcor expanded in the Düsseldorf administrative region with the takeover of ISIS, a former regional carrier on the Rhine and Ruhr, in December 2005. The merger with this took place retrospectively as of April 1, 2005, the beginning of the Arcor financial year.

After initially considering selling Arcor completely, the Vodafone Group decided in 2008 to take over the remaining shares in Deutsche Bank AG and to merge Arcor with the German subsidiary.

In the course of 2009, Arcor AG & Co. KG was initially renamed Vodafone AG & Co. KG and then merged with Vodafone D2 GmbH on December 10, 2009. That was the end of the Arcor brand; Vodafone integrated its products into its own product range.

The result was the first fully integrated telecommunications provider in Germany that was able to offer landline, mobile communications and TV from a single source.

Arcor has been the largest alternative competitor of Deutsche Telekom in Germany since the beginning of the complete liberalization of the telecommunications sector in the fixed network area. Since April 2005 Arcor has also been one of the providers for IP telephony (also known as "Voice over IP", or VoIP for short). At Arcor, this service was established as "Arcor VoIP" and initially integrated into the "Personal Internet Assistant" (PIA for short). However, since the end of 2006, IP telephony has been increasingly used as a control technology due to the switch to NGN technology for the provision of conventional voice telephony at subscriber lines with subscribed DSL. Arcor was the market leader here.

A web portal (arcor.de) is still operated under the brand name Arcor, which also provides access to various web services. After taking over germany.net , Arcor first began to appear as a web host with nexgo , and later under the web portal arcor.de . However, this field of activity was completely discontinued on January 31, 2017, which meant the end of both paid and free private websites under the URL home.arcor.de . All other services such as e-mail - accounts , however, continued.

Furthermore, in the same month it became known that Vodafone had problems with its own backbone . For customers, this leads to a significant drop in VDSL downstream rates for the relevant connections in the evening hours. A large part of the technology is purchased from Telekom Deutschland. The raw data traffic is then transferred directly from the Telekom network to the Vodafone backbone. The company is examining the expansion of the transfer points together with Telekom Deutschland, but according to the press spokesman, this may take an indefinite period of time. The company therefore recommends switching to its own cable television network. The problem exists after customer complaints in the in-house forum throughout Germany.

History cable

Kabel Deutschland

Former logo of Kabel Deutschland Vertrieb und Service GmbH (2003–2015)
Former logo of Unitymedia GmbH (2012–2020)
Cable router modem Vodafone station with DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1

In September 2013 Vodafone achieved a 75 percent majority stake in the German company Kabel Deutschland . Since September 2, 2015, Vodafone Kabel Deutschland GmbH has been responsible for fixed-line cable and cable TV offers.

Vodafone is now also in a position to offer telephony, internet and television services in 13 federal states regardless of the Telekom “last mile” at transmission rates that the conventional fixed network via DSL, VDSL and vectoring does not offer.

As a result of the takeover, Vodafone was able to slightly expand its market share in the German broadband market. In the years before the takeover, Vodafone lost broadband customers and market shares in the DSL business, while the number of customers at Kabel Deutschland rose.

Since September 2, 2015, the Kabel Deutschland brand has no longer been actively used externally. The name is only still used in business with the real estate industry. The former Kabel Deutschland Vertrieb und Service GmbH has been operating as Vodafone Kabel Deutschland GmbH since then. The new company also uses the parent company's logo without the addition of “Kabel Deutschland”.


On July 18, 2019, the EU Competition Commission gave the green light for the takeover of the cable business from Liberty Global , including the German subsidiary Unitymedia via the Dutch UPC Germany Holding BV . The EU approval was followed by the so-called closing on August 1, 2019 , i.e. the execution of the purchase agreement, with which the company became a full subsidiary of Vodafone. As a result of the takeover, Vodafone is now also in a position to offer telephone, Internet and television offers with transmission rates that the conventional fixed network via , regardless of the “last mile” of Telekom in the three remaining federal states of Baden-Württemberg , Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia DSL, VDSL and vectoring does not offer. Since the merger, the British company has had a monopoly on cable television in Germany.

The Unitymedia brand was discontinued on February 1, 2020. The Unity Media GmbH operates since then as Vodafone West GmbH .

Gigabit speed

With the merger, the company is driving the expansion of infrastructure in Germany. Since 2019 Vodafone achieved in its nationwide Coax - / fiber optic line -Netz or hybrid fiber - coax -Netz (short HFC) nearly 24 million households, of which around 18 million at gigabit speed. By 2022, Vodafone wants to be able to supply two thirds of all Germans with gigabit connections.

WiFi hotspots and homespots

With the takeover of Unitymedia, Vodafone also took over approx. 1.4 million WifiSpots. The company is expanding its network to a total of 4 million WiFi hotspots and homespots across Germany. For the participating customers from the Vodafone cable network who provide other users with a home spot, the nationwide WLAN hotspots are free. Cable customers, DSL customers and other Internet users who do not participate have the option of booking hourly, daily, weekly and monthly tickets for using the hotspots by credit card and PayPal. The booked ticket is valid for the selected period and all nationwide WiFi hotspots from Vodafone. All remaining public Unitymedia WifiSpots have been renamed Vodafone Hotspots and can be used free of charge for 30 minutes per calendar day with the Vodafone Free WiFi ID .

Landline (s)

Vodafone is one of the telephone providers who have their own fixed network down to the level of the local exchange, but from there they use Deutsche Telekom's connection line (so-called last mile ).

Today Vodafone operates a nationwide fixed-line network using classic ISDN technology and, in parallel, as an IP-NGN network via VoIP. The internet connection works via ADSL / ADSL2 +, SDSL (only for business customers) as well as VDSL 2 and VDSL2 vectoring (contingent model) and in some new development areas also FTTx . Besides Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone with its IPTV platform “Vodafone TV” is the only remaining MagentaTV competitor of Telekom after “Alice TV” was discontinued by “o2” on December 31, 2013 . The Vodafone backbone is increasingly being used to connect high-speed cellular networks (3G / 4G / 5G), as the previous directional radio link is no longer sufficient in terms of capacity and quality to connect the new SRAN modules for cellular communications. With the acquisition of the cable networks from Kabel Deutschland and Unitymedia, on the one hand Vodafone's national fixed network backbone is strengthened and, on the other hand, it is supplemented by direct subscriber lines (cable connections in households). Vodafone is thus able to do without the TAL wholesale product from Deutsche Telekom and thus save annual fees of well over half a billion euros compared to Telekom. In the fourth quarter of 2019, the company had 13.578 million customers in the cable television segment and 10.783 million in the fixed line network (telephony and internet).

Number of customers and share in the German broadband market Vodafone
Vodafone DSL Vodafone cable Vodafone overall
Deadline Customers Market share Customers Market share Customers Market share
June 30, 2012 3.3 million 11.90% 1.6 million 5.80% 4.9 million 17.70%
30th of June 2013 3 million 10.60% 2 million 7.10% 5 million 17.70%
June 30, 2014 2.9 million 10.00% 2.3 million 7.90% 5.2 million 17.90%
April 30, 2016 2.80 million 9.30% 3.02 million 10.03% 5.82 million 19.33%
2nd February 2017 2.87 million 9.53% 3.26 million 10.83% 6.13 million 20.36%

Cellular networks

Vodafone location with 5G antenna (red box)

Vodafone operates nationwide cellular networks based on the GSM , UMTS - LTE - and 5G standards. These are used by Vodafone GmbH as well as mobilcom-debitel GmbH and 1 & 1 Drillisch AG (Telco). At the auction of 5G frequencies , however, 1 & 1 Drillisch was awarded the contract to set up its own mobile network . A dedicated network is planned for 2021. So you go your separate ways and appear as a new competitor.

The networks in detail:


For GSM, the frequency range at 900 MHz was initially used as the D2 network. Later, however, the frequency range at 1800 MHz was added in metropolitan areas. The GSM network comprises around 20,000 base stations. HD Voice has also been activated in the GSM network since October 2016 .


UMTS has been commercially available in Germany since 2004, and in the following years there were also sufficient numbers of corresponding mobile phones. The UMTS services are offered in the frequency range at 2100 MHz and more than 13,000 base stations.

Since the mobile internet access via EDGE and partly also via UMTS in the Vodafone network was often overloaded in autumn 2012 and was hardly usable at some locations, the company said it immediately began the largest network modernization in recent years.

In April 2013, Vodafone Deutschland GmbH started to expand the UMTS network to include the HD Voice standard. The expansion was completed in July 2013.

The company intends to switch off UMTS in favor of 4G & 5G at the end of June 2021. The basic 2G network will continue to operate.


In 2010 frequencies in the 800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands were acquired for 4G. The expansion of the Vodafone mobile network to the fourth generation (3.9G standard) LTE (Long Term Evolution) network standard has been in progress since 2011 . Existing Vodafone cellular base stations will be expanded and renewed with LTE modules and new locations that have not been supplied before will be opened up. A requirement of the Federal Network Agency is the equal supply of rural areas and cities. According to its own statement, LTE coverage of 70% was achieved at the beginning of 2015, and all major cities and 2300 municipalities have already been expanded. Since April 2013, Vodafone has been offering LTE bandwidths staggered according to tariffs up to a maximum of 50 Mbit / s and the corresponding data volume . In December 2014, Vodafone announced that it would increase the maximum transmission bandwidth for all customers in Red tariffs to 100 Mbit / s. In 2016, the bandwidths in the LTE network were initially increased to 375 Mbit / s and in November 2016 the expansion to 500 Mbit / s began, which began in June 2017 in Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Dortmund, Mannheim, Erfurt, Coswig, Cottbus, Moers and Remscheid was completed. Vodafone also offers the maximum LTE bandwidth with the Callya prepaid cards. In May 2016, Vodafone announced that it would supply 87% of Germany's area with LTE. At the 2015 frequency auction, Vodafone bought licenses for 2 × 10 MHz in the 700 MHz range, 2 × 10 MHz in the 900 MHz range, 1 × 20 MHz in the 1500 MHz range and 2 × 25 MHz in the 1800 MHz range.

In October 2017, Vodafone announced that it would soon realize 1 Gbit / s in Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover and Düsseldorf using 256 QAM signal transmission.


Vodafone put the first 5G transmission mast into operation at the beginning of November 2018 on a test site measuring over 400,000 square meters near Aldenhoven near Aachen. On July 17, 2019, Vodafone was the first provider in Germany to launch a commercial 5G network that is open to private customers. Smartphones, the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and Samsung S10 5G were offered at the start. There is also an internet router with the GigaCube 5G.

Mobile devices

In some markets, Vodafone offers its own Android -based contract devices, which are provided by TCL Communication Ltd. made to order. In Germany these devices are on the market under the name Vodafone Smart.

Executive Committee

Business area Member since previous work
Hannes Ametsreiter Chairman of the Board October 1, 2015 CEO of Telekom Austria
Stefanie Reichel Member of the legal, compliance and corporate security management April 1, 2020 Group General Counsel Zurich Group in Germany
Michael Jungwirth Member of the management board for Public Affairs, Regulation, External Communication and Sustainability April 1, 2020 Head of Governmental Affairs Vodafone Germany
Andreas Laukenmann Managing Director Consumer Fixed & Cable and CEO of Vodafone Kabel Deutschland 1st July 2019 Consumer Product Marketing Director Vodafone Germany
Anna Dimitrova Chief Financial Officer (CFO) 1st November 2018 Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Vodafone Czech Republic
Bettina Karsch Managing Director Human Resources April 1, 2016 Head of Human Resources Vodafone Spain
Gerhard Mack Managing Director Technology & Commercial Operations April 1, 2016 COO Vodafone Kabel Deutschland / Dep. Technical Director Vodafone
Alexander Saul Managing director business customers April 1, 2016 Director Business Customers Vodafone Netherlands


Easybox 803 modem router with firewall, switch, wireless AP and ISDN telephone system, rear
  • According to the Federal Office for Information Security , Vodafone has been aware of security gaps in the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) configuration of the Easybox 802 and 803 routers since December 2012 . The security gap enables attackers to use their Internet access unnoticed by the owners. The vulnerability was not fixed until December 2014.
  • In September 2013, the company's customer database was attacked, which gave the perpetrator access to two million data records, which included addresses, dates of birth and bank details. According to Vodafone, credit card details , passwords and PIN codes were not affected.
  • In April 2020, Vodafone experienced extensive cable internet disruptions, which annoyed some customers who were dependent on home offices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic . However, the disruption was not due to an overload, but to an incorrectly configured server that controlled the Internet traffic. The problem was solved with a software update.


Net neutrality

While Vodafone advertises the diverse usability of the Internet via cellular networks, those with certain content are actually slowed down or completely blocked when the data packets are transported, which contradicts network neutrality . In particular, Vodafone forbids communication between private computers ( peer-to-peer ) and therefore any form of direct communication , including instant messaging or video conferencing, with the LTE connection marketed as a fast fixed-line network replacement .

The zero rating offer Vodafone GigaPass has also been criticized since January 2018. The Federal Association of Consumer Protectionists is of the opinion that the offer violates network neutrality , as the data used is not deducted from the included volume for some services. For this reason, a complaint has already been filed with the regulatory authority.


In January 2017, the subsidiary Vodafone Kabel Deutschland GmbH was criticized for its behavior during the DVB-T2 changeover. The subsidiary had sent unsolicited advertising that gave the impression of an official letter through the color of the envelope, the stamps used and the design and content. The letter suggested that the recipient should act urgently and prefer to conclude a contract for a cable connection. The recipient was also asked to call a company number, circumventing a prohibited cold call . The Hamburg consumer center saw the said letters as misleading advertising. In the meantime, Vodafone Kabel Deutschland has stopped sending letters. Furthermore, the Federal Network Agency has prohibited the company from continuing to use this type of advertising. In the event of a violation, the company faces a fine of 20,000 euros.

At the end of May 2020, the Hamburg consumer center officially warned of alleged service technicians from Vodafone Kabel Deutschland, who would do door-to-door sales, in which the customer is pretended, for example, that the representative only has to briefly check the connection in order to then offer the company's contracts or conclude them without the customer's knowledge . Furthermore, if the customer calls the Vodafone hotline, contracts would be concluded. When asked, Vodafone said in response that the representatives or employees of specialist dealers or sales companies in question would be warned or dismissed.

Web links

Commons : Vodafone  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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Coordinates: 51 ° 14 ′ 8.2 ″  N , 6 ° 44 ′ 2 ″  E