Deutsche Telekom AG is a German telecommunications company headquartered in Bonn and by revenue the largest telecommunications provider in Europe. Deutsche Telekom was formed in 1995, as the former state-owned monopoly Deutsche Bundespost was privatised. Since it was privatized, Deutsche Telekom has featured among Fortune 500 companies with its latest ranking 86 in 2020. The company operates several subsidiaries worldwide, including the mobile communications brand T-Mobile.
As of April 2020, the German government holds a 14.5% stake in company stock directly, and another 17.4% through the government bank KfW. The company is a component of the EURO STOXX 50 stock market index.
The Deutsche Bundespost was the federal German government postal administration created in 1947 as a successor to the Reichspost. It was also the major telephone company in West Germany.
On 1 July 1989, as part of a post office reform, Deutsche Bundespost was split into three entities, one being Deutsche Telekom. On 1 January 1995, as part of another reform, Deutsche Bundespost Telekom became Deutsche Telekom AG, and was privatized in 1996. As such, it shares a common heritage with the other privatized Deutsche Bundespost companies, Deutsche Post (DHL) and Deutsche Postbank.
Deutsche Telekom was the monopoly Internet service provider (ISP) for Germany until its privatization in 1995, and the dominant ISP thereafter. Until the early 21st century, Deutsche Telekom controlled almost all Internet access by individuals and small businesses in Germany, as they were one of the first German telecom units.
On 6 December 2001, Deutsche Telekom became the first official partner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
On 1 January 2005, Deutsche Telekom implemented a new company structure. The two organizational business units of T-Com and T-Online were merged into the Broadband/Fixed Network (BBFN) strategic business unit (T-Online merged with parent Deutsche Telekom in 2006). It provides around 40 million narrowband lines, over 9 million broadband lines, and has 14 million registered Internet customers.
In 2008, the structure was changed again. T-Online was separated from Deutsche Telekom and merged with T-Com to form the new unit T-Home. In September 2010, Orange parent France Télécom and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom merged their operations in the United Kingdom to create the largest mobile network in Britain, EE.
In April 2010, T-Mobile was merged with T-Home to form Telekom Deutschland GmbH. This unit now handles all products and services aimed at private customers. In October 2012, Deutsche Telekom and Orange created a 50-50% joint venture named BuyIn for regrouping their procurement operations and benefiting from economies of scale.
In April 2013, T-Mobile US and MetroPCS merged their operations in the United States. In February 2014, Deutsche Telekom acquired the remaining parts of its T-Mobile Czech Republic division for around €800 million. The size of the remaining stake was numbered at 40 percent.
In December 2014, it was announced that Deutsche Telekom were in talks with BT Group on the acquisition of EE, and part of the deal was to provide Deutsche Telekom a 12% stake and a seat on the board in the BT Group upon completion. BT Group announced agreement in February 2015 to acquire EE for £12.5 billion and received regulatory approval from the Competition and Markets Authority on 15 January 2016. The transaction was completed on 29 January 2016.
In February 2016, at the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, Deutsche Telekom jointly launched the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) with Intel, Nokia, Facebook, Equinix, SK Telecom, and others, which builds on the Open Compute Project model to accelerate innovation in the telecom industry.
In February 2020, Deutsche Telekom joined a new partnership called HAPS Alliance to promote the use of high altitude vehicles in the Earth's stratosphere with the goal of eliminating the digital divide.
On April 1, 2020, Sprint completed the merger with T-Mobile US, making T-Mobile US the owner of Sprint and becoming its subsidiary until the Sprint brand is phased out. The merger also led to SoftBank Group, the then-owner of Sprint to hold up to 24% of New T-Mobile's shares while Deutsche Telekom holds up to 43% of its shares. The remaining 33% is since held by public shareholders.