The term unbundling is anchored in the Telecommunications Act (TKG) of 1996 and is related to the liberalisation of telecommunications services. According to this law, the telecommunications services of a market-dominant carrier can be subdivided into various individual services, e.g. transmission, switching and signalling services.
The services can be offered by a licensed alternative network operator (ANO).
According to German and European telecommunications law, a market-dominant network operator is subject to the unbundling requirement. It must allow other network operators access to its networks. This allows alternative network operators and also Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to connect to their own network infrastructures or to offer their services as carrier network operators.
The unbundling requirement is monitored by the regulatory authority RegTP.