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Deutsche Telekom pitches to design German digital vaccination 'passports'

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A Deutsche Telekom sign silhouetted against the sun and clouds atop the German group's headquarterselecommunications giant in Bonn

BERLIN (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom said on Monday it had submitted a pitch to the German government to design a digital vaccination passport, as part of European efforts to reopen travel for those who have protection against COVID-19.

A spokesman confirmed that the telecoms group had submitted a bid under a tender that was called last week and closed on Monday. CEO Tim Hoettges told reporters on Friday that Deutsche Telekom planned to put in a bid.

Health Minister Jens Spahn wants the vaccination passports ready in 12 weeks as part of EU plans under which they would serve as proof that a holder is vaccinated or has recovered from the viral disease and thus have a degree of protection against the disease.

The EU executive aims to present its plans for a "digital green pass" on March 17 and to cooperate with international organisations to ensure its system also works beyond the EU, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday.

Deutsche Telekom, which is partly state owned, co-designed a German smartphone app that uses Bluetooth short-range radio chatter between devices to pinpoint and alert those at risk of catching COVID-19.

The Corona Warn App, which has been downloaded nearly 26 million times, was created in partnership with SAP. The business software group said, however, that it was not part of the bid for the digital vaccination passport.

U.S. software giant Microsoft declined to comment on reports that it was participating in the tender.

Germany already uses passport-sized yellow booklets to keep an individual's vaccination record. Under existing plans, these records - which do not confer any travel privileges - are due to go digital next year.

(Reporting by Nadine Schimroszik, Writing by Douglas Busvine, Editing by Susan Fenton)