Deutsche Telekom - Prepared for rapid change

Q & A paper from May 7, 2018 (ITW Daily):

To stay ahead of big changes in the wholesale industry, Deutsche Telekom is making sure it takes steps to evolve and innovate. Rolf Nafziger, Senior Vice President of the International Wholesale Business Unit (IBU) at Deutsche Telekom, explains how.

Q1: What are the current trends in the wholesale industry, and what do they mean for Deutsche Telekom? 

At Deutsche Telekom, we have been keenly aware that there is a rapid transformation going on in our industry. Today, it’s more important than ever to quickly adapt to change, become more flexible and react faster to what’s happening in the market. As a global wholesaler, we understand that the way to deal with the rapid transformation and maintain our position as an innovation leader requires a shift in our mindset and way of operating. We also want to be a driving force in shaping the future of the industry.
We have therefore been taking steps to reinvent our international wholesale business, helping us to more swiftly react to fast-changing needs through streamlined processes, greater collaboration and heightened flexibility.

Q2: What is the company’s strategy to achieve these aims? 

For one thing, we have sought in our International Carrier Sales & Solutions [ICSS] division to digitize our daily business operations, which allows us to offer standard and enhanced services, while at the same time simplifying our processes. For clients, that will mean shorter lead times, from ordering and delivery to implementation.
To further reduce costs, we plan to take advantage of the benefits of big data and artificial intelligence to optimize flexibility and transparency. Having a faster and clearer overview will also mean we can adapt our products and solutions to fit the changing needs of clients and recognize areas that could hold major growth potential in advance.
Our overall aim is to continue to grow by leading in customer experience and technology through simplification, acceleration, digitization and a growth mindset that fosters innovation and adaptability.

Q3: Can you give examples of how you have been innovating with services and products? 

I can give many examples, some of which seek growth outside what might be considered the usual telco areas. One is our work on the European Aviation Network [EAN], a one-of-a-kind service that provides reliable, high-quality broadband access to airline passengers flying across Europe, and that has exceeded our own performance expectations for Wi-Fi in the skies. Together with Inmarsat, Deutsche Telekom is the main partner on this unique project, which combines a state-of-the-art S-band satellite with a complementary LTE-based ground network. It was specifically designed to meet the requirements of the European market, which has a large number of short and medium-haul flights that demand high capacity and robust connectivity.
We are also leading the pack in security, with our 360° Defense strategy that we launched last year. This offers a huge range of safety services, encompassing DDoS, fraud, SMS and SS7 protection, among a variety of other security products.

Q4: How has the company moved to foster a mindset for growth?

We have aimed to instill a culture that embraces change and supports collaboration, in turn helping to promote innovation. Every single individual has the potential to make significant advances in the area they work in and we want to make it possible and easy for everyone to contribute by asking people to try out their ideas, even if it sometimes leads to short-term failure. Only by attempting fresh ideas will we be able to grow and develop.
It is also more and more evident these days that it is no longer possible to achieve greatness alone: we need to collaborate, whether between colleagues or at an industry-wide level. In that way, we can maximize the benefits we seek to achieve. 

Q5: What are your plans for the future, and how do you see the wholesale market developing? 

We see a lot of potential in the Internet-of-Things [IoT] area, and have already begun several partnerships to provide new services. We’ve also launched several unique solutions to protect against SMS fraud, which is particularly relevant in the light of the growth that application-to-person [A2P] services are expected to see over the next few years. In fact, we have more than a decade of experience in the IoT and A2P arenas – something that gives us the edge over competitors, many of which are just starting to look into those fields.
In addition, our comprehensive IP exchange [IPX] platform is being continually enhanced, helping to pave the way for unfolding technologies such as machine-to-machine applications and 5G. Work will also carry on with regard to innovations already in the market, and there will be a large focus on security – an area in which we continue to bring in new products and services to make sure our customers are fully protected.
Of course, one key thing to always take into account is that there will be technology changes that we can’t predict at the moment. That is why automation and digitization, along with a flexible mindset, will be so important to helping us meet future challenges.

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