Light Reading

Deutsche Telekom Works Toward One Network

Sarah Thomas
2/25/2014
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BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Despite being at Mobile World Congress, Deutsche Telekom is keen to move the attention away from wireless and on to the idea of convergence.

Integrating its wireless and fiber networks is a big goal for the German operator. As such, Claudia Nemat, board member, Europe and technology, says Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) will have eight million IP lines across its footprint in Europe by the end of the year. It has already converted 2.1 million lines in Germany, but aims to convert its entire footprint by 2018.

"Mobile-only business models aren't really sustainable in the long run," she told attendees at a DT press conference in Barcelona, adding that a holistic strategy means best customer experience can be created.

That strategy starts with a migration away from the PSTN to create the same platform for all the services Deutsche Telecom offers. That way, all updates become software-driven; product cycles are reduced, and costs should go down as well, Nemat said. Macedonia is the first country DT has moved to all-IP, noting that the operator saved €20 (US$27) per customer per year as a result. Slovenia is next on the list, then Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro, and finally Germany, Romania, and Greece, which she said are more complex markets.

While Nemat barely mentioned the big buzzword SDN, her comments mesh with what DT has said in the past about software-defined networking. Axel Clauberg, VP of aggregation, transport, IP, and fixed access networks, told Light Reading in October that the carrier would shift to a simplified, software-defined network as well as a next-generation OSS to compete against over-the-top players. (See Deutsche Telekom: A Software-Defined Operator.)

Simplifying will be a big task, however. The operator has more than 150 cities in Germany equipped with LTE at 150 Mbit/s and is plotting 5.5 million LTE terminals in the country by the end of the year. Almost all of its mobile sites are connected to fiber, and Neik Jan van Damme, a board member in Germany, said the focus is on doubling the coverage of VSDL in Germany.

"We have for 2014 the first 40 local networks that will be connected with vectoring," he said. "We'll have 3 million households ready for vectoring by the end of 2014."

To show it's serious about convergence, the DT execs showed off a new Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. -built Fiber Access router that combines fixed-line and mobile for the fastest speeds in home. The device, which was trialed in Macedonia, will be available in the autumn.

Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hottges also reiterated the convergence talk of his board members in a keynote address on Tuesday. Consumers don't care about connectivity provided they have the best data access, he said, suggesting that means they should have just one contract and a global SIM service as well.

"Fixed-mobile convergence, HetNets, small cell networks -- we have to make these networks integrated and fast," he said. "Fast means LTE, LTE-Advanced, Cat 6, MIMO, vectoring, fiber-to-the-home, and beyond."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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DHagar
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DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 1:18:46 PM
Deutsche Telekom Works Toward One Network
@Sarah, no, they do not lead in everything, true.  They obviously have an advantage in carrying out their plans with more government control, but my point is that they have higher usage in Europe and there seems to be a more focused goal on advancing telecommunications as a high priority.  They also seem willing to build the infrastructure that supports that. 

As you point out from speakers, that can also make it difficult to navigate, especially for private companies trying to do business in Europe.

DHagar
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/27/2014 | 1:11:16 PM
Re: Connectivity/data access
It would all be itemized still, of course, especially with online billing, but having one for both makes a lot more sense. You could also get promotional offers across platforms and upsell opportunities for the operator.
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/27/2014 | 1:09:52 PM
Re: Deutsche Telecom Works Toward One Network
Well, I don't know if Europe is leading the way in everything. All the DT speakers repeatedly stressed what a mess regulation is over there for telecoms.
uwerichter
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uwerichter,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/26/2014 | 1:02:26 PM
Slovenia vs Slovakia
The country next on the list to move to ALL-IP is most likely Slovakia, not Slovenia.
Phil_Britt
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Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/26/2014 | 8:43:33 AM
Re: Connectivity/data access
While an integrated bill would be good rather than having a bunch of bills from a bunch of service providers -- as in a hospital stay -- it's also important to line item certain elements of the bill so that all parties know where costs are going up. It would be easier to recognize those costs that are going up faster than others, which could help all parties recognize where these increases need to be better controlled.
DHagar
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DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 6:34:01 PM
Deutsche Telecom Works Toward One Network
Fascinating, Sarah.  Europe contines to lead the way.  It does seem that the integrated model would be more sustainable and offer multiple advantages, both now and for the future.  But the key seems to be the "simplicity" as you point out - which will be coordinating billing AND customer service; people will get turned off to a service that they have to manage separately.

I wonder if US carriers won't pick up on this model?

DHagar
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 4:47:49 PM
Re: Connectivity/data access
In that case, an integrated network might be better assuming that means your bill is integrated, as the DT CEO suggests. I use AT&T for U-Verse and mobile, and it drives me nuts that their CSRs don't have visibility into me as a whole customer, just the silos they operate in. Makes things inefficient and more expensive for the operators and annoying for the customers.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/25/2014 | 4:15:38 PM
Re: Connectivity/data access
Yes, of course. And consumers also care about customer service when they run into a problem. That comes up quite a bit when I talk to consumers.
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 2:42:51 PM
Re: Connectivity/data access
He means they don't care where it comes from provided it works well. I tend to agree -- fiber, WiFi, LTE -- don't matter as long as it's fast. But, I'd add you do start to care when one is more expensive or capped lower than the other.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/25/2014 | 2:38:41 PM
Connectivity/data access
"Consumers don't care about connectivity provided they have the best data access."

This confuses me. Aren't connectivity and data access the same thing?

Confusing me is not sporting. It's too easy.

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