New IP

Telekom Austria to Announce All-IP Milestone

Telekom Austria will shortly announce that another one of its subsidiaries has completed its migration to all-IP technology, Light Reading has learned.

Telekom Austria Group last year claimed that its Austrian business had become the first operator in the European Union to shift all of its fixed voice customers off the PSTN and on to an all-IP network.

But the company is set to announce a further all-IP milestone "soon," revealing that another one of its units has completed the IP conversion, according to a spokesperson for Telekom Austria.

Outside its domestic market, Telekom Austria provides fixed and mobile services in Bulgaria, Croatia and Macedonia and operates mobile-only networks in Belarus, Serbia and Slovenia.

Like other operators in the region, it has been investing in all-IP networks to reduce complexity and cost and to facilitate the launch of new services.

Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), another pioneer in this area, reckons all-IP technologies will enable it to serve customers across a number of geographical markets from centralized facilities. (See Deutsche Telekom Turns On Pan-European IP.)

That should bring huge cost savings and give the operator an agility it has previously lacked when it comes to launching new services.

Deutsche Telekom claims to have competed its all-IP conversion in Macedonia and Slovakia and expects to have made the jump in Croatia by the end of the year.

Its overarching aim is to be an all-IP operator throughout the European region by the end of 2018.

Telekom Austria's spokesperson says "there are no timelines" regarding its own move to all-IP, but the operator appears to have prioritized the shutdown of older PSTN systems.

A concern it flagged in February last year, when announcing that Austria had gone all-IP, is that PSTN gear will become obsolete as the "technical product lifecycle of existing equipment expires."

But all-IP transformation should also help Telekom Austria to achieve its cost-cutting objective of realizing €90 million (US$100 million) in gross savings this year.

Thanks to efficiency improvements it has made since last year, Telekom Austria managed to boost EBITDA by 5.8% in the January-to-March quarter, compared with the same period of 2014, even though revenues shrank by 2%. (See Telekom Austria Cutbacks Fuel Profit Growth.)

For more NFV-related coverage and insights, check out our dedicated NFV content channel here on Light Reading.

Besides taking steps to shut down the PSTN, Telekom Austria has been in the vanguard of operators investing in so-called "new IP" technologies like NFV and SDN.

Earlier this year, it flagged the rollout of an NFV 4G core, using equipment from a number of different vendors, at its Serbian mobile subsidiary. (See Telekom Austria Builds Multi-Vendor NFV 4G Core .)

By virtualizing LTE core elements, Telekom Austria could use a single data center deployment to manage and provide a range of data services in multiple markets.

The operator is planning a widespread deployment of NFV over the next three to five years and has introduced training programs to get staff up to speed on virtualization technology. (See Taking NFV to the People.)

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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