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DT in Smart Home Deal With Major Euro Telco

Iain Morris
9/21/2015

Deutsche Telekom is set to unveil details of the first telecom operator outside Germany that will launch smart home services based on its Qivicon platform, Light Reading has learned.

Telekom Deutschland GmbH , the operator's German business, is currently the only service provider offering services based on Qivicon -- an open-source initiative that has now attracted nearly 40 partners -- although Austria's eww Group, an energy provider, became the first company to introduce Qivicon-compatible services outside Germany earlier this month.

Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has, of course, been trying to drum up interest elsewhere and says partnerships with other players outside Germany are "coming."

"A major telco in Europe will launch on Qivicon," said Holger Knoepke, the vice president of Deutsche Telekom's connected homes business, during a meeting with Light Reading in London earlier today. "There will be an announcement very soon and definitely this year."

This is not the first time, however, that Deutsche Telekom has indicated a service launch by an international partner is forthcoming.

In March, Deutsche Telekom told Light Reading that it would announce details of a partner launch in the Netherlands by June and that Qivicon-based services would become available in the UK by the end of the year. (See DT to Bring Smart Home Into Netherlands, UK.)

An announcement about the Netherlands failed to materialize, raising the possibility a deal fell through or that a Dutch service provider is the "major telco" to which Knoepke refers.

Besides Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile Netherlands subsidiary, Dutch incumbent KPN Mobile and Vodafone Netherlands also provide telecom services in the Netherlands.

Given the operator's comments in March, another possibility is that the new telco partner operates in the UK, where Deutsche Telekom's EE joint venture with Orange (NYSE: FTE) competes against fixed-line incumbent BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and mobile operators Three UK , Telefónica UK Ltd. and Vodafone UK .

BT is currently in the process of acquiring EE in a £12.5 billion ($19.4 billion) deal that will leave Deutsche Telekom with a 12% stake in the combined entity. (See BT Locks Down £12.5B EE Takeover Deal.)

The operator remains the UK's fixed broadband market leader and is keen to provide a broader range of connected-home services to customers, although its current focus appears to be on expanding its line-up of TV offerings so that it can better compete against pay-TV giant Sky . (See BT Unveils UHD TV Prices in Challenge to Sky and BT Demands Action on Sky's Pay-TV Dominance.)

Telefónica, meanwhile, emerged as a major player in the UK's smart energy market after securing a £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) contract in August 2013 to provide the communications infrastructure for smart meter services in southern and central parts of the country.

It has previously indicated that home hubs used to provide connectivity for smart meters could support a range of other smart home services.

Spanish parent Telefónica this time last year revealed plans to conduct European trials of a connected home platform developed by leading US service provider AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which -- like Deutsche Telekom -- aims to license its technology to other telcos.

One concern at the time may have been whether AT&T's platform would meet European requirements and Knoepke emphasizes the attractions of Deutsche Telekom's technology in that regard.

"When you talk to European providers they want a platform provider that is in their time zone -- not in the US," he says. "The requirements at a broad level are the same in terms of monitoring, efficiency and security, but if you look below, it's sometimes different with regulations about data security and privacy. You need to comply with all those requirements on a European level."

Deutsche Telekom has repeatedly drawn attention to its security credentials when touting for business, pointing out that data centers storing customer details are based in Germany, which has some of the world's most stringent laws on data protection.

Next page: Telcos showing most interest in Qivicon

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Kruz
Kruz
9/28/2015 | 10:08:08 AM
Re: DT in Smart Home Deal
Agree Dhagar. As connectivity becomes a commodity, telocs will have a limited role to play in the chain here.
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané
9/21/2015 | 7:44:36 PM
Re: Eww
It's quite nice, Mitch, actually. :) -Susan
DHagar
DHagar
9/21/2015 | 4:11:36 PM
Re: DT in Smart Home Deal
Iain, DT has an excellent focus and vision of where they want to be.  And I would agree, however, that they need to get in position as their platform model will not survive too many competitors.  If they can put together the market leading platform for connectivity and smart homes they will be in an excellent position to partner with other content providers and build on their network.

Interesting perspective on the EU markets preferring the European companies to meet timeframes and regulatory standards - makes sense.  That being said, even Apple and others would be more likely to work with DT in the market if they become a leader.  Also, the leading companies will end up having the economies of scale, as connectivity becomes a commodity.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
9/21/2015 | 4:06:01 PM
Eww
I love that there's a company called Eww. I don't want to know what's on their logo.
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