Partnerships and Innovation

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At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Deutsche Telekom showed the world what a telco needs to succeed well into the future. Its partner strategy, the new role the national companies are taking and the new innovation hub are all major steps in the right direction.

The company’s new partner strategy goes hand in and with its idea of giving the national companies more responsibility for bringing new technologies to market. This can best be seen in the partnership with the Mozilla Corporation. Also at the MWC, the Firefox creator announced the launch of Firefox OS – a truly open-source operating system for smartphones. DT is the first mobile network operator to introduce the OS to the European market with a launch this summer not in its home market of Germany, but rather in Poland. Why? Apart from the fact that Poland is the second largest market in the DT footprint, this shows that the company is serious about handing over more responsibility to its subsidiaries across Europe. As such, the company is counting on its Europe approach to further promote innovation across the Group. Leadership for more and more projects is moving to the national companies that already have experience or a major interest in that particular topic.

Ongoing internationalization The new innovation hub in Poland is another example of the ongoing internationalization across the Group. This is the second incubator of this kind under the hub:raum brand and will focus on startups from southern and central Europe. Alongside facilities and mentoring programs, the innovation hub will offer the opportunity for startup founders to access Deutsche Telekom’s customer base and technical testing facilities. Currently, the plan is to provide startup with funds of up to 30,000 euros for a period of six months. Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom’s Board Member for Europe and Technology, put it succinctly at the MWC: “We want to use the best ideas from each individual market.” She also cited more examples of internationalization including the IP rollout in Macedonia, the vectoring research project in Greece and the Terastream pilot in Croatia.

Not just startups Deutsche Telekom is also working closely with established players on the market. Apart from the Mozilla Corporation, DT is working with software manufacturers IBM and SAP to develop solutions in the machine-to-machine growth market. The Group is working with IBM to develop intelligent M2M solutions for cities such as intelligent parking systems and traffic congestion predictions. Deutsche Telekom is also collaborating with SAP to develop solutions that make processes in harbors more efficient. “We’re working together with more and more partners to develop a growing ecosystem around M2M,” says Thomas Kiessling, Deutsche Telekom’s Chief Product and Innovation Officer. “Our strength lies in the expansion and management of this complex ecosystem and platform business.”

The key to success But in order to properly leverage its strength, DT needs to continuously invest in modernizing and expanding its network. “Technology-based leadership is the key to success in Europe,” says Nemat. “We’re taking a look at all aspects of technology and want to integrate different technologies into a strong broadband product range.” The aim is to consistently leverage successful technology and innovation from Deutsche Telekom’s individual markets for the benefit of the entire Group.

No regulation = a fighting chance In his keynote address at the Mobile World Congress, DT CEO René Obermann accused regulators of stifling innovation and investment with unnecessary and illogical decisions. He compared moves like the constant termination charge reductions to sending a boxer into the ring with handcuffs on. In his speech, he went further than any of his peers by declaring regulation unnecessary in the market as it is due to the competitive nature of the telecommunications worldwide. He especially highlighted new competitors like over the top Internet service providers and app developers providing telephony services free of charge.