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Andreas Fuchs

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Deutsche Telekom shapes change and commits to social responsibility

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  • Group celebrates 25 years and pursues major goals in Europe and the United States
  • Growth targets confirmed, proposed dividend of 0.60 euros unchanged since announced in November 2019
  • Deutsche Telekom’s first virtual shareholders’ meeting
CEO Timotheus Höttges (left) and Ulrich Lehner, chairman of the supervisory board.

CEO Timotheus Höttges (left) and Ulrich Lehner, chairman of the supervisory board.


Deutsche Telekom looks back on 25 years of success and has big plans for the future. At the Group’s annual shareholders’ meeting, CEO Tim Höttges named market leadership in 5G and being the market lead on the U.S. mobile market as goals. For the fixed network he said: “We will become the No. 1 fiber-optic company in Germany and Europe. We will help to drive forward the digitalization of Europe.”

Change has been a constant part of Deutsche Telekom’s history. “Shaping the change. This has made us strong.” Höttges gave many examples of changes over the last 25 years. “Deutsche Telekom was once first and foremost a fixed-network provider. Today, we are a one-stop shop for fixed network, mobile communications, and TV services. Deutsche Telekom used to be analog. Today, we are digital. Deutsche Telekom was once a wholly German company. Today, we are international.”

The business in the United States is a perfect example of change. Billions in investments, a strategy as a challenger, and the completion of the merger with the competitor Sprint have all added value and the company is now on an equal footing with the market leaders. “The business combination marks a milestone in Deutsche Telekom’s 25-year history. It is good for the entire Group. We will continue to invest heavily: in the United States, in Europe, and in Germany.”

In the German fixed network, Höttges looked back on the successful rollout of FTTC/vectoring. The network proved its reliability, continuing to run smoothly throughout the crisis, he said. The focus now was on FTTH, he continued. “My goal is to connect every household in Germany with optical fiber by 2030. This requires multi-billion-euro investments for Germany. Some will come from us. And some from our competitors.”

In view of the corona pandemic, Tim Höttges explained: “Deutsche Telekom is at its strongest when it can be there for society. It is a huge source of energy for us. We are proving this once again in the coronavirus crisis. I believe that this strength stems from a sense of responsibility. And pride in our brand. We are harnessing this energy. By placing social responsibility at the center of our work. We will not be satisfied until everyone can take part.” Höttges referred to the Corona Warn app, presented on Tuesday, which was developed in conjunction with SAP at the request of the German federal government. 

On the subject of social responsibility, Höttges also added that Deutsche Telekom is there for everyone, and excludes no one. “We connect people. We do not separate them. Racism. Sexism. Discrimination. Hate and incendiary speech. There is no place for these here. We work to ensure that everyone here has the same opportunities. No matter their background. No matter their gender. No matter their skin color.” But he also noted the continued prevalence of preconceptions and the need for further change.

Another example of responsibility is climate protection. “From this year, all Deutsche Telekom customers in Germany surf in the green network. Powered 100 percent by electricity from renewable sources. From the coming year, the entire Group is set to transition to renewable energy.” Deutsche Telekom has also launched the “We care for our planet” initiative. One of the initiative’s goals is to prevent and reduce the use of plastics and unnecessary packaging. For example, the MagentaTV box will in future be produced from recycled plastic.
 
For the first time, Deutsche Telekom holds its shareholders’ meeting in a virtual format. The original meeting, scheduled for March 26 in the World Conference Center in Bonn, could not go ahead because of the corona pandemic. The virtual shareholders’ meeting is being transmitted in full for all interested parties on Deutsche Telekom’s website. Shareholders had the opportunity to raise their questions in advance and can exercise or transfer their voting rights online. The Board of Management and Supervisory Board already proposed a dividend of 0.60 euros per dividend-bearing share back in November.

Höttges confirmed the Group’s growth targets despite the pandemic. “Of course we are also feeling the effects. From bad debts. Forgone roaming revenues and temporary shop closures. But we are confident that we will bounce back. Because digitalization is everywhere right now. And this brings us opportunities.”

This media information contains forward-looking statements that reflect the current views of Deutsche Telekom management with respect to future events. They are generally identified by the words “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimate,” “aim,” “goal,” “plan,” “will,” “seek,” “outlook,” or similar expressions and include generally any information that relates to expectations or targets for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, or other performance measures. Forward-looking statements are based on current plans, estimates, and projections, and should therefore be considered with caution. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and are generally beyond Deutsche Telekom’s control. They include, for instance, the progress of Deutsche Telekom’s staff-related restructuring measures and the impact of other significant strategic or business initiatives, including acquisitions, dispositions, and business combinations. In addition, movements in exchange rates and interest rates, regulatory rulings, stronger than expected competition, technological change, litigation and regulatory developments, among other factors, may have a material adverse effect on costs and revenue development. If these or other risks and uncertainties materialize, or if the assumptions underlying any of these statements prove incorrect, Deutsche Telekom’s actual results may be materially different from those expressed or implied by such statements. Deutsche Telekom can offer no assurance that its expectations or targets will be achieved. Without prejudice to existing obligations under capital market law, Deutsche Telekom does not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements to account for new information or future events or anything else. In addition to figures prepared in accordance with IFRS, Deutsche Telekom presents alternative performance measures, e.g., EBITDA, EBITDA AL, EBITDA margin, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA AL, adjusted EBITDA margin, adjusted EBIT, adjusted EBIT margin, adjusted net profit/loss, free cash flow, free cash flow AL, gross debt, and net debt. These measures should be considered in addition to, but not as a substitute for, the information prepared in accordance with IFRS. Alternative performance measures are not subject to IFRS or any other generally accepted accounting principles. Other companies may define these terms in different ways.

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