With Deutsche Telekom being a key partner at Carriers World 2018, Total Telecom caught up with Rolf Nafziger, SVP International Wholesale Business Unit, Deutsche Telekom. 

What trends are you noticing developing in the International Wholesale sector? 

Security, of course, remains a core priority across the industry as cyberattacks and fraud cases continue to grow. But when talking about current trends, two of the hot topics are IoT and IoT roaming business models. Analysts predict that in 2020, we’ll see at least 20 billion connected devices. So there is and will be a great need to manage all that generated data – which will place a huge demand on network infrastructure. 

Along with IoT – or in part because of it – I’ve been seeing a strong carrier focus on efficiency, which is of course vital as traffic continues to grow. To improve efficiency there’s also been a solid uptake on the topic of blockchain, which is seen as a way to reduce the costs and complexity of existing services. And to tie all this together, telco operators are moving toward digitalization of business processes and customer service, using big data and Artificial Intelligence. Those last two factors can increase back office efficiency and customer service and experience.  

What challenges is the industry facing? 

The industry is undergoing rapid transformation and a lot of carriers are simply not prepared. For many, traditional services still make up the majority of their revenues. Yet the speed of innovation is accelerating at an ever-increasing pace. Unfortunately, many of the new technologies do not offer high revenue and margin opportunities as many are not as costly to run or get a high return on. At the same time, to stay relevant in in the industry, it is critical to keep up with the ongoing technology shift and adapt to new business models and newer, more cost-effective and flexible ways of working.  

What strategies need to be put in place to overcome these challenges?

The industry as a whole must understand that business as we know it today will dramatically change. We need to keep a close eye on the market to be at the forefront of those changes, so that we can take advantage of potential benefits. That’s why it is crucial to focus on quickly developing innovative solutions. At IBU/ICSS, we are taking major steps to foster even more innovation by cultivating flexibility, adaptability, creativity, collaboration and a cultural mindset that embraces change and growth. To bring about those developments, we are reinventing our wholesale business and initiating measures that will help us to become more efficient, more customer focused and more responsive. Those include moving forward with digitalization with the help of Big Data and AI. This will simplify and streamline processes, both for us and our clients. 

What new markets or opportunities are particularly interesting to DT at the moment?

We have already been one of the major movers in the security field with continual updates and new innovations within our 360° Defense strategy. Some of our new products include our Secure Cloud Connect, Mobile IP-VPN, SMS+ Protect and SS7 Firewall. We’re also pushing rapidly forward with innovations in the IoT area, to cope with and foster the coming IoT boom. We also see a huge potential with A2P and have been working on ways to make sure this traffic can be completely monetized. We’re also very interested in blockchain, software defined networks and unfolding technologies such as IoT and 5G, which I am sure will potentially lead to a dramatic shift in the way we do business. 

Tell us a little about the progress of DT’s European Aviation Network project:

What is the current status? 

The EAN service is now available for purchase. Our airline launch customer is currently in the process of installing EAN equipment on its planes and aims to have 90% of its short haul fleet complete by early 2019.  EAN has brought true broadband connectivity to the skies across Europe and is an unprecedented project involving many countries and partners.   

How has EAN performed during your test flights? 

We have successfully completed flight trials across Europe to test both the satellite and complementary ground network. These tests have shown overwhelming service levels and very high bandwidths with extremely low latencies. The tests show that the service is extremely reliable and have demonstrated that EAN meets its design performance in practice, which is a significant milestone for the project consortium, as well as European airlines and their passengers. 

During recent test flights that we conducted with prospective airlines, we gathered excellent results, with overall feedback that exceeded expectations. All the tests definitely confirmed that user experience was great! This is further confirmation for us that the best in-flight connectivity solution is now available in Europe.  

About Deutsche Telekom 

International Carrier Sales & Solutions (ICSS) is one of the world’s leading carriers and an innovation driver for IP-based solutions. As an integral part of Deutsche Telekom’s International Wholesale Business Unit, ICSS serves the international wholesale requirements of the DT Group with its international affiliates and more than 900 external customers worldwide. One of the units’ core competencies is to focus on building business partnerships around the globe. With years of experience in the international wholesale communication market, ICSS has the expertise to provide clients with tailor-made solutions. The innovative technologies are offered on a global basis with a special emphasis on Europe.

The cutting-edge offerings of ICSS include the following business segments:

Internet & Content: Enable a connected society by partnering with one of the premier European Internet and content players.

Mobile World: Mobilize your customers’ lives with innovative and profitable solutions from ICSS, a premium mobile enabler.

Carrier Enterprise Services: Securely connect your customer’s global sites with a major European multi-service provider.

Global Voice: Excellence and innovation with a scale from the international market leader for retail voice termination.