In the past, Europe’s technological diversity led many different telecommunications companies to compete for a comparatively small number of customers. Over time, almost as many separate telecommunications platforms were developed as there are countries on the continent. This old-world structure was shaped by historical constraints, legal frameworks, and protective national interests, which prevented the kind of progress we have seen in the USA or Asia. Indeed, a handful of carriers serve about 300 million people in the USA. In China, the same number reaches up to 1.5 billion customers. Europe, meanwhile, has a full 200 national operators for just 510 million people. At Deutsche Telekom, 13 national companies design and provide services for European customers – and until now, each of these companies had its own separate network production, supplier contracts, and product development. All of this is now changing radically, and customers everywhere will see the difference.
Imagine all the customers, sharing one network
With its Pan-European network – or Pan-Net – Deutsche Telekom will be the first in the industry to replace these decentralized production models with an international, integrated infrastructure based on cloud virtualization. To do so, the company is migrating all of its European networks to IP technology – a process which has already been completed in Macedonia, Slovakia, Montenegro, and Croatia with great success. Customers there have since been enjoying the incredible quality and stability of an All-IP network, along with advanced and innovative fixed-line services.
The sheer scale and ambition of this project have earned it the nickname, “Telco Mars mission” – except that instead of launching a single spacecraft, there are 650 individual platforms and 13 national companies that DT is propelling into the IP realm. Hopefully, the rewards will be just as great, as the switch to IP technology makes it possible to shut down legacy systems and implement innovative technologies like hybrid access or vectoring. These significantly improve the customer experience in terms of coverage and bandwidth, providing the ideal “launchpad” for new products and services to skyrocket.
Customers to benefit from innovations faster than ever before
Once this “mission” is complete, a central platform will give every company within the Group access to new products based on a modular concept. Individual companies will be able to pick and choose components from a central service catalog and customize them to create offers that perfectly match local customers’ expectations. “This new structure will make it possible for us to offer freshly developed services throughout Europe within just a few days,” says Kerstin Günther, Managing Director of DT Pan-Net at Deutsche Telekom. “As a Group, this will allow us to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right product, meeting customers’ needs with unprecedented efficiency and speed.”
In fact, another milestone on the way to this European superstructure has been reached as Deutsche Telekom has recently opened a new data center in Hungary, which is the Pan-Net’s first real production center based on virtualization and “cloudification” technologies. Two more production sites are to come until end of 2017 in Poland and Greece and will – together with the one in Hungary –form the backend of Deutsche Telekom’s future infrastructure in Europe. The first service to run centrally on the new infrastructure out of the production site in Hungary will be an advanced E-Mail service starting in the third quarter.
A steady stream of new products across Europe
The first finished products, based on Pan-IP, have already reached also business customers in several countries: For instance, the Cloud VPN, which allows customers to set up a VPN in just 15 minutes, is now available in Slovakia, Croatia, and Hungary – and we are working on ways to bring it to new markets. mWAS, a technical platform for sending text and multimedia messages, has also been launched in Greece, the Czech Republic and Romania, and is set to reach businesses in Poland and Slovakia shortly.
Country by country, product by product, the Group is revolutionizing its industry’s production model as it integrates the production infrastructure of its national companies. Its benchmark-setting “Telco Mars mission” is set to be completed in 2018.