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08 March 2017
| Jason Mcgee-Abe
Staffan Göjeryd, CEO of Telia Carrier, explains to Jason McGee-Abe how the carrier’s global IP backbone is developing and stresses the importance of creating a dedicated network to leverage the evolving IoT environment.
Staffan Göjeryd, who was appointed CEO of Telia Carrier
in August 2016, has had a long-standing relationship with
Telia, having been with the company since 1995. He started out
at Telia Company at a time when a 14k modem was considered high
tech, but he has helped drive Telia Carrier into becoming one
of the world’s leading global backbones.
He’s a man who certainly knows Telia
customers’ needs and demands for their end-to-end
wholesale journey. His technical and customer-facing experience
over the past 21 years within Telia Company in both Europe and
the US has seen him hold roles such as director of network
planning, and head of Telia Carrier’s data and
"I joined at the infant stages of Telia when it actually
evolved into becoming Telia Carrier, back in the 1990s," says
Göjeryd. "I was in the US for a few years and helped to
build up a US-based network and then helped to set up all the
peering relationships and interconnect agreements they
After a few years in other roles within Telia Company, he
came back into Telia Carrier in 2014 when he headed up data and
infrastructure. Göjeryd succeeded Brendan Ives, who after
three years as CEO, and 14 years within Telia Carrier, was
appointed to head a new unit tasked with accelerating Telia
Company’s aim to become a new-generation
So what has been Göjeryd’s philosophy over
the first six months at the wholesale carrier he knows all the
components and counterparts of?
"Setting ourselves in the right organisational context to be
able to service our customers in a better way," he says.
"Over the past six months, we’ve been very
focused in creating a more unified Telia Carrier. We
essentially had two business minds which, although they
weren’t running autonomously, needed to be
addressed. From an operational point of view,
we’re more streamlined and acting as a single
entity, and as a result are more operationally efficient and
better placed to service our customers and suppliers."
The creation of a global sales team for its data sales unit
was fully rolled out on 1 January, and the voice trading
business is now more sustainable. On expanding the IP domain
and the footprint, Göjeryd says: "We need to be able to
follow our content customers who are moving further and further
out in the network, to get closer and closer to the customer
base. At the same time there are access customers and we would
like to service out of those markets."
Expanding the global IP network
Telia Carrier has expanded its infrastructure footprint,
lighting up fibre with wave equipment, and meshing its network
in a better way to get better delay times. This can be
exemplified by the new 900km Baltic route between Stockholm and
St Petersburg as an alternative path and the establishment of
two new points of presence (PoPs) in the Russian city.
"Over the last year we also completed the Los Angeles to San
Jose build-out with multiple data centre PoP locations in the
Bay area. We established an interconnect in the Belarusian
market and extended the reach of our backbone by completing the
DWDM express route running between Frankfurt and Warsaw," says
Telia Carrier is looking at expansions in, what Göjeryd
says are, "more Tier II or Tier III markets" to better serve
their customers. "If you look at the US footprint for instance,
we have built out and opened PoP locations in Minneapolis,
Pittsburgh, and Montreal. We added a Zagreb IP PoP to help
better serve Europe and to help connectivity in the Balkans
Telia Carrier is also upgrading its subsea cables and
ensuring it remains attractive to major cable landing stations,
particularly given that today most subsea cable systems go on
"more of a PoP-to-PoP reasoning".
"A good example of this is that we’ve enhanced
Latam connectivity by establishing a new network PoP, providing
backhaul to the OJUS cable landing station in Hollywood,
Florida, with resilient network options." The carrier is better
positioning itself towards subsea cables and landing stations,
for example, moving further into the Marseille area where all
the new subsea cable capacity is coming in from Asia.
"For clarity, the Marseille PoP location is more about us
being attractive in the right cable landing station from an
Asian perspective and focused towards the various different
subsea cables that are or have been coming in like
SEA-WE-ME-5," stresses Göjeryd, who admits Telia Carrier
has not been an investor in subsea cables "for quite some time"
as it’s "much more of a diversity play for
Telia Carrier in an SDN world
As the wholesale industry transitions into a much more
software-defined world, with cloud helping to drive
next-generation traffic, how is Telia Carrier evolving to
remain relevant and competitive to support cloud, the
enterprises moving towards it, and the internet of things
"We’re supporting the cloudification of traffic
by connecting to more data centres and becoming an underlying
supplier of capacity between multiple different facilities,"
"Today, we have a presence in 220 data centres globally and
being able to support that traffic with our gradually expanding
footprint is helping to drive us to becoming the key underlying
carrier and player for data- centre-to-data-centre
It’s all about staying relevant in a field of
ever-growing cloud resources and cloud domains, he adds. "Our
thought process on the shift towards an SDN world is geared
towards enhancing operational efficiency and operational
quality to be able to do things more easily, better and in a
much more quality assured way."
That’s Göjeryd’s primary
focus in the short-term but "it’s something that
we will continue monitoring from an external point of view
rather than an operational efficiency and operational quality
point of view internally".
Evolving IoT ecosystem
The IoT environment is constantly evolving, he says, adding
that the IoT "is a buzzword that has been around for quite some
time but is evolving into a business in its own right with the
proliferation of different ways of accessing services,
functions and features."
Ericsson revised its estimates down in November to 28
billion connected devices by 2021. "Looking at the quantity of
different devices that will potentially connect to the network
is just immense, in terms of volume and also in terms of the
impact of these numbers for the industry in general," he
The IoT means real-life applications with real-time demands
and makes data moving between networks susceptible to
cyberattacks. In order to guarantee end-to-end visibility,
reliability and security there must be end-to-end control,
which is why Telia Carrier built a dedicated backbone for
In June 2016, Telia Carrier signed an agreement with
Ericsson to create an IoT backbone, whereby Telia Carrier will
provide backhaul and interconnection solutions on a global
scale to Ericsson’s Device Connection Platform via
a dedicated IoT backbone.
IoT traffic is separated from the public internet using IPX
architecture and the agreement enables IoT operators to connect
via any of Telia Carrier’s 220 IPX PoPs directly
to Ericsson’s platform in a single network
"We have labelled it "the internet for things", and in that
context we are utilising the great foundation that we have in
the GRX and IPX world," says Göjeryd.
"We are looking at gradually expanding our Ericsson
agreement and interconnecting various different customers to
the device management platform. It’s a very good
way of looking at specific requirements and different vertical
Trends and challenges
5G will bring tremendous growth of bandwidth in terms of
volume, rather than necessarily more devices, in the
short-to-medium-term. It’s a welcome opportunity
for Telia Carrier, which is carving out a niche in the
wholesale connectivity space, but "the security risk of
multiple devices connected to the network is a real
Göjeryd adds: "That’s where you can see
the dedicated domain network we’re creating
safeguarding this risk. You obviously have other challenges,
such as the prevailing regulatory aspects, which might not be
hitting us directly as a connectivity player in the field but
is certainly hitting our customer base on traffic and flows."
The content players are the big drivers of the industry today,
rather than the telecoms industry, he admits.
"You can see that easily when looking at the investments
going into subsea cable systems; it’s not actually
the traditional carrier environment that are putting the
investment in funds today." Göjeryd warns: "The telco
industry needs to look at smarter ways of partnering or
collaborating with these companies to stay relevant for where
the market is going."