09 March 2018
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Today’s fast-paced wholesale market requires a totally different skill set to that of just a few years ago. Rolf Nafziger, senior vice president of the International Wholesale Business Unit (IBU) at Deutsche Telekom, talks about how the unit is staying a step ahead
What is the main strategy
of Deutsche Telekom IBU and its International Carrier Sales
& Solutions (ICSS) division for 2018?
Our main strategy for 2018 is growth. We continually seek
and evaluate opportunities to broaden our skill-set and to
offer our clients the products they will need tomorrow. We
understand that there will be technological and market changes
ahead of us that will transform how international wholesalers
operate. That is why we need to become more flexible and agile,
to embrace change and enhance our ability to innovate. At the
same time, we continuously look at our current processes and
drive digitisation to offer standardised and efficient services
to our customers.
What will be the company’s main focuses
for the coming year, and what does it hope to achieve over the
course of 2018?
For 2018, we have three main topics – security,
digitisation and IoT – each of these at a different
stage of maturity and always with a highlight on quality. The
technical development of our security portfolio is very
advanced – we already offer different security
packages to our clients, providing a high level of
customisation and efficient implementation. In 2018, we will
work on digitising more complex processes, which will lead to a
significant impact on lead times in order implementation,
increased customer satisfaction and thus more
IoT is probably the biggest megatrend we see, which will
have a wide-ranging impact on the international wholesale
business. However, with numerous possible application areas,
the challenge is to identify the ones that will have the
biggest potential for us – that is, for management of
international connectivity and technologies that enable IoT. At
the current stage, we have developed use cases that will
probably be implemented during the next year. Aside from this,
we aim to increase industry cross-cooperation to overcome
challenges and more quickly develop innovations.
How does IBU/ICSS plan to grow ahead of the rest of
the industry in 2018?
With our comprehensive IPX platform under continual
development, we are paving the way for forward-looking
technologies such as IoT, M2M and 5G applications. ICSS is
taking a close look into the developing fields of IoT and
roaming, so that we can adapt our technology and meet
customers’ expectations as advances take place.
For example, to offer customised IoT solutions,
we’re working on ways to make our IPX platform
more specific and intelligent. There has been a rising demand
for handling IoT traffic differently from other traffic, so
we’re looking into possibilities here too. One of
our great advantages over competitors is that we have more than
a decade of experience in the A2P and IoT areas, and so are
able to support the seamless integration of multiple
And in addition to all the innovations we’ve
achieved, we’ve been cooperating with several
Deutsche Telekom affiliates on rate alignments to stop damage
from arbitrage. I could go on and on, but think that would need
a second interview!
How do you see the global wholesale environment as
changing in 2018?
The market has been in the midst of transformation for a few
years and this is accelerating. Therefore, from our
perspective, we do not see 2018 as being very different from
the last one or two years. Again, many international
wholesalers will try out new technological solutions for their
daily businesses. Additionally, several of these will plan
implementation of new business cases originating from emerging
technologies – such as IoT, big data or digitisation.
Both activities are necessary to determine the most promising
opportunities and represent significant steps towards how the
future international wholesale market will work out.
What factors will aid growth of the international
wholesale market over the coming year, and how do you see it as
changing and evolving?
Wholesale has always been driven by its respective retail
market. In other words, the acceptance of certain technologies
in the end-user market is also of vital importance to the
wholesale market. We can’t exactly tell when it
will happen, but we are convinced that there will be key
changes to the global wholesale market as we know it today.
Some markets such as global voice will decline further, whereas
other markets such as IoT are at the very beginning of their
To be more specific, I believe we will see an even stronger
price decline of traditional services. Yes, traffic is
exploding, but there is fierce competition and low barriers to
entry. That means we, as ICSS, need to offer higher quality and
better security than others. We have to take advantage of new
technology opportunities, even though these will not totally
compensate for the decline of traditional offerings.
There will be a great challenge to keep up with technology
shifts, such as that of SDH shifting to Ethernet to SD-WAN, or
from 3G to 4G to 5G. This is why we will need to move to
automation and digitisation, and to become much more efficient
and cost-aware than ever before – and all of this
needs to be helped along through consolidation, innovation
development and partnering. These factors will certainly
fundamentally change the way we think, plan and operate
– a process that is already well underway at