Q&A: Stefan Amon, director of wholesale, Telekom Austria Group
Capacity CEE 2015: Telekom Austria's director of wholesale, Stefan Amon
What opportunities are there in Central and Eastern Europe for Telekom Austria?
The countries of the CEE region in which the Telekom Austria Group operates have mixed market conditions. Overall, however, they make a substantial and stable contribution to the success of the Group, whose management remains convinced of the medium to long-term potential of the CEE region.
In light of macroeconomic and regulatory challenges, the exploitation of growth opportunities is the main operating goal of the Telekom Austria Group in the CEE region. In more mature markets, such as Bulgaria and Croatia, the Group is targeting up- and cross-selling through the introduction of convergence services, which now means convergence is available across four markets of the group.
In its mobile-only markets, the Group is primarily striving to make the best use of growth opportunities. In those of its markets with a high proportion of prepaid costumers, the Group is pursuing the goal of migrating these customers into contract tariffs. Also, the Group is consistently investing in improving its infrastructure in Central and Eastern European countries. Thanks to the successful capital increase in fall 2014, the Group is also well equipped financially for potential further acquisitions in the CEE region.
What major trends have you seen in the market this year?
There has been a high level of saturation, intense competition, regulatory measures, and rapid technological change, which requires substantial ongoing investment infrastructure. As well as challenging macroeconomic conditions, significant growth in data traffic, strong demand among customers for first-class network and service quality, high operator density, inconsistent economic momentum and pressures on prices and profitability. These trends can be observed across all markets of the Telekom Austria Group.
What are some of the challenges of operating in the region?
Besides the intense competition, the greatest challenges in CEE emerge from macroeconomic and regulatory conditions. There is also a weak economic momentum and much lower purchasing power compared to Western Europe, the alignment of regulatory conditions to EU standards plays a particularly important role.
What are some of Telekom Austria’s strategic priorities in the next 12 months?
Telekom Austria believes in “acting as a driver of digitalization”. Our strategy is based on these four pillars. Convergence - this combines flexibility for the customer and strengthens customer loyalty. Data & ICT Solutions - there is a growing trend towards data & ICT solutions. Recent transactions performed in Austria included IT Outsourcing of EGLO, Thalia Cisco Meraki and E-Care Terminal. Mergers and acquisitions - examination of potentially value-accretive acquisitions. Operational excellence - a comprehensive program to increase cash flow at several levels. Furthermore, we will also concentrate on takeover bid and capital increase, network expansion and A1 turnaround.
What do you hope to achieve by attending Capacity Central and Eastern Europe?
We see the conference as an ideal hub to meet all of our relevant partners and vendors and also to address new clients and customers.
As the group is present across eight markets in the CEE area, the conference is the perfect place to find new opportunities, attend vivid discussions and gain a deep insight in the latest developments and trends. Also, the conference will help us to make progress with ongoing negotiations (in terms of prices) and to generate potential partnerships to enter new markets.