Big Interview

Introducing Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier

Rolf Nafziger NEW.jpg

Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier has launched at Capacity Europe. It’s the new name for Deutsche Telekom’s international wholesale business and Jason McGee-Abe spoke to Rolf Nafziger, SVP, to find out what the launch all means

So what are the reasons for the change I ask Nafziger, who has around 20 years’ experience with Deutsche Telekom and is responsible for all international wholeale activities. “The way in which we communicate is changing rapidly, as are many areas of human activity. In the telco business, a new era of global connectivity has already begun. We also see the need to change, to better ready our clients for a swiftly transforming future, and to be able to help shape the direction of the industry,” Nafziger responds. “Therefore, we are implementing a new strategy and a new name that better reflects our goals of providing the best user experience, top future-proof solutions, high flexibility and quick innovation.”

Deutsche Telekom is very strong in many markets, but that is not enough, Nafziger tells me. “We need to look far ahead and create value that is a differentiator as well as an enabler of innovative business opportunities. With Deutsche Telekom as the most valuable European telecommunications brand behind us, we now have a name that reflects that strength: Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier.”

Consolidation or a restructure?

Deutsche Telekom has consolidated its portfolio which will see International Carrier Sales & Solutions (ICSS) and International Wholesale Business Unit (IBU) services and solutions go under one roof within the Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier business.

Nafziger had been responsible for the international wholesale business unit (IBU) of Deutsche Telekom AG since his appointment as senior vice president of IBU in 2013. Fast forward five years and he’s now tasked with the new-look Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier business, which has launched on 22 October at Capacity Europe.

I ask Nafziger whether this is purely consolidation or a restructure. “This is not a restructuring, it is simply a way to highlight externally that our extensive and ever-expanding portfolio is managed under one umbrella. So customers understand that they really can have all they require from one source – which makes their lives easier and their pocketbooks slimmer,” he says. “Under our new name customers will be able to receive solutions from the areas of global voice, commercial roaming, internet & content, carrier enterprise services, mobile world as well as inflight connectivity.”

We live in a new era of global connectivity and the industry has changed dramatically and has undergone many technological changes within just the past few years. “This is a trend that is accelerating rather than slowing down,” the Deutsche Telekom executive states. “So it sometimes isn’t even possible today to know what might be coming up tomorrow. One thing I am sure of is that the price pressure on traditional services is going to increase.”

On the other hand there is huge potential in newer technologies such as IoT, A2P, M2M or SDH shifting to Ethernet to SD-WAN or the evolution from 3G to 4G to 5G. “IoT is of course huge and will have a great impact on the international wholesale business with many potential application areas. What that means for us and for other telco providers is that we must be more agile and flexible to identify opportunities and quickly develop innovations.”

AI, big data and digitisation

The Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier business is leveraging the power of AI and big data, and the digitisation of Deutsche Telekom’s daily operations allows the company to reduce the complexity of its processes and to offer a variety of standardised solutions. “This will reduce costs for our clients and will also enable smoother and faster delivery and time-to-market,” Nafziger tells Capacity. “We will benefit from more transparency and a clearer overview which will give us more flexibility and the ability to see process problems that were before difficult to discover. That in turn will result in lower costs and the potential to better identify areas that could provide growth potential.

Regarding digitisation, Nafziger says “we are implementing digitisation to help us realise our goals and increase business ease”. “It’s part of our long-term strategy to make use of data analytics and big data to create more efficient processes. The outcome will increase transparency and decrease lead time as well as costs for our clients and for ourselves. It will also give us deeper and faster insights and, as a result, the agility to more quickly innovate and provide solutions to upcoming and currently undetermined challenges.”

The increased production of IoT devices will create a greater need for management of international connectivity and this will lead to totally new business models. “This is why we are looking into offering customised IoT solutions,” he adds. “IoT traffic will need to be managed differently from other traffic and so we are continually developing our IPX platform to make it more intelligent and better able to handle upcoming needs in the IoT area. Auspiciously, we have years of experience in the IoT field and so have made more inroads in this subject that most other providers.”

360° Defense Strategy

Nafziger has previously told Capacity that the three key pillars of focus for the company were security, digitisation and IoT. With the proliferation of connected devices and access points, security is still an ever-critical and important issue today. So what does the company’s 360° Defense Strategy look like today and how is the offering evolving?

“Our 360° Defense Strategy is the most comprehensive security offering on the market. We are continually expanding these solutions to protect our clients against all types of fraud and cyber theft,” he responds. “That starts with state-of-the-art services to combat DDoS volumetric attacks, which have become increasingly massive and destructive. We also offer backbone protection for IP Transit customers routing their traffic across Deutsche Telekom’s AS3320 network. Some newer services include our SS7 Firewall as well as SMS+ Protect which safeguards against text messaging fraud. And we offer a 24/7 fraud management team that monitors an advanced automated system. I could go on and on about our security solutions, which I believe is more comprehensive than that of any other telco provider.”

But how is the company enhancing its solutions with the onslaught of more frequent and bigger cyberattacks? “We’re continually enhancing this area because cybercriminals keep finding new methods to undermine security solutions and because technologies keep evolving. That is why we have a campaign to fight fraud and security loopholes,” he responds.

“With our team of fraud management specialists and our automated, global monitoring system, we stop thousands of fraud cases per year. We are also a major player in fraud initiatives such as the i3 Fraud Forum and the Cyber Emergency Response Team. As an example of our ongoing fight against fraud, we recently lauched our IP-VPN Mobile Access, which is a Layer 3 service that delivers private and secure WAN over dedicated IP VPNs. So crucial business documents can be accessed from mobile devices without security concerns.”

Customer-centricity & EAN project

The company is intensifying its agility to more quickly respond to the ever-changing requirements of its business and today’s market demands. Nafziger, who is known for his dedication to fostering innovation projects and is tasked with identifying upcoming digital trends, also tells me of the interntion to boost the company’s ability to innovate and provide the best customer experience by supporting an internal mindset that creates passionate team players. “Customer-centric colleagues that tenaciously work in partnership with clients to make sure their most challenging needs are met. Who are not afraid to take risks to develop new prospects, while instilling trust and reliability in the customer experience.”

Nafziger says the company is and always has been focused on quality and providing the very best customer experience. “This will become more and more apparent to our customers and partners as we follow our focus on customer-centric solutions, process simplifications and portfolio expansion,” he adds. “Customer requirements change and we intend not only to keep up with those changes but also to help drive the direction they take.

We’ve already proven our ability to do that with our work as a leading partner in the development of the European Aviation Network (EAN). This is a completely innovative, ground-breaking solution that has brought broadband to passengers flying above Europe. It is comprised of a satellite and complementary ground-based LTE technologies that required close cooperation with partners as well as regional governments.

EAN is now commercially available and has been for several months. Our launch customer, International Airlines Group (IAG), has already begun installing the system. Under their flag flies renowned airlines, such as: British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling. They will outfit over 300 aircraft with EAN and 90% of their short haul fleet should be equipped by early next year.

This type of innovation can only be offered by providers with years of experience, the best minds in the business and the backing of a stable Tier 1 organisation – all of which we have.

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