DT plans global all-IP business network with other operators

22 February 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Deutsche Telekom has announced a global IP network for businesses and has already recruited CenturyLink of the US, SK Telecom of South Korea and Reliance Jio of India to become partners.

The German operator is already talking to other potential partners, CEO Tim Höttges said on the opening day of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, including “the leading operators of South Africa and Australia”.

The new service is the product of a start-up, Ngena, that is backed by Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, its 49% owned venture capital arm. Höttges said at MWC that he hoped that the other telecoms partners of Ngena will take equity stakes in the company.

He described the project as a “Star Alliance” of the fixed-line telecoms world, likening it to the collaboration between a number of international airlines.

Ngena has been launched to compete with over-the-top companies that are already providing business services, said Höttges. The target market is multinational businesses that want connections in many countries, using different providers in each.

“This is an IP communications suite and we will use the best fixed-line carrier in each country,” he said. Mobile services will be added later “but first we have to set up the jigsaw of fixed-line operators”.

Deutsche Telekom and Ngena’s partner in the project is Cisco, whose CTO Bibi Singh described it as a “highly interoperable network”. According to Cisco, users will be able to configure their service “with a single touch of the browser”.

Höttges hinted that Deutsche Telekom will announce a wider relationship with SK Telecom, expected to be announced on day two of MWC in Barcelona.

BT is not a partner in the Ngena project. Höttges explained that it was unable to discuss the project while the UK markets regulator was considering BT’s bid for mobile operator EE, in which Deutsche Telekom was a 50% shareholder. “But I will be talking to Gavin [Patterson, CEO of BT] tomorrow,” said Höttges.