Back to the future: DT sets out its stall

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In its first virtual shareholders’ meeting, CEO Tim Höttges talked up past successes and ambitious goals for 5G in Europe and the US, and for fibre across Germany and Europe.

Höttges told the meeting, “We will become the number one fibre optic company in Germany and Europe. We will help to drive forward the digitalisation of Europe.” It has a Herculean effort ahead.

The CEO said, “Deutsche Telekom was once first and foremost a fixed-network provider.

“Today, we are a one-stop shop for fixed network, mobile communications, and TV services. Deutsche Telekom used to be analogue. Today, we are digital. Deutsche Telekom was once a wholly German company. Today, we are international.”

He went on to underline the importance of its US opco, T-Mobile, to its future, saying, “The business combination [the acquisition of Sprint] marks a milestone in Deutsche Telekom’s 25-year history. It is good for the entire Group. We will continue to invest heavily: in the United States, in Europe, and in Germany.”

Fibre focus

Like BT, the German former incumbent was slow to embrace full-fibre broadband, preferring a combo of fibre and existing copper infrastructure. Its full focus is now on fibre to the home (FTTH).

Höttges continued, “My goal is to connect every household in Germany with optical fibre by 2030. This requires multi-billion-euro investments for Germany. Some will come from us and some from our competitors.”

Opportunities

He confirmed the Group’s growth targets despite the pandemic. “Of course we are also feeling the effects. From bad debts. Forgone roaming revenues and temporary shop closures. But we are confident that we will bounce back. Because digitalization is everywhere right now. And this brings us opportunities.”

He went on to stress the importance of social responsibility, citing the important role it has played in the Covid-19 pandemic – with SAP it has developed the Corona Warn app at the request of the German federal government – and talked up inclusivity and DT’s role in bringing people together and its green plans.