The European telecoms market is suffering from depleting revenue streams, skyrocketing demands for faster internet services, political setbacks and regional fragmentation barriers. In the midst of these challenges, leading European telco Swisscom is spearheading the charge toward overcoming these obstacles and fast-tracking Europe into the digital revolution.
Here we look at Swisscom's strategic actions to move past the highly competitive, strictly governed environment to provide customers with the experiences they deserve.
Headquartered at Ittigen near Bern, Swisscom provides state-of-the-art telecommunications, digital and IT services to its native Switzerland, as well as high-speed broadband services to Italy through a subsidiary provider called Fastweb. The company employs more than 21,000 people.
Swisscom has strong national brand cachet, evolving as it did from the state-owned Swiss Postal Telegraph & Telephone (PTT) operation that dates back to 1852. Since floating on the stock exchange in 1998, Swisscom has maintained its dominant mobile market position despite the incursion of heavyweights like France Telecom's Orange into the Swiss domestic market. Within Switzerland, Swisscom is the prominent telephony and digital services carrier. It's had to develop innovative solutions to overcome the topographical challenges of this alpine country.
Depth and breadth of service
The company delivers retail services to residential customers including digital TV-on-demand services, fixed-line and mobile telephony, and broadband internet. Swisscom also provides end-to-end enterprise ICT solutions for businesses from start-ups to multinationals, including security and cloud solutions. Add to these Swisscom's radio communications, video surveillance, IPTV and internet TV products, and telehousing, and it's clear how comprehensive, modern and thoroughly diversified the former post and telegraph company has become.
The future is now
Swisscom puts a premium on quality infrastructure to underpin its 'All IP' philosophy. By the end of 2017, Swisscom plans to deliver all of its services - including its fixed-line telephony and TV - over a single internet-protocol-based network.
The convergence of these technologies makes way for innovation and integration opportunities. In 2016, Swisscom has just announced it will be the first European service provider to launch a fiber to the street (FTTS) G.fast internet service, with speeds up to 500 Mbps. The company is also preparing for the digital health revolution, partnering with Swiss healthcare authorities and providers to leverage the opportunities and efficiencies this imminent change will provide.
Furthermore, Swisscom's cloud computing infrastructure is being readied for the onslaught of data exchange that is coming with the Internet of Things and big data analytics.
Europe is set for change
The European mobile phone market is beset with obstacles and challenges for carriers trying to expand operations beyond their borders and participate in the telecoms revolution. The EU's 28 member countries maintain absurd barriers - where the US has four mobile providers and China three, Europe has in excess of 100 mobile carriers, many of whom fiercely protect their territories. Consequently, innovation is mired in local regulations and obstructionism. Only 10 per cent of the European network is 4G enabled and roaming charges are notorious. The EU has tried to rein in roaming charges and introduced a Digital Single Market strategy, with limited success.
Against this background, Swisscom, eager to stretch its boundaries, has been investing in European businesses, partnering with start-ups and acquiring smaller players. Some of these partners include Fastweb, Open Web Technology, Veltigroup and Tamedia. The strategy is preparing Swisscom for a European market that's ripe for consolidation and deregulation.
Meanwhile, the European penetration and uptake of disruptive VOIP technologies like Skype and WhatsApp continue unfettered. Needless to say, national borders and jurisdictions simply don't apply to these pesky digital upstarts. Perhaps that's another reason why Swisscom's 'All IP' strategy may be futureproofing this clever niche ICT player.
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