Deutsche Telekom wants Europe to take the fight to Amazon and Google by creating a cloud rival, as telcos were told they must do more to help the continent’s SMEs.

Ferri Abolhassan, Director of T-Systems’ IT Division, said Europe needs to create its own equivalent of America’s most successful cloud companies in order to sever the region’s reliance on services from the US.

The executive made the claim as the Germany-based operator announced plans to double sales from corporate customers in Europe by 2018.

DT is aiming for annual growth of 20 percent in cloud platforms over the next three years, when it hopes to have pulled in approximately €2 billion from European enterprise customers.

Speaking at Huawei’s 2015 Innovation Day in Munich, Abolhassan said: “There must be, in Europe, a force that gives an answer to many initiatives coming from the US. If everything is going on Amazon, is that good for Europe? There should be a European answer.”

It echoes the sentiments of DT rival Orange, which announced in March that it had bought out its partners in France-based cloud computing company Cloudwatt.

Orange said Cloudwatt could “accelerate the deployment of a sovereign public cloud both in France and in Europe”.

Abolhassan’s words came as T-Systems undergoes a structural reboot in an attempt to turn around waning sales.

The unit continues to be DT’s worst performer, with sales falling 2.5 percent in Q1 to €2 billion.

Abolhassan said the stepping-up of cloud activities would enable the company to become “the leading provider for businesses in Europe”.

Meanwhile, Rami Avidan, Head of Tele2 M2M Global Solutions, suggested telcos needed to provide more easy-to-use solutions for smaller enterprises in order to help them become more digital.

Avidan warned that only the companies that embraced new technologies would survive, claiming the sector needed solutions that “think big, start small and scale fast”.

Avidan said: “For this to happen, partnership is critical. The most important part is scalability… SMEs need easy solutions that don’t cost a fortune and can be put together easily.

“We need to build technology that doesn’t cost a fortune and businesses can build fast.”

Avidan’s words came after the conference heard that SMEs in Europe have been too slow in their adoption of new, digital technologies.

[Read more: Vodafone, Huawei sign partnership to develop enterprise services]

John Higgins, Managing Director of Digital Europe, claimed that the reluctance by European businesses to adopt cloud, big data analytics and mobility technologies was hindering the EU’s vision of a digital single market in Europe.

He said: “Digital can really make a difference, but Europe’s traditional SMEs have been a bit slow to take it up. Think of advanced digital technologies - cloud, social, mobility, big data analytics - then look at the stock of European businesses. Fewer than two percent are taking advantage of those and 40 percent are not using them at all.”

However, Walter Weigel, VP of Huawei’s European Institute, said that uncertainty around how new technologies will affect business processes and, more fundamentally, jobs, was creating reluctance toward adoption.

“It is clear that, for small businesses, it isn’t easy for them to understand what’s going on,” said Weigel.

“They’re afraid because these new technologies are coming to their businesses and they don’t know what will happen to their value chain.”

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