By Alex Oxley, VP, Communications, EMEA, Cyient
The European telecoms market is suffering from depleting revenue streams, skyrocketing demands for faster internet services, political turbulence across EU nations and regional barriers to expansion.
But as this environment is set to change, Swisscom is using the latest technologies to overcome these roadblocks and give its customers the experience they deserve.
In particular, Swisscom is working towards delivering all its services – including its fixed-line telephony and TV – over a single IP-based network.
This convergence of technologies will be a huge undertaking, but one that paves the way for innovation and integration opportunities previously not possible.
To date, Europe has been challenging for mobile providers to operate in.
It has been beset with obstacles for those companies attempting to expand their operations beyond country borders and participate in the digital telecoms revolution that has taken the rest of the world by storm.
This has been both a positive and a negative.
On the one hand, it has allowed Swisscom to compete in the domestic telecoms market since it floated on the stock exchange in 1998.
Protectionism and barriers to expansion have kept others at bay, with even the attempted incursion of French heavyweight, Orange, failing to make a dent on the Swiss market.
This position has meant that, despite the challenging conditions, the business has built an enviable network across the country, delivering a plethora of telephony and digital services.
But this can only go so far: while European providers can thrive in their own territory, it has been difficult for them to expand, compete, or break into new regions.
This stagnation means that innovation and progress has been mired in local regulations and obstructionism.
The USA and APAC regions are set to outpace Europe on 5G by 2022 and roaming charges have only just been addressed.
The abolition of roaming charges, however, is a hugely significant first step that shows the potential of the EU Digital Single Market strategy.
This initiative promised to “tear down regulatory walls…moving from 28 national markets to a single one”, increasing competition, and contributing €415 billion per year to the economies of its member nations.
The floodgates of competition are about to open as the market prepares for a period of deregulation and inevitable consolidation.
Where the US has four mobile providers and China three – the EU's 28 member countries have in excess of 100 mobile carriers altogether.
While many of these operators have fiercely protected their own territories, they will now be able to compete openly on the wider EU stage.
But it’s not just EU mobile providers that pose a threat – the European penetration and uptake of disruptive VoIP technologies like Skype and WhatsApp continues unfettered, with no national borders, jurisdictions and expansion regulations to contend with.
Swisscom has already begun preparations for this, expanding its service offering with Fastweb, a subsidiary through which it delivers high-speed broadband services to Italy, among other European acquisitions like, Open Web Technology or Veltigroup.
Now the business has turned its attention to digital innovation.
Swisscom has responded to demand for higher speed connections and the need to be able to deliver new services to its current customer base in Switzerland.
As a result, Swisscom is consolidating its services to deliver them all over a single IP-based network.
In 2016, Swisscom announced that it would be the first European service provider to launch a G.fast-based internet service, with speeds of up to 500MBps.
The operator has also worked on a significant data migration and FTTH project in collaboration with Cyient that guarantees three-week delivery of the pure fibre technology to all of its customers, all while reducing construction costs.
With this new network and service capability in place, Swisscom is perfectly placed to take on the levels of competition it will present.