Deutsche Telekom CEO details the key role of 5G in digital future

Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges declared that 5G is the industry's answer to future demands for network connectivity, and hit out at rivals' criticism regarding the operator's domestic broadband business.

Addressing shareholders at a meeting this week, Höttges said 5G networks are essential to meeting a digital future in which people "and billions of machines and sensors" will communicate over the same infrastructure. The CEO reiterated Deutsche Telekom's goal to launch its first 5G network in 2020 while explaining that the operator is "already making the preparations today."

While Höttges explained that digitisation "is the greatest gift because it is the basis for prosperity for coming generations," he noted that companies must make digital responsibility a key part of their strategies moving forward to address concerns over the adoption of new technologies.

Deutsche Telekom has engaged in dialogue regarding digital responsibility because "we, too, are learning. We do not have all the answers," Höttges explained, adding: "We invite people to participate in a public, open dialogue."

The operator increased its overall investment by 13.6 per cent year-on-year through 2015 to €10.8 billion ($12 billion), the bulk of which was spent on network improvements. Höttges said that Deutsche Telekom's "core product is timeless", but that the operator continues to reinvent its infrastructure as it moves to ensure the network is "the answer to the digital future."

Höttges also delivered a frank retort to criticism from Deutsche Telekom's domestic fixed-line broadband rivals. "Our competitors do nothing but moan and groan," he told shareholders, referring to complaints over network access fees, Deutsche Telekom's technology choices, and the speed of deployment.

Critics "are only too happy to use our network," and "market our products under their name," once network expansion has been completed, the CEO noted.

"It would be better for Germany if others also contributed to expansion. Moaning won't build a network. Better to invest than criticise. Then we would have real infrastructure competition."

Such competition could be crucial to achieving the goals of next generation networks, which Höttges explained will be based on infrastructure that offers a seamless transition between optical fibre and mobile networks.

For more:
- see this Deutsche Telekom release

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