Fighting for collaboration and the future of fibre – PSI joins VATM

In 1998, Germany’s fixed-line telecommunications market opened up. Until then, the country’s telecom infrastructure had been run by a monopoly, but now the telecommunications market is is being liberalised, giving many more organisations a chance to be a part of this fast evolving sector.

To ensure, that the shift really creates a balanced market, a new organisation was founded: the VATM, or Association of Telecommunications and Value-Added Service Providers.

Though we’ve come far, creating a fair and balanced competitive market is just as much a relevant challenge today as it was in 1998. The terms of that challenge, however, are new – dominated by Germany’s transition from copper to full-fibre infrastructure.

PSI has just become a member of the VATM. We spoke to Dr. Frederic Ufer, Managing Director at VATM to hear why the transition to fibre is at the forefront of the industry’s attention, why the situation is unique in Germany, and how we can move forward together.

Collaboration will be essential for competition

“The VATM brings together a diverse range of industry players,” says Frederic . “These are companies rolling out fibre optics, investors, mobile network operators, TowerCos, service providers and suppliers.”

The association is keen to enable collaborative efforts between these companies. That’s ultimately what they need to do to ensure there’s a thriving, competitive, non-monopolistic telecommunications environment. One that ultimately benefits consumers and businesses alike.

Germany has the highest growth rate for FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) in Europe. However, they’re also starting from the smallest install base, and there are several reasons for this. One is a lack of open access – which enables several service providers to use the same access network infrastructure simultaneously, giving customers more choice.

“Open access is a crucial focus, so we’re advocating for agreements between providers and consumers,” says Frederic . “If we’re going to ensure a quick and efficient expansion of 5G and fibre optics infrastructure, collaboration will be essential.”

Three challenges Germany faces with fibre optics

Germany’s telecommunications market has taken a distinctive trajectory, Frederic says. He names three hurdles that lie between the country’s telecom present and its future.

1) Transitioning from copper to glass

“Germany has a well-established copper-based telecommunications network that has served the country for decades,” says Frederic, “and this has delayed the country’s need to transition to newer technologies.”

For years, the copper network has been a strength of Germany. It’s been robust, it’s been more effective than other nations’ infrastructure, but this historic advantage has also meant that not every consumer has been clear on why they should switch to fibre.

“Telecom companies will need to delicately manage the gradual phasing out of traditional infrastructure,” says Frederic . “So VATM is actively engaging in discussions about the transition from copper to glass.”

2) A matter of geography

Compared to smaller European nations, Germany’s population is more broadly dispersed over an even wider landscape – one that includes mountain ranges and vast forests.

“This makes Germany a more challenging terrain for extensive infrastructure deployment,” says Frederic . “The geographical expanse and diverse topography combine to make the deployment of 5G and fibre optics networks a logistical puzzle.”

3) The speed of politics

Finally, Germany faces the challenge that often faces us all: ensuring security for investment. Companies across the country need to find a way to secure the necessary funds for widespread implementation.

“The capital-intensive nature of the deployment of 5G and fibre optics infrastructure demands significant financial resources,” says Frederic . “Federalisation, though, with its varying authorisation procedures, is creating bureaucratic hurdles.”

Technology will be a part of the solution

While a number of these challenges will need to be overcome by political and partnership-based solutions, finding the funding for new infrastructure will be made easier when take-up is strong. Technology will play a significant role here.

“Technology has become an integral part of sales management,” says Frederic . “It enables companies to adapt to market dynamics, improve sales efficiency, and deliver enhanced services to their customers.”

It’s not only a matter of efficiency though, Frederic says, it’s also one of reach. Some potential customers simply won’t hear of an offer unless a company starts using a multichannel approach.

“The widespread adoption of digital channels for sales, such as online platforms, mobile apps, and e-commerce portals, allows telecom companies to reach a broader audience,” says Frederic . “Considering that 75 % percent of the fiber contracts are achieved by door to door salesmen, customer management systems like PSI’s platform, that also supply an offline mode, can create a more convenient and seamless purchasing experience.”

This is one of the reasons why VATM is partnering with PSI

“Companies like PSI have demonstrated success in other telco markets across Europe and have designed their technology to fit the specific needs of telecom providers based on this experience,” says Frederic. “The partnership should help accelerate the FTTP rollout by making it easier for providers to access potential customers whether that be in urban or rural areas.”

At PSI we know that building trust in the industry will be essential. So enabling ethical sales is a priority for PSI, and our technology is designed to reinforce the code of conduct presented by VATM.

“By working with a solution like PSI’s, companies can be confident that they’re growing their sales channels with an industry expert,” says Frederic. “They’ll be seen as a trusted provider that does things ‘the right way’.”

For more on PSI’s software see our article on how PSI’s sales software raises the game for customer experience or see our buyer’s guide to PSI.