Digital transformation is characterized by steady growth
in demand for bandwidth and data driven by increasedconnectivity in more and more areas of professional andprivate life. The A1 Telekom Austria Group’s infrastructureforms the technological backbone for all of that.
The further development of the network infrastructure plays a central role in ensur-ing that the Group is optimally equipped for the dynamically growing requirementsin an era of digital change and because this forms the basis for innovative prod-ucts and services. Accordingly, the Group’s mobile and fixed network infrastructurewas continuously expanded once again in 2018. Convergence, i. e. the intelligentcombination of the mobile and fixed-line network infrastructure, enables efficientand extended regional coverage with increasingly large bandwidths. For this rea-son, the A1 Telekom Austria Group already has a presence as a convergent opera-tor in six of the seven core markets in its operational footprint (Austria, Bulgaria,Croatia, Belarus, Slovenia and the Republic of Macedonia). In order to meet the re-quirements of future mobile communication technologies such as 5G and new ser-vices based on them, the Group is continuing to press ahead with the roll-out offiber to mobile base stations. The next mobile communication standard 5G, the“Internet of Things” (IoT) and cloud-based services for the B2B market all requirehigh computing capacity. As a result, data centers are playing an increasingly im-portant role as the third pillar of A1 Telekom Austria Group’s infrastructure strategy.
The investments (CAPEX) of the A1 Telekom Austria Group totaled EUR 771 mn in the2018 financial year, with one of the focal points being the broadband expansion.
Fixed-line broadband expansion
In Austria, the fixed-line broadband expansion was continuously driven forwardby the accelerated fiber roll-out in the form of FTTC (fiber to the curb), FTTB (fiberto the building) and FTTH (fiber to the home). While fiber is coming closer andcloser to the customer, the capacity of existing copper lines is also being in-creased. This is being done with a combination of vectoring – a technology forsuppressing interfering signals – with transmission technologies such as VDSL2and G.fast. In this case, the target transmission rates are several 100 Mbps formedium line distances. The first generation of G.fast enables data rates of up to500 Mbps. 2018 also saw the start of the roll-out of Vectoring Plus (V.Plus), thelatest VDSL technology. This means significant increases in bandwidth to up to300 Mbps for medium line lengths.
With its Internet@Home portfolio, A1 offers an attractive solution for every cus-tomer requirement in Austria. Since July 2016, the traditional fixed-line broadbandoffering has been supplemented by a hybrid modem that combines the perfor-mance of the DSL fixed broadband line with LTE as required to achieve transmissionrates of up to 150 Mbps, thereby reaching more households with higher band-widths. In August 2018, a practical function was added to this product allowing thehybrid modem to be used via the mobile network for 30 days before the installationof fixed-line access. Mobile WiFi routers (“Net Cube”) also offer maximum flexibilityvia the mobile network and round off the Group’s broadband offering.
Mobile network expansion
The A1 Telekom Austria Group offers the LTE (long-term evolution) mobile com-munication standard in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, the Republic of Ser-bia, and the Republic of Macedonia. The accelerated roll-out of 4G LTE AdvancedPro in 2018 led to a significant expansion of the supply of superfast mobile Inter-net in Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, the Republic of Serbia, and the Republic ofMacedonia. To achieve even faster mobile Internet, the A1 Telekom Austria Groupis using LTE carrier aggregation with 256 QAM (a complex modulation technique)at selected locations in Austria, Croatia, and the Republic of Serbia, enablingdata rates of up to 400 Mbps. As part of the roll-out of 4G LTE Advanced Pro in allcountries covered by the A1 Telekom Austria Group, 4x4 MIMO (multiple inputmultiple output) is also being used to increase data transmission speeds on atargeted basis where these capacities are required.
Carrier aggregation, complex modulation techniques and even more powerfulforms of MIMO (massive MIMO) will also play a key role in the next mobile commu-nications generation 5G, since these serve as the technological basis for highbandwidths and the particularly efficient use of the available frequency bands. Inthe 2018 financial year, the A1 Telekom Austria Group successfully demonstratedvarious examples of the application of 5G services based on a 5G radio cell and a5G core in its live network, achieving transmission rates in excess of 1.4 Gbpsand latencies of less than four milliseconds. The base station used in the demon-stration was based on hardware that is already available, which was connected tomassive MIMO active antennas. One of the main driving forces behind 5G tech-nology, massive MIMO marks the introduction of a new, advanced concept thatsupports the formation of 3D radio fields, thereby dramatically increasingthroughput, network capacity, and coverage. Further examples of the applicationof 5G mobile technology were demonstrated in Croatia, where the Group becamethe first network operator in the country to achieve transmission speeds in excessof 20 Gbps.
Data security campus networks are playing an increasingly important role formany industrial partners. The A1 Telekom Austria Group covers this requirementwith edge computing, a solution that gives industrial customers the option oftransmitting their own data via 4G LTE Advanced Pro or NB-IoT (narrowband IoT)without it leaving the company’s internal network. At the same time, campus net-works enable the use of dedicated resources for internal communications. Somesolutions of this nature were already successfully tested with selected industrialpartners in 2018.
In the area of management systems, the A1 Telekom Austria Group has initiatedthe development of a future operations support system (future OSS). Systems ofthis type differ from existing management systems in that the data to be pro-cessed is stored in a data lake and processed from there. This open structuremakes it possible to respond to new requirements extremely quickly and to ad-dress new questions in service assurance in a short space of time.
Data centers as the third pillar ofinfrastructure
State-of-the-art, highly secure data centers will continue to gain in importance inthe future. Accordingly, they represent the third pillar of the A1 Telekom AustriaGroup’s infrastructure strategy alongside mobile and fixed-line networks. Thefollowing technological developments are playing a key role in this process:
▸Network function virtualization (NFV) can be performed in IT data centers withincreased agility and standard IT hardware.
▸Growing customer demand for cloud-based solutions (e. g. SaaS1), PaaS2),IaaS3)) via secure local data centers
▸Edge computing allows applications like IoT, advanced analytics and 5G tounleash their full potential. Applications requiring large processing power arerun as closely as possible to the place of performance at decentralized orregional data centers.
In 2018, the A1 Telekom Austria Group successfully pressed ahead with networkfunction virtualization (NFV) in all countries. Data communication is now con-trolled using virtual network components in all of the markets in its operationalfootprint. The A1 Telekom Austria Group will complete the virtualization of its coremobile networks in 2019.
A1 Digital: Ideal partner for digitaltransformation
Thanks to the growing spread of connectivity and increasingly high transmissionrates, the digital transformation is in full swing – and is radically changing tradition-al business models. Digitalization is not a temporary trend or something that onlyconcerns the IT department. It is a key strategic topic that enjoys correspondingrelevance at management level. A1 Digital supports companies in the challengingprocess of digital transformation as a one-stop shop for digitalization and technol-ogy advice. A1 Digital works with companies to develop the best technical solutionfor customer interaction, business process optimization, the development of newbusiness models, and communication with partners and suppliers.
A1 Digital – founded in early 2017 as a affiliate of the A1 Telekom Austria Group –focuses on Europe, encompassing the Group’s existing markets in the CEE regionas well as new markets in Western Europe, especially Germany. A team of experi-enced experts advises customers on IoT services like asset tracking, fleetmanagement, smart metering, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI)applications. The digital value chain is being enhanced further with innovative,scalable cloud services and the new security portfolio.
In the 2018 financial year, a dedicated security team was established at A1 Digi-tal in response to growth in the rate of cybercrime. The portfolio includes an inter-nally developed vulnerability scanning solution that warns customers about po-tential security gaps in their IT systems, as well as security consulting services.
Promoting innovation with the “A1 Start UpCampus” and research partnerships
The A1 Telekom Austria Group focuses on a wide range of areas in its researchand development (R&D). The topic of innovation has been implemented as astrategic cornerstone of this process. In Austria, the “A1 Start Up Campus” initia-tive aims to help young companies to realize innovations by providing the neces-sary expertise and infrastructure. The “A1 Start Up Campus” offers selected com-pany founders free office space fitted with state-of-the-art technology, as well asdata center services and cloud space. The young entrepreneurs can also call onthe advice of A1 specialists in all relevant business disciplines, including market-ing, sales, and controlling. The “A1 Start Up Campus” offering is rounded off bysupport in the area of public relations.
Research partnerships with notable scientific and industrial partners and jointprojects with national and international institutions are supporting the A1Telekom Austria Group in the launch of technologies of the future for market- andcustomer-oriented communications solutions. The A1 Telekom Austria Group isalso a partner of the Industry 4.0 platform and is addressing the interoperabilityof IoT platforms within the Europe-wide H2020 project symbIoTe. symbIoTe issupported by the European Union and is intended to promote research in thearea of IoT.
The A1 Telekom Austria Group’s technology and infrastructure provides solidfoundations for the broad and innovative portfolio with which the Group meets itscustomers’ needs. In order to identify current and future customer requirementsand find out how its products and services are being received on the market, theA1 Telekom Austria Group uses a wide range of information channels includingshops and service lines, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube aswell as customer apps and its own support communities.
The Group is adapting to the dynamic shift in lifestyle and usage habits in the eraof digitalization by continuously expanding its product portfolio. Current innova-tions such as “A1 Smart Home” and “A1 Xplore Music” are good examples of thisprocess. “A1 Smart Home” allows customers to conveniently connect electronicdevices in their households, optimally customize them to reflect their own habits,and increase security within their own home. The “A1 Smart Home” service iseasy to install and connects via its own gateway to a user-friendly mobile app.The system, whose servers are located solely in the EU, uses innovative, self-learning algorithms to create automation scenarios that it suggests to customers– such as turning off the heating system when a window is opened. The smarthome product was successfully established and enhanced on the market in fourcountries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia) in 2018.
With “A1 Xplore Music”, the A1 Telekom Austria Group began offering another at-tractive service in Austria and Bulgaria in 2018. Customers use an app or a webbrowser to enjoy their favorite music whenever and wherever they like. “A1 XploreMusic” has more than 30 million songs and over 10,000 live radio stations in its li-brary. In addition to international content, local music editors create playlists andrecommendations that are tailored to the listening habits in the respective country.
The company has adopted customer experience management and customercentricity as core principles in order to ensure a consistently winning customerexperience across all products, services and processes and in all interactions.Customer needs and requirements are systematically identified and recorded.This then forms the basis for developing and implementing innovative optimiza-tion measures aimed at allowing customers to experience the A1 brand’s distinctvalues even more positively.
Around 70 % of customers who have contacted one of the customer interfaceswould “definitely recommend” the A1 Telekom Austria Group, with customersatisfaction rising significantly across all channels in 2018.
With more than 1.3 million active users per month, the self-care app is are animportant communications channel for many customers, allowing them to quicklyand easily find out how many free units they have used, view their bills, changetariffs, manage add-ons and much more.
Providing the best possible digital customer experience is also the idea behindthe new shop design of the A1 Telekom Austria Group. In addition to personalservice and a local presence, the innovative concept offers the ideal atmospherein which to try out products, exciting solutions that bring digitalization to life,touchscreen-based interactive advice, and state-of-the-art design with a feel-good character.
Ecological network design
The biggest environmental impact caused by the A1 Telekom Austria Group is dueto the electricity used in operating its networks. This accounts for around 80 % ofthe Group’s total energy requirements. The introduction of the next mobile com-munication standard 5G, will enable quicker data transmission and larger band-widths. At the same time, a strong increase in the electricity requirements for 5Gcommunication is anticipated. The A1 Telekom Austria Group has been workingto improve its energy efficiency for a number of years. In addition to high servicequality, the use of the latest RAN (Radio Access Network) components at the sub-sidiaries of the A1 Telekom Austria Group ensures energy efficiency within thecompany. To this end, old components are being replaced as part of the LTE roll-out. Innovative cooling techniques like hotspot suction, cold aisle containmentand heat recovery systems also help to reduce electricity requirements by up to75 % compared with conventional cooling systems. All in all, the A1 TelekomAustria Group improved its energy efficiency 2) by 24 % between 2017 and 2018.Total energy consumption in 2018 amounted to approximately 810,900 MWhwith electricity consumption of about 300,600 MWh of which 62 % was generat-ed from renewable energy sources.
The A1 Telekom Austria Group follows fundamental ecological principles in itslifecycle management with a view to preventing waste, conserving resources andkeeping valuable raw materials in circulation for as long as possible (“Reduce –Reuse – Recycle”). Equipment and devices that no longer work are systematicallydisassembled and their components are properly recycled.
Energy from sustainable sources
Efficiency measures alone are not enough to compensate for total electricityvolumes, which is why the A1 Telekom Austria Group takes steps to ensure that anyamount of electricity that cannot be reduced by taking appropriate measures is assustainable as possible, for example by using electricity from renewable sourcessuch as solar, hydro, and wind (see “Social and Ecological Responsibility”). The A1Telekom Austria Group’s largest solar park opened in Belarus in mid-2016, spans41 hectares and has 85,000 solar panels, which produce roughly 27 million kWhof electricity per year. In Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Belarus, Slovenia, and the Re-public of Serbia, there are 100 mobile base stations running on solar and windpower or on hydrogen fuel cells.
Despite research findings such as those presented by the European Commis-sion’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks(SCENIHR), which find no causal link between mobile communications and healthproblems, constant speculation surrounds the topic of mobile communications inconnection with electromagnetic fields (EMF). In Austria, the international expo-sure limit recommendations of the EU, the WHO and the ICNIRP (InternationalCommission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) are implemented in thecurrent OVE Directive R 23-1 from 2017, the application of which is mandatory.The A1 Telekom Austria Group complies with — and even keeps well below — allexposure limits recommended by the ICNIRP/WHO for daily operations involvingbase stations and mobile devices. ▬
Up to 250 m
Up to 500 m
Up to 800 m
Fiber to the Building
Fiber to the Curb
(VDSL2 incl. vectoring)
Fiber to the Curb
(V.Plus incl. vectoring)
1) Access Remote Unit
Fiber to the Home
Mobile communications technologies at a glance
Targeted > 1 Gbps
High bandwidth andminimal latency
No data transmission
1974 – 2001
Up to 400 Mbps
Voice and highspeeddata services
0,3 – 42 Mbps
Voice and broadbanddata services
9,6 – 236 Kbps
Voice and firstdata services
The new A1 Next Generation Data Center openedin Vienna in December 2018. To that end, theGroup invested a total of around EUR 40 mn in fi-nancial years 2017 and 2018. A powerful networkand highly avail- able data centers form the basisfor digitalization, for which A1 intends to be thepreferred partner for Austrian business and pri-vate customers. The A1 Next Generation DataCenter is a georedundant grouping of A1’s datacenters, meaning it offers a combination of cloud,hosting, and housing services. The new data cen-ter represents the convergence of telecommuni-cations and IT services without data having toleave the closed, highly secure chain.
1) Software as a Service.
2) Platform as a Service.
3) Infrastructure as a Service.
A1 Digital’s product portfolio
at a glance
▸Sector-specific applications for IoT
(Internet of Things) with a new IoT platform
▸Exoscale cloud platform and cloud-basedproducts for the modern workplace
▸Security solutions for cloud, IoT and OT(operational technology) such as protectionagainst hacking
The Helix Nebula initiative is a partnership between industry,space aviation, and science. The aim is to use open cloudservices to establish a dynamic, seamlessly integratedecosystem between research institutions and companies.
A syndicate headed by RHEA, a professional engineeringservice partner, was selected as the technology provider forthe project. RHEA is using Exoscale, a subsidiary of A1 Digital,for the entire infrastructure.
The initiative currently involves more than 40 public andprivate partners including CERN, the European Organizationfor Nuclear Research, which is one of the world’s largest andmost prestigious centers for scientific research. The uniqueAPI (Application Programming Interface) functions and rapidresponse time for the provision of cloud infrastructure makeExoscale the ideal platform for the project.
Network quality awards in 2018
▸Chip network test: winner (Austria)
▸connect test: excellent (Austria)
▸PC Magazin network test: winner (Austria)
▸futurezone network test: winner (Austria)
▸DMTEL GSM/UMTS/LTE quality test:
mobile data traffic
2017: 3.4 GB
2023: 17 GB
fixed-line data traffic
2017: 15 EB1)
2023: 107 EB
2017: 17.5 billion
2023: 31.4 billion
2017: 80 EB
2023: 250 EB
Source: Ericsson Mobility Report (2018)
1)One exabyte is equivalent to one quintillion (1018)bytes or one billion gigabytes.
2)Energy efficiency is defined as electricityconsumption per terabyte of data transported.
More data use alsodemands more security
A1 Telekom Austria Group
data protection certifications
▸ECO Datacenter 3.0
Republic of Macedonia
The A1 Telekom Austria Group ensures that its customers are on the safeside when it comes to seizing the oppor- tunities and potential related toadvancing digitalization.
All companies of the A1 Telekom Austria Group undertake to comply with strin-gent data protection and data security standards. In addition to the statutory re-quirements in the respective countries, all subsidiaries must also adhere to thestandards of data security created for this purpose and any other country-specif-ic guidelines on data security and data protection. At A1 in Austria, for example,compre- hensive certificates such as ISO 27001, ISAE 3402, and ECO Datacen-ter 3.0 confirm these high security standards. The Data Privacy department is incharge of compliance with statutory and internal data protection regulations atA1 in Austria.
The company works continuously and systematically on achieving further opti-mization in these areas in order, for instance, to effectively counteract attacks ondatabases such as the one in Austria in early October 2018. In this particular ex-ample, the server concerned was removed from the network immediately and ac-cess to it was blocked. Passwords were reset as a precaution and customers wereinformed in writing. A1 cooperated fully with the data protection authorities re-garding this incident.
Harmonization of data protection
In response to the expanded requirements imposed on com- panies by the Eu-ropean Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, the position of a data pro-tection officer was established in the A1 Telekom Austria Group in mid-2017. TheGeneral Data Protection Regulation represents a major challenge both now andin the years ahead. In May 2016, data protection law in the European Union washarmonized and subjected to largely uniform rules. At the heart of this is the pro-tection of personal data with the aim of giving those affected greater control overtheir data, providing comprehensive information on the use of such data, guar-anteeing greater protection for children, and facilitating access to legal protec-tion. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has been in force since May 25,2018, and A1 Telekom Austria Group has been working since 2016 to graduallyimplement it in the countries covered by the regulation. For example, corre-sponding process adjustments were made for projects and products. The annualrisk assessment was also adapted to take into account the requirements of theGeneral Data Protection Regulation. ▬