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Deutsche Telekom’s confident outlook fueled by innovation and growth

“We are gathering momentum for the future!” After a very successful 2023 financial year, CEO Tim Höttges believes Deutsche Telekom is well positioned for further growth. Key factors include innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI). At the shareholders’ meeting of Europe’s leading telecommunications company at the World Conference Centre in Bonn, Höttges was confident: “We can do this, despite headwinds. And despite tough regulation.” And he added: „The future is not far beyond the horizon. It is right in front of us. We are shaping this future. With every step.”

Talking about the rapidly growing importance of AI, Höttges said: “AI is here to stay. AI is the future. We now use AI in some 400 projects, Deutsche Telekom-wide. It helps us optimize quality. It brings us closer to our customers. It enhances our productivity. By up to 50 percent for routine tasks.”

On the stage of the shareholders’ meeting, Höttges gave a live demonstration, with examples such as chatbots and the T-Car. The Frag Magenta digital assistant uses a chatbot to handle customer requests. Voice-controlled, it is able to reliably answer questions around the clock. Frag Magenta has already resolved millions of issues on its own in the last year. Deutsche Telekom is already using AI in its fiber-optic build-out. T-Cars deliver a digital image of the roads and analyze the collected data using AI. The system recognizes different surfaces such as asphalt or cobblestones, checks whether trees or street lights are in the way, and makes suggestions for the optimum fiber-optic route. In the last few years, 140,000 kilometers of road network have been recorded, with more than 145 million photos taken, providing more than 750 terabytes of data. Thanks to the T-Cars and new planning systems, 75 percent of labour time for structural planning has been saved.

The CEO referred to the high investments made by the Group. “In the last ten years, we have invested more than 173 billion euros. The result: Today, we are top of the class in almost every network test. In mobile communications in Germany, number one in every single test for the last ten years.” And according to Höttges, this is to continue, in particular with the current build-out of pure fiber-optic lines (FTTH). “We are building more in Germany than anyone else. Two out of every three new lines. 2.6 million homes passed last year. We are sustaining this pace. Even as it becomes harder to do so. Because we, too, are affected by inflation.” Tim Höttges argued once again for faster approval processes and alternative laying techniques. He stressed the importance of the successful business in the United States for Deutsche Telekom. “T-Mobile US is paying out dividends for the first time, around half of which come to us. If it were not for the success of our U.S. business, our high investments in Germany and Europe would be impossible.”

Höttges outlined the growth course for the Company going forward. “Digitalization is our future. That is how we will make our customers happier. We can earn more. And reduce our costs. This is where we will grow in future.” According to the CEO, the scale of Deutsche Telekom is to deliver a decisive advantage here: “A large part of our costs is incurred from the development of products such as routers, from applications for business customers, or from software that we develop, for instance for network management. The more customers we have, the less consequential these costs become. Today, Deutsche Telekom has 300 million customers worldwide. Our task going forward will be to leverage this advantage. Scale lightens the load!”

Shareholders are to participate in last year’s positive business development by way of a higher dividend. The Board of Management and Supervisory Board are proposing a dividend of 77 eurocents per share, up from 70 eurocents per share a year earlier.

CT Bureau

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