“Through our strategic plan to accelerate FTTH rollout by OTE, we firmly support the vision for Greece’s digital transformation. It’s a complex project of enormous importance for the country,” stated Dominique Leroy, member of the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom AG, responsible for the Board Area Europe, in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).
Commenting on Greece as an investment destination, Leroy said that “the country has made a significant progress in every sector. Greece has faced many challenges in the past, but it knows how to cope, overcome the obstacles, and look ahead (…) We pass a vote of confidence in its growth prospects.”
According to Leroy, OTE Group will bring the high-speed optical fiber (FTTH) to three million households and businesses by 2027, raising its overall investment plan to more than 3bn euros. As she points out, “this is the biggest investment in network infrastructure of the last decades in Greece. And it is a real game-changing initiative for Greece because it will create new prospects for digital growth. State-of-the-art networks are a precondition for the digital transformation of the country, society and businesses, having an indisputable positive impact on the economy, society and the environment.”
She is optimistic with regards to OTE’s future course, since OTE “has gravitas, inspired management, concrete strategy, highly dedicated colleagues, and a powerful growth plan”. She characterized Deutsche Telekom’s investment in Greece as “long-term and of strategic significanced and advocated that “to secure Europe’s tomorrow, we need to invest in sustainability today.”
Dominique Leroy is a member of the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom AG, responsible for the Board Area Europe, since November 2020. She has over 30 years of experience in the consumer goods and telecommunications sector and more than 10 years of Board experience.
The full interview follows:
OTE Group announced a very big investment in fiber optics. Why this and why now?
We have recently seen how connectivity and digitization are key for citizens and enterprises to thrive in the pandemic period. Working from home, remote schooling, eHealth, digital ID and governmental access, smart cities, smart enterprises, are key drivers for the country growth and its population well-being.
We have seen great progress done recently in the digitalization of Greece, but more is to come. Deutsche Telekom and OTE have been part of this journey and we want now to accelerate our investments even further. We have decided to commit a more than 3bn euro investment to bring a state-of-the-art fiber optic network to more than 3m households and enterprises in Greece. Our goal is to make Greece fit for the upcoming next decades.
Towards that direction, DT and OTE Group have commenced two great initiatives:
For all our retail customers that cannot enjoy optical fiber yet, we will double the speed of their access-points, where it is technically possible. That means: If you are now using 24Mbps, you will use 50Mbps without additional costs.
In addition, we will bring the high-speed optical fiber (FTTH) to three million households and businesses by 2027. With our investment alone, we will cover almost two thirds of Greece’s lines with fiber. The FTTH roll out has already begun. OTE has the biggest fiber optic network in Greece, counting almost 560,000 homes. By the end of 2022, the Group is expected to cover with FTTH 1 mn. households and businesses. I am very confident that we will reach our goal of three million lines by 2027.
Through our strategic plan to accelerate FTTH rollout, we firmly support the vision for the country’s digital transformation and pass a vote of confidence in its growth potential. It’s a complex project of enormous importance for the country. I am sure that OTE’s people and management can carry this project through, as proven by their track record.
What does this investment mean for Greece?
This is the biggest investment in network infrastructure of the last decades in Greece. And it is a real game-changing initiative for Greece because it will create new prospects for digital growth. State-of-the-art networks are a precondition for the digital transformation of the country, society and businesses, having an indisputable positive impact on the economy, society and the environment.
Small and Medium Greek Enterprises will be able to thrive and participate in the global competitive landscape.
Furthermore, network infrastructure is a key factor for the attraction of investments that will contribute to the creation of new jobs. Everyday life will also change to the better, since FTTH will upgrade education, health services and entertainment.
Additionally, our two initiatives will significantly help to improve the country’s performance in EU benchmark, the so-called DESI.
What is your opinion on the local telecommunications’ market?
The telco market in Greece is quite competitive and active. The recent mergers have created strong players. Strong players lead to more investments in the country and thus, to more choices and better services for the customer.
For me, customer satisfaction is utmost important. We are raising the bar every single day, challenging ourselves to offer the best networks, the best customer experience and value propositions. I believe in customer centricity and I am glad that my OTE colleagues are sharing the same passion for the customer. That is why we are delivering excellent results. The management and every employee have turned OTE into a role model within the Deutsche Telekom Group. High performance and innovation are not just buzzwords for OTE. They have built the best networks and have been established as a force of digital transformation.
OTE has gravitas, inspired management, concrete strategy, highly dedicated colleagues, and a powerful growth plan. Therefore, I am optimistic with regards to its future course.
Where does Greece stand as an investment destination? What should be done for the attraction of foreign investors?
During the 10-year crisis, many companies left the country. Not us. Deutsche Telekom stayed. The country has made a significant progress in every sector. Deutsche Telekom’s investment in Greece is long-term and of strategic significance to us. Greece is an amazing country, with great people. The country has faced many challenges in the past, but it knows how to cope, overcome the obstacles, and look ahead. That is why we raise up to the responsibility, support the vision for digital transformation and pass a vote of confidence in the country’s growth prospects.
To further attract investments, Greece must continue its reform journey. It is important to have, among others, a predictable and stable legal and regulatory environment that reduces bureaucracy and stimulates investments. A clear, simple and predictable tax system is also of utmost importance.
As the Board Member of Deutsche Telekom Europe, you have a clear overview of the European markets and its prospects. What is of highest importance for Europe today?
To secure Europe’s tomorrow, we need to invest in sustainability today.
Deutsche Telekom is one of the biggest brands worldwide and one of the biggest corporations across its footprint. This comes with a great deal of responsibility to have a positive impact on society. As a telco provider, we have identified two strategic fields to contribute to a better society: Digital Inclusion and improving our environmental impact.
For us, equal access to digital technologies is imperative for building a better tomorrow. We have programs in place to improve digital skills of citizens and our employees. We have given ourselves very strong environmental targets to bring down the company’s direct and indirect emissions to zero by 2025 and to be a net zero company by 2040 at the latest, by eliminating its carbon footprint. We need a joint approach, and we aim to lead by example.