Since it entered the German market in 2005 with the acquisition of the O2, Telefónica has become one of the three leading integrated telecommunications providers in Germany. In the mobile segment alone, Telefónica Deutschland is the market leader. In 2014 Telefónica Deutschland acquired E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH. Now the company is working on a simplified management structure across Telefónica Deutschland’s entire mobile access, core and fixed network operations.
Quality monitoring and surveillance this extensive network has been the responsibility of Marcus Thurand, VP of Network Operations since 2013, but his job has evolved almost out of recognition. The networks not only have to be reliable; they have to be smart enough to cope with a new era of communications. As the CEO Markus Haas pointed out in March at CeBIT, Hannover: “Due to the continuous progress of network technology, I have unlimited possibilities of using digital means to make life easier. Regarding the internet of things, we will see an enormous growth in connecting devices via Narrowband IoT. For instance electricity and water meters. Also with applications for consumer the internet of things will open entirely new dimensions in core areas such as mobility and health. This can only be beneficial for all of us.”
In order to meet all the increasing requirements our network has to be very resilient. Thurand and his team look after the 24-hour surveillance of the entire network, as well as configuration and integration and all new hardware and software affecting it, and providing network support to large business customers.
His department's emphasis has radically shifted with the setting up of a new Service Operations Centre. The company brought in Accenture to help define the shape of the innovative network organisation and the process of transitioning from the former model to the new SOC organisation. Launched on April 16 2017, the Munich-based centre has its own premises and staff. Its very existence shows how significant both perspectives are. The customer engagement is as much important as the inward-looking network management, he says. “These days we're looking at the network not only from a technical point of view but stronger from the user experience by trying to understand what the customers are really doing with our services.”
The Service Operations Centre uses custom built software. The system technology is mainly made available by long-time Telefónica partner Huawei. “Using this software we are able to look into the customer experience from interactions on the network and assess whether it was good or not,” says Thurand.
We all know that checking out a YouTube clip, for example, can be a very different experience. Sometimes it's perfect, sometimes it stalls or distorts. We are unlikely to know why, but now Telefónica can tell us. “We aggregate anonymous user experiences to see whether certain services in a certain region are behaving well or poorly and deduce whether we can do something about that and help the customer have a better experience,” Thurand explains.