What technologies do you see changing / shaping the industry and how?
Many new technologies over the last years have changed the industry, and many more are in development that will in turn cause even greater change. Those include the advent of IP and IP-based services, Internet of Things, big data, artificial intelligence, virtualization, SDN, NFV, blockchain and cloud connectivity. All this has sped up industry transformation by necessitating more agility, wider-ranging portfolios and better security offerings. These new technologies have also lowered the barrier of entry so that many new players have recently entered the market including those not in the wholesale market. In order to stay competitive, telcos today have to change their business models, reduce cost structures, boost service offerings and deliver better customer experiences.

What impact will industry changes have on digital transformation plans within organizations?
Organizations will need to be more aware of industry changes and understand how to benefit from them. AI, blockchain and software defined networks are, I believe, the primary technologies that will change how we currently operate and thus transform the plans of organizations down the line. Due to these technologies, some tasks will be automated and handled digitally, or by machines – so they have the potential to dramatically change our current business models.

What broad trends do you see in telecoms in the next 12 months?
Over the next year I would expect telcos to enhance their IoT portfolios, intensify their implementation of SDN and adopt the technologies I previously talked about. There has already been an increase in use cases of blockchain, which can help in several areas, for example by tracking usage of roaming services and allowing real-time settlement. AI will increase in popularity for back-office or customer service functions such as billing or client portals. Big data has potential, but it’s difficult to say to what extent it can be brought into service as data privacy regulations become a bigger topic.

I’m sure there will be further consolidation within the industry, as has recently happened in the voice area with Tofane and iBasis, or in the transport and enterprise area with GTT and Interoute. All sub-segments could possibly be impacted. And of course, there will be unabated traffic growth, driven by technology improvement, regulatory measures such as Roam like at Home and other factors. All this will create opportunities, but also lots of challenges, especially to top-line revenue.

Rolf Nafziger has been responsible for the International Wholesale Business Unit (IBU) of Deutsche Telekom AG since his appointment as Senior Vice President IBU in 2013. His organization includes all operations in Carrier Sales, Mobile Wholesale Roaming and the Inflight Business of Deutsche Telekom. He also oversees the Eu-ropean Aviation Network project – the world’s first integrated satellite and LTE-based ground network for passenger connectivity.

Rolf was previously in charge of the EU Marketing Department at Deutsche Telekom where he was responsible for Segment Marketing, Pricing, CRM, Customer Intelli-gence and Market Research for the European Segment. Prior to this, he directed B2B Product Management for fixed-line operations, then ran the T-Com Pricing Depart-ment and was later appointed as SVP for Pricing & Marketing Intelligence at T-Mobile Germany. During this time he was instrumental in fixed-line turn around, the push of data services, the introduction of the iphone offer portfolio, the first Android launch, the renewal of the European CRM systems and the design of customer-centric roaming offers.

With a strong track record in B2B and B2C business and a focus on Marketing, International Sales, Business Management and Strategy, Rolf is also known for his dedication to fostering innovation projects. This is in large part due to his awareness for coming trends in the market and his ability to nurture a culture of creativity and entre-preneurship.

Before his time with Deutsche Telekom, Rolf worked as a photo journalist for Associated Press and Reuters, later as a Management Consultant. As a photographer he was rewarded the World Press Photo Award.

Rolf holds a PhD and Degree in Business Administration from the University of Cologne as well as a CEMS Master in International Management. In addition to his many accomplishments, Rolf is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of T-Mobile Austria.