Swisscom is the Swiss market leader in the field of telecommunications. Since acquiring Fastweb in 2007, Swisscom’s international activities have been concentrated mainly in Italy. Fastweb is one of Italy’s largest broadband telecoms companies. Swisscom’s corporate strategy is focused on strengthening the company’s core business, which relies on a high-performance, secure and always-available infrastructure. Swisscom is also looking to grow by offering differentiated products and services and increasing the deployment of ICT. Major investments in network infrastructure ensure that Swisscom will continue to satisfy all its customers’ needs well into the future. Sustainable management and long-term responsibility are firmly enshrined in the company’s corporate culture. Swisscom owes its business success to the dedication and commitment of a 20,000-strong workforce which continually strives to develop new solutions for customers and the information society. Swisscom consistently invests in staff training and development, and is training more than 900 apprentices in Switzerland.
Swisscom generates over 80% of its net revenue and operating income before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from business operations in Switzerland. The company offers a full portfolio of products and services for fixed-line telephony, broadband, mobile communications and digital TV throughout Switzerland, and is mandated by the federal government to provide basic telecoms services to all sections of the population throughout Switzerland. Swisscom offers corporate customers a comprehensive range of communications solutions as well as individually tailored solutions. Swisscom is also a leading provider specialising in the integration and operation of IT systems in the fields of outsourcing, workplaces, SAP and finance services. Customers can purchase their products and services via a range of sales channels. They can check out products and services first hand and receive comprehensive advice in Swisscom’s own shops as well as in numerous partner outlets. They can also obtain product information and order products and services at any time online via the Swisscom website.
In the digital customer centre, which is also accessible via the Internet, customers can manage their personal details, subscriptions and bills on their own. Swisscom fosters close ties with all stakeholder groups: shareholders, investors, employees, suppliers, the general public, public authorities and, above all, its customers. It has long been committed to its Swiss roots and endeavours to ensure that all citizens benefit from leading-edge technologies. This is reflected in Swisscom’s solution-oriented approach, which is geared to serving the common good as well as the interests of the company.
The Swisscom brand is a strategic intangible asset for Swisscom in general, and for reputation management in particular. One of the main purposes of the brand is to optimally support Swisscom’s wide variety of business activities. The brand must consistently accompany the core business while at the same time remaining sufficiently elastic for new business opportunities.
The Swisscom Group offers core-business products and services under the Swisscom brand. Outside Switzerland, notably in Italy, Swisscom operates under the Fastweb brand. Swisscom also operates under a range of other brands in related business fields. The strategic management of the entire brand portfolio comes under the remit of Corporate Communications.
By merging Swisscom IT Services and the Corporate Business division of Swisscom Switzerland to create Enterprise Customers, Swisscom is consistently pursuing its strategy of positioning its brand in the core business of telecommunications and ICT. Thanks to the success of Swisscom TV, the Swisscom brand has confirmed and enhanced its credibility in the field of digital entertainment. Other key brands belonging to Swisscom are the Teleclub, Kitag and Cinetrade brands in the entertainment sector. A number of other state-of-the-art products such as iO and Docsafe help to strengthen the Swisscom brand and promote the “Best in the networked world – always and everywhere” vision, and to position Swisscom as a straightforward, inspiring and trustworthy companion in a rapidly-changing digital world.
In 2014 Swisscom was once more selected by consumers as the Most Trusted Brand in three categories in the Reader’s Digest annual survey, reflecting the brand’s awareness level in Switzerland. The brand thus remains well ahead of the competition in terms of “top-of-mind awareness” and is firmly anchored among consumers as a trustworthy, reliable and high-quality brand. Trust and service are among the most important factors that motivate potential customers to switch to Swisscom.
The Swisscom brand also symbolises Swisscom’s close ties with and commitment to Switzerland. Swisscom is part of the modern Switzerland. It takes seriously its responsibility of fostering the common denominators that characterise Switzerland. Swisscom’s consistent and manifold commitment to sustainability rounds off the brand’s positive image and enriches customer relations in a variety of ways. This is one reason why the reputation values achieved by the brand are exceptionally high for the telecommunications industry.
This is confirmed by the Interbrand “Best Swiss Brands 2014” Study, in which the Swisscom brand was once again ranked as Switzerland’s sixth most valuable brand with a monetary brand value of CHF 5 billion.
Swisscom’s network and IT infrastructure
Network infrastructure in Switzerland
Demand for broadband in the Swiss fixed network is doubling every 16 months, and every 12 months in the case of mobile customers, who want to use applications such as HD television, video conferencing and cloud services at any time, anywhere and on different devices. The key enabling element of the network of the future is Internet protocol (IP) technology. Swisscom decided to switch over all of its products and services to this forward-looking technology by the end of 2017. All IP will make processes and operations faster and more flexible, which will make not only Swisscom more competitive but also its business customers, and increase Switzerland’s attractiveness as a business hub. This will also fulfil the needs of Swisscom’s residential customers to have constant access to their data from anywhere and any device.
Switzerland already has one of the best IT and telecoms infrastructures in the world. According to OECD findings, Switzerland leads the world in terms of broadband penetration (44.9%), ahead of the Netherlands and Denmark (source: OECD Broadband Portal, December 2013). This result is further supported by the “State of the Internet report” issued by technology service provider Akamai, which ranked Switzerland in first place in Europe for ultra-broadband availability, and in third place worldwide. In mobile communications, broadband LTE coverage now extends to 97% of the population, making Swisscom the largest network operator in Switzerland by far, both in the fixed and mobile network.
The fixed network comprises two levels: an access network and a transport network. The access network consists of over 1,500 local exchanges and around 3.4 million subscriber access lines to end customers. Swisscom started to upgrade the fixed network a number of years ago. To drive forward ultra broadband provision in Switzerland, Swisscom has opted for a broad, innovative mix of technologies. In addition to Fibre to the Home (FTTH), Swisscom operates Fibre to the Street (FTTS) and Fibre to the Building (FTTB) since 2013, laying fibre-optic cables to within a short distance of individual homes and offices or in basements so as to achieve a significant further increase in bandwidth.
Copper cables are also evolving, doubling their capacity thanks to vectoring. Moreover, thanks to G.fast, the successor to VDSL, copper cables will soon be able to provide bandwidths of up to 500 Mbps. Through this mix of technologies, Swisscom had already installed over 1.4 million ultra-broadband connections by the end of 2014.
Swisscom wants to have installed 2.3 million ultra-fast broadband connections in homes and offices by the end of 2015, and by the year 2020 have equipped 85% of all homes and offices with ultra-fast broadband. In 2014 Swisscom invested CHF 1.75 billion in the IT and network infrastructure with this objective in mind. Swisscom honours its universal service provision mandate in remote-lying regions of Switzerland. It is also seeking new solutions to deliver higher bandwidth to remote regions. For example, Swisscom is looking at DSL-LTE bonding, a technology, which, thanks to high bandwidths, can supplement or in some cases replace the fixed network in areas which are less well connected.
Swisscom completed the modernisation of the mobile network in mid-2014, creating the basis for a rapid rollout of 4G/LTE technology across all mobile sites alongside second- and third-generation mobile technology. Thanks to the new frequency bands acquired by auction in 2012, Swisscom will be able to deploy all mobile technologies over the long term and in a needs-appropriate manner. To use the acquired frequency spectrum, Swisscom needs to switch frequencies. The first part of this switchover was carried out in 2014 as part of a coordinated project covering all Swiss mobile operators, and the second part is scheduled to take place in 2015.
In 2012 Swisscom was the first mobile provider in Switzerland to launch 4G/LTE commercially. Today Swisscom is already providing extended 4G/LTE coverage to 97% of the Swiss population, In regions with particularly high mobile traffic, along the streets and in busy public places 4G/LTE microcells ensure the required network capacity. Swisscom is increasingly installing dedicated antenna systems in large business premises and public interiors. 4G+ (LTE Advanced) installed in urban areas already provides for bandwidth speeds of up to 300 Mbps in the mobile Internet, and bandwidth speeds are set to increase to 450 Mbps by the end of 2015. Swisscom’s offerings are therefore leading the way, both in Switzerland and by international standards. Mobile telephony is also keeping up with the times. Today the LTE network is a dedicated data network, while voice telephony is implemented on its forerunners 3G and 2G. By introducing Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and WLAN Interworking, Swisscom is consistently driving forward IP transformation in the mobile network. Mobile voice telephony takes place via the digital Internet Protocol (IP), offering advantages in terms of voice quality and call setup.
Swisscom is continually expanding its broadband network, extending the product range and increasing the number of antenna sites. Swisscom is committed to deploying modern, needs-appropriate technologies in order to ensure efficiency and compliance with contemporary zoning requirements while also minimising emissions. It coordinates site expansions with other mobile providers wherever feasible and already shares around 22% of its nearly 6,800 antenna sites with other providers. And with over 2,000 hotspots in Switzerland, Swisscom is also the country’s leading provider of public wireless local area networks.
In a bid to improve efficiency, Swisscom is not only investing in latest-generation networks but also systematically decommissioning the earlier-generation networks.
Network infrastructure in Italy
Fastweb’s network infrastructure consists of a fibre-optic network spanning a total distance of over 37,500 kilometres. Fastweb thus reaches more than half of the Italian population, with 5.5 million homes and offices equipped with ultra-broadband at speeds of up to 100 Mbps, based on Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Fibre to the Street (FTTS).
Fastweb is continuing its expansion of the ultra-broadband network and by the end of 2016 aims to have covered around 7.5 million homes and offices, or around 30% of the population. In addition, thanks to wholesale services provided by well-established Italian operators, Fastweb reaches customers who are not directly connected to its own network.
While Fastweb does not have a mobile network of its own, it offers proprietary mobile services based on an agreement with another mobile operator (MVNO).
Swiss IT infrastructure
Swisscom operates 24 data centres around Switzerland, which currently store around 20 petabytes of data online. This volume more than doubles when taking into consideration the necessary data backups. In the Storage Area Network (SAN), more than 25,000 ports or active operating systems are provided for around 15,000 servers. Through its on-demand contracts with innovative partner companies, Swisscom is also able to ensure sufficient capacity and the deployment of efficient technologies at all times.
Mobile data traffic is increasing every year.
Investments in performance enhancement and security in the Swiss infrastructure and in ultra-broadband expansion
In the interest of sustainable resource management, Swisscom maximises energy-efficient operation of its data centres. The average annual power usage effectiveness (PUE) of Swisscom’s data centre in Zollikofen (Berne) is 1.3. This value, representing the ratio of total power consumed by the data centre to the power consumed by the IT systems, means that power consumption in Zollikofen is around 33% lower than that of conventionally built data centres. With a PUE of 1.2, the data centre in Wankdorf (Berne), which was inaugurated in September 2014, is even more energy-efficient.
Cloud technology further increases the efficiency of the data centres by enabling the distributed use of the underlying infrastructure platforms for customers. Customers can choose to store or process their data and applications in the private cloud, in dedicated zones within the public cloud, or in shared clouds.
Swisscom is planning to move up to 70% of its own work and production processes to the cloud in the coming years. In this way it will further enhance the knowledge advantage it needs to fulfil its role as a trustworthy partner for business customers in the digital world.
Fastweb’s IT infrastructure
Fastweb operates four main data centres in Italy with a total surface area of 8,000 square meters. The IT infrastructure consists of around 5,000 servers (virtual and physical servers in equal parts), 700 databases and 2.9 petabytes of storage capacity.
One of the data centres is managed by Ericsson on the basis of a multi-year contract which covers the setup and design of the data centre as well as the operational aspects of Fastweb’s IT infrastructure. Two other data centres are used by Fastweb mainly for corporate customer services, i.e. for housing, hosting or other cloud-based services.
Fastweb is currently investing EUR 25 million in the construction of two new data centres in Milan and Rome respectively, which will be used to host ICT and cloud services for corporate customers. Construction of the new data centre in Milan has been completed. It is the first data centre in Italy to attain Tier IV certification, which is synonymous with the highest levels of reliability, security and performance.
Data are one of the most valuable production factors in the information society. Swisscom is therefore committed to storing and transmitting information as securely and reliably as possible. Around 150 specialists work to ensure information security, data privacy and reliable network and Internet operations.
Swisscom also makes every effort to protect its customers’ data during telephone calls. All calls made over the mobile network are transmitted in encrypted form. Banks, insurance companies, hospitals and public services such as the police and fire services also need their communication infrastructure to operate as reliably and securely as possible. Many companies, institutions and services working in these sensitive areas rely on Swisscom services. Swisscom also provides secure cloud-based solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Customer data are subject to the Data Protection Act and the Telecommunications Act and may only be processed by individuals for whom such data are essential for the purposes of performing their tasks. Moreover, the purpose for which a customer’s data is viewed or processed must be apparent to the customer at all times. In accordance with the Data Protection Act, customer data also have to be protected against unauthorised use through appropriate technical and organisational measures. Swisscom therefore ensures that only a limited number of individuals are permitted to access customer data. As a rule, customer data is hosted in Switzerland. If a service is provided by Swisscom with the involvement of third parties, Swisscom may pass on data to third parties insofar as it is necessary for the provision of the services in question. Swisscom ensures that such third parties are bound by the same data protection provisions and that they may only process such data to the same extent as Swisscom itself is entitled. In addition, only such data as are required for the provision of services, the handling and maintenance of the customer relationship, and for the security of the company and its infrastructure, may be collected from Swisscom customers, processed and stored. Swisscom also processes the data for marketing purposes aimed at the customer-driven design and development of its services and offerings tailored to end users. Customers are able to keep their data from being used in this way by opting out. The Data Protection Act also requires customer data to be protected against unauthorised use through appropriate technical and organisational measures.