LIVE FROM BROADBAND WORLD FORUM, BERLIN: Deutsche Telekom tipped its connected home platform to become the fourth major strand of its business, as it revealed aims to expand international rollout of the service.

Matthias Mieves, head of new business and sales for Deutsche Telekom’s connected home division, told Mobile World Live (MWL) the company is targeting strong growth for the unit, positioning it alongside wireless, fixed and TV in its multiplay strategy.

The company aims to bring “millions of customers” onto the Magenta SmartHome-branded platform, which connects a range of devices from smart speakers to home security systems.

In addition to providing the underlying connectivity and app, Deutsche Telekom sells the associated devices, a move Mieves said increases customer loyalty and works as a defensive play against other companies eyeing its core markets.

The system is currently available in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy and Slovakia, either directly from Deutsche Telekom and its affiliates, or through partner operators which use a white label version of the platform.

Mieves said the service is set to be launched in Norway and Greece in the “next weeks” with wider rollout in 2018.

Customer numbers in Germany stood at 183,000 at end Q2 and are tipped to have hit 200,000 in Q3.

“The target is to bring it to mass market with millions of customers,” he added: “Deutsche Telecom had three priorities in Germany for many years, broadband, mobile and TV. Three big categories, but for the last three years we have established smart home as category number four. The ambition is to bring it to the same level as TV and connect millions of households.”

Defensive strategy
Mieves said the move into smart homes was partly a defensive strategy to increase the stickiness of existing customers and address declining ARPU from connectivity services.

Discussing competition, Mieves noted internet companies are now a danger: “The threat isn’t from telcos, but new competition. They enter the homes of our customers and try to establish their services and steal the relationship from us.”

“If we don’t want to become just a pure bitpipe optimising costs all the time we need to be strong and grow relationships beyond pure access.”