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Business activities

Company profile

Swisscom has over 21,000 full-time equivalent employees, of whom around 18,400 are employed in Switzerland. Swisscom’s international activities are concentrated mainly in Italy, through its subsidiary Fastweb. Fastweb is one of the largest broadband companies in Italy. Over 80% of net revenue and operating income before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) is generated from business operations in Switzerland. Swisscom offers a full portfolio of products and services for fixed-line telephony, broadband, mobile communications and digital television 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 banking. Customers can purchase their products and services via a wide 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.

See www.swisscom.ch

Swisscom brand

The Swisscom brand is managed strategically as an intangible asset and an important element of the Group’s reputation management. It provides optimum support for Swisscom’s business activities, gives guidance to customers and partners, and also acts to attract and motivate current and potential staff.

The brand is implemented across all units – in a consistent and high-quality manner. It also has to be extremely flexible at the same time, bridging the gap between known and new concepts, and likewise standing for network and infrastructure, best experiences and entertainment, as well as ICT and digitisation.

Swisscom offers products and services from the core business under the Swisscom corporate branding, as well as under the secondary brand Wingo and the third-party brand M-Budget. It also has other brands in its portfolio which are associated with other themes and business areas. Outside Switzerland, Swisscom’s main market is Italy, where it operates under the Fastweb brand. The strategic management and development of the entire brand portfolio is an integral part of corporate communications.

WSGE_DP_GR_Marken

Swisscom wants to be perceived as being trustworthy, simple and inspiring, and aims to be the best companion for its customers in today’s networked world. This is embodied by the successful mobile telephony and bundled offerings, as well as the ongoing success of the Swisscom TV business. The Teleclub, Kitag and Cinetrade brands, also operated by Swisscom, make a further contribution to positioning the Group in the entertainment market. Other progressive products with a market presence like cloud services under the Swisscom brand or – for example in the e-commerce sector – under the siroop brand improve the company’s position on the market and reflect its commitment towards the continuous improvement of its services.

Trustworthiness and service remain important factors in confirming to existing customers that they made the right decision in opting for Swisscom and in winning new customers, while also helping to underscore the importance of Swisscom for Switzerland: Swisscom is part of a modern Switzerland, is always recognisable as a Swiss company and positions itself clearly and credibly through its stance on responsibility. All this rounds off the positive image of the Swisscom brand and enriches the Group’s multi-faceted customer relationships. This is one reason why the reputation values achieved by Swisscom are exceptionally high for a company in the telecommunications sector worldwide.

External rankings also confirm this image. According to the “Best Swiss Brands 2016” survey carried out by Interbrand, Swisscom moved up two places in the reporting year and now sits in fourth place. This makes it one of the most valuable brands in Switzerland, with a monetary brand value of over CHF 5 bil­lion.

Swisscom’s network and IT infrastructure

Network infrastructure in Switzerland

Bandwidth requirements in the Swiss fixed and mobile telephone network continue to grow. This can be attributed to the fact that customers now use a wide range of devices for accessing the Internet. At the heart of the Swisscom network is IP technology (Internet Protocol), which can be used via copper and fibre-optic lines. Swisscom is planning to switch over all of its products and services to IP technology by the end of 2017. The old telephony infrastructure will be gradually taken out of operation from 2018 onwards. Today, 60,000 customers are switching to IP technology every month, and 75% of Swisscom customers are taking advantage of the benefits of IP products. All IP enables faster and more flexible processes and operations, and is boosting the competitive strength of Swisscom, its customers and Switzerland as a business centre. The Swisscom All IP initiative offers the basis for the digitisation of the Swiss economy.

Switzerland boasts one of the best IT and telecoms infrastructures worldwide. According to OECD findings (OECD Broadband Portal August 2016, values for Q4 2015), broadband penetration in Switzerland stands at 51.9%, which means that Switzerland has the highest broadband penetration in the world, ahead of Denmark and the Netherlands. This is also confirmed by the “State of the Internet Report” published by the technology service company Akamai in October 2016. According to this report, Switzerland ranks third in Europe and seventh globally in respect of the availability of ultrafast broadband. In mobile communications, broadband LTE coverage now extends to 99% of the population, making Swisscom the largest network operator in Switzerland by far, both in the fixed and mobile network.

To drive forward ultrafast broadband provision in Switzerland, Swisscom has opted for a broad, innovative mix of technologies. Alongside Fibre to the Home (FTTH), technology such as Fibre to the Curb (FTTC), Fibre to the Street (FTTS) and Fibre to the Building (FTTB) will play a key role here; in other words, optical fibre is getting ever closer to the client.

WSGE_DP_GR_Netztopologie

It is not only network expansion which is subject to constant change but also the way in which data is transported across the remaining copper cables. Vectoring doubles the capacity of copper cables, while G.fast, the successor to VDSL, will permit bandwidths of up to 500 Mbps on copper cables. G.fast was launched for the first time in the Swisscom network in September 2016. Swisscom is the first European telecommunications provider to implement this progressive technology. As at the end of 2016, Swisscom had established more than 3.5 million connections to its ultrafast broadband service (speeds in excess of 50 Mbps) through its technology mix. Of this number, over 2.5 million lines were equipped with the latest fibre-optic technology. This makes Swisscom a market leader by international standards.

In 2016, Swisscom defined new strategic objectives for its expansion of the fixed broadband network infrastructure: the majority of people living in any given Swiss municipality should have access to higher bandwidths by the end of 2021. To this end, some 90% of all homes and businesses will have a minimum bandwidth of 80 Mbps by the end of 2021 – with around 85% of those achieving speeds of 100 Mbps or higher. In remote regions of Switzerland, Swisscom will honour its universal service provision mandate. Thanks to the new DSL+LTE Bonding technology, it is also able to noticeably improve broadband provision in certain regions. DSL+LTE Bonding combines the performance of the fixed line network with that of the mobile network, thus ensuring a significantly better customer experience.

Swisscom supplies 99% of the Swiss population with 4G/LTE coverage. In urban regions with particularly high traffic along streets and in busy public places, 4G/LTE microcells ensure the required network capacity. In this context, Swisscom has developed its own antenna technology for installation in a manhole, which will be improving coverage from 2016. Swisscom is increasingly installing dedicated antenna systems in large business premises and indoor public areas. 4G+ technology (LTE advanced) already ensures mobile Internet bandwidths in excess of 300 Mbps in urban areas. In April 2016, Swisscom successfully transmitted data over its mobile network at a speed of 1 Gbps for the first time and mapped out the way forwards for other technological developments. Swisscom’s offering is therefore leading the way, both in Switzerland and by international standards. Swisscom is likewise providing ultra-modern IP-based voice services in the form of VoLTE (Voice over LTE; launched in June 2015) and WiFi Calling (launched in August 2015). To ensure that it will still be able to satisfy the rising demand from customers for data volumes in future, Swisscom is continuously expanding its mobile network and investing in new technologies. As the 22-year-old 2G mobile technology needs a significant share of the antenna capacity but can only handle 0.5% of data traffic, Swisscom has decided to only support 2G until the end of 2020.

See www.swisscom.ch/​networkcoverage

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 nearly a quarter of its approximately 8,400 antenna sites with other providers. At the end of 2016, Swisscom had around 5,800 exterior units and 2,600 mobile communication antennae in buildings. And with around 4,000 hotspots in Switzerland, Swisscom is also the country’s leading provider of public wireless local area networks.

The Internet of Things has long connected an immense number of objects and devices to one another and to people. Swisscom is the first provider in Switzerland to set up an additional network dedicated to the Internet of Things: the Low Power Network (LPN), which forms the basis for the Internet of Things and thus for smart cities, energy-efficient buildings, machine-to-machine networking and new digital applications. The initial LPN rollout for 80% of the Swiss population as well as coverage in cities was concluded at the end of 2016.

Network infrastructure in Italy

Fastweb’s network infrastructure consists of a fibre-optic network spanning a total distance of around 44,000 kilometres, reaching over 50% of the Italian population. Part of this infrastructure is made up by an ultrafast broadband network, which provides 7.5 million households and businesses, i.e. 30% of the population, with Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Fibre to the Street (FTTS) coverage. This improved technology enables speeds of up to 200 Mbps to be reached. Moreover, Fastweb supplies its customers with broadband by means of wholesale services provided by well-established Italian operators.

In 2016, Fastweb initiated its plan to increase ultrafast broadband coverage to 50% of the population by the end of 2020, thus providing broadband to 13 million households and businesses. This network expansion will be implemented using both FTTS and FTTH. The FTTH network expansion will provide coverage to approximately 3 million households and businesses in 29 cities by the end of 2020 and will be carried out together with Telecom Italia. For this purpose, a joint venture has been founded in which Fastweb holds a 20% share.

While Fastweb does not have its own mobile network, it offers mobile services based on an agreement with another mobile operator (MVNO model). In view of the significance of convergence offerings for the fixed network and the increase in quality of mobile services, Fastweb upgraded its network to FULL MVNO in 2016 and is thus able to manage customer SIM cards directly and better control the customer experience. This will be launched on the market in 2017.

Swiss IT infrastructure

It’s not only bandwidths in the networks that are constantly increasing, but also the usage of cloud services that Swisscom offers its customers. Bundled subscriptions such as Natel infinity 2.0 include memory capacity in the Swisscom Cloud. The two myCloud and Storebox storage offerings are showing data volume growth of 200 terabytes per month or 2 petabytes by the end of the reporting year, which Swisscom stores for its customers securely in the cloud. This is boosting the annual data growth in the volume of data being stored, with Swisscom now storing around 40 petabytes of data in its data centres.

The switch to data transmission by means of Internet Protocol, which is ubiquitous in All IP services, is increasing the requirements imposed on locations that previously provided traditional telephony services. In 2016, Swisscom upgraded its Lausanne data centre by providing it with modern IT infrastructure. This now meets the requirements incurred by the increase in power density in each rack – whereby the heat generated can be dissipated. In the data centre in Lausanne, Swisscom has set up part of its Telco Cloud, on which the network functions will be virtually mapped out in the future. This is a huge step into the future for Swisscom and confirms its role as a leader on the technology market.

Swisscom is becoming more experienced in using cloud technologies every year. The first cloud platforms used by Swisscom are already being replaced by the next generation of platforms. The constant state of change on the market backs up Swisscom’s efforts to use the latest technologies both internally and externally for the benefit of its customers. The industrialisation of IT continues to make good progress, accompanied by the development of modern applications that benefit from the new opportunities offered by the platforms and help cut costs. Nevertheless, the old and new technologies will continue to exist and function side-by-side over the coming years. By integrating different generations of technology to meet its needs, Swisscom is gaining the necessary experience and expertise to provide support to its customers as they make their way in the digital world.

Fastweb’s IT infrastructure

Fastweb operates four large data centres in Italy with a total surface area of 8,000 square metres. The IT infrastructure consists of around 5,000 servers (virtual and physical servers in equal parts), 750 databases and 3 petabytes of storage capacity.

One data centre is managed by a technology partner who is responsible for setting up, designing and adapting the centre as well as the operational aspects of Fastweb’s IT infrastructure. Two data centres are mainly used for corporate business services, in other words for housing, hosting or other cloud-based services. One of the Fastweb data centres in Milan was the first in Italy to be awarded Tier IV certification, which certifies the highest level of reliability, security and performance. It is fully operational and hosts services for business customers.

Data protection

The customer data that Swisscom works with is subject to the Swiss Data Protection Act, the Telecommunications Act and various client-specific confidentiality laws. Compliance with data protection laws and the observance of confidentiality are key tasks and concerns for Swisscom. It collects, stores and processes personal data on the basis of the applicable contract provisions, particularly for the provision of services, the handling and maintenance of the customer relationship, for billing, ensuring high service quality, the security of the business operations and its infrastructure, and for marketing purposes. Where legally stipulated, personal data is only processed with the necessary consent of the customer. Customers may at any time object to the processing of their respective personal data and can withdraw their consent. Swisscom raises awareness among all employees who have access to client data through data protection and confidentiality training and equips them to implement the compliance measures dedicated to this rigorously.

Moreover, Swisscom has taken technical measures to further improve data protection and confidentiality. It has reviewed and specified all access rights to critical customer data. It has also set up a system to determine whether access to critical customer data is legitimate. As in the past, Swisscom also aims in the future to continuously develop the technology used for data protection and to optimise the organisational structure, processes and employee training required for this purpose. In bringing in new technologies and in meeting new needs, Swisscom is aware of its responsibility and will continue to exercise the required sensitivity and assume its social responsibility as a companion in the networked world.

Swisscom intends to continue providing its customers with support in the ongoing digitisation of society. Within this realm, it is carrying out smart data projects for third parties, as part of which personal data is not sold; instead, only anonymised data is used to draw up interpretations and analyses. The residential customers affected by this can visit the Customer Centre online or call the hotline to prevent the data that they provided being used in smart data projects.

Swisscom has also established an Ethics Board. This board serves the company in an advisory role and addresses issues relating to process sustainability and integrity as well as digitisation applications.

See www.swisscom.ch/​dataprotection

Finally, Swisscom strives to provide information on issues relevant to data protection in non-­technical language and in befitting detail. Part of the Swisscom website will be dedicated to this.