Telecom Liechtenstein is providing critical digital infrastructure in Liechtenstein. CEO Aldo Frick spoke with the local news page Vaterland Liechtenstein about where things are at the moment.
Telecom Liechtenstein is 100 percent state-owned and provides critical digital infrastructure in Liechtenstein. In 2020, the company didn’t have a great year, and 2021 will be even more challenging. Telecom Liechtenstein will lose revenue of more than one million francs per year from 2021 due to a regulatory effect. As the fiber optic networks belong to LKW, Telecom will have to forego part of the value chain. LKW dictates the price. In addition, sales in the core business are collapsing.
Nevertheless, Frick says he was satisfied with the fiscal year 2020. “On balance, we had a very pleasing development of earnings in a thoroughly difficult market environment. With the strong growth in the new business areas, we were able to compensate for the decline in the core business,” he said.
Growth trends IoT and home office
Frick pointed out the Telecom sees IoT (Internet of Things) as a field where the company could compensate for losses in their core business. He also says the Swiss market is growing strong, where Telecom already has more mobile customers than in Liechtenstein – a trend that is set to increase even further in the future.
Another way to boost profitability will be digitization. “Telecom Liechtenstein is on track with its transformation program and was able to master 2020 better than planned. However, 2021 will bring additional challenges. In addition to the still very difficult market environment, negative effects will also be felt as a result of regulatory adjustments in the area of termination charges, and the knock-on effects of the pandemic will also put pressure on growth in the new business areas.“
Speaking about digital trends, Frick explained the corona pandemic has significantly increased the trend towards home offices, which has increased the demand for telephony, Internet, and data lines at Telecom Liechtenstein. He says Telecom Liechtenstein was able to handle that demand without any problems „thanks to the investments made in the past.“
Roadblocks for 5G development
Asked about the development of 5G in Liechtenstein, Frick says he is convinced that 5G offers many advantages and will form the basis for new services in the future. However, “an economically and technically sensible implementation of a high-performance 5G network is very difficult for all operators with the current framework conditions.“
One roadblock is that the effective field strength per operator at most transmitter sites is around one-third compared to Switzerland and one-thirtieth compared to the WHO limit due to mandatory site coordination. That means more antenna sites are needed. A resulting proliferation of transmitter stations might not find support among the population.