Deutsche Telekom in 2023: Building the World’s Leading Digital Telco

By Robert Burgelman, Raj Joshi
2023 | Case No. SM376 | Length 18 pgs.

CEO Tim Höttges had successfully led Deutsche Telekom (DT) on an ambitious mission to become Europe’s leading telecommunications service provider. All the more impressive, the company had achieved this goal while also navigating the expansion of T-Mobile’s network in the United States, and merger with Sprint. What would be DT’s next strategic challenge?

In late 2023, Höttges and his executive team were scrutinizing the next frontiers in digitalization, as well as assessing ongoing challenges from hyperscalers. It was time to set new goals, Höttges believed, and lead the sector by continuing to build and operate best-in-class, integrated digital networks. This meant investing more in cloud-based service platforms, continuing the rollout of fiber optic networks in Germany, and realizing the full potential of monetizing DT network assets in conjunction with 5G technology.

This case describes the strategic challenges facing DT in 2023 and beyond. Boundaries between industries such as telecommunications, software, artificial intelligence, data storage, chip technology, digital security, and cloud platforms were rapidly blurring. How would DT position itself as an industry leader in new areas—and fend off competition from traditional telecom providers?

Learning Objective

The main learning objective of the case is to assess new and continuing strategic challenges from the perspective of a CEO, prioritize these challenges in a rapidly evolving technology ecosystem,and understand the process of developing a longer-term strategic plan.
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