EWE TEL is one of the largest regional operators in Germany and is part of the EWE Group that combines energy, telecommunications and information technology services for customers in north-west Germany.
For more than sixteen years, Telsis has worked with EWE TEL to help create and deliver valuable services to their customers.
This case study looks at how the partnership has pioneered new services for business customers in the past and how we’re working to deliver innovative new services for EWE TEL’s customers in the future.
About EWE TEL
EWE TEL GmbH is a regional network operator based in Oldenburg, Germany. It offers telephony, Internet, TV and mobile services to enterprise and consumer customers across the regions of Lower Saxony, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Brandenburg, Osnabrück and OWL. EWE TEL is a wholly owned subsidiary of EWE AG, a multi-service company.
EWE TEL is the only company in its region installing the infrastructure alongside Deutsche Telecom to provide broadband services for its business and residential customers. It runs last mile services and has built an extensive fibre network to offer 100Mb/s connections to its customers. EWE TEL has more than 600,000 customers connected to its fixed network using its telecommunication products and services.
The voice network includes traditional TDM switches and pre-IMS soft switches. Reliability and availability are paramount so services are run across two data centres with full geo-redundancy and load balancing. This adds to the trust in the brand.
With EWE having been a trusted supplier of power to the region for ninety years, it’s important too for EWE TEL to build on that trust. Having a local presence with retail outlets for consumers and special solutions for business customers helps to reinforce the brand’s values.
Connections to its customers.
Customers connected to its fixed network.
Heiner Meyer is the head of strategic technology planning for EWE TEL and he explains about the services EWE TEL is prioritising going forward:
“We’re delivering broadband connections for many households in the region and also to business premises. For business customers we will offer SIP-trunking and cloud services this year. We’re also continuing to rollout EWE TEL’s next generation IMS-based network (NGN). The NGN currently handles more than 260,000 customers and is due to take all traffic by the end of 2022.”
EWE TEL’s relationship with Telsis began in 1999 when the telephone network needed a solution to support service numbers. As Heiner Meyer explains:
“EWE TEL needed a platform to provide 0800 freephone numbers, shared cost numbers and premium-service numbers. We chose the Telsis platform and once we were using it, we realised its flexibility and how we could use it to create new services for business customers.”
“We began offering customers very specialised telephony solutions including a service for banks called ‘Office Comfort’ which offered flexible call routing services between headquarters and satellite locations. We created the service and our customers manage their use of the service through a web portal. For example, they may switch calls to a different call centre in the evening or at weekends. The platform gave us very powerful capabilities to create the services our customers wanted.”
Control and integration
The Telsis platform also enabled the control and integration of other third-party solutions and this was something EWE TEL were able to take advantage of right away.
“We used the Telsis platform to control our voicemail system.”
The strength of the platform meant that when it came time to build EWE TEL’s Next Generation Network (NGN), that flexibility to create services was required for the new world.
“When we started our NGN project in 2006, we used the Telsis platform to provide flexible call routing functions. Local number portability was used to determine whether to route calls via the existing TDM network or the new NGN network. We then used it to route calls across our direct connections to different carriers and finally we began to use it for interconnect routing to other fixed network and mobile providers.”
With the Telsis platform becoming an increasingly integral element to the EWE TEL network, steps were taken to ensure reliability and availability. Heiner Meyer explains:
“The next step was to install the Telsis platform in our new data centres ensuring maximum availability and redundancy. This was a good fit as we switched to the newer generation of the Telsis platform – the Ocean Service Platform (OSP).”
The Ocean Services Platform hooks into both traditional TDM networks and more modern IP-based networks allowing services to be run across both. For EWE TEL this is critical.
“Just as we used the Telsis platform in our (old) TDM network, we’re now using it in our NGN too. The ability for it to provide services across both environments is invaluable. We also use it to route emergency calls across our network. It’s a very important system – if it were to break down, no emergency calls would get through.”
When the NGN project started
When moving to the next generation Telsis OSP, the importance of flexible service creation tools came to the fore. Initially, the OSP relied on Java developers to create the services needed. Now, Telsis has delivered a graphical service creation tool (OSP Map Studio) and this is very important for EWE TEL who need to have greater flexibility to create and manage the services they offer in their network.
“It’s very important for us to have this flexibility. In the future OSP Map Studio is going to be very important for us. The new OSP platform is going to provide us with a future proof service intelligence platform that’s NGN ready.”
Within EWE TEL are the experts who use the tools to create services for EWE Tel’s network. Jörn Krieger is one of the specialists:
“We began the migration to the OSP in late 2013 and we’ve had some challenges. There are some services we’ve decided not to migrate but we’ve also provided many ideas to Telsis for the future development of the system.”
Wolfgang Wahl continues:
“We’re developing services for customers with special telephony requirements and new services to run our internal network more efficiently, for example, we’ve been able to improve the control of our Cirpack soft-switches.”
“We’re keen to work with the OSP Map Studio from Telsis and the new service block functionality will help us create new services far more easily and efficiently.”
Increasing regulation and the need to open up the network to other operators means that new services to drive revenue and increase differentiation are needed. The new OSP opens up the possibilities for EWE TEL to look into new business areas. Heiner Meyer explains:
“The Telsis solution is a smart solution that’s brought us the flexibility and stability we need. We’ll be looking to use it for new services in the future. Many of these new services will be addressing specialist requirements from our customers. When they have a unique problem, we can create special service directly for them. One area that’s showing promise is a smart solution for video calls using WebRTC.”
Migration to OSP
Looking to the future, the Telsis platform also opens up the possibilities of using Telsis applications that run on the platform. One such application is Voice SafeGuard, Telsis’ fraud prevention solution. For Heiner Meyer, that’s of real interest:
“We’re looking at Telsis Voice SafeGuard fraud prevention system for our network. We have an existing fraud solution based on analysing Call Detail Records (CDRs) but it leaves a fraud window that manually has to be closed. Voice SafeGuard’s real-time approach would alleviate those problems for us.”
The relationship between EWE TEL and Telsis has been strong for a very long time – in fact for seventeen years, according to Mr Meyer:
“Telsis has been a constant partner. There have been some ups and downs in that time but we have been very pleased to have had the same people to deal with for many years. The stability and continuity of the team has been very good for us.”
“If there’s one thing we would point to, it’s the reliability of Telsis. Telsis’ people get things done and we trust them because we’ve worked closely with them over a long period of time. Our size and company cultures means we have a good fit and our partnership benefits from that.”
EWE TEL and Telsis have been partnered
If there’s one thing we would point to, it’s the reliability of Telsis. Telsis’ people get things done and we trust them because we’ve worked closely with them over a long period of time. Our size and company cultures means we have a better fit and our partnership benefits from that.Helner Meyer
Head of Strategic Technology Planning, EWE TEL