Germany has become one of the leading examples of the success of the Telefónica Group's slogan: "Think globally, act locally". Proof of this is that Telefonica O2 Germany currently has about 16 million customers and in 2009 was the fastest growing mobile operator in terms of net customer adds and increased revenue.
In this regard, the company has took first place in an independent survey on workplace culture "Great Place to Work" for companies employing over 5,000 people. This award is given annually by the by the Great Place to Work Institute® Germany and makes Telefónica O2 Germany the first German telecommunications operator to receive this honour. While presenting this accolade, Frank Hauser of the Institute, cited Telefónica O2 Germany as a clear example that mergers "can be done well".
Europe is key for Telefónica. Its headquarters are located here and it has sizeable operations in six markets: Germany, Spain, Slovakia, Ireland, the UK and the Czech RepublicIn Europe alone Telefónica boasts 94 million customers, 80,000 employees and 14,000 suppliers with a presence in 24 of the 27 EU member countries.
During his speech, the Telefónica chairman also highlighted the strategic nature of telecommunications for Europe. The sector has withstood turbulent times and today exerts the greatest influence on the economy, with robust growth forecasts.
According to César Alierta, "the worst has passed and the time has come to build future prosperity for businesses and the people". In this regard, he noted that "telecommunications are one of the cornerstones for creating the new economic model needed for Europe to be able to grow quicker and emerge stronger from the recent economic turmoil".
Telecommunications are playing an increasingly larger role in the economy.In the ICT sector, telecommunications have invested and continue to invest heavily in Europe, with total CAPEX of 37,000 million euros. Also, with two million direct jobs, it is one of the largest employers in Europe, well ahead of the 10,000 jobs created by the Internet sector.
Nevertheless, César Alierta recalled that, even though the telecommunications market is hugely competitive in Europe, with over 170 operators it is also highly fragmented and subject to very uneven regulatory conditions, which do not provide the necessary security and confidence which are essential in encouraging investment at a time when Europe needs it most.
In this regard, César Alierta called for all parties in the sector (manufacturers, regulators and operators) to work together under a European Digital Agenda framework to maximise the benefits generated by the ICT sector and turn Europe into the leader of the digital economy benefitting all European citizens.