Yettel Hungary Ltd., one of the nationwide mobile phone operators in Hungary, is spending HUF tens of billions to modernize its mobile network nationwide, having acquired several spectrum parts at the national tenders for frequency. Diplomacy&Trade asked the Chief Legal and Reputation Officer at Yettel Hungary, Márk Erdélyi, what this modernization entails and in what stage the company’s network development is.
“In 2021, we started a nationwide network modernization project to increase our network capacity 2.5 to 3 times and provide our customers with a network that is faster and more reliable in several ways. The project also enables the launch of new services such as VoLTE roaming, VoWifi and private mobile networks, helps increase the capacity of the 4G network, which already has nationwide coverage, and paves the way for 5G development. We are now about halfway through the entire network modernization process, with a total investment budget of HUF tens of billions,” Márk Erdélyi says.
He adds that in terms of business strategy, Yettel is currently focusing on three big areas: “our Prime consumer tariff offering, 5G-based Fixed Wireless Access services for home and office use (we are still at the beginning of the journey, but we see them as a good alternative to fixed-line services), and industrial solutions such as the private networks mentioned earlier. A recent example for the last one is our 5G private network for Delta Technologies.”
Constant innovation through research and development is a must in telecommunications. It is one of the reasons why Yettel has signed an agreement with Óbuda University in Budapest. As for the benefits for the two sides, the Chief Legal and Reputation Officer points out that this
strategic partnership with Óbuda University is another milestone in Hungarian mobile communications research and development. “This involves the installation of a mobile communications network using 5G technology at the university campus, as well as collaboration with the higher education institution in the fields of education and recruitment. We are confident that by deploying a 5G mobile network, we can contribute to the university's development program, which aims to explore the potentials of 5G and the practical features and benefits of the new technology. We believe that this will also contribute to the university’s professional growth and help them accelerate their development efforts.”
Strong international background
Yettel is part of the PPF Group that is present in various market segments, including telecommunications, in several parts of the world. Márk Erdélyi stresses this extensive international background greatly helps Yettel and its customers. “Being part of the PPF Group, our parent company, we are member of a stable group of companies planning to invest in Hungary in the long run. Our customers also benefit from us focusing not only on short-term solutions. Synergies from the collaboration between the countries included in PPF Telecom Group, PPF's telecommunications arm, are also being leveraged at a group level. A case in point is our recently launched handset insurance service allowing customers to insure their mobile device for a small fee, which is particularly useful for those who want to protect their valuable mobile phones. Soon, we’ll also jointly introduce a new network security tool within the group.”
Yettel’s Chief Legal and Reputation Officer very much agrees with the statement that sustainability is a key issue that no responsible company can ignore nowadays. “This is a very topical issue because, although sustainability has always been important in our company’s life, PPF Group has just recently adopted an overall ESG strategy. In early December, we will publish our latest Sustainability Report. We believe that a business can be sustainable only if it incorporates all three pillars of sustainable development, that is, environmental and social considerations in addition to governance. We are proud that upon its opening, our office building was one of the largest environmentally conscious projects in Central Europe, and today, it is still one of the most state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly corporate headquarters in Hungary. Our digital education program, ProSuli [‘ProSchool’] – currently incorporating 135 schools as members – has been running to promote and develop digital education methodologies since 2015,” he notes.
‘Hack It Your Way’
One of the challenges of our times is the energy crisis. This October, Yettel announced a developer competition to encourage the identification and development of technological solutions to tackle this problem. Márk Erdélyi highlights that “the aim of our ‘Hack It Your Way’ developer competition was to provide innovative, disruptive technology solutions to current social challenges. More than 200 teams from nearly 30 countries entered the competition featuring three themes. The winning teams submitted concepts for a blood transport drone, a unified public transport application, a digital professional social network and an energy efficiency solution. In addition to the total cash prize of HUF 5 million, the finalist teams could also engage in valuable professional networking with Yettel’s experts and mentors.”
Helping those in need
Regarding the main guidelines of Yettel’s corporate social responsibility policy, he explains that “we are focusing on both our closer and wider communities. When the war broke out in our neighborhood, we donated nearly 10,000 topped-up SIM cards, 400 mobile phones, WiFi hotspots and other communication devices to help the refugees. In the summer, we launched a major campaign to collect old mobile phones and raise awareness of the importance of recycling. Last Christmas, together with the Hungarian Red Cross, we launched a HUF 50 million Digital Inclusion Fund to support the digital inclusion of socially deprived people. We are the main sponsor of KórházSuli [‘HospitalSchool’], a program helping children disadvantaged due to their health condition catch up with their studies, and we have also been a long-time partner of the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid with which we launched the Digital Springboard competition to promote digital inclusion two years ago.”
Yettel is ready to stay
Yettel (with its legal predecessors) has been on the Hungarian telecommunications market for almost three decades now, and it is ready to stay. “We have been a stable and long-standing player in the mobile market and we want to keep it that way also in the future. PPF is committed to the Hungarian market and is planning for the long term. We will continue to focus on delivering mobile services on our high-quality network and seek solutions that address the changing needs of our customers, also in the longer run. 5G will help us do that, among other things,” Márk Erdélyi concludes.
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