Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) and France Telecom (Paris) will explore the potential of cooperation in a number of technology fields, including machine-to-machine communication, the companies announced in a joint press release this morning. Other areas of interest include radio access network sharing in Europe, WiFi roaming QoS, and equipment standardization.
The companies also named specific M2M domains in which they plan to focus efforts: home media servers, e-Health services, connected cars and in-car infotainment services, and content and technology for TV and video services. In all cases, cross-border standards will be a primary focus. According to the release, "the agreement, which initially covers France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, aims to include all mobile network operators affiliated to the two groups."
Steve Hilton, Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason, is calling this partnership a "huge step forward in encouraging multi-national implementations of M2M solutions." "From this partnership we will see co-development in tariffing, roaming, joint sales efforts and eventually solution development." Hilton said. "Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom have strong M2M resources and while the first implementation of this partnership is focused on France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, we believe the opportunities are virtually endless."
According to a recent Analysys Mason forecast , worldwide M2M device connections are slated to grow from 62 million devices in 2010 to 2.1 billion by 2020.
Georg Steimel, Chairman of the M2M Alliance, also weighed in. "This announcement shows two things," Steimel said, "the M2M business is more and more a global business and needs global propositions and services especially for mass deployments by OEMs in CE, automotive, energy and healthcare. Such a partnership could and must also--together with other partners--accelerate the highly needed standardization in these areas."