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Helping Deutsche Telekom stay connected 24/7

In its first full year providing technical services to Deutsche Telekom, ISS achieved something that the customer has never experienced before – 0% unplanned downtime – an impressive achievement that gave the German population and emergency services unbroken internet and mobile connectivity in 2020, a year when it was needed most.

DE_2019_DTAG_Technical_July_29

12 million 

alerts in 2020

60,000

service visits

0%

unplanned downtime

One of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies, Deutsche Telekom (DTAG), provides mobile and internet infrastructure to the entire German population. Almost every person and company in the country, as well as the emergency services and armed forces, rely on this infrastructure to stay connected – 24/7, 365 days a year. 

In 2019, ISS took over facility management of this highly complex system. The ten-year multi-facet contract covers facility and real estate management – and that includes the technical services that DTAG relies on to ensure the smooth functioning of its core business.

As ISS’s TFM Director in Germany, Michael Herbergs explains, in the first full year of service, ISS achieved something remarkable: 0% unplanned downtime. 

“I’ve worked with DTAG in various roles for 48 years. In that time, I’ve never seen a year with 0% unplanned downtime. Now, with the ISS and DTAG partnership, I have – and I want another one next year.” 

I've worked with DTAG in various roles for 48 years. In that time, I’ve never seen a year with 0% unplanned downtime. Now, with the ISS and DTAG partnership, I have – and I want another one next year.

Michael Herbergs, ISS TFM Director

Managing a hugely complex system 

Across Germany, DTAG operates 140,000 technical devices and 8,500 sites, including data centres, signal towers and routers. To monitor this complex system, ISS set up two Disturbance Management Centres – known in Germany as SMCs. If anything goes wrong within the DTAG system, a Disturbance Manager is alerted. The alert could be anything from a door left open at a data centre to storm damage on a signal tower.  

In all, our SMCs received 12 million alerts in 2020. Each one was assessed and, if necessary, a service team was sent to resolve the issue. This led to 60,000 service team site visits during the year. Despite 10,000 of these visits being outside of normal office hours, it took an average of just 30 minutes to get a service team onsite – an effort that’s recognised by DTAG. 

“ISS SMC does an extraordinary job,” says a spokesperson from Power & Air Solutions, Deutsche Telekom. “All the challenges concerning our infrastructure have been sorted out immediately to avoid power failure. Many thanks to ISS for a great performance.” 

All the challenges concerning our infrastructure have been sorted out immediately to avoid power failure. Many thanks to ISS for a great performance.

Power & Air Solutions spokesperson, Deutsche Telekom
The people behind the numbers 

The numbers are impressive, but like every other ISS operation, it’s the people behind the numbers that make the difference. 


Our teams are highly skilled, with many years of experience in the field. Operating in three shifts, they ensure there’s always a trained team ready to quickly tackle a task, whether it’s fixing a broken chiller at a data centre or scaling a 300-metre-tall signal tower to fix a loose part. This requires dedicated staff and an organisation that runs like clockwork, especially during storms, floods, heat waves or other incidents that can wreak havoc on even the most robust IT system.  

“When we talk about 0% unplanned downtime, it sounds like the system is extremely robust. And it is. But ensuring this robustness requires comprehensive monitoring and fast reactions, so that we’re always on-hand to fix an issue before it becomes a problem,” Michael explains. 

Always continuing to improve   

Michael and his team know that the achievement in the first full year of service is only the beginning. The key is to repeat the feat next year – and to continue to improve. 


“For DTAG, reliability is essential to its business. DTAG will continue to improve and expand its infrastructure to support its customers’ growing communications needs. We must continue to grow and refine our organisation as well, to ensure we can keep it DTAG’s system functioning day and night, 365 days a year.”  

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