Czech Production of Digital Telecommunication
By: Ivan Říčař
TTC TESLA TELEKOMUNIKACE Ltd.
Třebohostická 987/5 100 43 Prague 10
tel.: +420 2 781 52 47
fax: +420 2 781 52 48
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.ttc.cz
Czech Production of Digital Telecommunication Systems
In my speech, I am going to present a concrete example and experience of a Czech company in
order to demonstrate the influence of an open market on the development of a company which
concurrently faces transformation processes of the economy, as was the case in all Central and Eastern European countries during last decade.
The Czech industry underwent dramatic changes during last decade. It entered into the
transformation process with product assortment that could not stand competition, with obsolete technical equipment, high overemployment and an export which was oriented prevailingly to the Eastern European markets. These conditions were particularly striking in the electronic and
telecommunication industry, where previously incurred embargo had enlarged the gap in the level of technology and component basis.
Therefore the opening of the market at the beginning of nineties was a great shock, but at the same time it was an enormous opportunity. TTC TESLA TELEKOMUNIKACE, or briefly TTC,
is one of those companies that were able to make use of this opportunity, and I will use this company as a model example.
TTC assumed the new situation as a positive chance and a challenge. From the very outset we
took great efforts to proceed with the transformation and to find new business contacts. The following key factors should be mentioned:
1. TTC managed to establish a clear owner quickly, which was not the case in many other Czech enterprises whose privatization and proprietorship profiling process took a long time. TTC was purchased in a public auction by a group of managers and specialists of the staff. It was, in fact, the management buy-out.
2. TTC had concentrated a remarkable intellectual potential within its staff. For almost thirty years, it had served as a research & development basis for numerous TESLA telecommunications enterprises under its former name TESLA-VÚT (TESLA Telecommunications Research Institute). During that time, its staff accumulated huge knowledge and experience of a system nature and designed numerous concrete hardware and software solutions that proved fully applicable after the political changes in the nineties. 3. The company's management had a distinct vision as to the goals to be reached by the transformation. They were: first, to build up a manufacturing company with a strong background from own development basis using long-term knowledge and experience in the telecommunication line, and second, to find a strong foreign partner willing to create a real partnership beneficial to both parties.
Considered from today's point of view, the initial conditions were used in full, and the Group of TTC companies with their linkage to MARCONI COMMUNICATIONS through the Joint
Venture have shown a steady growth in their income and profit in the past years.
Let me give you a few figures:
The revenues amounted to one hundred and twenty eight million Czech crowns in the year of
privatization, while in nineteen ninety-eight the revenues were half billion crowns in TTC and one point two billion crowns in the TTC Group.
Profit has grown from approximately four million crowns in the year of privatization to twenty four million crowns in 1998 in TTC and fifty four million crowns in the TTC Group. As the entire
profit has been reinvested every year, the equity has grown from three hundred and twelve thousand Czech crowns at the moment of privatization to one hundred and two million crowns in TTC or two hundred million crowns in the Group. I should mention that TTC has around five hundred employees and ranks among small or medium-sized companies.
And now let me give you a brief history overview. From the year nineteen fifty-three till nineteen eighty-nine, the enterprise served a development basis for the TESLA telecommunications enterprises, being part of the TESLA organizational structure. Important turning points began only after the year nineteen eighty-nine.
The first key point was the disintegration of the TESLA Investiční elektronika (TESLA Industrial
Electronics) concern, and subsequent establishing of an independent state-owned enterprise TESLA TELEKOMUNIKACE. The new circumstances resulted in a decision to start transformation into a manufacturing company.
Another important moment was the privatization in September nineteen ninety-two, under the name TESLA TELEKOMUNIKACE and with transformation process already running. At that time the first competitive product was launched, the PCM30U Digital Transmission System, in which advanced components were used and which was based on the surface mount technology. In addition, TTC 2000 Digital Switching System was prepared to be introduced to the market. The third decisive event took place in 1993 when TTC MARCONI Joint Venture was established with an Italian partner, MARCONI S.p.A., which later transformed into its contemporary form MARCONI COMMUNICATIONS being part of the British GEC.
During the following years, a number of successful products were launched and new subsidiaries of TTC Group were founded. A logical consequence of strengthening the market position was the acquisition by TTC of ISO 9001 Quality Certificate.
However, in the free competition environment it is the success with customers what proves the correctness of the route and decisions taken. In this regard, the Czech market was completely open. That’s why it was an important confirmation of the competitiveness of our products when we were awarded a substantial contract by SPT TELECOM, the Czech PTT, in 1994. We were successful against such companies as SIEMENS, ALCATEL, PHILIPS (then operating in the market) or AT&T (today's Lucent Technology).
Another "acid test" was our success in an international tender announced by Lithuanian PTT, Lietuvos Telekomas, and financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Again, we had to fight global competition.
As I have already said, when choosing the foreign partner, one of the most important criteria was their readiness to create a true partnership that would use comparative advantages as well as capabilities of both partners, and would prove beneficial to both parties. The cooperation between TTC and MARCONI COMMUNICATIONS meets this criterion in full. The cooperation has from the very beginning been based on TTC’s familiarity with the local conditions of Czech and
Slovak public and private telecommunication networks. MARCONI COMMUNICATIONS contributed highly advanced technology, especially SDH systems, and the expertise in the world market.
It did not take long before mutual cooperation in the development of new equipment started. Some of our staff became members of Italian development teams. This resulted in joint projects, at first in the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic and later in other countries. A typical example was the project of a complete solution for the Slovtransgaz business network. This
project combined PDH technology of TTC and SDH technology of MARCONI. As an example of applying a joint product I can mention installations of Access Network systems in the Czech Republic both in passive optical network and in DLC systems. This cooperation resulted in our primacy in applying the standardized V5.1 digital interface, implemented jointly in SPT Telecom's network and put in full operation in the city of Brno as early as in 1997.
Another interesting accomplishment of our cooperation is the implementation of TTC DORIS Management System in an extensive project of a subscriber network in the United Arab Emirates for ETISALAT company. Originally intended for TTC systems, DORIS was later extended so that now it can manage both the DLC systems by MARCONI COMMUNICATIONS and passive optical systems of the French company CS TELECOM. First used for SPT Telecom in the complete solution of passive optical network, this solution of the Management System proved later as very well fitting for the United Arab Emirates.
A very recent success was achieved in a tender announced by the Italian Railways. This is again a combination of SDH systems of MARCONI and PDH systems of TTC, supplemented with a number of specific functions required by the railways. This solution relies on the experience gained with the Czech Railways.
If I should summarize the present situation, I have to say that the position of our company which has exploited its opportunity is in sharp contrast with the position of those who let their chance slip.
And now regarding our future prospects and plans. First I want to point out that we take every success as an admission to the next round of contest, and each failure as a serious warning. And we bear this in mind whenever developing future strategies of the company. Our general strategy is based on the policies defined at the beginning of the nineties, but has been continually modified to reflect the ever-changing reality of the world of telecommunications and information technology.
Among our leading priorities has long been to develop a highly qualified team of highly motivated people. Another priority is the cooperation with a strong foreign partner which I have mentioned several times, but which has been gaining ever growing importance in the existing globalization and with regard to the significant changes that took place in our partner company. That is why we have been mutually searching ways of establishing closer relations while preserving at the same time the necessary flexibility that TTC is able to offer to its customers thanks to being relatively small-sized company.
You could notice from the examples of TTC Group's positive results that our business activities have crossed the borders of the Czech Republic long ago. Therefore the development of foreign trade and international cooperation is crucial for the development of the Group. Our approach to the international cooperation has three different levels. On the first level, we aim our effort to penetrating foreign markets by way of direct sales to end users on the one hand and by way of participating in various projects as a subcontractor, on the other. The second level is directed to the joint development work especially with MARCONI COMMUNICATIONS. The third level is represented by our participation in European development programmes. In this context we currently keep an eye on the fifth framework programme which is just getting started, in particular on its part called Information Society Technology.
In conclusion, let me express hope that the presented experience gained by the Czech producer of telecommunication systems, TTC, may serve an inspiration for other companies, especially those operating in the environment of the transforming economies.