Speaking at Deutsche Telekom's CeBIT press conference, chief executive Lothar Pauly pointed to T-Systems' recent contract win with Centrica as evidence of his company's ambitions for the UK market. The service provider will no longer limit itself to working with German companies with an overseas presence, such as Deutsche Bank.
"We intend to achieve even more in Europe's most important ICT markets," he said. "Topics such as the Census and road tolls for passenger cars in Great Britain are particularly of great interest to us."
According to Pauly, T-Systems plans to grow its international business from 18 per cent of total sales today to 30 per cent by 2010. This would mean growing business outside Germany at an annual rate of 20 per cent.
T-Systems' deal with Centrica is the largest in the company's history. Although the value of the deal has not been revealed 230 Centrica staff, along with two data centres, will transfer to T-Systems. Before the deal, T-Systems had 580 staff in the UK. The arrangement means that T-Systems will run Centrica's data centres as well as its 23,000 strong PC estate.
However, T-Systems plans to use the deal - and others like it - as a springboard for other high value contracts outside Germany, especially in the public sector and where projects involve a blend of IT and telecoms expertise.
A spokesman for T-Systems confirmed that the company would be one of the bidders to run the UK's proposed road charging scheme, as well as bidding for the UK Census contract.
"The road charging scheme is the best example of where IT and communications come together; it is a satellite-based system that relies on both types of technology," he said. But he conceded that such bids would mean T-Systems going head to head with BT. "One of our strongest competitors will be BT, and of course we are BT's strongest competitor in Germany," he said.
* Separately T-Mobile said that it would launch a new "unlimited" mobile data tariff with a fair usage cap of 5GB of data a month, for €50. Customers of the Web'n'Walk service can also add a high-speed HSDPA/HSUPA option for €5 a month, with maximum download speeds of 7.2 gigabits per second.
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