The importance of the Partner ecosystem

As of January 2014, 428 mobile operators offer M2M services across 187 countries, equivalent to four out of ten mobile operators worldwide. The highest proportion of operators offering M2M services is in Europe, where about two-thirds of players have an M2M offering. Six out of ten operators offering M2M are located in the developing countries.  Between 2010 and 2013, 120 million M2M connections have been added globally (38% CAGR) reaching a total of 195 million in Q4 2013. Globally, M2M connections account for 2.8% of total mobile connections in 2013, up from 1.4% in 2010. Global M2M connections will reach a quarter of a billion (250 million) in 2014.  Source : GSMA

Partnerships between MNOs and technology vendors are critically important in the M2M ecosystem. No single MNO is able to offer an enterprise a complete M2M solution, including chipset manufacturing, module manufacturing, equipment design, worldwide connectivity, platform enablement, portal development, application development, application management and systems integration. Partnerships are required to make the enterprise purchasing, implementation and ongoing management process feasible.  One of the most important partnerships is that between the MNO and the provider of its M2M device connectivity platform. Source : Analysys Mason

A critical area for the success of M2M for M2M Communication Service Providers is the partner ecosystem. Source: Machina Research M2M CSP Benchmarking Report 2014

Part 1: Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone.

Deutsche Telekom –

Machine-to-Machine Communication is Deutsche Telekom’s strategic priorities. Deutsche Telekom positions itself as a provider of M2M solutions across all sectors of the economy and offers its customers end-to-end solutions, in close cooperation with its partners.


Deutsche Telekom restructured this year its IT unit to focus on the sale of standardized products, rather than bespoke services, in the areas of cloud, security, big data and M2M. According with this post, Deutsche Telekom reported a doubling in annual sales at its intelligent network solutions business – which provides M2M services in the automotive, energy and healthcare sectors – with revenues growing to €200 million in 2013 from €100 million the year before, but the operator’s aim is to make €1bn in this area in 2015.

Deutsche Telekom is also reaching out to prospective M2M partners as part of its new “Steckerleiste” initiative. Roughly translated as “plug in”, Steckerleiste is aimed at positioning Deutsche Telekom as the ideal connectivity partner, able to integrate third-party services within as little as three months. In its strategy update, the operator cited its Qivicon ‘smart home’ program as an example of its activity in this area.

Deutsche Telekom aims to put the pieces of the M2M complex ecosystem together. By acting as a single point of contact they offer all-inclusive end-to-end solutions from a single source.

More than 600 companies from 56 countries participate in the M2M Partner Program.

Partner Typology according with Value Chain includes: Machine-/Box-supplier (180); Module supplier (100); Connectivity provider (103); Enabler/Aggregator (90); Application provider (211); Content provider (43); System integrator (178); End-to-End solution provider (212).

M2M solutions are classified by Deutsche Telekom in major industry segments: Automation (175); Automotive (165); Consumer (97); Government (183); Healthcare (119); Logistic (204); Retail (118); Security (182); Smart Energy (162); Tailored M2M applications (135).

Deutsche Telekom also offer M2M consulting services with several partners.

Since 2011, Deutsche Telekom’s M2M Competence Center has been organizing an annual M2M Partner Event.

Deutsche Telekom’s M2M Developer Community gets its own Developer Platform in collaboration with Cumulocity. Deutsche Telekom has developed an ‘application layer’ on its M2M platform on which developers can create M2M apps targeting a wide range of vertical customers. Deutsche Telekom’s M2M Marketplace is the world’s first online shop dedicated to M2M and the Internet of Things. For developers and startups, the Developer Community offers everything you need to connect machines and create new solutions.

Deutsche Telekom is a member of the Global M2M Association, which is comprised additionally of Bell Canada, Orange, Telecom Italia, TeliaSonera and SoftBank Mobile.

As the incumbent operator in Germany, Deutsche Telekom have a predominant position in Automotive and large and SMB German smart factories and therefore have built a strong partner ecosystem in this vertical. The fact to become a single point of contact and their M2M services facilitates the design of end to end solutions.

Deutsche Telekom is launching ‘lighthouse projects’ and is very active in adding new partners in the Connected Home.

Telefonica –

Telefónica reported 8.6 million M2M subscribers in Europe and Latin America at the end of 2013.

Telefónica Digital created in 2011 was closed in Feb/2014 as part of a restructuring process which aims to simplify the business. The M2M team and services was incorporated into the Global Corporate Centre, Telefónica’s central operations unit.

Telefónica partnered with Jasper Wireless to deploy a cloud-based management platform for M2M (machine-to-machine) connections. Telefónica also launched Smart M2M platform, an intuitive, web-based solution for automatic machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. This solution is intended for business customers who want to manage, display and monitor their devices efficiently and centrally. Telefónica guarantees the global support of their SIM cards by all Telefónica networks and the roaming partners of the company.

Telefónica m2m Global Partner Program was created with the goal of enabling partners to drive growth and differentiate their business by increasing their capabilities, by allowing deploying on a global scale, in particular in regions such as Europe and Latin America.

Partner Typology includes: Device Value Added Resellers (DVAR), Value Added Reseller (VAR) and Wholesalers. Telefonica also use this classification for M2M Partners : Authorised Distributor (6), Master Certified Partner (1), Advanced Certified Partner (9) and Registered Partner (223).

If you want to be supported in your product development in Telefónica’s platform you have become a M2M partner of Movilforum (

The main M2M revenues in Telefonica comes from the Managed connectivity services.

Telefonica is a member of the M2M World Alliance, which is comprised additionally of Etisalat, KPN, NTT DOCOMO, Rogers, SingTel, Telstra and VimpelCom.

The focus on vertical partnering mainly in Transport, Utilities and Smart Cities. The catalogue of solutions is composed of 124 solutions out of 111 partners. All 124 markets solutions include horizontal Products (HW), Software and Consulting Services classified in Consumer Electronics (37), Healthcare (46), Industrial (79), Retail & Commerce (43), Security (87), Transports & Automotive (101) and Utilities & Smart Cities (76).

Almost every partner solution is available in the following territories: Asia & Pacific , Europe, LATAM, Middle East & Africa, USA & Canada.

Telefonica is a good example to follow for Consumer Electronics partnership. The agreement with Dell to provide connected laptops, where the customer is billed directly by Telefónica for connectivity is just the beginning of offer more IoT services associated with the customer laptops.

As the incumbent operator in Spain and in some LATAM countries, Telefonica have a predominant position in Smart Cities in these countries. Given the pressures from austerity in Spain, Telefonica is looking for opportunities around big data and the Big Data partner ecosystem to unlocking funding sources other than the local or central government.

The €1.78bn UK Smart Meter M2M contract that Telefónica won in September 2013 is industry’s largest M2M contract win to date, place Telefonica in a privileged situation to be the leader in Smart Metering and attract more partners in this vertical.

Telefonica saw the health vertical as a valuable medium to long-term opportunity in Spain and Latin America. It is also an area where Telefonica handles very well because need to work closely with government and other regulatory stake holders at a national level. In this area the partner ecosystem will be key for successful.

Vodafone –

Vodafone is the largest international provider of M2M connectivity, as well as a major regional player in Europe, with a reported subscriber base of 15.2 million.

Vodafone’s global team of M2M experts are not only skilled in the deployment of the technology but also have a deep understanding of vertical sectors and broad experience in developing bespoke solutions. Vodafone M2M technology has already been deployed across a broad range of industries, including automotive, consumer goods, energy and utilities, financial services, health, manufacturing, public sector, retail, security, and transport and logistics.

I could not see in the global leadership team a person responsible of M2M Alliances.

Vodafone partners by Industry: Automotive (28); Consumer Goods (23 ); Energy & Utilities (26); Financial Services (26); Health (21);Consumer Electronics (18);Transport & Logistics (25); Manufacturing (21);Public Sector (22);Security (23).

There are 32 Vodafone Partners in the Value Chain: Hardware (15); Software (21); System Integrator (12) and Communications Provider (9).

Note: Please notice that some partners are included in several categories.

In June/2014 Vodafone bought Italian car technology company Cobra Automotive for £115m to accelerate connected car strategy.

Vodafone offer a Global Managed M2M Connectivity Service designed to help enterprises accelerate market entry for a new generation of connected M2M deployments such as vehicle telematics, fleet management, electronic metering, asset tracking and remote operations on a local, regional and global scale. The service is based on Vodafone Network, Vodafone M2M Platform, and Vodafone Global SIM.

Vodafone already has a wide range of end to end M2M solutions in collaboration with partners:

Note: Please notice that some partners are included in several categories.

Since 2009, Vodafone has been pre-integrating in its GDSP platform global SIMs into modules from leading providers (such as Digi and Sierra Wireless). Vodafone also tested IMSI SIM-switching solutions from Gemalto and Giesecke and Devriant.

Vodafone had been looking for smaller, nimbler players with which to combine in the machine-to-machine communications (M2M) market. In some cases Vodafone had taken equity in German vendor Device Insight and other times Vodafone signed global agreement with device vendor like NetComm. The strategic alliance with Netcomm enable Vodafone to offer M2M services over its fixed-line and mobile networks to devices and machines in the security services, transportation, smart metering and medical devices sectors.

Vodafone listed automotive as a priority focus area. The operator is in a good position for servicing this industry vertical that requires a global footprint (with low-cost roaming capabilities.

Vodafone does not position itself as an end to end consultant or app developer for M2M, unlike Orange Business Services, or AT&T or Deutsche Telekom. Vodafone provides custom solutions with external consulting organizations such as HP, IBM, Logica, and Accenture, among others.


For additional customized analysis, I offer a phone consultation service (1/2 hour) to provide a SWOT analysis of the M2M partnership ecosystem of DT or Telefonica or Vodafone. The consultation can be requested just sending an email to with your contact info and I will get back to you.



Part 2: KPN, Orange, Swisscom, Telekom Austria M2M, Tele 2, Telenor, TeliaSonera

(September 2014)

Part 3: AT&T, Etisalat, NTT Docomo, SingTel and Telstra

(December 2014)

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1 comentario

  1. Pingback: Will we be able to build the Internet of Things? | Paco Maroto's M2M and IoT Blog


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