German incumbent Deutsche Telekom (DT) is to begin a new branding campaign tomorrow under the ‘One company. One Service’ banner, in a bid to boost its competitive position in its domestic markets. The existing T-Com brand used for DT’s fixed line business will be absorbed into the T-Home brand, and there will be a visual difference between T-Home, T-Mobile, T-Systems which is the brand for business customers, to differentiate clearly between them. Deutsche Telekom will remain the overall corporate identity.
Meanwhile the dispute between DT’s employees and the management shows no sign of letting up. Over 10,000 members of the Ver.di union began a walkout last Friday over a restructuring plan which would see 50,000 staff ‘outsourced’ to a new company called T-Service. Wages will be 9% less with an increase in working hours to 38 hours, effectively meaning a 20% cut in pay. DT’s CEO Rene Obermann, nicknamed ‘Dobermann’ by disgruntled workers, also wants to lower starting salaries by 40%. Union chiefs fear that the outsourcing plan is just the first step, as Obermann has not ruled out that T-Service could be sold after 2011. Ver.di, the public sector union has said that it will target ‘prestigious objects’ and economic chokepoints, such as bank and insurance call centres, in the dispute, and should the battle last into June, the telecommunication infrastructure at the G8-summit in Heiligendamm could be targeted. The board at DT say the restructuring is essential to avoid widespread redundancies in the face of increased competition and plummeting revenues in the incumbent’s domestic fixed line business.