In what has been perceived as the latest step in its seemingly exponential development as a key player in the European field management sector, Solutions 30 finalised the acquisition of the British company Mono Consultants last October. The European leader in deployment services is taking its European ambitions up a notch, and intends to demonstrate the replicability of a model that has been generating double-digit average annual growth almost every year for nearly fifteen years.
All Europeans are familiar with the big names in the digital sector – T-Mobile, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone – global operators charged with the rollout of major digital infrastructure projects, which are bringing European citizens and businesses into the digital age.
But their actions would be ineffective if it were not for the local service providers and field managers – the “man-in-the-van” – who are a vital cog in the smooth running of the digital system upon which all societies now depend.
Following a logic of strategic refocusing, large telecoms companies are outsourcing more and more field management to specialised companies capable of both meeting the “field” needs of major clients, and satisfying the demands of their “end” clients, individuals or companies. This model is proven and adaptable to the fast-paced development of the digital world, a perfect fit for new, innovative digital solutions. Solutions 30 is one of the leaders in field solutions for the digital world, making sure digital infrastructures run without hiccups.
A model fit for all digital innovations
Solutions 30 operates through more than 15,700 service engineers in the 10 european countries where it is rapidly establishing itself, coordinated by call and intervention centres. These are the real nerve centres of the system, enabling more than 60,000 interventions per day all within very short timescales. This is illustrated by the 30 in the company’s name, inherited from the creation of the company that was once known as PC30, initially dedicated to the resolution of ADSL operating problems… within thirty minutes.
The company’s other strength lies in its ability to build on this successful core model to adapt to the specific needs of any digital service provider, working with them to define specific procedures for deployment, maintenance and upgrades. This value proposition of Solutions 30 lies precisely in its ability to facilitate the operation and maintenance of new technologies at a fair price, providing the key link between customers and internet service providers, energy suppliers and security firms, among others, getting stuck into the nitty-gritty world of repairs and upkeep.
This model is applicable de facto in a plethora of different sectors that rely, for example, on fibre optics and other technologies. This kind of expertise is indeed a key growth lever given the prospects for this type of operator, boosted by the new uses of remote working (around 62% of employees aged 22 to 65 say they work remotely at least occasionally), as well as by the rise of Industry 4.0 (expected to reach USD 210 Billion by 2026). Between the ambitions of European countries in terms of FTTH development (Over the course of Q4 2020, more than 1.9 million additional premises were passed for FTTH in France alone), the implementation of 5G (Some claim that global spending on 5G infrastructure will grow by over $19 billion this year, annual growth rate of nearly 39%), and the development of networks of terminals for electric vehicles (nearly 1.4 million battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) were registered in Europe during 2020, which is an increase of 137% compared to 2019), the digital future offers multiple growth relays for operators with such skills. Solutions 30 has understood the potential of these markets, acquiring, for example Sirtel in Poland and Provisona in Spain, both companies being dedicated to the 5G segment, continuing an external growth process that has been carried out with great vigour.
Its model has proven successful for years, with double-digit growth from inception up to and including 2020, with the company recording €212.1 million in revenue in the third quarter of 21 alone, and its adaptability to new digital innovations has meant that it is increasingly recognised as a dominant player in the sector.
Spreading around Europe
Today, the firm operates in 10 European countries, allowing digital services provision across great distances. Its strategy has been successfully deployed in France (58% of turnover) and in the Benelux countries (17.5 growth in 2021), where it has achieved real growth thanks to long-term contracts – smart metres and fibre in France, fibre in Belgium.
The European prospects for digital development are indeed very attractive, given the importance attached to them by Brussels. The EU knows that regional inequalities in fibre optic connections has be harmful to economies, and so has set out its new strategic digital objectives in the framework of the “Digital Decade” initiative, setting a target for all households to be covered by the new generation of Gigabit broadband networks and 5G by 2030.
The EU Commission is offering €258m in funding to support 5G and Gigabit networks, with a target of complete coverage in Europe by 2030. By 2025, it is estimated that worldwide 5G revenues for mobile operators will reach €225 billion annually. The goal is to provide 100 Megabit per second (Mbps) connection for all households and a 1 Gbps for so-called “socio-economic drivers” such as schools, universities, hospitals, digital-intensive businesses and transport hubs, by 2025.
For the company’s CEO Gianbeppi Fortis, economic support policies could be a real growth accelerator: “the recovery plans linked to European funds are leading to massive investments in telecoms and energy transition infrastructures”.
Solutions 30 seems to have anticipated this potential, with its model well adapted to tackling the problem of so-called “dead zones”, regions with little-to-none broadband coverage that Europe aims to completely eliminate by 2024 through fibre optic rollout and space-based connectivity programs. It operates in not only countries with well developed fibre optic networks, like France, whose super fast internet access is available to 6 out of 10 French households and businesses – over 27 million premises – according to the watchdog Arcep but also those lagging somewhat behind, like Germany, where it is predicted that there will be 25 million active fibre network users across the country by 2026, with 34 million homes connected by the same year.
This potential was confirmed by Jörg Michael Faltermeier, the new CEO of the company’s Field Services GmbH in Germany: “In a proven high potential market, the Group has much sought-after expertise in the telecommunications and energy sectors…”
Poland, where Solutions 30 recently acquired the telecoms support activities of Sirtel, is another example, expanding its number of technicians in the country to 920. Wojciech Pomykała, Managing Director of Solutions 30 in Poland said: “this acquisition will drive expansion and bolster the group’s foothold as it deploys its business model in this promising market.”
Prospects and expansions
Solutions 30 is therefore looking to the future by pursuing the growth strategy that has been successful thus far. On the external growth side Solutions 30 successively acquired two British companies, Comvergent and Mono Consultants, in 2020 and 2021 respectively, representing a cumulative turnover of almost 60 million euros pre-pandemic. These acquisitions have allowed the firm to pocket two assets that will allow it to access favourable markets within the UK telecoms ecosystem, with the customer portfolio of its new subsidiaries, including Telefonica, British Telecom, EE, Ericsson and Nokia, and their similar technical expertise in 5G.
On the internal growth side, Solutions 30 recently won a €210 million contract in Italy from the operator TIM to deploy fibre optics in the north of the country at the beginning of 2021. This deal has put the firm in direct contact with a national operator. This move is decisive when considered in the framework of the ambitious plan to consolidate the sector and avoid unnecessary duplication of investment by creating a single national ultra-broadband network, likely under TIM’s lead.
Moreover, the company recently signed a 4-year €80 million contract with Masmovil, one of the main telecoms service providers in Spain and Portugal, another deal to be considered in the wider framework of Solutions 30’s expansion in southwest Europe.
Julian Gonzálz, Masmovil’s purchasing director noted that “Solutions 30 is one of our longstanding partners, one who has proven the quality of their services, as well as their commitment to our customers. That is why we have chosen them to help roll out our solutions in these new regions.”
As the Solution 30 CEO recently pointed out: “In its nearly 20 years of existence, Solutions 30 has never had such a promising vision for its markets. The company will benefit from both structural growth levers and massive recovery plans focused on digital transformation and the energy transition. The duplication of the model that has made us successful in France is clearly underway, with each of the countries where we currently operate having the potential to reach the size that the French market has achieved to date.”