One of the largest and greenest data centres in the world has been launched today by Portugal Telecom. The launch signifies a key moment in the transformation of the company from a fixed line provider to entertainment and IT services innovator.
The new data centre which has been unveiled in the Portuguese town of Covilhã, was created following a €90 million investment by the company into the project that will create 1,400 jobs. The first block which is being inaugurated today, has six rooms with 520 sqm and a PUE (power usage effectiveness) of 1.25. The entire project, once complete, will be 75,500 sqm in size and will be composed of four blocks.
The Covilhã data centre has enabled PT to stamp its mark as a leading provider of sustainable data centre solutions. Its PUE is well below the industry average of 1.88 and the facility boasts free cooling for 99% of the year through its unique environmental framework. It is powered by renewable energy sources and includes the use of Photovoltaic power.
As part of the inauguration ceremony, PT announced 37 launch day clients including IT services and outsourcing giants Accenture and Wipro, and three major banks.
Zeinal Bava, CEO of Portugal Telecom said, "Data now contributes 50% of our revenues. Consumers were spending more time connected and as a result, data has now replaced voice. This is why we have invested so heavily in such a sophisticated infrastructure and are leveraging it to reflect the trends we are seeing taking place across all developing markets.
Meanwhile, companies and even governments wish to virtualise and consolidate as much as possible to save costs and drive efficiencies. Our new data centre will enable us to expand our global positioning in the cloud and data centre services market. It will also enable us to leverage our international footprint in four continents and ecosystem of leading partners to also capture business in other geographies."
Portugal Telecom, with the new data centre, has expanded its network capacity to eight data centres with 56,000 servers and 33 Pbytes of storage. Thanks to the Covilha centre, the company can expand its current cloud offering which it offers to consumers through 16GB of free storage space, and to businesses through a comprehensive set of solutions that include SaaS, CaaS, PaaS and IaaS.
PT's Data Centre in Covilhã is a landmark investment, which is a key step in the technological evolution of the company that began in 2008 with the nationwide launch of MEO, PT's successful pay-TV offer. The company has sought to gain a structural competitive advantage by investing in technology that includes a fibre transmission network that supports 100Gbps, a fibre to the home access network with a coverage of 1.6 million households, a 4G LTE network with a coverage of 90% of the Portuguese population, and fibre mobile backhauling reaching 92% of base stations.
The investment in technology and innovation has allowed PT to transform its offering with the launch of pay-TV and triple-play services. As a result, MEO achieved the leadership in triple-play only four years after its launch, with a 47% market share and a 40.4% market share in the pay-TV market.
PT's transformation also included a focus on mobile data and content everywhere. After dominating the triple-play market, PT has launched the first truly converged quadrupleplay offer, M4O, which is gaining momentum, having reached one million RGUs (revenue generating units) in August 2013, of which 40% are new RGUs to PT. Over 50% of PT's revenues in Portugal are now non-voice.
Zeinal Bava, speaking to the BBC in London about the changing focus of the company said, "We have made this step because we are contrarians and we are believers in the fact that we needed to transform our B2C model away from telecoms and into entertainment. For our B2B customers, we are now servicing companies with IT solutions, cloud solutions and business process outsourcing. We have defied gravity to some extent as previously across Europe, such a move hadn't happened."