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The Warsaw Voice » Other » April 16, 2008
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TELECOMS: From Loss to Profit
April 16, 2008   
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Maciej Srebro, CEO of Telekomunikacja Kolejowa, talks to Urszula Imienińska.

Just three years ago the firm, which is owned by the State Treasury and state railway company PKP, made a loss of zl.43 million and two years ago this was zl.17 million. Last year the firm made a small profit and this year . . . "This year we will count our profit in millions," says Maciej Srebro, CEO of Telekomunikacja Kolejowa. "This year we expect a 5-7 percent increase in revenues. We also want half of the revenues to come from the open market, meaning companies from outside the PKP group."

The firm this year has already revealed its plans to launch on the stock exchange and has divulged how it intends to become profitable.

How do you turn a loss into a profit?
Since August 2006 we have been restructuring, cutting costs and shrinking our work force. Restructuring in the last year has led to job cuts of about 12 percent, the launch of new telecommunications services and more efficient organization. Part of our new strategy will be to offer services to end customers, above all firms and local government departments. We are interested in institutions, or business clients and local governments. In the strategy for 2009-2011, we do not rule out spinning off a separate company as an operator on the open market and listing it on the Warsaw bourse. By doing so we could raise over zl.100 million to zl.120 million, which we would invest mainly in building fiber-optic access infrastructure.

What is the firm's strategy and development plan for the near future?
The firm's strategy and development plan is TK MPLS, or fast, efficient and secure data transmission in an IP protocol using MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) technology. MPLS offers unique possibilities. Thanks to it, companies can hugely improve the quality of their data transmission. This translates into their increased efficiency and consequently higher profits.

Who will use these systems and for whom will they be designed?
This is a good offer for corporations and large firms that have branches not only throughout Poland but abroad as well. It enables reliable, fast and secure data transmission to all network users. The new TK MPLS technology also facilitates links between Local Area Networks (LAN) to form a fully monitored and managed Wide Area Network (WAN). It offers the possibility of creating a Virtual Private Network, or tele-information network, that links to a firm's headquarters all of its branches and employees at home and abroad. The creation of such a network significantly improves communication and information exchange because it allows for data transmission simultaneously to a large group of recipients such as branches, departments and partner companies.

It also ensures transmission efficiency by regulating data traffic, prioritizing it and encoding it to ensure security. The TK MPLS network is reliable and very productive since it is utilizes the latest routers from the Cisco series GSR12400. This is a technology which, during implementation, takes into consideration a given firm's technical and equipment limitations. This means that the technology can be tailored to maximize the utilization of a client's existing and operational telecommunications equipment. Such a network is built in modules and thus it is possible to easily link in another branch or department.

The hi-tech field the company operates in seems to belong to a different era to that of the railways, which are still redolent of communist Poland.
TK Telekom's attainment of the Global System for Mobile Communication for Railway frequency is the start of its project to build a GSM-R system in Poland. GSM-R is an element of the European Railway Traffic Management System and was designed to create a cohesive and trans-European railway communication system. GSM-R has replaced a whole host of local radio-communication and rail-traffic control systems in countries within the European Union.

GSM-R implementation does not only improve the quality of mobile radio communications but also dispenses with the need to use the many varying systems within the European Union for voice communication as well as traffic control and data transmission for railways. In 2006 in the European Union the GSM-R system was in use on several hundreds of thousands of kilometers of railway. Poland will also start to use it soon.

Maciej Srebro talks about his work with passion because his work is his passion. Other interests include sport, which he plays with his four sons, and excursions on which he takes his family at every opportunity.

"Our network consists of over 28,000 kilometers of cables, including 6,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cables, of which 98 percent is laid underground, which guarantees high resistance to mechanical and atmospheric damage," says the website of Telekomunikacja Kolejowa, or TK Telekom.

We have our own international interchanges on the Warsaw-Berlin-Frankfurt am Main, Warsaw-Prague and Warsaw-Kiev lines.
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