Case Study

Access 4.0

Deutsche Telekom and Reply bring a new era with the network disaggregation.

Driving the concepts of disaggregation and softwarisation


With the Access 4.0 (A4) platform, Deutsche Telekom is breaking new ground in the construction and provision of networks. Reply, chosen as co-development partner, supports Deutsche Telekom in this transformation from a traditional telecommunication provider into a cloud-based provider.

Conventional hard-wired systems are being replaced by open, disaggregated, highly automated and microservice-based technologies.

Cloud-native and software-based transformation in the telco industry

Rapid advances in data centres and cloud-based technologies have set the entire operator ecosystem in motion. Through the disaggregation and virtualisation of access networks based on cloud-native architectures and open source code, Access 4.0 aims at providing a cost-efficient, easy-to-operate and scalable platform.

Access 4.0 is primarily tailored to Deutsche Telekom’s broadband internet access for Fiber to the Home/ Building (FTTH/B) and in the future it should be able to support other applications at the network edge, especially in the 5G and Open RAN environment.

“Deutsche Telekom is reaching an important milestone in its transformation into a software-based telecommunications provider. We are thus consistently shaping the path taken by the industry toward solutions based on open and disaggregated components in the fixed network area as well."

Walter Goldenits
CTO Telekom Deutschland

Rethinking network infrastructure

Disaggregating hardware and software. Migrating the intelligence into the software. Making Hardware take a back seat. That is the overall idea. Setting up product ideas and new telecommunication services easily by changing the software is one of the principles behind the Access 4.0 project of Deutsche Telekom and Reply.

The way networks are set up and made available will be rethought and simplified, aiming at transparently supporting existing access services.

The combination of open interfaces and innovative microservices creates more flexibility allowing the Telecommunication companies to roll out services faster on their customers’ premises.

"The telecommunications industry is currently undergoing fundamental change. The separation of hardware and software is the key to more scalability, flexibility and cost efficiency in the control, management and operation of networks. We are pleased to share this vision using a combination of innovative microservices with agile and devops culture, together with Deutsche Telekom.”

Filippo Rizzante
CTO Reply

Access 4.0 key benefits

Access 4.0 technology guarantees a shortened time to market for new products through a faster roll-out of services.

Access 4.0 implements a consistent disaggregation of hardware and software and is set up via plug-and-play. With the software-defined approach, Access 4.0 is driving forward automation and the possibility to implement lean processes in combination with the other telco platforms, like OSS.

With Access 4.0 networks can be built, planned and operated with a fraction of today's cost.

Vendor-specific closed systems are being replaced on the A4 platform with open, disaggregated, and microservice-based technologies. A4 is based on open source principles in many aspects and shares any resulting insights with open source communities. The open software promotes competition among suppliers and cuts investment costs for network operators.

Making ‘change’ part of the mindset

With Access 4.0, Deutsche Telekom is leading the way to innovative, fast and affordable networking with next-generation native cloud access.

In the Access 4.0 project, collaborating in cross-departmental and cross-company teams is essential. This requires a fundamental change in the way people think and work. To expand skills in systems integration and development, Reply not only provides Deutsche Telekom with in-depth knowledge of the telecommunications industry but also specialists in agile working methods.

“Imagine how quickly product ideas can be implemented if you only have to use new software.”

Robert Soukup
Senior Manager for Access 4.0 at Deutsche Telekom