Performance management system

In order to set and achieve our strategic goals more effectively, we pursue a Group-wide, value-oriented performance management approach. We use a specific set of performance indicators to reliably and transparently measure success. The following tables and information provide an overview of our key financial and non-financial performance indicators.

Financial performance indicators 









Comparatives for 2018 were calculated on a pro forma basis for the redefined key performance indicators resulting from the introduction of the IFRS 16 accounting standard.








Net revenue

billions of €






Profit (loss) from operations (EBIT)

billions of €






EBITDA AL (adjusted for special factors)a

billions of €






Free cash flow AL (before dividend payments and spectrum investment)a

billions of €






Cash capex (before spectrum investment)

billions of €






Rating (Standard & Poor’s, Fitch)







Rating (Moody’s)







Effects of the application of the new IFRS 16 “Leases” accounting standard on our financial performance indicators

The mandatory first-time application of the new IFRS 16 “Leases” accounting standard as of January 1, 2019 had a material impact on Deutsche Telekom’s consolidated financial statements. The new standard requires payment obligations from existing operating leases to be discounted and recognized as lease liabilities; as financial liabilities, they increase net debt. At the same time, the lessee recognizes a right-of-use asset. Operating expenses previously recognized in connection with operating leases are now recognized in depreciation charges on right-of-use assets and in interest expenses for discounted obligations from operating leases, as appropriate. This significantly increases EBITDA without any attendant change in the economic circumstances. In the statement of cash flows, the principal repayment portion of the lease payments from existing operating leases reduces net cash from/used in financing activities and no longer affects net cash from operating activities. The interest portion of the payments remains in net cash from operating activities and thus also in free cash flow.

Since expenses and cash outflows for leases are substantial elements of our earnings performance and solvency, effective the start of the 2019 financial year we have taken into account the effects of the mandatory first-time application of the IFRS 16 accounting standard when determining our financial performance indicators. We also want to ensure maximum comparability with our previous performance indicators. Our operational performance is now measured on the basis of “EBITDA after leases” (EBITDA AL) and not on the basis of EBITDA. EBITDA AL is calculated by adjusting EBITDA for depreciation of the right-of-use assets and for interest expenses on recognized lease liabilities. The “free cash flow” performance indicator was replaced by “free cash flow after leases” (free cash flow AL). Free cash flow AL is determined by adjusting free cash flow for repayments of lease liabilities. To improve comparability of our performance indicators with the EBITDA and free cash flow indicators reported in the financial statements of T‑Mobile US in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which continues to differentiate between operating and finance leases, expenses and repayments for finance leases at T‑Mobile US will not be taken into account when determining EBITDA AL and free cash flow AL.

A reconciliation of the definitions of the former financial performance indicators with the new “after leases” indicators can be found in the following table:

millions of €





Excluding finance leases at T‑Mobile US.



Depreciation of right-of-use assetsa


Interest expenses on recognized lease liabilitiesa




Free cash flow (before dividend payments and spectrum investment)


Principal portion of repayment of lease liabilitiesa




The published prior-year figures have not been adjusted retroactively following the first-time application of IFRS 16. To enable comparability with the new performance indicators, pro forma comparatives were determined for the prior year. These were reached using approximate calculations of the key effects of IFRS 16 for the prior year, before applying the calculation shown in the table for the current year. Changes to the organizational structure within the Group were also taken into consideration.

The ROCE calculation method also had to be adjusted effective the start of the 2019 financial year as a result of the mandatory first-time application of the IFRS 16 accounting standard. NOA is now determined taking capitalized right-of-use assets from leases into consideration. By contrast, the present value of unrecognized rental and lease obligations as well as adjustments to their respective interest components will no longer be taken into account when determining NOPAT. As part of these changes, the definition of ROCE was both refined and simplified at the start of the financial year, with operating working capital being calculated solely from trade receivables, inventories, and trade and other payables. No further adjustments to NOPAT, NOA, or other assets under NOA are necessary. Overall, the new calculation method has a minor effect on ROCE.

For further information on the new IFRS 16 accounting standard, please refer to the section “Summary of accounting policies” in the notes to the consolidated financial statements.


We have incorporated sustainable growth in enterprise value into our medium-term aims and implemented it as a separate KPI (key performance indicator) for the entire Group. Return on capital employed (ROCE) is our central performance indicator. ROCE is the ratio of operating result after depreciation, amortization and impairment losses plus imputed taxes (net operating profit after taxes (NOPAT)) to the average value of the assets tied up in the course of the year (net operating assets, NOA).

Our goal is to achieve or exceed the return targets imposed on us by providers of debt capital and equity on the basis of capital market requirements. We measure return targets using the weighted average cost of capital (WACC).

NOPAT is an earnings indicator derived from the income statement, taking an imputed tax expense into consideration. It does not include cost of capital.

NOA includes all assets that make a direct contribution to revenue generation. These include all elements on the asset side of the consolidated statement of financial position that are essential to the rendering of services. Operating working capital is calculated from trade receivables, inventories, and trade and other payables. The figure for other provisions is deducted as no return target exists for this.

We believe that ROCE best reflects the expectations of the four aforementioned stakeholders. The indicator measures how efficiently we generate revenues with the capital employed. ROCE is especially informative when taking a long-term view, because it takes into account both the value of the assets that are tied up in our capital-intensive infrastructure, and their utilization. This reveals the crucial advantage of this KPI. It does not focus on the absolute amount of the earnings generated, but rather how much earnings the capital employed generates.

Revenue and earnings

Revenue corresponds to the value of our operating activities. Absolute revenue depends on how well we are able to sell our products and services on the market. The development of our revenue is an essential indicator for measuring the Company’s success. New products and services as well as additional sales activities are only successful if they increase revenue.

EBITDA corresponds to EBIT (profit/loss from operations) before depreciation, amortization and impairment losses. EBIT and EBITDA measure the short-term operational performance and the success of individual business areas. In order to ensure maximum comparability with our previous KPIs following the application of IFRS 16, in the 2019 financial year we started measuring our operating earnings performance on the basis of EBITDA AL – i.e., EBITDA adjusted for depreciation of right-of-use assets and for interest expenses on recognized lease liabilities. In addition to these absolute indicators, we also use the EBIT and EBITDA AL margins to show how these indicators develop in relation to revenue. This makes it possible to compare the earnings performance of profit-oriented units of different sizes. Taking unadjusted EBIT/EBITDA AL as performance indicators means special factors are also taken into account. This promotes a holistic view of our costs. However, special factors have an impact on the presentation of operations, making it more difficult to compare performance indicators with corresponding figures for prior periods. For this reason, we additionally adjust our performance indicators to provide transparency. Without this adjustment, statements about the future development of earnings are only possible to a limited extent. The adjusted values are calculated on the basis of the unadjusted performance indicators.

For the reconciliation of EBITDA AL, EBIT, and net profit/(loss) with the values adjusted for special factors, please refer to the table “Consolidated income statement and effects of special factors” in the section “Development of business in the Group.”

Financial flexibility

Free cash flow AL (before dividend payments and spectrum investment) is calculated as net cash from operating activities less net cash outflows for investments in intangible assets (excluding goodwill) and property, plant and equipment, as well as the repayment of lease liabilities – excluding finance leases at T‑Mobile US. Free cash flow AL is a key yardstick for providers of debt capital and equity. It measures the potential for further developing our Company, for generating organic growth, and for the ability to pay dividends and repay debt.

Cash capex (before spectrum investment) relates to cash outflows for investments in intangible assets (excluding goodwill) and property, plant and equipment, which are relevant for cash outflows as a component of free cash flow.

A rating is an assessment or classification of the creditworthiness of debt securities and its issuer according to uniform criteria. Assessment of creditworthiness by rating agencies influences interest rates on debt securities and thus also our borrowing costs. As part of our finance policy, we have defined a target range for our ratings. We are convinced that with a rating between A- and BBB (Standard & Poor’s, Fitch) or between A3 and Baa2 (Moody’s) we essentially have the necessary entry to the capital markets to generate the required financing.

Non-financial performance indicators 









Commitment index determined on the basis of the employee surveys carried out in 2019, 2017, and 2015.


Excluding wholesale.


Starting in Q2 2018, we no longer report the number of broadband lines from a technical perspective. Instead, we report the number of broadband customers. The figures for 2016 and 2017 have been adjusted accordingly.

Customer satisfaction (TRI*M index)







Employee satisfaction (commitment index)a














Mobile customers







Fixed-network lines







Broadband customersb,c














Order entry

millions of €






We want our customers to be satisfied – or even delighted – as satisfied customers act as multipliers for our Company’s success. As a responsible, service-oriented company, the needs and opinions of our customers are of great importance to us, and we want them to stay with our Company in the long term. For this reason, we measure customer retention/satisfaction in our companies using the globally recognized TRI*M method. The results of systematic surveys are expressed by an indicator known as the TRI*M index. To underscore the major significance of customer retention/satisfaction for our operations, since 2010 we have made this key indicator one of four parameters for the long-term variable remuneration (Variable II) for our Board of Management members. It is also used as a parameter in the long-term incentive plan, which was launched in 2015 and is offered to our managers (with the exception of Board of Management members). We take the TRI*M indexes calculated for the operating entities as an approximation of the respective entities’ percentage of total revenue to create an aggregate TRI*M Group value. Over a period of four years, the eligible managers can benefit from the development of customer retention/satisfaction across the Group.

For further information on customer satisfaction, please refer to the section “Group strategy.”

Our employees want to contribute to the further development of the Company and identify with it. We want to establish an open dialog and a productive exchange with our employees: New ways of working and modern means of communication help us achieve this, as do regular surveys. The most important feedback instruments across the Group (excluding T‑Mobile US) for assessing employee satisfaction include regular employee surveys and the pulse survey carried out twice a year. In our Company, we measure the employee satisfaction performance indicator using the commitment index – derived from the results of the last employee survey. SDG 8

For further information about employee satisfaction, please refer to the section “Employees.”

In view of the major significance of employee satisfaction for the success of the Company, Board members are now also being managed and incentivized by means of the long-term variable performance-based remuneration (Variable II). Employee feedback as one of four parameters has been relevant for Variable II since 2010, and for the long-term incentive plan which was relaunched in 2015 for our managers (excluding Board members). This allows Board members and eligible managers to benefit from the development of employee satisfaction across the Group.

As one of the leading providers of telecommunications and information technology worldwide, the development of our Group – and thus also our financial performance indicators – is closely linked to the development of customer figures. Acquiring and retaining customers are thus essential to the success of our Company. We have different ways of measuring the development of our customer figures according to the business activity in our operating segments: Depending on the activities of each segment, we measure the number of mobile customers and/or the number of broadband customers and fixed-network lines.

In our Systems Solutions operating segment, we use order entry as a non-financial performance indicator. We define and calculate order entry as the total of all amounts resulting from customer orders received in the financial year. Order entry in the form of long-term contracts is of great significance to the Group in order to estimate revenue potential. In other words, order entry is an indicator that provides a high degree of planning reliability.