Risks and opportunities
This section provides important additional information and explains recent changes in the risks and opportunities as described in the combined management report of the 2021 Annual Report. Readers are also referred to the Disclaimer at the end of this report.
Risks arising from the macroeconomic environment. Uncertainty over the global economic outlook remains high. The war in Ukraine has had a significant negative impact on the economic outlook. One repercussion is the sharp rise in energy prices, which in turn are driving up energy, transportation, and manufacturing costs. A halt in deliveries of Russian energy sources could push up global energy prices further and lead to supply shortages, especially for our Germany and Europe operating segments. The coronavirus pandemic also continues to have implications for the global economy and for society. Although the pandemic has only had a limited negative impact on the telecommunications sector so far, if the pandemic were to re-escalate, it could lead to prolonged and increased supply-side shortages. In this context, China’s central role for global supply and value chains, combined with the zero-tolerance strategy adopted there, pose a particular risk. The combination of further price rises and persistent shortages entails the risk of stagflation, i.e., a situation with no or negative economic growth in conjunction with high inflation. This could lead to further increases in the prices of the products we purchase. In addition, the consumer behavior of customers could change, leading them to switch to lower-cost rate plans, and the number of customers defaulting on payment could rise. Similar developments could also arise in the United States, where pandemic-related government aid programs are coming to an end. In addition, interest rates are set to rise in the United States, in Europe, and in Germany, which may also lead to lower investments and a decline in consumer spending. Rising interest rates could lead to higher interest payments. Additional risks could potentially result from other geopolitical conflicts and the uncertainty from international trade conflicts. We therefore expect the macroeconomic situation in Germany, the United States, and Europe to deteriorate and are raising the risk significance from low to medium.
Procurement and supply risks. Deutsche Telekom’s supply chains are currently being negatively impacted by a number of factors, e.g., by a shortage of semiconductor chips, the coronavirus pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and the war in Ukraine. There has been an imbalance between supply and demand on the global market for semiconductor chips for a number of quarters now. In addition, pandemic-related restrictions (for example, lockdowns in Asian countries) and geopolitics (for example, technology sanctions imposed by the United States) are impeding the global logistics stability of raw materials for chip production and related processes such as housing production and tests. Furthermore, the general costs of semiconductor materials, production and global logistics are rising, leading to general price increases for products and services. Europe is currently experiencing supply delays. However, short-term shortages were avoided thanks to action that was taken. Inventory shortages could also arise in the United States. The establishment of additional production capacities means that the situation regarding the availability of semiconductors is expected to ease in the medium term. Furthermore, the general costs of semiconductor materials, production, global logistics, energy, and wages are rising, in part driven by inflation, leading to general price increases for products and services. The risk significance of the risk category “Procurement and supply risks” has been raised from low to medium, since the situation could deteriorate due to China’s zero-Covid policy and its implications, such as the closure of Chinese ports, as well as unforeseeable consequences of the Ukraine war. We employ organizational, contractual, and procurement strategy measures to counteract these challenges. For example, in early 2021, the Group-wide Supply Chain Resilience was set up to assess the risk situation at regular intervals and, where necessary, take relevant mitigating measures, and monitor their implementation.
Claims relating to charges for the shared use of cable ducts. In the claims filed by Vodafone Deutschland GmbH and Vodafone Hessen et al. (now Vodafone West GmbH) against Telekom Deutschland GmbH alleging excessive charges for the use of cable ducts, which were referred by the Federal Court of Justice back to the responsible Higher Regional Courts, the plaintiff Vodafone Deutschland GmbH has since updated its demand for relief, which it now puts at approximately EUR 749 million plus interest for the period from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2021. It is currently not possible to estimate the financial impact with sufficient certainty.
Proceedings against T‑Mobile US in consequence of the cyberattack on T‑Mobile US. As reported in the combined management report of the 2021 Annual Report, consumer class actions were filed against T‑Mobile US and a derivative action was filed against the members of the Board of Directors of T‑Mobile US as a result of the cyberattack. The derivative action filed against the members of the Board of Directors of T‑Mobile US has since been withdrawn by the plaintiff. On July 22, 2022, T‑Mobile US entered into an agreement to settle the consumer class action in the Federal Court for USD 350 million (EUR 331 million). In addition, T‑Mobile US has committed to spending a total of USD 150 million (EUR 142 million) in 2022 and 2023 on data security and related technologies. The settlement is subject to court approval. Further proceedings brought in consequence of the cyberattack are still pending. In connection with the settlement reached and the further proceedings pending, T‑Mobile US has recognized provisions for risks of around USD 0.4 billion (around EUR 0.4 billion). With regard to inquiries by various government agencies, law enforcement and other state authorities, T‑Mobile US continues to give its full cooperation. At present the financial impact of these proceedings cannot be assessed with sufficient certainty.
Claims for damages against Slovak Telekom following a European Commission decision to impose fines. As reported in the combined management report of the 2021 Annual Report, following the decision of the European Commission, competitors filed damage actions against Slovak Telekom with the civil court in Bratislava. A further action was filed with the court in the reporting period, such that there are now three claims pending, amounting to a total of EUR 219 million plus interest. It is currently not possible to estimate the financial impact with sufficient certainty.
Assessment of the aggregate risk position
The aggregate risk position has deteriorated compared with the risks and opportunities as described in the combined management report of the 2021 Annual Report due to the war in Ukraine and the resulting consequences for the global economy. At the time of preparing this report, neither our risk management system nor our management could identify any material risks to the continued existence of Deutsche Telekom AG or a significant Group company as a going concern.