The GSMA’s Network 2020 Programme appoints new chair for IP Communications Group

Dr. Petja Heimbach, Vice President of Next Generation Communication Products at Deutsche Telekom (DT) has been appointed Chair of the GSMA’s IP Communications Leadership Team following the resignation of Kobus Smit from his position as Head of Voice and Messaging at DT. Petja will oversee the global adoption and deployment of the Universal Profile (UP) for Advanced Messaging.

Kobus Smit has made an outstanding contribution to the development of industry-wide RCS services in his time at both DT and as Chair at the GSMA over the past 5 years. He played an integral role in DT’s early adoption of RCS by making Germany the first market in the world to have full reach and interconnection. He also helped DT and the wider industry to focus on the adoption of the native application of RCS in devices as well as prepare the telco industry and its partners for creating successful messaging products in an all-IP world.

In his capacity as Chair of the IP Comms group, Kobus aligned the operator community behind the development of a common UP while managing to attract and onboard leading global partners like Google and Samsung as proactive contributers to the RCS ecosystem. He played a fundamental role in ensuring the UP creates an open and interoperable ecosystem and has been instrumental in preparing RCS to become the key enabler for a globally successful, multi-player digital third party platform in the near future. This approach will allow operators to monetize services and bring enhanced messaging experiences to customers. The legacy Kobus Smit leaves the operator community is the drive to collaborate and be open to disruptive new business models while still holding on to inherited success factors like reliability and trust. All of these will be continued by Dr. Heimbach.

Dr. Heimbach will focus on bringing the UP based communication standard to customer relevance, both as a universal communication tool for everyone and as a global enabling platform for future conversational commerce. In addition to establishing global reach it will be another critical success factor for Telcos to find ways to smoothly adopt emerging business models for digital communication services during their IP-transition.

In his day job, Dr. Petja Heimbach is Vice President for Communication Products at Deutsche Telekom where his main responsibility is leading DT’s transition towards IP communications including the adoption of new market models. Petja has also held several senior positions at DT in Marketing and Product Management. Earlier in his career, he assisted local Telco carriers as a strategy consultant and led a start-up creating multimedia product and company presentations.

The single, open and common UP was created to simplify and accelerate the adoption of interoperable communications services and provide consumers with a richer and more consistent messaging experience regardless of device or network. UP has been adopted by 58 operators, OEMs and OS providers worldwide. Mobile operators, including Rogers and Sprint, join the likes of Vodafone, Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and many others who have already launched RCS services live in their markets.

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