Putting Technology at the Benefit and Service of Society

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The Budapest Business Journal discusses market trends, digitalization, the Internet of Things, the UPC acquisition and the coming 5G revolution with Dr. Gergő J. Budai, the director of external affairs at Vodafone Hungary.

Dr. Gergő J. Budai, the director of external affairs at Vodafone Hungary.

BBJ: What are the latest trends on Hungary’s telecoms market in? 

Gergő J. Budai: Compared to the last 15-20 years, in the past two-to-three years, the market has been vibrant. There is significant M&A activity and, at the same time, technology is being revolutionized. This year saw the acquisition of UPC Hungary by Vodafone, which allows us to become a converged operator, able to offer Hungarian consumers the full scale of services, including mobile, fixed broadband and TV. The merger of two of Hungary’s significant operators will fundamentally change the market to better serve customer needs. This will undoubtedly intensify competition, and the ultimate beneficiaries of this process will be the clients and the Hungarian economy.

BBJ: What do you think the upcoming trends will be?

GJB: The future of connectivity as we see it are the Gigabit Networks. Commercial 5G services are starting to be launched around the world. We are particularly proud that Hungary is one of the leading countries in this respect, as Vodafone launched its commercial 5G services a few days ago in the downtown area of Budapest.

In the coming years, 5G is expected to deliver significant changes to our everyday lives. The technology will enable faster data transfer speeds and as a result, 5G creates tremendous opportunities for numerous industries. From enabling remote robotic surgery and autonomous cars to improving crop and livestock management, the opportunities are endless. We do believe that 5G technology and the new smart solutions attached to it will make our lives better and more sustainable.

BBJ: How ready are Hungary’s corporate players to really embrace the benefits of digitalization?

GJB: There are many ongoing projects focusing on digital transformation throughout the country. Many market players and governmental institutions have already recognized not only the potential of digital solutions, but also the need for partnerships to deploy them.

A good example of this is our recent cooperation with municipalities. Thanks to it, last year we implemented Vodafone’s smart parking system in District V of Budapest and also in Székesfehérvár, taking a huge leap towards the modernization of city parking by improving its efficiency.

Another successful project is our partnership with Innomed to introduce a 21st century model of cardiovascular rehabilitation. The newly developed appliance can continuously monitor the condition of patients undergone heart surgery and contribute to their recovery.

It is very important that we connect for good; in other words put technology at the benefit and service of society. As one example of this, I can mention one of the Vodafone Foundation’s Digital Award winners, the OncoVR Project, which uses technology and artificial intelligence in child oncology to increase the success of treatments and alleviate discomfort.

We are constantly working to improve and expand these services and solutions. In October, we reached the 500,000th milestone regarding Internet of Things connections, making us the largest IoT provider in Hungary.

BBJ: What are Vodafone’s next steps toward 5G implementation in Hungary?

GJB: The acquisition of UPC Hungary will boost Vodafone significantly as a service provider, opening the door to larger-scale development. In the middle of October, Vodafone became the first of the active mobile operators in Hungary to launch a commercial 5G network in Hungary.

However, it is also equally important for us to make 5G understandable and accessible to all Hungarians, not just the fortunate elite. Everyone should be entitled to the opportunities and promise of a better digital future offered by this technological revolution and everyone should be able to have access to it. That is why our Vodafone 5G Truck has travelled through the country this year to get more people acquainted with the new technology, its applications and its potential.

Roll-out of the 5G network will continue throughout Hungary. Vodafone is participating in the ongoing frequency tender of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) with the aim of acquiring further spectrum to expand the 5G network.

BBJ: What do you think corporates should chose Vodafone over your competitors?  

GJB: Vodafone Hungary has a truly enthusiastic team striving for innovation and development. We are the first to introduce new technology, like 5G. As an emerging and growing company, everyone is highly motivated to provide customers with a new, high quality choice in mobile and fixed segments as well. Customer needs are at the center of our focus.

Bio Box

Dr. Gergő J. Budai has been director of external affairs and a member of the board at Vodafone Hungary since 2017. As of May 1, 2019, he has been vice chairman of the board. In addition to his business activities, he is also the curator of the Vodafone Hungary Foundation and the ambassador of the Digital School Program. Budai graduated in law and started his career at an international law firm where, in addition to Budapest, he also worked in Brussels and Washington. Following this, for five years he was a board member at Pfizer in Hungary and later in Romania and the Czech Republic. After 2012, he held various positions at Invitel Group. He was a board member and the group’s general deputy CEO. After the successful sale of the company, he joined Vodafone in September 2017.

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