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Overview

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector plays a large role in Austria. Almost all Austrian households have a mobile phone and almost 40% only use broadband on their smartphones. But Austrians are not only in the top category as users. The Austrian economy also makes a significant contribution to the production of smartphones and tablets. Various components, such as printed circuit boards, sensors or miniature loudspeakers, are developed and manufactured in Austria.

The telecommunications market in Austria can be divided into the following three areas:

  • Carriers (operators of telecommunications networks)
  • Service providers (providers of services, mobile virtual network operators)
  • Suppliers (suppliers of telecommunications solutions, e.g. manufacturers of smartphones and components)

In addition to the products, systems, components and services offered directly by the industry, a considerable indirect value added also originates from the companies of the Austrian information and communication technology (ICT) sector. The funding and support of research and development has a tradition in Austria and facilitates competitive innovations that are internationally recognised.

The leading communications provider in Austria has more than 5.4 million mobile communication and 2.3 million landline customers and operates its own networks for mobile and location-bound telephony. The company is active in a total of eight countries in Central and Eastern Europe. 

The example of the smartphone

An Austrian company supplies eight of the ten largest manufacturers of mobile phones with printed circuit boards. In particular the research and development work is done at the site in Austria. Production sites are located in Austria, China, India and Korea. 

In Austria, there is also the competence centre for secure contactless identification systems of a globally active company. Wireless-based semi-conductors for RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), Smart Labels and/or Smart Tags, Smart Cards, NFC (Near Field Communication) and MIFARE are developed there. The NFC-ICs developed in Austria are used in smartphones and tablets. NFC components from Austria are contained in more than 150 end devices.

Miniature loudspeakers from the technology and global market leader from Austria ensure impeccable sound when using the telephone and playing music and videos. The most renowned manufacturers put their faith in loudspeakers from Austria in their products.

The Austrian know-how for light effects and lighting management facilitates the production of efficient devices with substantially improved rechargeable battery capacity. An Austrian company is the global market leader for light sensors and supplies almost all leading smartphone manufacturers. Research, development and production of these components come from Styria in the south of Austria.

Coating materials that are vital for the functioning of displays and system components for the production of semi-conductor layers are supplied by a company from Tyrol with production sites in ten countries.

The smallest loudspeaker in the world, which is based on the MEMS technology, comes from Austria. The company also produces amplifiers for NFC chips, gesture sensors and microphones that suppress analogue noise.

Security and responsibility

Providers of a technology via which a large part of the exchange of economic, political and also private data takes place have to place a particular focus on the security of their products, solutions and services. This responsibility is assumed by the Austrian companies in the industry through innovative developments.

The telecommunications industry makes a fundamental contribution to energy savings. It facilitates e.g. the intelligent control of electricity grids (Smart Grids) and reduces CO2 emission through the networking of mobility options or the possibility of virtual meetings. 

However, the production, usage and disposal of telecommunications devices is also associated with considerable negative environmental effects. Whether it is the high consumption of energy and the burden on the environment during production, the power consumption in operation or losses in raw materials through improper recycling: The industry has huge potential for improvement in this area.

The future with 5G

The companies are inspired by the development of key technologies for the new communication standard 5G. The new requirements of data rates, capacity, latent periods and energy consumption will facilitate a large number of services of the next generation when they are implemented and thus open up new markets. These include virtual reality, self-driving cars, telemedicine, the omnipresent Internet of Things and much more.

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