Telia Builds Customer Solutions with Cisco Refresh Case Study

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Updated:November 9, 2020

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Cisco’s remanufactured, certified gear supports a new level of asset lifecycle management

Executive Summary

Customer Name: Telia

Industry: Telecommunications

Location: EMEAR (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden.)

Number of Employees: 20,800


  Ever-increasing demands for greater efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness
  Customer deadlines when new equipment is not available
  To achieve carbon neutrality and zero waste


  Fully Certified Remanufactured Cisco equipment
  Lifecycle asset management program


  The lifecycle asset management program, developed in partnership with Telia and Cisco, allows the return of used equipment, ability to earn credits, and make new and pre-owned purchases
  Stay within budget through authorized channels
  Telia gains the peace of mind of knowing they are buying genuine products with no compromise in quality, performance, support, or value





Today’s digital society increasingly connects millions of people, companies, and cultures. This is made possible by next-generation telecommunications firms such as Telia, which connects customers across the European Union and in Asia. Its flagship business in the EU is Telia, founded in 1855 in Finland and today headquartered in Stockholm.


Like other telcos, Telia must provide connectivity that meets ever-increasing demands for greater efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. At the same time, it needs to maintain the highest standards of security, and stay ahead of rapidly developing sustainability mandates.


To meet all these requirements, Telia has Cisco Refresh as one part of its ongoing strategy. Cisco Refresh is Cisco’s pre-owned equipment business, offering fully certified, remanufactured gear for the times when – due to budget, timing, sustainability priorities, or other challenges – organizations need a more flexible alternative. It provides price-competitive, trusted gear (both current and end of sale), as well as a strategic way to address Asset Lifecycle Management.


“Telia offers Managed services, to other companies – ranging from small offices to large enterprises and the public sector,” said Susanna Alaja, Telia’s Head of Materials Management. “This means that we need to remain up-to-date and environmentally responsible. Yet it is also about the total costs.” Pekka Valtonen, Sourcing Manager, agreed, adding, “We have to maintain an extremely high standard, especially in security. Devices must be trustworthy, but also delivered in a timely way. For all these reasons, we include Cisco Refresh in our solutions.”


“Clearly there is opportunity to improve. Cisco Refresh gives us the flexibility to do this more efficiently, with improved supply, in an environmentally friendly way”

- Susanna Alaja, Telia Head of Materials Management


Sustainability based on asset lifecycle management

Telia is publicly committed as a forerunner in achieving sustainability – and in helping customers to achieve too. “Telia commits to achieve carbon neutrality and zero waste throughout its value chain by 2030,” Alaja said. “But we also recognize an opportunity for business growth through digitization. With Telia’s work in communications, data analytics, and IoT, we can help customers run their operations with more energy efficiency and utilize new business models, such as the circular economy.”


Cisco Refresh supports the circular economy – an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources – by minimizing technology impact and reselling pre-owned equipment. Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s CEO and President, has further pledged the company to a 100% returns program. In support of these commitments, Telia and Cisco have instituted a lifecycle asset management program that allows Telia to return old gear, earn credits, and use them to make new and pre-owned purchases.


Cisco then rebuilds, remanufactures, or recycles the returned equipment. Other sources for Cisco Refresh include stock rotations, off-lease returns, manufacturing overruns, cancelled orders, and lightly-used lab and event equipment.


Meeting tight customer deadlines

Telia buys a range of pre-owned Cisco networking equipment, including switches, routers, wireless, and other gear, for its Managed Services use. W, the company still chooses to buy majority volume products new, but utilizes Cisco Refresh to support standard large-scale investments, more expensive or unusual equipment, or to meet sudden customer needs.


“It used to be that we would turn to Cisco Refresh if product was not available. However, these days there are items we just buy straight from the pre-owned stock,” Valtonen said. “When budgets are tight, our customers want it yesterday – project managers are always trying to push every project as quickly as possible. Cisco Refresh is an equally valuable option for us.”


Providing a certified, reliable alternative

Telia began its relationship with Cisco Refresh ten years ago, more or less by accident. “It started when we needed equipment for a customer solution in a hurry, and Cisco was unable to deliver on some new parts,” Valtonen said. “We found that similar remanufactured devices were in stock from Cisco Refresh, and were able to satisfy our customer with a very speedy delivery and deployment. From then on, we started investing in pre-owned equipment from Cisco regularly.”


Cisco’s remanufactured equipment undergoes a painstaking multi-point process before being certified for resale – including inspection, software and hardware upgrades, testing, reconfiguration, repairs, relicensing, cleaning, and packaging. Most importantly, former owners are protected by an intensive data purge process developed by and unique to Cisco. Telia itself then retests many devices in its own labs to assure they will meet the company’s Service Level Agreements (SLAs). “We have never had any complaints about Cisco Refresh equipment,” Valtonen said.


Keeping to a budget through authorized channels

Cisco Refresh is the only brand of pre-owned Cisco gear that is authorized and certified by Cisco. Telia gains the peace of mind of knowing they are buying genuine products with no compromise in quality, performance, support, or value.


It also helps Telia keep to its strict standard of avoiding buying through unauthorized brokers. “We never buy from the grey market,” Alaja stated. “This is not a risk we can afford to take, for the sake of our customers. Buying certified equipment from Cisco Refresh allows us to protect our business while helping to manage our costs.”


Looking forward to a greener future

Telia has already achieved savings and delivery improvements with Cisco Refresh, and plans to use the program as an approach to improve sustainability.

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