Frequently Asked Questions

Telekom Challenge is a worldwide invitation for individual experts and researchers (individual person & teams) from Academia, R&D Institutes and Industry to provide innovative solutions for specific challenge fields. This year the challenge is called “Data distribution in home networks”. The challenge will run in two streams and applicants can choose between the following one in which they wish to participate!


  • Research Stream: Life beyond the status quo – deliver a research/white paper.
  • Development Stream: Deliver measurable improvement in the form of a technical Proof of Concept.

Researchers and experts from academia, R&D institutes, and industry from all over the world are welcome to submit their solutions in those two streams to win a prize pool of up to 150.000 €. Telekom Challenge is powered by Telekom Innovation Laboratories.

Telekom Challenge solicits technologies and research ideas in the realm of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). In particular, entries shall be classifiable in the following challenge topic: Data Distribution in Home networks. Challenge focus are clustered in following two application streams:


Research Stream: What will be next to Wi-Fi and beyond to ensure Data distribution in home networks?

  • How will data be distributed in home networks in the future, starting from the network to devices and from physical layer to applications?
  • How do customers get the full performance from the network access point to the device?
  • What are promising alternative technologies discussed in standardization and industry bodies?
  • Will WI-FI be disrupted by alternatives? How?
  • What could be a potential solution to maintain or improve coverage and avoid existing challenges and setbacks (e.g. the expense of increased indoor radiation and Interference with e.g. neighbors)?
  • What could be potential methods for classifying traffic and applications (e.g. gaming, video conferencing, e-mails, VoD, live TV, etc.) in a simple and efficient manner?
  • How will the growing number of IoT and Smart Home devices change the requirements towards the home network

Development Stream: How can we secure Data distribution in home networks?


  • With the rise in use of IoT in home environments starting from the network to devices and from physical layer to applications the amount of personal data is increasing. Home networks will become a more attractive target for malicious attacks.
  • What could be potentially the best solution or architecture that would secure the customer at home?

Winning proposals selected for funding will receive an Award that include cash. Award funding is not extendable or transferable without our written consent.

The winning proposals (TOP 3) from Development and Research Stream receive prize money in the following amount:


  • Development Stream:
    • Prize: 150,000 €
    • Prize: 100,000 €
    • Prize: 50,000 €
    • Additional Award: Most creative solution (prize money not included)
    • Participation grant (during technical Proof of Concept development phase): 25,000 € for each of selected TOP 10


  • Research Stream:
    • Prize: 75,000 €
    • Prize: 50,000 €
    • Prize: 25,000 €
    • Participation grant (during research paper development phase): 2.000 € for each of selected TOP 10

Furthermore, the winners (TOP 3) from each stream will be invited to a Award Ceremony (hybrid event) in Berlin and get the opportunity to meet with high-level executives and decision-makers of Deutsche Telekom and explore various cooperation opportunities with one of the world’s largest telecommunication companies.

It is important to note that it is not university chairs, entire R&D units or companies from industry who apply, but rather individual people or teams from all over the world who are employed at universities, R&D institutions or industry apply independently and therefore are eligible for the challenge. Furthermore, employees from Deutsche Telekom AG and affiliated companies in the Group and governmental organizations are not allowed to apply to or participate in the Telekom Challenge Program. By submitting your proposal to the Telekom Challenge Program, you represent that your Principal Investigator: (a) does not participate in his role as an employee of a government entity (other than an accredited academic or research institution); (b) has not been a director, officer, employee, intern or contractor of Deutsche Telekom AG or its affiliates within the 12 months preceding application to the Telekom Challenge Program (“Ineligible Personnel”); (c) is not a member of the immediate family or household of Ineligible Personnel. Submitters must be at least 18 years of age. Furthermore, your idea has to cover the challenge topic: Data Distribution in Home networks. Furthermore, your idea has to follow the guidelines of the described streams (Research Stream or Development Stream). The relevant submission deadline for both streams (first phase) closes on April 11th, 2021 at 23:59 CEST. The relevant submission deadline for final results of TOP 10 of each stream closes on August 2nd, 2021 at 23:59:00 CEST.
You can submit your solution(s) online via our submission page (, which will be open from January 15th until April 11th, 2021 at 23:59 CEST. The contest language is English. Only ideas handed in in English will be considered. The first step is to submit only your idea, a teaser to what you would later elaborate. This needs to be submitted by 11th of April 2021. Those selected will then be notified via eMail by 5th of May 2021 and will have the time to submit their final work by 2nd of August 2021.

In such a case, the idea remains active and is considered for further processing (evaluation). If the vacancy in the team is filled with a new member, the Telekom Challenge Team must be informed vie e-mail (including a reason).

Basically, we want to give each member of the selected TOP 10 the greatest possible flexibility to work on their final solution. Nevertheless, the final results of the two participant streams should meet the following guidelines.


  • Research Stream: Life beyond the status quo – deliver a research/white paper!
    • The final research paper should have a maximum length of 8-10 pages, which should not be exceeded.
    • The final research paper should follow the IEEE template guidelines (see attachment).
  • Development Stream: Deliver measurable improvement in the form of a technical Proof of Concept!
    • The final solution must be made using a document (e.g. pdf) that describes the developed technical Proof of Concept.
    • In case the final solution includes a software or code, it needs to be uploaded to the provided Git space.

All innovative solutions are welcome. If you have more than one innovative development or research solution, you can submit these under the same login online at our submission page – either in the same stream or in another stream.

The submission stage will take place in two phases. For the first submission phase including providing general description of the technology solution or research proposal will be accepted from January 15th, until April 11th, 2021, 23:59 CEST. Soon after, the selected TOP 10 out of all submissions for each stream will be announced. For the second submission phase (including development of the technology solution or research proposal) submissions will be accepted from May 5th, until August 2nd, 2021, 24:00 CEST. Soon after, the selected winners (TOP 3) out of TOP 10 submissions for each stream will be announced.

Invitations for the Award Ceremony in Berlin (hybrid event) shall be sent approx. 14 days before the event is taking place. The exact date for the Award Ceremony will be published on the challenge website as soon as possible.

If dates change due to unexpected circumstances, the change shall be announced on the challenge website and, for the finalists, by e-mail. The submission deadline can only be extended, not shortened.

Ideas must be submitted online via the submission tool ( The successful submission of the idea will be acknowledged by e-mail.

To submit your idea, you have to register with a password. The provided information will be used for challenge purposes only. Your personal data will be deleted 6 months after the award ceremony in Berlin. The implementation partner  Schaltzeit GmbH will support Deutsche Telekom AG for administration of the submitted material according to German law. The Personal Data is stored in a datacenter in Germany; the transmission path will be secured by TLS/SSL-coding. By submitting your idea within this challenge, you consent that Deutsche Telekom AG and its subcontractor Schaltzeit GmbH will collect, process, and store your data according to the Telekom Challenge Rules.

Yes, it will be possible to save your application, edit and delete it until the end of the related submission phase. Once the submission deadline arrives, your application will be automatically submitted, and it will be locked from editing. Please note that we will only consider applications that include all required information before April 11th, 2021, 23:59 CEST.

The evaluation and selection process of the Telekom Challenge is designed to create an open, accountable, multi-step selection process based solely on the merit of the submitted ideas. All submissions shall receive the same opportunity. 
Each eligible submitted idea shall be evaluated by expert evaluators from DTAG or selected partners. The main selection criteria are a clearly expressed concept, which in the view of the evaluators holds the most promise to have significant impact on the ICT landscape and the fit with Deutsche Telekom’s strategic goals. Based on the evaluations DTAG shall decide which teams will be invited to the Award Ceremony in Berlin.


The selection and announcement take place in two phases.

  • The review of all participants will be finalized by May 4th, 2021. Soon after, the selected TOP 10 will be informed via E-Mail.
  • The review of the TOP 10 results will be finalized by August 20th, 2021. Soon after, the selected TOP 3 will be informed via e-mail.

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, the final event in Berlin will probably take place as a hybrid event. It will be a mixture of a presence and a virtual event. The format of the event is in the sole discretion of Deutsche Telekom AG.