Ciaran Casey (pictured) is chief operating officer with Smart Telecom.
Will it be difficult for Smart Telecom to differentiate itself in what is a crowded business telecoms market?
Not at all. We have the most innovative products for the corporate sector. We have the lowest cost in terms of bandwidth and we have ‘liquid’ bandwidth – we can turn it up for customers on demand. There are customers spread around the country demanding high bandwidth one or two days a month. The offer from the competition is that you must have the bandwidth 365 days a year and you pay accordingly.
Are Irish businesses looking for flexible bandwidth on demand?
Absolutely, it’s a matter of record. People do need bandwidth occasionally for a few days at a time, for example [local offices of] multinationals sending results back to head office on the last Friday of every month. Another very attractive element is pricing. Instead of a 2Mbps pipe from Dublin to Cork annually costing â¬25,000, we can do it for â¬4,000. So, instead of organisations paying for 2Mbps [at that price], they end up getting 10Mbps. Actually, having cheap bandwidth is a subtle but very important issue for organisations; it helps them change the way they do business. In the past, because bandwidth was so expensive, a company with branches around the country had to centrally manage all its applications. With cheaper bandwidth you can have distributed data management that happens at the local office. It changes the design of internal applications.
Mobile will a key element of your strategy. What can you tell us about Smart?s plans for business customers?
We have a well-established relationship with almost 300 corporate customers in Ireland, all of whom have a need and demand for mobile services. On the corporate side, because of the technology we’re going to offer on our network, we feel we can offer products that are functionally richer. It’s a very similar principle to our fixed-line business – we’re using the latest technology that gives us more coverage and higher bandwidth. Telcos are moving towards convergence; with that, there’s not just value for money but you get value-added services that were not previously available. With voice under threat from voice over internet protocol, telcos have to look to other value-added services for revenue.
By Gordon Smith