C&W finds its voice

7 Jul 2005

As traditional telephony businesses invest in rolling out data and broadband services, existing broadband carrier Cable & Wireless (C&W) has unveiled a new telephony offering for Irish businesses that it claims will add €1m to the company’s coffers in year one. The company has also revealed it is considering launching bitstream ADSL services as well as a potential mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) play.

Entitled Business Talk, the service features a complete lines and calls package that aims to help Irish businesses reduce the complexity and cost of their telecoms services through single billing, lower call charges and online telephony management tools.

The company says its own research indicates a strong business and enterprise demand for a more competitive package incorporating a single lower cost bill, line rental and calls. Compared with Eircom’s call charges, a typical C&W Business Talk customer can reduce their call costs by up to 30pc, with no hidden costs, set up fees or minimum call charges.

C&W will also manage all line faults and queries to reduce the overall number of suppliers firms need to deal with and the time it takes to solve communications issues.

As a part of the C&W Business Talk package, Irish businesses can also opt to move their voice switch maintenance and support to C&W. This is a fully managed service including new lines and any moves and changes to their voice systems. Other key features include online telephony management tools that assist with cost allocation and management, as well as online billing to help simplify administration and cost control.

C&W says it has already attracted 25 Irish businesses to the new service. These customers are expected to contribute revenues of more than €1m in the first year.

“We are initially targeting our existing customer base,” explained C&W’s Ireland country director Noreen O’Hare. “We believe the most traction for this service will be in the mid-market space and ultimately taking away the headache of multiple invoices from these companies.”

O’Hare explained the company studied carrier pre-select and wholesale line-rental opportunities in the Irish market and felt that the opportunity was ripe. She adds that much of this opportunity was driven by the growing convergence of voice and data communications. “We are also looking at enabling firms to deploy voice over internet protocol throughout their operations. Because we carry a lot of international carrier traffic we can introduce competitive and reliable offerings from a voice perspective.”

Among other opportunities being considered is a potential move in the direction of offering bitstream ADSL services — a wholesale service from Eircom — to its customer base in the same fashion as BT Ireland, Perlico and Smart. “We are considering this at the moment and we have started dialogues with the various parties to investigate the costs and benefits. It’s certainly something that’s on our short-term radar,” O’Hare said.

She added the company is also evaluating opportunities in the MVNO space in Ireland. “This ultimately would be a long-term issue. It really depends on what’s happening in our UK operations on this front and we would leverage off these initiatives and investments in the UK, and follow their lead on whether MVNO is the right direction for us to go in,” O’Hare said.

By John Kennedy