Telecoms industry passes over €500k opportunity


15 Aug 2007

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A prominent business software company in the Irish marketplace that is also a major employer in the economy has complained to siliconrepublic.com that local telecoms operators in Ireland are turning their noses up at a €500,000 contract opportunity.

The company, which declined to be named, says that repeated attempts to contact the various business sales representatives at prominent telecoms companies have been largely fruitless and complained of “inept” sales and customer service levels.

The company is looking for a 100MB fibre connection out of sites in Dublin and Galway and overseas to locations in Europe and is prepared to spend up to €500,000 in the process.

“We drew up a list of companies and started ringing around to get quotes,” says the business software company’s IT manager. “One company bounced us around to various call centre operators before we managed to get to a voicemail box for business sales. I was halfway through my sentence before I was cut off.”

Another prominent telecoms company in the Irish marketplace directed the IT manager to a salesperson’s voicemail box which was full and he couldn’t leave a voice message.

The IT manager also hit out at extortionate prices of transporting data within Ireland before the data even leaves the country.

He said that on average it would cost €6,500 for a 100MB link from Dublin to the continent but €3,500 for a 100MB link between Dublin and Galway.

“I’m bemused to be honest,” he said. “There’s plenty of interest in the business from the smaller providers but the larger companies don’t seem to be geared up to take our business.

“We’ve two main offices in the Republic of Ireland and you have plenty of operators providing international links but when you try to transmit data within Ireland you are stuck with a bottleneck. There’s no competition in the market and there’s no one competing for the business,” he stormed.

In another instance the IT manager pursued another prominent telecoms operator that didn’t return calls for a week. “It was only after we spoke to a receptionist and outlined again what we were looking for that we got an email back.

“Another operator quoted me for an STM1 line that was €5,000 a year dearer than other providers.”

The IT manager explained that not all deals or operators were uncompetitive. “One provider has been very keen but with this level of project we need to have some variety in service and choice before making a decision.”

The manager also pointed to alarming changes in product and service offerings. “A year ago if you bought international connectivity it was part of the package that if a circuit went down you were automatically rerouted.

“However, today for a ‘protected circuit’ you have to pay extra for the privilege of ensuring your data is protected. I nearly fell off my seat. Basically they are trying to sell a warranty for a circuit.

“Dublin is a lot more competitive than anywhere else in Ireland, but once you go out of the city you are paying extortionate and ridiculous flat fees.”

But it is the frustration of getting operators interested in a lucrative €500,000 data contract that is telling. “Some of it is ineptness. Why is it that you can’t get a sales person in the business telecoms arena to contact you when all you want is information?”

By John Kennedy