Corporates want one provider for fixed and mobile services
As mobile internet grows in popularity it’s all about offering businesses complete communications solutions these days
THE ADVENT of mobile technology means broadband is mobile, satellite and fibre instead of DSL.
And the choice of suppliers is vast. But particularly in the corporate area, telecoms providers are noticing that customers want one provider for both their mobile and their fixed line services.
Fixed line services may have a slightly outdated image, but that’s not really the reality, according to Vodafone Ireland’s Anne O’Leary.
“We’re seeing a move to IP voice. If you’re a traditional fixed voice operator that’s tough,” she said. “Mobile services are going to get better as we move to 4G and LTE, but there are still businesses that are going to need services. We’re selling a lot more 100Mb connections, fat pipes that the mobile network will never be able to take.
“I think there’s a role for both. But I wouldn’t like to be depending on just fixed broadband or fixed voice. It’s now about IP voice, and the big bandwidth fibre connections we have.”
Ms O’Leary is Vodafone’s enterprise director, a side of the business that has been very active of late. Vodafone has been investing in developing its services, with some acquisitions helping to add to the skillset in the company.
In the past few years it has bought Perlico, some of BT Ireland’s assets, Interfusion and most recently, Complete Telecom. The latter, which is a particularly strong player in the government market, was announced on Monday, and it will combine with Interfusion and Vodafone’s own in-house team to create a new enterprise solutions unit, which is expected to comprise up to 80 people.
That figure may grow, Ms O’Leary said, with the company targeting ambitious growth in revenues in the coming years. Since 2011, Vodafone has grown its revenues from enterprise data network solutions by 30 per cent, and it expects this figure to double following the Complete acquisition.
It forms part of Vodafone’s new strategy, which is to grow its data revenues considerably over the coming years. Vodafone invested more than €120 million on its fixed and mobile network last year.
“Our plan is to be number one. We want to significantly grow our fixed business. If one in two businesses are with us for mobile, it’s going to be hard to grow that on the mobile side,” she said. “If we can sell fixed services to our mobile base and supply total communications, that’s a growth opportunity for us.”
Although there are no plans as yet to make any more purchases, Ms O’Leary isn’t ruling it out.
“We have very significant ambitions to get there, and we will do it through more acquisitions and organic growth – it will be a combination of both,” she said.
At the other end of the scale, companies who were strong in the fixed line sector are seeing their business under threat in some sectors as growing mobile use changes the face of the industry.
No firm knows that better than Eircom. The former Telecom Éireann has had a rough few years as its dominance in the telecoms sector was challenged by newcomers offering different services to customers, from high speed broadband and voice over IP to satellite broadband and a range of mobile services.
The company sold Eircell, now owned by Vodafone, back in 2001, leaving it without a mobile subsidiary. That move was attributed by Moody’s earlier this year as partly contributing to the troubles the firm suffered in subsequent years.