Corporates want one provider for fixed and mobile services
In 2005, the former telecoms incumbent bought Meteor for €419 million, and established the eMobile brand in 2010.
Although the firm has targeted small businesses with its services, it hasn’t pushed for big business in any meaningful way, nor has it targeted the public sector – until now.
Eircom has been investing in its technology platform for both its fixed and mobile services.
Ronan Kneafsey, director of Eircom Business, says eMobile is on the verge of unveiling a new business service that will round out its service offering for customers.
Eircom Business provides end-to-end managed network services, data centres and ICT solutions. It is responsible for the large enterprise and government side of Eircom’s business.
Despite the corporate debt restructuring and examinership that has plagued the company, the business division has won €120 million worth of business in 2012, including the C2k contract in Northern Ireland through a partnership with Northgate. To win that contract, Eircom outbid BT.
Also on the plus side of things for the business division on 2012 were contract wins with AIB, Fexco, NUI Galway and the Convention Centre. The company has to keep on top of things as much as possible; competition in its markets is fierce.
“There’s a lot of change going on within the business environment from a technology point of view,” Mr Kneafsey said. “Mobile is a critical element for us and we’re looking forward to challenging that mobile market, challenging the status quo, and offering good value, choice and ultimately as well a converged proposition to other customers.”
An investment in its service has also enabled Eircom to offer what it describes as a seamless and integrated service to its customers, and has won ISO accreditation for its service model.
Customers are looking for seamless connectivity, Mr Kneafsey acknowledges.
“Whether that comes from fixed or mobile is irrelevant, they’re not focused on what the technology behind the service is, they just want to get seamless connectivity, whether in the office or on the road.”
That is where Eircom is heading, towards a more converged model for businesses.
Although the public sector is currently trying to cut back on spending neither Eircom nor Vodafone is concerned that this will make business more difficult.
“Our customers and the public sector generally are looking for better value and are generally looking to cut costs,” Eircom’s Kneafsey said.
“The reality is they have postponed many new technology projects because of funding issues. But it does present opportunities for companies who can provide usage-based propositions so that public sector customers don’t need to invest capital and also because it gives them some flexibility.”
Vodafone is taking an equally upbeat approach to the market. Ms O’Leary said that the savings and efficiencies created through the use of technology may be enough to balance out the initial investment in the technology.
“The market is competitive, the recession has driven it right across all sectors, with customers demanding better value,” she said. “There’s also a demand for information and a new way of working – tablets, secure devices, access to information. With that demand for information and people trying to be more productive in their work, they need the networks. There is better value out there for the public sector.”