A new, if highly familiar, name entered the B2B comms space earlier this year, as carrier Opal rebranded as TalkTalk Business. Chief executive Paul Lawton claimed the move has shown the world just how integral commercial business is to the telco.
ChannelWeb caught up the TalkTalk Business chief to discuss what the future holds for the industry and his company.
How profound is the erosion of margins of traditional lines and minutes?
It's official, more people are using mobiles than landlines. Every year, pretty much every business customer is trying to renegotiate their price downwards. Every carrier is seeing it, and the good telcos are investing their efforts into next generation services.
How siloed are traditional voice and data channels?
There is an increasing population of resellers selling voice, data and mobile. That is the most exciting part of the market. Whilst we remain really keen to demonstrate our credentials to large, international integrators and mobile network operators, it is the [work with] thousands of IT and systems providers, and general geographic or regional resellers, that we are well-placed to build on.
How tough is it for them to branch into new services?
I think they are a highly adaptable bunch and the majority of them are following the money. We are working with them to invest in their skills. Telcos have a responsibility to simplify things, while there is an investment required from VARs to get used to selling recurring revenues and services-based propositions.
How do you differentiate from your competitors?
[Competitors] would agree that we are one of the more disruptive providers on price. We are available to 86 per cent of the population today, and moving through 90 per cent in the next few months. Lastly, we have worked at creating a business-grade service.
Is the market boiling down to the big three: TalkTalk, BT and Virgin? How can you compete with the others?
We are pleased with the investment we have made in our network, that is delivering us our competitiveness and giving us a position as a top-tier telco. We are very well aware that it will be our empathy with channel partners and end customers that will differentiate us from Virgin and BT.
What areas will you focus on this year?
One area is hosted PBX. We are bringing out a product that will appeal to the corporate market. We think approaching 50 per cent of all enterprise systems will [soon] be hosted as opposed to on-premise. The pricing and the flexibility [are key attractions].
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