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Convergence and Consolidation in the Global Telecom Market

By David West
October 17, 2017

I had the pleasure this past week of attending two conferences focused on the European telecom market. It was a great opportunity to make new friends and see firsthand the similarities and differences between the US market and those of several European countries.

My first stop was the Telecoms Fraud & Risk Management Summit. This two-day meeting in Barcelona featured security and risk management experts from a variety of operators and vendors. A range of topics were addressed, including insider fraud, compliance, and evolving cyber threats. While the accents were different, the underlying themes were consistent with those we hear at CFCA meetings in the US and even our own Protector User Group Meeting—the who and the how may change over time, but the bottom line is that bad guys are looking to compromise carrier’s networks for financial gain.

Regardless of your physical location or market segment, the global telecom market shares an unfortunate bond...the who and the how may change over time, but the bottom line is that bad guys are looking to compromise carriers’ networks for financial gain.

At the summit I presented an outline of a fraud management maturity model based on what we have observed at more than a hundred carriers over the last 30 years. The session explored how carriers can maximize their fraud and risk management investment by combining usage data, industry resources, network configuration, carrier information, and performance feedback in a staged, or layered, defense.

If that sounds interesting to you, reach out to me via email or phone, and I’ll happily send you a copy.

Next on the agenda was Europe’s largest VoIP Service Providers event, the European VoIP Summit in Amsterdam. This biannual conference brings together leaders from the VoIP market in Europe to delve into the trends shaping the communications industry now and explores what’s to come. Keeping with the theme of my trip, I participated in a panel discussion and made a brief presentation on fraud management best practices.

Two key themes of this conference were convergence and consolidation.

Convergence refers to the ever-shifting way that carriers define their role in the marketplace. Not much more than 20 years ago a telecom carrier did one and only one thing — provide landline voice service. Today, almost every carrier provides a variety of “traditional” telecom services including local and long-distance, fixed and wireless, voice, data, messaging. However, most carriers go far beyond that with offerings that include data centers, hosted offerings such as PBX as well as Microsoft Office and Exchange, call-center management, and an ever-growing list of capabilities that have little do with a phone let alone a voice.

In the 31 years Equinox has been around, we have seen several waves of industry consolidation, and so far, each has been followed by a wave of innovation and start-ups as entrepreneurs launch new ventures. There’s no reason to expect that pattern will not repeat itself again. However, what is interesting about this wave is the broad range of players now in the game. More and more transactions involve companies from different countries and different market verticals. With technological and regulatory barriers lowered or eliminated, there’s no reason a US based carrier can’t acquire a European VoIP provider. Nor for that matter, is there any reason why a leading supplier of OS, software, and servers wouldn’t consider acquiring a VoIP equipment and software vendor.

As I sit here on my flight home, I find myself reflecting on the last few days with a range of emotions. While I am excited about the new opportunities created by these shifts in our industry, I am a little apprehensive about what it will mean for our customers, the many friends we have made in the industry, and for Equinox.

Over my 22 years at Equinox, there have been many trips that ended with a flight home spent in reflection about a presentation I heard, conference I attended, or conversation with a customer or competitor. Today, as with all those past trips, my thoughts return to the same truth: I am proud of the people and solutions we have assembled at Equinox. I continue to believe that we have what it takes to compete in the global marketplace—and that our values of treating people well, being fair, and using common sense will continue to serve us no matter how much the details of our products, customers, and competitors change.

About the Author

David West is Executive Vice President of Equinox Information Systems. David oversees the company’s sales and marketing team, develops the company’s long-term strategic plan, and works directly with the company’s hundreds of customers across the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. When he is not helping Equinox achieve record growth, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball, and serving his community through his efforts at Salvation Army of Middle Tennessee and St. Bartholomew's Church. To learn more about Equinox, its products, and the people who power them, visit www.equinoxis.com or call (615) 612-1200.