AT&T man sees resurgence

The international telecommunications market could be showing signs of a resurgence says AT&T Asia-Pacific marketing manager Steve Lowe.

The international telecommunications market could be showing signs of a resurgence, says AT&T Asia-Pacific marketing manager Steve Lowe.

The US-based telecomms company’s share-price has begun to move up again this year, after a period in the doldrums along with most of the industry.

The slump, Lowe says, was largely due to the activities of “a small number of large and less ethical players that I will not name”, which dented customer confidence.

AT&T’s latest “local” triumph is in providing telecomms links for Fonterra’s overseas business, as part of a projected arrangement between the dairy giant and EDS.

Fonterra has identified EDS, and through it, AT&T, as “preferred” outsource. But any contract is unlikely to be signed until December, says an EDS spokewoman.

AT&T is involved only in the overseas side of Fonterra’s network, with EDS keeping its traditional closeness to Telecom New Zealand for supply of the local element. Lowe and EDS both declined to discuss the reason behind the division.

AT&T spent $US300m worldwide last year setting up an international MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) IP backbone network.

“This year, our primary investment is in management platforms and system tools” to speed delivery of new capacity and “be proactive in terms of monitoring and network management — to see [problems] before they impact the customer”.

The company is moving beyond its pure telco focus to web-hosting and supply of firewalls and other security products, and some of these new niches have been tested out first in New Zealand, says Lowe. New Zealanders are typically early adopters, “good at spotting new opportunities”, he says.

Despite its resurgent business, and particularly strong revenue growth in New Zealand, AT&T’s New Zealand network organisation posted a loss of more than $1m last year.

Lowe declines to discuss financial figures broken down nationally, saying it is not company policy to do so.

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