....with some strange occurrences which leads to some disturbing considerations.
Perhaps it was the 'disruption' of the week I spent in Colombo and Bangkok that made things look different to usual but I certainly didn't understand much of what happened this week. Maybe I have passed my use by date and should go and play golf and get up late in the mornings and wonder how to pass the time......or whatever you do when you realise you don't make a positive contribution to society any more and can spend your remaining time in even more meaningless, and far less arduous, pursuits.
My puzzlement mainly centred around a series of, to me, bizarre approaches from people I had either never met before and in two instances people I had met but a long time ago. Late last year we had two quite serious, at least from what I could gather, approaches to buy Exetel or enter some arrangement that was closely equivalent to that. One of those approaches concluded in a firm offer that was rejected by Exetel's board and the other resulted in a "perhaps, but not yet" and an ongoing arrangement to work together to see what could be established in the future. We have had a series of such approaches in the past and they have never been really serious and have always been virtually summarily dismissed by us before getting past the 'initial enquiry' stage.
So the three approaches over the past five days didn't conform to previous approaches as they were made by companies much larger than Exetel that, at least from the public record, had ample funding and all had an apparently sensible reason to look to expand their individual businesses via acquisition in two cases and for an easily understood 'strategic' reason in the third. So no 'strangeness' in that regard other than getting three such approaches in a single week. To me the strangeness came from different aspects of the approaches and the choice of ways of addressing the company generally and me (as the representative of the company) personally...ranging from oleaginously deferential through the "we've known each other for a long time" approach to abrupt almost to the point of rudeness.
The approach that really intrigued me was the one where the rationale for approaching Exetel was that the putative 'acquirer' could benefit Exetel's ADSL1 and ADSL2 customers by offering them unlimited downloads at less than the plan prices we currently charged and therefore it was better for those customers if they were to be taken over by another provider. I suppose that would be true......if I didn't possess inside knowledge of how that particular company provisioned its back hauls and IP......which are the worst I have ever encountered and rival TPG in the mid 1990s for the most venal over subscription/under provisioning I have ever come across.
I always thought that I, and many other Exetel personnel, worked very hard to provide, within the limitations of a company of Exetel's size, the highest possible quality services at the lowest possible prices. I was a little taken aback to be told that another company could provide unlimited download ADSL services at a lower cost and that two different companies within a few days could present a case that I am preventing Exetel's current customers enjoying those advantages and should get out the way of that happening. Perhaps a slightly skewed view of what I listened to but not by very much.
So those three scenarios made me very uneasy from Monday (when I received the first approach) and make me wonder what on Earth I have been doing for the past seven years. I think I wrote last year how shocked I was when I finally figured out that other wireless suppliers (resellers and carriers) could offer the low prices they advertised only by deliberately under provisioning their back hauls and IP feeds and I was told that Exetel was stupid not to do the same. It seems that by fully provisioning our ADSL, and wireless, services we are "doing the wrong thing by our customers" because needing to cover the costs of those services we are charging too much and we should under provision so that customers could pay less "because they simply don't know they are getting a slower service". The more I consider it the more foolish I think I have forced Exetel to be....as two of those people said - 99% of customers never notice so why would you do anything else?......everyone does it.
I wonder just how many ADSL suppliers actually do under provision?