I had a pleasant weekend and residential ADSL sales were the highest they've been on any weekend for over two years which contributed to the pleasantness. It is nice having Catherine 'home' from the UK on a two week holiday and catching up with her general and IBM 'news'. My years at IBM were always interesting and I've kept up with that company's progress ever since I left via people who stayed there much longer than my almost ten years and then via the extensive media coverage and shareholder news letters and annual reports - I never sold the shares I accumulated while being an IBM employee....easily the best investment I ever made. January will finish up tomorrow as the best start to any year that Exetel has been in business which also very pleasant.....we have already exceeded almost all targets - some by a very long way.
February is a difficult month in some ways - mainly by being the shortest month of any in the year though there will be a '29th' this year. We have a large 'prospect list at the moment and our new SL based corporate sales force will begin to contribute to corporate sales more strongly as February develops. We are also in the final testing stages of the new 'SME/Soho' marketing program that should be completed by the end of this week. We will then evaluate what we need to do to address that, theoretical, 2 million user marketplace and then put in place the program to do it. We have put in place the sales people who will commence this program and will develop the training processes to assist them address this new, for Exetel, set of market places.
Our main engineering objectives in February are to prepare for a change of major IP provider and to begin the year long process of the next upgrade to our core network. We have used Optus to provide the majority of or IP connectivity for virtually the whole of Exetel's 'existence'. However, for whatever reasons, Optus' pricing, which we have always been happy enough to pay a premium for, has now become far too expensive compared to other IP sources and come 31st March we need to replace all of the Optus links with something different. We will retain the Verizon and NTT links for the time being as we can never base the core network on a single IP provider (for all the obvious reasons). So that will be a big task(s) for our engineers over the coming two months and one that I am very concerned about.
Our other key February 'task' is to put in place a corporate/business sales program in Tasmania and New Zealand. We have had a PoP in Hobart for over four years now which we originally justified on the basis of the 'NBN2' project that we, at the time, believed would have to have presented a competitor to Telstra and we needed to be part of that development. In that respect it has been a total waste of money and had it not been for a couple of very large corporate sales we could not have continued to justify the costs of continuing to operate in Tasmania. So we need to significantly grow our revenue from Tasmania, if that is possible, and the only way we can do that is via business customers. We need to do the same in New Zealand (for similar reasons) - with a little more urgency because we need to establish 'new country guidelines' to allow us to open an office in the UK some time later this year and, if we can make a success of that, an office in Chicago late 2012 or, more probably, first quarter 2013. Many 'ifs' attached to those objectives....
Nice to hear the month of February is almost over and off to go start. I do remember the US Carrier Verizon the last time around(memory is hazy) that at 13th Hour that was renewed. I guess this time around with OPTUS losing your IP Transit business you might put it to the test. I thought NTT would keep your business as they present there services with Proper Network Interfaces 10 Gigabit(instead of 1 Gigabit or so some your other providers present..) guess steve your engineer would be best to understand that.
I hope your business plans, IP Provider and possible expansion would be interesting about possible international expansion into the UK and US... Isn't there some the asian destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong or that to hard (both logistically or regulatory wise??)
Many of our Australian customers have data links to the UK and even more UK companies have data links to Australia and New Zealand (as well as dozens of other countries).
We established the Auckland PoP to service Australian companies cross Tasman services (and vice versa) and we will use this year to establish that business before trying to do the same in the UK and then the USA.
It sounds really exciting John! I hope you get a lot of enjoyment in growing your business to its full potential. I'll probably be going to the UK soon. It would be great to sign up as a residential customer But I know that won't happen.