More acquisitions in telecom – should I be concerned?

 In Business Continuity

I have written about acquisitions in telecom more than once – and it continues to happen. More companies are consolidating to reduce costs, increase offerings, get access to new customers, etc. We have all probably been through this with one of our technology vendors at one point or other, but it still causes stress as we figure out new support/billing procedures, and how does the acquisition affect our company/customers?

Here are some recent acquisitions in our industry:
Mitel – Mitel announced that they had reached an agreement to be purchased by Searchlight Capital Partners. If approved by shareholders and regulatory agencies, Mitel would be taken from a public to private company again. According to press releases, this should “accelerate their move-to-cloud” strategy. ComRes has been a Mitel partner for almost 20 years, and has seen Mitel go through several transitions in that time, and have always seen them make improvements that benefited our customers. We still believe Mitel is a great value for our clients and will continue to recommend them for the foreseeable future for that reason.

Level 3 was purchased by Century Link last year, combining 2 large telecom providers. Level 3 has a substantial footprint and a large base of customers. This acquisition has led to consolidation between the 2 companies as Century Link attempts to reduce costs/duplications, but also to better align the way they deal with customers.

Birch – Much of Birch Communications was acquired by Fusion. Birch is a large, nationwide CLEC. This merger combines two competitors and allows Fusion to focus on cloud and business services it considers to be its future according to press releases.

Voice4Net – Voice4Net, and provider of contact center and IVR applications, was purchased by Core Dial, who provides VoIP/SIP services. This gives Core Dial access to a high-end contact center offering for its customers. ComRes has provided/supported Voice4Net applications for customers over the years.

The bottom line:
So what does this mean for you? It is difficult to predict how these mergers and acquisitions will affect customers. Over the years, we have seen many mergers/acquisitions have negative effects as the acquiring companies cut costs, reduced staff and closed offices in order to save money. The result was poor quality service, billing and product/service stagnation (see related newsletter article). But we have also seen many mergers/acquisitions that resulted in positive things for our customers – reduced product/service costs, more service offerings, more research and development, etc.

It is hard to predict how customers will be affected by these events. Our philosophy is that you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears, so watch closely what happens in coming months to your support, billing practices, pricing, etc. Don’t stress out unnecessarily – it could be a good thing. As always, if you have questions or concerns, contact your ComRes representative.

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