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CEO Forum Explores the Changing Landscape of Communications

From regulatory changes to evolving networks and product sets, the competitive industry has endured unprecedented and rapid change over the past few years. To get a sanity check on current challenges and future opportunities, leading CEOs will share their insights in a roundtable discussion today at 2:30 p.m. led by CompTel President and CEO Earl W. Comstock.


The panel includes Rich Grange, president and CEO of New Global Telecom; Carl Grivner, CEO of XO Communications Inc.; James A. Courter, CEO and vice chairman of IDT Corp.; and Peter Aquino, CEO of RCN Corp.


The greatest challenge for competitive providers in 2006 will be growing revenue, says Grivner in an advance interview. With the bankruptcies and the downsizing behind most of us, we need to get this industry on a growth path again.


To grow revenue, Grivner says, competitive providers need to gain market share and focus on innovation.


VoIP is one area where competitive providers are already demonstrating this by introducing both new commercial and wholesale VoIP solutions, he says. Not only are competitive providers delivering new VoIP services to businesses, but they are also enabling many of the new breed of Internet telephone companies that are serving millions of consumers.


While VoIP is an innovation, Grange says the challenge facing providers in 2006 will be selling VoIP in face of exploding market demand. VoIP services are neither traditional data, nor traditional voice. As a result, to succeed, providers will need to simplify a service offering that incorporates appropriate features and functionality in an integrated, easy-to-use and easy-to-understand sales pitch, Grange says. If they dont, pent-up demand will be served by the few service providers that figure this formula out.


Fast-forward five years and Grange sees a telecom landscape that reflects new consumer behaviors, not just a lower cost curve. While VoIP services will push the telecom average cost curve down, their real value lies in an ability to change peoples communication behavior, through truly customizable personal communications, he says.


The rate at which behavior changes will occur, Grange says, depends on such key trends as the declining relevance of the PSTN and increasing relevance of VoIP and wireless; a more compelling content-creation business model; and the positions taken by federal and state regulators.



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