Jalkut Weighs in on Future of Telecom

Dick Jalkut, a 35-year veteran of the telecommunications industry, on Wednesday talked about life after UNE-P in an industry address that melded historical and current events to highlight where telecom is headed.

Jalkut is president and CEO of TelePacific Communications, a California-based CLEC. Years ago, he led NYNEX Corp., the New York carrier that eventually became Verizon Communications Inc. His RBOC friends, he joked, call him “Darth Vader.”

“UNE-P is, hopefully, one of the last sequences of change in the regulation model,” Jalkut said. Now that competitive carriers are only a few days away from the end of government-mandated wholesale pricing, agents are facing a shift in compensation models that “are increasingly pro-RBOC,” Jalkut noted.

And since Verizon and SBC Communications Inc. have swallowed up the two largest UNE-P carriers MCI Inc. and AT&T Corp., the competitive field has narrowed considerably, Jalkut said. But that should not keep solutions providers from continuing to innovate, he added. “There is going to be more opportunity in this market than ever before,” thanks to VoIP and other technologies, he said.

Jalkut also made mention of the CLECs that, in late 2005 and early 2006, have experienced a number of ups and downs. Some are in bankruptcy, while others have pulled off successful IPOs. Still others are merging to create formidable competitors to the RBOCs. “Consolidation is positive,” Jalkut said, telling solutions providers not to fear those mergers and acquisitions. The stronger competitive carriers become, the more they appeal to the market the RBOCs overlook — the small and medium enterprise.

Overall, he said, agents need to focus on building relationships with their customers and being treated fairly by their supporters — the CLECs. “My biggest wish is for a commercially viable five 9s wireless product that gives us choices for the last mile,” Jalkut said.

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