Telstra vows to continue focusing on SMEs

02 Nov 2006

Fixed line carrier Telstra vowed to continue focusing on SMEs, a market segment that other service providers have identified as a growth opportunity and which yields higher margins.

BT, Telstra and Vodafone are among operators which are bringing new services or strategies to market for SMEs. Indeed a recent survey conducted by Yankee Group for Telstra shows there could be a strong opportunity in the SME space.

Half of small businesses which took part in the survey said they had problems with their lack of resources in-house.

Telstra's philosophy that operators cannot predict which of today's SMEs will be tomorrow's MNCs has a familiar ring. Telstra was making the same noises as far back as 1999.

According to a survey of 175 of Telstra's customers, potential customers and channel members, conducted earlier this year, over a third of SMEs plan to upgrade their services this year, increasing spend on broadband, mobile voice and data services, with VoIP named as the key driver. '40% of respondents already claim to be enjoying converged voice and data services, but a third intend to adopt VoIP this year,' the Yankee/Telstra survey says.

Telstra serves 10,000 SME customers and is aiming to 'reaffirm our commitment to the SME market, which others are not doing', says Les Johns, sales director, enterprise, at Telstra Europe. 'We make higher margins out of those 10,000 than we do [on] our MNCs.'

Industry representatives see a sizeable opportunity for selling managed or outsourced services to the SME segment.

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