Friday, May 30, 2008

Rely on Emerging Markets Players...

... to make Telco world interesting again.

So Vanco is to be acquired by Reliance Globalcom the highly successful telecommunications and services company based out of Mumbai, India.

Reliance is a conglomeration of three companies: Flag Telecom, Yipes Communications, and the original Reliance Communications.

The VANCO acquisition establishes credible base of customers for Reliance in Europe. Flag provides a global network of undersea optical cabling; Yipes, managed carrier Ethernet services (including VPLS) and Reliance's experience of building its India-wide network of wireless and wired services, including large scale MPLS deployments, sets it in good sted for an assault on the European markets.

Reliance joins TATA Communications amongst the Indian Companies who are taking the experience of building infrastructure and supporting western service providers, and who are now determined to play on the world stage.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Accenture bid to run a ViNO in a brewery

Thanks to one of our readers for pointing me at this. The VANCO story continued to gather pace with speculation rife that bids could be expected and on Sunday this appears to have been confirmed, with IBM and Accenture named as separately interested in a bid for the failing Virtual Network Operator.

Hmm, Accenture & Telco - as Accentures primary customers include some of the worlds largest "real" Telco's they may find that a successful bid would put them in direct conflict with some there largest customers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Where is the next VANCO

In May 2008 respected stock watchers The Motley Fool rated Savvis as the worst stock in the world like Vanco they offer VNO services and boy have they had a rough year.

I thought it was a little harsh; at least they have some of their own network real estate. But we're already pulling reports off our systems on Savvis' customers, alongside those of VANCO, so watch this space.

Overall, we think 2008 will be a difficult time for VNOs large and small, they are effectively margin traders, and the big network providers seem pretty hostile to them just as their customers are putting the elbow on them to keep their prices down.

Many of the larger players have started offering VNO style services themselves and I am picking up quite a lot of undisguised glee from the bigger ISPs.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Vanco demise: Real beats virtual...

Great news for traditional telco as customers discover that sometimes, real beats virtual...

Vanco looks like going the way of the many margin traders - just like the city boys they too have been caught out by in the credit crunch.

Vanco is fundamentally a buy low, sell and live on margins, business. They're now finding that as the market turns against you, you had better hope and pray that your backers will cover the gaps in your cash-flow.

Having seen the April earnings announcements I was a bit surprised to read the news, especially to discover that analysts, whose praises just weeks ago drove the stock to an all time high, saying "we don't expect to see any value in the companies equity."

Could they have seen it coming? with hindsight probably: 3 things coming together have almost certainly caused a crunch in the companies cash flow, and collapse in the confidence of its backers and investors.
1) Tightening of economic climate causing slow payments from debtors
2) Channel stretching the elastic in the supply chain to breaking
3) Creditors unwilling to increase their risk and extend fresh terms

BackChannel work with enough Telco and ITC companies to know that the big customers are using their buying power to push out average payments, and with a growing and aggressive channel this will have been compounded by the number of links in the cashflow system.

This is always going to be an uncomfortable time in any board room especially bearing in mind and a few months ago Vanco CEO, Allen Timpany, hinted that their backers were not a very amenable bunch, "they want us to build a £200m business when we should be building a £2bn business". After they issued a profits warning in Aug 2007 we can only speculate how the relationship between founders and backers went, but it might have been opportune for someone should have reminded them of the Golden Rule: The man with the Gold makes the rules!