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22 April 2016
Industry veteran Feddo Hazewindus took over as CEO of iBasis at the beginning of 2016. He tells Agnes Stubbs why introducing value-added services will be a strategic focus
At the start of the year, former KPN veteran Feddo
Hazewindus took over the helm of wholesale carrier iBasis from
then CEO Willem Offerhaus.
Offerhaus had laid the tarmac for the road ahead during his
five-year leadership by establishing a strong position for its
LTE Roaming services and value-added services while maintaining
its dominant position in the global voice market.
Hazewindus’s arrival to iBasis follows a year
of notable announcements at the carrier. Last February, the
Massachusetts-based company launched a reporting and monitoring
tool named InVision that provides operators with visibility
into their LTE roaming service performance and usage on various
network levels. Shortly after in May, it unveiled FraudAlert, a
fraud management system that enables service providers to
protect their revenue and customers from fraudulent calling
That strategy of creating added value for its clients by
providing new services on top of existing services is what
Hazewindus intends to stick to as the company seeks to expand
in the wholesale voice market.
"Bringing value-added services is going to be a big
strategic priority. We are working very hard to make our
services unique and to create extra value for our customers,"
says Hazewindus. This year will no doubt see iBasis continue
its efforts on LTE and VoLTE roaming where it has experienced
the strongest growth.
Over 350 LTE destinations
It has momentum on its side: last July, the KPN company
announced an additional 100 LTE destinations in the past six
months, bringing its total count to over 290. To date, its
footprint includes over 350 destinations in more than 135
Research from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GMSA)
in July 2015 showed about 25 operators in 16 countries
supported VoLTE globally, with 103 players in 49 countries
investing in the technology.
Alluding to his strategy to bring innovative services to its
traditional LTE and IPX services, Hazewindus says:
"Here’s what we’re tackling
– if you have the network, the signalling, the LTE
roaming and the IPX – how do you move from that to a
more value-added world where insight into customer behaviour
can be used commercially?"
One way it plans to do so is by bringing increased
analytical capabilities into its product portfolio. "This is a
dynamic industry. To differentiate ourselves this year, we are
investing in the analytical side of things to help operators
better understand patterns of roaming traffic," he says. Such
data could help service providers improve both roaming service
quality and revenue.
iBasis’s ownership of proprietary routing
platforms will drive the launch of these services, says
Hazewindus, and the key enabler lies in its expertise in
The wholesale industry is very much accustomed to buying
switches and cables but increasingly, it is moving to a
software approach, observes Hazewindus. "No longer will the
added quality and value of your network be determined by boxes.
It’s about the integrated software solutions that
you offer," he says. Hazewindus says iBasis’s
roots – which lie very much in software –
have served as an advantage for the company as new expertise
and knowledge are needed to "develop new services in a new IP
world," he says.
"We have always been an IP company, never a TDM company. If
anyone knows about the intricacies of IP interoperability, it
is us." Hazewindus is intent on helping telcos tackle their
challenges around interoperability – one common
example being signalling system 7 (SS7) and IP
"Enabling interoperability remains one of the biggest
challenges for our customers. As an industry, we are wrestling
with the transformation from an asset-based industry to an
IP-based industry. There is an opportunity for us to
distinguish ourselves there," he says. In the last year iBasis
has worked with Indonesian telco Telin and
Ireland’s Eircom to provide LTE roaming while
enabling service interoperability on their networks.
As revenues and margins face growing pressure, Hazewindus
urges the industry to go beyond traditional services. Along
with that, changes in mindsets are required. In its quest to
innovate on top of its existing LTE services, iBasis has
ventured into new vertical markets such as the internet of
things and – more specifically – around
LTE roaming service
At the start of the year, iBasis announced its collaboration
with connectivity platform provider Cubic Telecom to implement
an LTE roaming service.
As part of the agreement, iBasis will enable
Cubic’s multi-IMSI service for connected cars and
other IoT and M2M applications through its global LTE
footprint, hosted diameter signalling service and customer
According to both parties, Cubic sought a partner with
global LTE roaming coverage that could deliver a service that
supports their embedded connectivity platform in a short time.
iBasis claims to have met that challenge with what it says is a
cost-effective and operationally efficient service.
Traditionally, iBasis’s core market is comprised
of fixed operators, mobile network operators and
"Now we are moving to companies that are providing connected
car solutions, for example. That provides an insight into the
evolution of our industry into an IP-based environment and
ecosystem," says Hazewindus.
He adds: "Our work with Cubic demonstrates how we can meet
the needs of innovative customers and how we plan to engage
with them. We enable the interoperability and interconnection
of systems, making it a seamless service. That’s
our role." The wholesale industry will need to develop an
ecosystem with various partners to serve the needs of customers
where their strengths lie.
"We can’t be everything to everybody," he says.
"We need to understand where our expertise lies and pick our
key partners wisely, as we have in this case, with Cubic." IoT
will be an opportunity for iBasis, he says. "Our business has
gone from voice to data. Big data streams will drive IoT and we
will need to find our role in it," says Hazewindus.
An industry veteran with over 18 years of experience,
Hazewindus has seen the rapidly changing landscape of the
telecoms industry. "It used to be that traffic and money would
be running from the walls – faster than you can grab
it. That has now changed with decreasing margins and much lower
barriers to entry.
The challenge is how do you prevent yourself from becoming
just a simple connection provider?" he says. If there is anyone
well placed to take on that challenge, it is Hazewindus. After
all, he was responsible for leading the reorganisation of the
operations division for KPN last year.
It is that experience that will put Hazewindus in good stead
as he seeks to drive growth across the KPN subsidiary.
Hazewindus embarked on his career at KPN in the 1990s, starting
as a corporate lawyer, then rising steadily through the ranks
to become CEO at KPN International Network Services - a
position he held for about seven years.
"The access that I have to KPN, its executive team and the
board will be key in my role as CEO of a subsidiary," he says,
pointing to the trust that has been established over the years.
Hazewindus looks to his leadership team for support. "If I have
learned one thing in previous challenges, it is that the world
is competitive, and you cannot do it by yourself," he
"You need a world-class team that works together in the best
possible way to conquer the challenges," he says. A balance of
diversity "in points of view and experiences" and "the absolute
will to drive results" will be crucial to iBasis’s
efforts to drive growth. "We are not going to survive by doing
the same things we’ve always done. A good team can
produce a better solution from a discussion, than any
individual could. The creative process is based on respect and
diverse points of view," he says.