The Big Interview

Q&A: Damien Staples, VP of global wholesale voice and roaming, BT

Agnes Stubbs

15 Jul 2016

What have been your initial priorities since taking over from Andrew Dodsworth earlier this year?

It’s been a busy couple of months. Naturally the integration of [UK mobile operator] EE has been a top priority for me and I’m very pleased at the extent to which we have managed to successfully bring our teams together without losing focus on the all-important task of serving our customers globally.

I’ve also spent a great deal of time speaking with our customers and partners around the world and have been greatly enthused by the warm welcome I have received, and the clear ambition we share to grow together.

Our market is dynamic and evolving fast. As wholesale carriers we need to adapt to remain relevant – speed and efficiency are key. Beyond pure wholesale, I’m also focused on how we leverage our wholesale relationships and scale to underpin our UK retail and global enterprise ambitions.

What new opportunities do you see in wholesale telecoms? How will your attention be divided between BT’s enterprise and wholesale offerings?

My core focus is on voice and roaming. My new organisation brings together all of BT/EE global wholesale voice including the value-added-services offered as part of our global IP exchange portfolio. I also look after the commercial and interconnect functions delivering EE inter-operator tariff agreements.

But serving the carrier segment does not stop there for BT. In all of the regions we have dedicated teams supporting non-voice and non-roaming wholesale offers and indirect opportunities for our customers. This ranges from network services to data centres, cloud integration, security, to satellite and media and broadcast.

As a global carrier BT has invested in technology, networks, relationships and innovation that enable us to provide best in class products and services to our customers globally.

How has the BT/EE restructure impacted on BT’s wholesale and enterprise offering specifically?

BT is recognised as a long-standing market leader in the carrier wholesale segment. The acquisition of EE creates a 360-degree relationship with full-service tier-one partners globally. We are working hard to align and enhance our propositions to incorporate all the great things EE brings to the table.

From a wholesale perspective, we are bringing EE IoT together with our BT value-added roaming services, including Roamconnect for 2G/3G signalling, LTE Roam and Wifi Roam. We anticipate this will position us to bring some new and exciting commercial propositions to the market for our wholesale partners in the roaming space this year.

From an enterprise perspective, the acquisition of EE completes our offering to UK and global customers looking to consolidate all their telephony and ICT services with BT.

There has never been a more exciting time to work with BT and I am encouraged by the enthusiasm our customers are showing in their desire to build EE products and services into our conversations at this early stage.

What experience or lessons do you hope to bring with you from your previous role at BT global wholesale?

A strong combination of strategy and execution to turn it into real business for us and our customers. The former I did for a longer period while serving within BT Wholesale in the UK and the latter has been my task in running business development and successfully launch our IPX and roaming portfolio into the market.

In all these areas I learned that taking a 360-degree view on all the relationships we have is key. Every challenge can be an opportunity if you tackle it right and if you have the team to do that. But most of all, our success is driven by our customers.

What are your top three predictions for the industry this year?

Consolidation is inevitable; the move to IP will gather speed; enhanced product offerings will be key to differentiate.