Q&A: Stuart Evers, Türk Telekom International: A real EurAsian connection

03 November 2014 |

Capacity Europe day 1 – Türk Telekom International’s chief sales executive, Stuart Evers, talks to Capacity about the company’s recent partnerships with Asia and the development of its European operations.

How has Türk Telekom International strengthened its operations in Europe over the last year?
We have made a number of significant changes, a lot of it on the process support. We are becoming more and more automated and we a have a new Microsoft CRM (customer relationship manager) system which we are about to launch internally. This will greatly improve customer service and our ability to react to customer requests and give our sales people significantly more information in real time. We are moving to a best-in-class CRM system, which is a really important step in supporting the entire sales and customer contact process.

We have also been improving our backbone with various upgrades. We have invested significant capex into improving our backbone and, for example, we are now selling 100Gs on our backbone, which we were not doing in 2013. We are basically aligning our network to meet the increasing capacity demands from our customers.

Two years ago, 10G was thought of as significant bandwidth, but now we see growing requests for 100G, which reflects the end user demand for higher bandwidth. That also facilitates the launch of 4G, 5G and LTE across Europe.

You signed a long-term service co-operation agreement with China Telecom in September, what was the reason behind that?
Yes, and this is a result of our office in Hong Kong opening. We now have a TTI Hong Kong office and our regional sales manager there initiated the contract with China Telecom. China Telecom has a number of large enterprise customers with significant operations in Europe, and they have been trying to serve those customers in a piecemeal manner until now. But by partnering with us they have a one-stop-shop solution to serve those customers, and in most cases it means they will be able to work with a customer directly, with TTI just acting as a sub-provider. Effectively they are able to have a seamless solution and connection with our customers, and we are just the engine behind it.

It is beneficial to us, too, because it gives us access to these large Chinese enterprise customers that we might not normally have access to, or that would be difficult for us to win. And it obviously benefits China Telecom because they are able to provide the service levels to these very important customers that they previously had difficulty with.

How do you hope to develop this kind of partnership with Asian players?
What we want to do is prove this model to be a success over the next six months. After that we hope to roll it out to other large Asian companies like NTT, KDDI and Korean Telecom. Once we have a proof-of-concept it is much easier to provider this sort of service as package or a bundle, or maybe a prescribed product or service to other carriers.

There will of course be teething problems as you move up the learning curve, which we will iron out over the next six months as we do more and more business with China Telecom. We will then be in a much better position to have a seamless service for future carriers.

What is TTI hoping to gain from attending Capacity Europe 2014?
Capacity Europe is probably the most important event for us after ITW and there are several reasons for attending. We have recently launched our international MPLS services and we are adding countries to that all that time. We hope next year to have the majority of Europe, CIS and the Middle East covered by that, so we want to drive that to our customers and partners. We also want to push our local loop services, particularly in Hungary, Romania and Turkey because we have new pricing, new service level and new quality in terms of delivery. We have worked really hard to develop our KPIs over the last six months as well, so we want to inform people about them.

Second, we want to move towards a more strategic partnership than to just have purely supplier/customer type relationships. There are a number of ways that we want to address that through networking sharing and co-location, so we want to share these concepts with our partners at Capacity Europe.

Lastly, we have now formally joined the SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium which is very exciting news for us. It is the major subsea cable that will join Asia to Europe for the next two decades, so we want to talk to our partners about that and see how we can help them meet their needs as a result. Going into these cable consortiums is extremely expensive and there is a huge amount of capex involved, which we have already done. We are now at the stage where we can offer our partners to come in and piggyback on us to get all of the benefit of being in the cable without having the massive initial outlay.