International telco Verizon last week
admitted it had shed some Australian staff with its January
acquisition of MCI. But the United States heavyweight continues to win large
deals Down Under.
Verizon's US$8.44 billion acquisition of MCI closed on 6 January,
giving the telco an extensive international network as well as a
number of large corporate customers and a footprint in countries
like Australia where it had not previously operated.
Speaking with ZDNet Australia late last week, the telco's
Sydney-based Asia-Pacific director of marketing, Darren Day,
admitted some "small" local workforce trimming had taken place during the
"In Sydney we did lose some employees, primarily in the back
office functions, that was the main thrust of changes," he
said. The telco now has around 300 staff in Australia and New
Zealand. The bulk of the Australian staff are based in Sydney and Melbourne, but the organisation has representation in Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and
Day said there was always going to be some "business re-vectoring" as part of the acquisition, with Verizon's non-US operations adding somewhere between 26,000 and 28,000 MCI employees to its existing count of 7,000-9,000. In the US, Verizon has another several hundred thousand employees.
But Verizon (which internationally focuses on enterprise
customers as Verizon Business) has during the last six months
also added some local customer notches to its belt.
"In New Zealand, we've just done a major customer, REANNZ,
which is their research network, connecting them with Australia
and the United States," said Day. REANNZ is the Research and Education Advanced Network of New
Zealand, a new group set up to provide researchers with
"That's a major deal," Day added. "That will be like our
second or third-biggest customer in Australia/NZ, going
Existing local customers include Commsec, ABN AMRO, Ikea and
public sector organisations.
"We're very strong in government, which is a legacy of some of
the things we did in the OzEmail days, but we've continued to
grow on that, and that's why we've got people in Canberra of
course," said Day.
"I can't go into exactly which departments, but we've got
quite a lot of business with them. The growing part of that
business is the departments in government that need to be going
Day added Verizon continued to do business with education
departments around the nation, which he described as "big users
Like Equant (now Orange Business Services) and some other rival international telcos with
operations Down Under, Verizon Business sees its core market as
multinational corporations and local companies that want to
The company will soon start marketing its Verizon brand more strongly in Australia. "We've not spent quite enough establishing the Verizon name in these markets, but we're about to change that in the next six weeks with a whole bunch of advertising and billboards etc," said Day.
Eating its own dog food
On the infrastructure front, Verizon
will in coming months become the first customer of the Voice over
Internet Protocol (VoIP) product it is planning to launch in the
"It's based on the Broadsoft solution which most of our major
competitors use as well," said Day. "We're going to have about 50
staff in our Sydney and Melbourne offices with the product, so
we'll be the alpha customer."
"We'll be living our own product, which is something that
telcos don't do enough of, so I'm actually feeling quite happy
that we're going to get the opportunity -- even if it's only for
six months -- to work with the product and use it."
On the VoIP front, Verizon has had some success already in the
Asia-Pacific region, working on deals with VoIP hardware vendors
Cisco and Avaya.
"We've done some hosted VoIP. And that's been particularly
successful. We just sold one of our major premier customers as
well, out of Hong Kong," Day said. "So we've been able to achieve quite a bit on VoIP already without a product of our own, but having our own product will certainly build our credibility in the space."
Further infrastructure deployments may also be in the
pipeline. "We've got some business cases in at the moment to extend our
MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) network," said Day, noting customers were strongly demanding MPLS-based products.
Verizon has direct points of presence in Sydney and Melbourne,
but is examining the case to build new points in other cities
such as Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.
"We're hoping to get the positive news on that in the very
near future," said Day.
Broadly speaking in the Asian region, Verizon's network reaches all of the major countries, with coverage into Vietnam being implemented this November.