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A New Telecom “Frontier” – Seizing the Opportunity​

 

Published January 7, 2015

 

 

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No other industry touches as many technology-related business sectors as telecommunications, which, by definition, encompasses not only the traditional areas of local and long-distance telephone service, but also advanced technology-based services including wireless communications, the Internet, fiber-optics and even satellites.  Mergers, acquisitions and other industry changes have redefined telecom in recent years. AT&T and SBC merged (changing the name of the merged company to AT&T, Inc.), and Paetec merged into Windstream. Sprint and Nextel have combined to create wireless giant Sprint. Qwest merged into CenturyLink (formerly CenturyTel). The competitive landscape is shifting dramatically due to these mergers and with changes this significant there comes opportunity.
 
 
What do we mean by opportunity?
 
Take for instance the recent acquisition of AT&T by Frontier in Connecticut. It has been a little over two months since  the transaction closed and many businesses are struggling with reconciling contracts, billing and service records associated with the transition. 
 
Under this $2 Billion acquisition, Frontier is offering broadband, voice, video and other products to residential and business customers in Connecticut.  Traditional wireline services have transitioned to Frontier, while wireless and other new technologies (e.g. SIP based services) stay with AT&T.  Basically, whether a customer wanted it or not, they now have become a Frontier customer – and there are things you must do to avoid potential service and billing issues while seizing the opportunity.
 
What should you know about this shift to Frontier?
In previous Connecticut wireline acquisitions (e.g.SNET to SBC to AT&T), just the logo changed. Legacy databases were largely kept intact. The Frontier acquisition of AT&T is considerably more complex.  Billing and Operations systems changed significantly on Day 1.    As with any massive system change, errors do occur.

 

With Frontier, you have a new billing portal, but you should validate the accuracy of the data that you encounter in this portal. The process of transitioning information can lead to errors.
Key account managers and contacts have very likely changed.  Quite a few of AT&T’s personnel decided to retire or stay with AT&T. You need to meet your new team and confirm any upcoming service requirements (i.e. any moves, adds, or changes).  Escalation procedures and processes have changed for everyone. Resolving simple service and billing issues may take longer as both sides of this new relationship climb the learning curve.


What should you do?

  • First and foremost, compare previous billing statements to new billing statements.  Make sure that you map services and pricing from old bills to new bills and make sure you request access to billing portals in order to conduct real time evaluations of your invoicing from Frontier.
  • Secondly, make sure to review your former AT&T contracts – What services were covered?  What are your renewal dates?  You may have limited windows to renegotiate and you do not want to miss these.
  • Third, update your technology plan and network requirements.  Now may be the right time to transition to a new platform (Unified Communications).



In conclusion
You need to be proactive in dealing with the opportunity provided by this transition to Frontier.  Taking control of the conversation is the best way to protect yourself from inaccuracies, while building the foundation for a proactive dialogue.  And, of course, call Partner Consulting if you have any questions or would like to learn more.
 

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