Transactional Agents Called Names

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
Peter
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Transactional Agents Called Names

Over at CP, the transactional agents are being called Prostitutes and Zombies in opinion pieces. I find that sad considering that the Zombie comment comes from a guy who whined because he couldn't make huge commissions off call centers any more.

The one thing that most of these opinions neglect is that the World of Telecom is all about Transactions. It is a business based solely on Arbitrage.

Going back to the Golden days of Long Distance, newcomers (the IXC's like MCI, Sprint and Qwest) entered the market by starting a price war. It continues to this day.

Every CLEC that enters a market does so by undercutting the ILEC. Rarely has this been done with any innovation.  Even the DLEC's that launched the DSL market in 1999 - Covad, Rhythms and Northpoint -  disrupted it with old Bell Labs technology. Bell Labs had discovered DSL technology in the sixties but did not introduce it until 1987. DSL wasn't standardized until 1998. Their whole schtick was to undercut the T1 market.

Hookflash pointed out today that not much has changed in telephone since 1876. Layer 1 may have changed from copper to fiber to radio spectrum, but voice is ultimately the same.

Even VoIP is just another example of arbitrage. Phone.com and other VoIP Providers - most notably MagicJack and Vonage - constantly talk about the cost savings of VoIP, using the technology as simply a replacement for the POTS line.

If you can sell it online, it is Transactional!

As a nation we might have been better off NOT breaking up AT&T. Bell Labs was a national treasure of research. And, look, the gang is back together. The Death Star still flies.

So when you jump on Transactional Agents, take a good look at your own business. You probably market on Saving Money. Where's the Value in that?

And don't give me the "It's how we get their attention" dribble. This industry is in a race to zero. It's the Wild West of prospectors looking for short-term gains -- and I don't just mean just the newer providers. Look in the C-Suite and the Board of Directors at any ILEC or CLEC. All they care about is short term gains.

So who is really the Prostitute here?

The CEO (and his other C-Staff) who lies to the FTC and FCC about a merger and cries about it later, because they didn't get their bonuses?

The Congressmen who take trips, meals and money to stay in office to maintain the status quo?

The CEO of a yet-another VoIP company, who is just out to grab some market share with an Asterisk-based switch?

Just because you sell some cloud services, doesn't make you a non-transactional agent. When you take a customer's telecom spend from $500 to $650 per month by upselling cloud, then you can say it. But if you take $500 per month in spend and shrink it, you are just as transactional as the Zombie - you just color it different.

Cable has come storming into this sector with nothing more than a price gouging grab at market share - which is strictly Transactional!!!

We are all going to suffer because of the Arbitrage mindset. Commissions will decline right along with price. It will be harder to make a living. It will be harder for the LEC's to hit revenue, so debt will cost more, eventually leading to BK.

We have too many players in this Industry and not nearly enough that are innovative or add any real value. And many that barely make ends meet. All of that just adds to the price war, which leads to more transactions.

So who are you calling names?


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