Cable & Wireless is making a bid to become one of the most formidable telecommunications providers in the U.S.
Graham Wallace, CEO of Cable & Wireless in London, views the U.S. as a crucial market for the organizations global expansion plans.
"That means we absolutely have to be a key player in the American market," says Trey Smith, president of Cable & Wireless North America.
Smith says his organization can "duke it out and learn lessons in the U.S." that the rest of the company can use when Europe and other markets are ready for the same types of data and voice offerings now available in North America.
Cable & Wireless N.A., based in Vienna, Va., got a quick boost in the American market with its 1998 purchase of MCIs continental Internet Protocol network for $1.75 billion. The subsidiary now does about $1.4 billion in annual sales and has 3,200 employees.
Cable & Wireless N.A. leverages the international networks of its parent company and its 20 percent stake in all undersea telecom cables to target large global enterprises based in North America.
But Smith says his company needs to improve with value-added services as basic capacity is oversupplied. It is now augmenting its core businesses by expanding into the retail market with services targeting small and midsized businesses.
Cable & Wireless needs to work extra hard in the areas of data and new technologies, he says.
In an effort to let customers and competitors know his company is game for a challenge, the organization is going to migrate its entire voice and data network on to an IP-platform by 2002, a feat yet to be accomplished on such a large scale.
"Watch this space and stay tuned," Smith says.