& cplSiteName &

BT Plays Down Microsoft-as-Carrier Threat

Iain Morris
11/9/2015
100%
0%

BT believes Microsoft will have to overcome service limitations and regulatory challenges if it is to emerge as a telecom service provider in its own right.

The software giant has previously revealed aspirations to become a network operator and its Skype for Business offering has already become a threat to operators providing unified communications (UC) services in the enterprise sector. (See BroadSoft Offers Telcos a UC Weapon to Fight Microsoft.)

But the UK's fixed-line incumbent is determined to see off the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) threat and believes it has capabilities the software player will struggle to match.

"We all know that Microsoft has aspirations to become a carrier, but the fact of the matter is their PBX [private branch exchange] functionality right now is limited," says Andrew Newbury, a senior product manager at BT Wholesale . "They don't have the full capability -- resellers and end users are demanding that unified communications solution now and we are making that happen."

Newbury also suggests that Microsoft will run into some unfamiliar regulatory hurdles as its sets up carrier shop in specific markets.

"We have a longstanding history of being a carrier and have overcome various regulations," he says. "Microsoft is a global player and will have the same issues any carrier will face entering a market."

Even so, the popularity of Skype for Business is already forcing the UK operator to adapt its UC offering, with end users demanding UC products that provide support for the Microsoft service.

Over the weekend, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) introduced an update to its Wholesale Hosted Centrex (WHC) solution that allows it to work in conjunction with Skype for Business for end users that have rolled out the Microsoft service and do not want to replace it.

"There has been a push from the market for a while for a solution that would work with Microsoft Skype," says Newbury. "We've been working through our partnership with BroadSoft to bring that to market -- our resellers will be able to sell a carrier-class communications solution that has all the PBX functions you would expect as well as an instant-messaging capability."

The move is clearly a defensive one aimed at preventing Skype for Business users from ditching BT's UC product, with BT claiming to be the only company now providing a combined hosted Centrex and Skype for Business UC offering through wholesale channels.

However, it could also give BT's resellers an opportunity to win new deals among users of Skype for Business that have not previously signed up to the operator's UC offerings.

That means it could help BT to attract new reseller partners.

What it will not do is allow BT to generate additional revenues from its existing customer base: Newbury says the additional functionality forms part of a value-added package of applications that are provided free-of-charge to customers.

That BT is not charging for some of the applications it includes with its WHC service is perhaps an indication of the competitive pressure it sees in this market.


Want to know more about cloud services? Check out our dedicated cloud services content channel here on Light Reading.


The operator is already thinking about addressing demand for other emerging applications from over-the-top players such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), according to Newbury, and will hold an event with resellers in December to discuss its product roadmap for 2016.

It is also looking at new functionality from BroadSoft Inc. , including some of the features the UC vendor unveiled at its recent Global Connections Event.

Through an initiative it calls Project Tempo, BroadSoft is enhancing its UC-One offering to include functions such as support for third-party cloud applications, including services from Google, Microsoft and Concur Technologies -- a SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP)-owned developer of cloud-based expense-management services. (See BroadSoft Offers Telcos a UC Weapon to Fight Microsoft.)

BroadSoft serves about 700 service provider customers globally and claims the reaction to Project Tempo has already been "very strong."

The company has also told Light Reading that it believes the new features will give operators a means of fending off the communications challenge coming from the direction of Microsoft and other giants of the technology world.

BT Wholesale reported revenues of £520 million ($785 million) in the July-to-September quarter -- or about 12% of the Group total -- compared with £529 million ($798 million) in the year-earlier period.

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Collabor15821
50%
50%
Collabor15821,
User Rank: Light Beer
11/10/2015 | 11:27:15 PM
regulatory issues for Microsoft
BT is right, despite everyone moving to IP based communications and access to the PSTN via SIP. Those local regulations are still required, especially where customers need to port numbers from local carriers. This is why S4B is best deployed by a local Enterprise Voice integrator ( #Comscentre ) because customers who move from ISDN have to go through a specific process with the local carrier involved when it comes to porting numbers to SIP. The Service Provider takes care of it all but it is only the voice specialist providers that know what they are doing in this area. It has always been the case; voice is voice and IT is IT. BT has had a fair bit of experience there, globally! Microsoft can't call Skype a public switched telphone network service! Maybe MS should buy BT, only then will the Telco market respect their voice and UC credentials...
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/9/2015 | 4:03:50 PM
regulations...
""We have a longstanding history of being a carrier and have overcome various regulations," he says. "Microsoft is a global player and will have the same issues any carrier will face entering a market."

 

Though surely BT knows that companies like Microsoft that start as edge providers often don't have to face this same playing field? Thirty years of regulation may not apply to them if, say, they examine alternative telecom options like white spaces or even drones.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
What Does Automation Mean to You?
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Selfie Game Strong Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives