CHICAGO -- International Telecoms Week -- For many carriers, having data center presence comes before obtaining customers based on said presence, though that's not how TeliaSonera International Carrier phrased things this week in a press release touting its ongoing North American expansion.
"By adding 100 new service provider customers in 18 months, Telia Carrier has increased its reach to 62 major North American data centers," the release states. (See TSIC Touches 62 North American Data Centers.)
"Maybe you can help us rephrase that," jokes TSIC CEO Brendan Ives.
The seemingly backward order, however, is intentional, as it is meant to echo TSIC's conservative ideas about expansion and winning market share. "Customers have pulled us in to where we are in North America," Ives tells Light Reading. "We won't be doing the speculative builds that you see some other companies do. We want to make sure we have pre-sold engagements before we go in."
The cautious approach has worked for the fairly small wholesale unit of a big European retail operation that Ives admits was a late arrival in North America. "The last few years, we have been playing a bit of catch-up, but we've gotten a foothold with some of the big content companies, and in particular the gaming industry, and we're building brand awareness off of that."
Now, roughly 40% of TSIC's 61,500 fiber kilometers run through North America, and its growing operations in Texas are an important part of that, as it's using presence in Dallas and Houston to bridge to Latin America. The carrier announced at ITW this week new arrangements with Netrality Properties and Unite Private Networks that will help it do that. (See TSIC Connects With Netrality and TSIC Leases Fiber From UPN for Dallas Expansion.)
Still, while some data center and network operators feel confident enough that the current explosion of bandwidth demand will sustain speculative planning and market-driven acquisitions well into the future, TSIC isn't going to change its approach. "It's something about being Swedish and modest," says Ives, who by accent (New Zealand) is clearly not Swedish himself. "We're not allowed to say we want to be No. 1."
While Ives is quick to undercut strategic pronouncements with a sense of humor, he adds: "The danger of trying to be No. 1 is that you leave a lot of money on the table being very aggressive in buildout and leading a price war. The thing for us is we want to be the next-best alternative. We just want to give the customer the services they need, and that isn't a bad thing to aspire to."
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading