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Bargaining for telecomm services.

How that we are drawing closer to Jan. 1, 1993, it's time to take a new look at international telecomm services.

In case you've been locked in your equipment room, that date is when the European Economic Community (EEC) formally begins consolidating trade regulations and many other issues. What this milestone means is that telecomm managers with international operations should start reviewing overseas assets.

America's Big Three-AT&T, MCI and Sprint-all have active overseas operations. But will these companies offer you the best on international DDD, packet-switched data or even a 64 kb/ s digital channel?

If you already have a special largescale tariff arrangement, such as Tariff 12, you're probably getting a good deal on IDDD. Don't overlook firms other than the Big Three, especially the updated representatives of overseas PTTs. If you've been to the major telecomm trade shows, you've noted the overseas carriers. British Telecom, France Telecom, Deutsche Bundespost Telekom, OTC Australia, PTT Netherlands, RTT Belgacom, and International Telecom Japan are examples. Check with these firms at their U.S. offices; you may be able to get an even better deal.

But here's the best one so far. It's a company called International Discount Telecommunications (IDT). It is located in the Bronx, N.Y. and Hackensack, N.J. The company provides a discount IDDD service that takes advantage of the disparity in rates for dial-up calls from a foreign country to the U.S. versus the opposite situation, with the call originating in the states.

Suppose you're in Spain and want to call Chicago. When rates are examined, you will find that the cost from Spain to Chicago will probably be 20% to 30% higher than from Chicago to Spain. What if you could somehow call the U.S. and tell a device here to call you fight back, without generating a charge from the other country? The device would then pass you a dial tone from the U.S., after which you dial a call to Chicago. It's the same as if the call originated over here. Savings can be in the 50% to 75% range, according to IDT, depending on the time of day and country of origin.

What was just described is what IDT has been doing successfully for over a year. IDT's phone number is 212-409-1527; fax, 212-518-0551.

Assuming you do not have a massive global network, with fantastically low rates, other options are available. How about using someone else's network? Resale of international switched services has been OK for years.

Here are a few resellers to try. United Parcel Service (UPS) recently formed a separate company, UPS Telecommunications, to market capacity on their worldwide network. A similar program is in place with Westinghouse Communications. Major Opportunity

Savvy telecomm managers at these and other large companies realized a major business opportunity existed right under their noses--their own networks. By reselling excess capacity, these companies are generating new sources of revenues and providing hefty savings for other firms.

Contact some friends in your user association and see if their international networks can support additional traffic. You may be able to work out a deal. If your own network is available and you are looking for a way to reduce monthly bills, consider adding other users to your network.

A viable option is probably as near as your fellow telecomm managers. Suppose this person happens to have private line circuits to another country, with excess capacity, e.g., 6 to 8 DSO channels in a TI that are not likely to be used. Finally, suppose circuit end points are in fairly close proximity to both companies' offices. Get the idea?

By the way, don't forget about connections between your domestic offices. Private line resale in the U.S. has been going on for years. It's not necessary to go to the Big Three for good deals on these links, either. An example of a company that could be a solid interexchange partner for you, especially if New York is an international hub office, is Business Networks of New York, Inc. They can get you voice/data private lines (as well as switched access) throughout the U.S. The phone is (212) 233-7200; fax is (212) 233-7296.

What we're talking about is private line resale and sharing, which, until recently, was not permitted by the FCC. However, in what may prove a significant ruling by the Commission, international private line resale became possible provided similar resale opportunities were available in foreign countries. Judging from developments in Europe, Australia and elsewhere, the availability of "similar resale opportunities" is moving forward rapidly.

How do two parties find each other? One company, based in London, brokers these specialized arrangements. It's called Bandwidth Brokers International Ltd. The company works with buyers and sellers, as well as other new and interesting sources of domestic and international bandwidth. The toil-free U.S. phone number is 800227-7525. I represent their U.S. offices.

The latest trans-Atlantic fiber cable, TAT-9, went into service earlier this year. It doubled the capacity of its predecessor, TAT-8. Other fiber cables are planned for the North Atlantic, as well as the Pacific Rim and other major regions. In time, perhaps as soon as the next 24 months, we will have a glut of international bandwidth, with fire sale prices the rule rather than the exception.

This will send prices through the floor, and many of the options we discuss today will be obsolete. However, as a prudent telecomm manager, should you wait that long?

Expect the emergence of firms who buy Tls and Els across the Atlantic/ Pacific and mux these DSOs for resale as lower-speed digital channels and

low-bit-rate voice channels, for example. These firms will open up another set of options for cheap international private line services. One such firm is the London-based Euroconekt Ltd. which offers low-bit-rate (8 kb/ s) voice channels from London to several major cities on the continent, and to New York and several major U.S. cities. The company offers everything on a fixed-price basis, including local channels and carrier coordination at both endpoints. A typical New York to London voice-grade channel is projected to be about $26,800 per year, which works out to just under $2,400 per month. Sound interesting? The phone number in London is (011) 44714904583; fax 71490-8607. If you interested, but don't want to call London, call BBl.

Two satellite camers you may not be aware of are Lightcom International San Antonio, Tex. area. They provide analog and digital services (both switched and private line) to the North Atlantic, Pacific Rim and South America. Their phone number is 512525-7989; fax 512-525-7959. Another firm is Columbia Communications Corp., Washington, D.C., and Honolulu. They manage commercial Cband transponder capacity aboard NASA's two satellite systems (TDRSS) in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Their numbers are 2024299033; fax is 202-296-2962.

These are not your father's carriers, folks. Which is why you should give them a try, but do it with your eyes open.
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Title Annotation:Communications Management; international telecommunications services after Jan 1, 1993, when the European Economic Community begins to consolidate its trade regulations
Author:Kirvan, Paul
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:Column
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Words:1165
Previous Article:Market gears up to satisfy rising wireless demands.
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