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European comms channels under threat from US invaders

Alan Norman reports from Gleneagles on the Comms Vision event:

Gamma CEO Andrew Taylor (pictured) in his Comms Vision interview has warned that new entrants to the UK and European communications sector pose a major threat to indirect channels. Speaking at Comms Vision 2018, the annual channel conference and networking event for comms sector, he cited companies such as AWS and Google as being particular threats.

"When I look at some new entrants in the UK their general approach is to go straight to the end-user," he said. "They want to maximise the market. Like wolves in sheep's clothing they bear gifts, engage and get buy-in but ultimately their intention is to go over the top. Be wary of the wolves."

Taylor urged channel organisations to question the motives of such organisations and to be very wary in their dealings with them. It's a central problem that must be front of mind, he warned. "It should be about the channel owning the customer contract, it should be a wholesale relationship where the channel decides what competition looks like," stated Taylor. "The channel must be wary of this risk I see in the market today."

Taylor lamented the sorry state of the UKs comms infrastructure: “Our penetration level for FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) is three per cent.  We are 27th out of 28 countries - it's unbelievable. When you look at penetration and speeds we are not where we should be.” But in spite of this he sees excellent opportunities for UK companies expanding into Europe particularly with cloud-based solutions.

"The channel in the UK has been transformational in the move from legacy to cloud - and the opportunity has never been greater," added Taylor. "Cloud telephony in the UK is at a 20% penetration level, SMEs 11%, the channel 37%; but look across Europe and the penetration levels are between two and five per cent.