Alcatel has recruited a former marketing executive to head up its UK business, and boost its notoriously low public profile this side of the Channel.
Under the wing of Peter Radley, formerly a marketing and business development director at Alcatel's headquarters in Paris, the UK business will drive hard in all areas of its business, with special emphasis on transmission and access systems, and fixed mobile convergence.
Radley's appointment as chief executive of Alcatel UK comes as the French company is taking annual sales of around #1 billion in the UK, and has a customer list that includes BT, Cable & Wireless, Worldcom and AT&T.
Alcatel's problem in the UK is that it has had to build a business from nothing, according to UK born Radley. "A number of people have commented that Alcatel has a low profile in the UK. Yes, but partly because of our history - we're building our position from approximately zero."
The company has rapidly gained a presence in new markets before. It now has a 28 per cent share of the Dutch GSM terminal market, something it has built from zero in a short time. In the UK, its GSM terminal market share is around 10 per cent, helped by its mobile phone joint venture with Barclaycard and Cellnet.
Alcatel will be pushing its access and transmission products in the UK, especially to the many new telecomms operators building infrastructure here, according to Radley. "New operators coming into the UK are starting with a transmission rich network. This is a good opportunity for us," he said.
Phones that can be used as regular cordless phones in the home or office and then become cellular phones outside are also a key part of Alcatel's European strategy, said Radley.
"One of the things I'm concerned about is the fragmentation of [telephony] services delivered to end users. Why should we have customers worrying about how telephony is delivered to them?" he said.
In Denmark, telecomms operator Tele Danmark offers a service that provides one number, one bill, one voicemail and two phones, one for indoors and one for outdoors. Radley said he wants to take this further and provide one phone and one service. Alcatel is finalising the standards needed for creating a phone that would work as a cordless and a cellular phone.
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