Voice of doom for interconnect as ICL repositions

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Predicting that by 2002 voice interconnect will cost more than the revenue it generates, ICL is repositioning and realigning its core product, Prospero.

Following detailed analysis of market trends, ICL believes that the rise of e- and m-commerce means that carrying voice traffic alone is not viable in the long-term. Service providers will be forced to provide value-added content, which means that more complex rating and settlement mechanisms will become necessary.

In response to this trend, ICL has created Settlement Systems, which will concentrate on developing wholesale, B2B billing models. Settlement Systems will focus on one core software product, Prospero, with a dedicated specialist team. This will allow ICL to focus its resources, emulating the style of a smaller product house, combined with the scope of offerings, reach and experience of a larger company.

Richard Jackson, who heads up Settlement Systems in ICL, commented: “With bandwidth becoming a commodity, and margins on voice traffic diminishing, we are beginning to see traditional telcos disappear. Instead we envisage the rise of a new “comco” organisation which will behave much more like a bank, retailer, entertainer and general service provider, while buying in infrastructure services as a commodity. We are aiming to meet the specific requirements of this new breed of providers in the design and development of Prospero, while still addressing the traditional network providers market.”

Independent analysts predict that within the next few years, the current ratio of 80% voice and 20% data traffic over both fixed and mobile networks will be reversed. ICL will position Prospero as the single solution that will satisfy any settlement model likely to be adopted within the industry for new entrant service providers. It also aims to position ICL at the heart of the content settlement marketplace as it emerges over the next few years.

ICL employs more than 21,000 people in over 40 countries. It designs, builds and operates e-business solutions for the financial services, telecoms, retail, government, utilities and travel markets.

For the year ended 31 March 2000, revenues were $4,605.8 million with a profit before tax of $159.5 million. Headquartered in London, ICL is wholly owned by Fujitsu of Japan.


ICL Telecomms


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