Despite its stodgy image, the telecommunications industry is a hotbed of intrigue and conspiracy. Companies do everything they can to cut down their competitors, including wooing customers and partners with promises of low prices and big profits — if they would only dump the company they are currently working with and sign on with them.
It’s happened to at least half a dozen partners of RAD Data Communications, one of the 13 companies in the RAD Group and the largest Israeli telecom technology company.
RAD Data, a 30-year veteran of the Israeli high-tech scene, supports sales channels in 165 countries. In order to reach those markets, RAD Data relies on its partners, local companies that supply equipment and technology to local customers. RAD Data’s competitors are constantly trying to snatch away many of those partners, according to at least a dozen partner reps at a recent RAD Data partners meeting in Eilat – the objective being to get business from the partners’ telecom customers in their local market.
Nice try, competitors – but no cigar. If the group interviewed is representative of RAD Data’s partners, they are planning to stay with the company for a long time to come.
There’s a reason for that, company president and CEO Dror Bin told The Times of Israel in an exclusive interview to English-language media. “We seem to generate a great deal of loyalty. Many of our employees have been here for years, and the feeling really is one of family.”
Of course, you would expect a CEO to say something like that, but the fact is that, according to reps at recent partner meeting in Eilat, they like working with RAD Data, because they feel the company pays attention to their needs, innovates to meet the market’s demands, and gives partners the feeling that the company really cares about their business. Typical of the partner rep’s comments was that of D’s (none of the reps wanted to be identified by name or country because of the sensitivity of the issue).
“We occasionally get calls from companies like Cisco, Tellabs, and others asking us to work with them, and offering us better prices than RAD. We always tell them no, though,” said D. “They might provide us with equipment, but I know RAD will provide us with a solution we can use for our customers.”
That ethos – providing full service and support for partners – is something RAD Data has been working hard on, said Bin. Phone service providers are now using the ethernet to build communications systems, replacing dedicated phone systems. “Carrier Ethernet systems are too complex,” said Bin. “You have to be able to integrate the older wired phone systems, digital systems, cell systems, ans so on. Many companies feel that they are in over their head, but that’s where we come in. Our motto,” added Bin, “is that Carrier Ethernet can be good without being complicated.”
In order to enable customers – the telecoms that RAD Data’s partners sell equipment and service to – to maintain and increase business during what has become a very complicated era for telecom service providers, RAD Data has been developing a slew of new products, said Bin, with at least ten released in recent and coming months. Among the new devices being released is the MiNID, a miniature network interface device that connects to nearly any piece of equipment now in use by telecom service providers. The device is designed to be configured by the RAD Data partner providing the equipment, with the specifications for the customer already installed. “They can send out the MiNID in an overnight envelope, and the service provider just has to plug it in in order to enter its parameters in the network.”
Another product Bin is very proud of is its ETX-5300A Ethernet Service Aggregation Platform, which lets telecoms manage traffic and regulate the network. The platform allows aggregation of calls and services over fast networks, said Bin, and helps reduce the cost of operation and ownership. “The 5300 has been a real game changer for us, giving customers a real edge over their competitors,” said Bin.
One of the advantages of being part of a large group is the ability to leverage the experience, products, and guidance of other members, said Bin, and RAD Data harnesses the technology and experience of the RAD Group to provide solutions for customers, said Bin. “Unlike many of our competitors, we have a global presence. We can succeed in any scenario, and we can quickly adapt using our RAD Group partners’ resources.”
Besides Carrier Ethernet, RAD Data has begun working with utilities – power, water, and gas companies – that are setting up smart grids, networks that can keep track of usage, problems, and issues digitally, allowing quick responses by the utility to changing circumstances, either in customer usage or supply. “Until now they were using legacy networks, and now, in order to run the smart grids, they need to move to ethernet. But there are more security risks with those networks, and utilities can’t take chances on security. So we have been developing tele-protection and cyber-security solutions that are “bulletproof,’” said Bin.
Training is another area in which RAD Data tries hard to please its partners. Company officials travel the world showing partners the best ways to use equipment, and help them with their marketing efforts, as well as bring partner reps to Israel for training – and for its annual partner meeting, which this year took place in Eilat. Hundreds of partner reps joined the company for five days of meetings, discussions, and a little bit of fun, too – at their own expense, Bin stressed. “Despite the tough economy, our partners felt it was important to join us. We appreciate their loyalty, and we do whatever we can to show them how we appreciate them. We really are like a family here,” he said. “It’s a great asset for their success and ours.”
The list of RAD Data customers is long and impressive, and includes the world’s largest telecoms, including AT&T, Bell Canada, Bharti Telecom, British Telecom, China Mobile, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Singtel, T-Mobile, Verizon, and many more. The company is one of the world’s leading suppliers of equipment to telecommunication companies working in both fixed line and mobile connections, and has revenues of about $1 billion annually.