For a couple of years we've felt Cable & Wireless has been heading in 'sort of' the right direction; focusing on profitable customers, core product lines, win-able business, etc. along with some pretty radical structural and staffing changes.
However, patience seemed to be wearing a bit thin after a business update for City analysts back in March this year, comments were made along the lines of "... this is all good stuff; but on this business plan, we don;t think you can turn it around fast enough!" Here's the presentation, and what you won't see in there, is any reference to plans to grow the customer base in SMB, mid-market, business broadband, or increased infrastructure investment in the UK.
I guess the city feedback must have focused minds on shorter term revenue generation. For just 6 weeks later, in a stunning volte-face CW announced plans to acquire THUS Telecom; possibly the most successful mid-market ISP in the country, Bringing with it customers in each of those categories, as well as £450m in new revenues, some tasty data centres, a mass of IP services expertise and a country wide NextGen IP network.
The change in the market place is profound. BackChannels own research data shows that over the last two years the "re-Energised" C&W has turned the corner; increasingly good at serving the larger corporate market, with significant project wins and a marked decrease in customer churn, they are starting to give Verizon and Sprint a run for their money. In the UK market the merged company forms the only broad-spectrum competitor to BT.
The ability of C&Ws management to listen to its shareholders and then to turn the whole company on a dime, must be keeping a few people awake over at BT Centre.
Hmm... Wonder what they'll do with Demons broadband customers :0)