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TSTT CEO Ronald Walcott

TSTT Makes A Turnaround

Sunday Guardian

Kyron Regis

Af­ter send­ing home over 500 em­ploy­ees last year in a re­struc­tur­ing ex­er­cise, TSTT has re­turned to growth and it’s CEO Dr Ronald Wal­cott says the com­pa­ny is prof­itable once again. In an in­ter­view with the Sun­day Busi­ness Guardian, Wal­cott said the com­pa­ny has made a sig­nif­i­cant turn­around. “We are a year on from where we’ve made some fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives. As of Oc­to­ber, the com­pa­ny’s op­er­at­ing prof­it is in ex­cess of $160 mil­lion. So we’ve made a sig­nif­i­cant turn­around in the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” Wal­cott said. He not­ed that the com­pa­ny’s dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion strat­e­gy has played a ma­jor role in the re­sults of the com­pa­ny. “The fun­da­men­tal rea­son we had to trans­form the busi­ness is that we were set up, like most tra­di­tion­al tele­coms, as a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­ny. So you have all of these switch­es and ex­changes and sys­tems that are de­signed around voice tele­pho­ny, that’s out the win­dow—it’s done,” he said. Wal­cott ar­gued that every­thing is on broad­band now, whether it’s on wi-fi through a 4G or 3G con­nec­tion some­where.

Wal­cott said there were two strate­gies im­ple­ment­ed in get­ting the com­pa­ny to a healthy bot­tom line. “There is the rev­enue side and there is al­so the ef­fi­cien­cy side,” he said. Wal­cott ar­gued that ef­fi­cien­cy refers to how ef­fec­tive the com­pa­ny is at at­tain­ing the rev­enue it needs to cre­ate and save. “A lot of what we did with the or­gan­i­sa­tion­al trans­for­ma­tion was not just around staff num­bers, it was al­so around mak­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion more ef­fi­cient. So our op­er­at­ing ex­pense is sig­nif­i­cant­ly less than it was pri­or, not just in terms of em­ploy­ee costs but main­te­nance costs.” He gave the ex­am­ple of mi­grat­ing a client from cop­per to wire­less. When this is done, Wal­cott con­tends the com­pa­ny has not on­ly giv­en the client bet­ter tech­nol­o­gy and bet­ter abil­i­ties, but it al­so cre­ates cost sav­ing for the com­pa­ny. “Right now on our wire­less net­work, for ex­am­ple, we do more than 80 per cent of trou­bleshoot­ing re­mote­ly, so you don’t have to send peo­ple out to peo­ple’s homes; that’s a much more ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tion,” Wal­cott said. As a re­sult, Wal­cott ex­plained the com­pa­ny’s op­er­at­ing ex­pens­es have gone down sig­nif­i­cant­ly. “We con­tin­ue to look for ways to get more ef­fi­cient and, as you roll out bet­ter tech­nol­o­gy that is more ro­bust and so on, your ef­fi­cien­cy ac­tu­al­ly in­creas­es so your op­er­at­ing ex­pense goes down.”

With re­gard to rev­enue, the com­pa­ny has now cre­at­ed a plat­form called e-ten­der and it has al­so re­cent­ly de­ployed 5G. Wal­cott not­ed that e-ten­der is some­thing cre­at­ed at TSTT. “It’s a full end-to-end soft­ware as a ser­vice (SAAS) that we are pro­vid­ing to cus­tomers and we have Caribbean gov­ern­ments that have shown in­ter­est. In fact, we’ve signed one re­cent­ly.” Wal­cott dis­closed that the prod­uct has al­so been de­moed in Asia and Ger­many. “One of the ways that we’re mov­ing the busi­ness for­ward is that we are not now re­strict­ed to the T&T ge­og­ra­phy. We are in ad­vanced dis­cus­sions with com­pa­nies in Ja­maica and An­tigua to pro­vide SAAS, man­ag­ing ser­vices, etc be­cause we have the abil­i­ty and the tech­nol­o­gy here. It’s a whole new busi­ness mod­el.” 5G es­tab­lish­ment As part of TSTT’s strate­gic plan, the com­pa­ny has es­tab­lished fixed wire­less ac­cess 5G tech­nol­o­gy as a rev­enue cre­ation mech­a­nism. Al­though he could not give a lo­cal fig­ure, Wal­cott ex­plained that 5G tech­nol­o­gy, ac­cord­ing to glob­al sta­tis­tics, will gen­er­ate hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars. “We al­so have to look, as an or­gan­i­sa­tion, for new lines of rev­enue. So 5G al­lows us to tar­get SME cus­tomers who do not have ac­cess to the type of tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties that some of their big­ger coun­ter­parts have. So we’ll be able to look for new lines of rev­enue there, but al­so, it al­lows us to look at new ways of do­ing busi­ness.” TSTT is think­ing glob­al­ly. “We made that state­ment very clear­ly in our strate­gic plan. We’ll have or­gan­ic growth which is what we are talk­ing about lo­cal­ly. We plan to do im­ple­ment 5G in agri­cul­ture.” Wal­cott ex­pressed that the com­pa­ny al­ways in­tend­ed to move from 4G fixed wire­less ac­cess in­to 5G. “It was de­signed that way and the idea be­hind this par­tic­u­lar ap­proach is one where we are pro­vid­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties. It’s about the abil­i­ty to do things that we were not able to do be­fore.” There are things in 5G that are dif­fer­ent to 4G ac­cord­ing to Wal­cott. He al­so said that it is not just about speed. “There are three dis­trict char­ac­ter­is­tics that sep­a­rate 5G which are greater la­ten­cy (speed at which a sig­nal re­sponds to a com­mand), more si­mul­ta­ne­ous con­nec­tions, and more re­li­a­bil­i­ty.” He added that 5G has re­duced cost all around the world and be­lieves that it can be done in T&T as well. He ar­gued that farm­ers can im­ple­ment 5G tech­nol­o­gy in their op­er­a­tions and re­duce costs by 20 to 40 per cent.

TSTT’s strate­gic plan in­volves show­ing com­pa­nies how 5G can be utilised to trans­form the way they do busi­ness. Re­cent­ly in the me­dia, there have been com­ments to, fro and be­tween TSTT, TATT and Dig­i­cel. Re­spond­ing to this Wal­cott said, “I do not in­tend to get in­to a war of words with Dig­i­cel and/or with TATT. I have said what I have to say. My fo­cus is on TSTT. They have their own busi­ness to con­cern them­selves with. I con­cern my­self with this busi­ness.” Wal­cott an­nounced that TSTT will be trans­form­ing the first floor of bmo­bile House in­to a 5G ecosys­tem where prospec­tive clients will be able to come and ex­pe­ri­ence 5G. He not­ed that if they are able to ex­pe­ri­ence it, they will ap­pre­ci­ate it.

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