For mobile operators there are a number financial considerations when it comes to
collaborating with small suppliers around the world. Global exchange company RTX Routetrader has seen an opportunity in the market to make this process easier and safer through its trading platform.
Operators can use RTX’s exchange system to trade voice, data and SMS services in a secure environment, removing the risk factor and enabling global companies to connect with smaller mobile companies.
CMO Neil Kitcher explained to Mobile that businesses connect to the platform on a PAYG or post-paid basis. The company integrates its software with a number of financial institutions – this ecosystem is described as a ‘financial firewall’ for mobile companies.
He said: ‘We go through a number of rigorous checks from financial and technical viewpoints, and only then are customers and suppliers able to get access to our platform to trade.
‘With an exchange in place and a secure ecosystem, our suppliers can connect to us. The PAYG customers can’t trade unless they put money in, and post-paid customers are fully insured, so there’s no way a supplier can lose money. Our real-time billing also encourages people to use our platform.
‘The big impact on our business is our fast-pay service. Traditionally, these suppliers would struggle to do business with global carriers and the small supplier would be out of business before they got paid, so we get suppliers paid on a much quicker basis and it makes a big difference to them. And big players can capitalise on lower-cost routes.’
RTX has recently been named as one of the only telecoms companies to be ranked in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100. Kitcher explained that this has been, in part, due to the ‘dramatic uptake’ of the company’s proposition and, to add to this, RTX will focus on expanding into the data market.
Until now, the company has primarily focused on the voice market, and Kitcher explained that RTX will approach data services with caution to avoid ‘suffering the same fate as other companies’.
He said: ‘Data is going to be a 2016 initiative for us; we’ve got some very exciting conversations with partners. Voice is a commodity play, SMS is a relatively high margin but data has always been the crown jewels for telcos. However, with the move towards more cloud services those data products come into play for our network – we’re a dynamic usage-based platform so we provide a usage-based service.
‘We’ve concentrated on the platform itself; it’s important you don’t step too far into a new product until you solve what your users want in the current product set. It’s only in the past year or so that we have seen an appetite for more usage-based data services.
‘We need to make sure we don’t suffer the same fate as other companies who bring half-baked products to market. What’s important to us is not just the product but also our customer base; without that there’s no growth, so we need to maintain their confidence. However, we’re just scratching the service – it’s a great recognition to be one of the only telcos companies to be in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100. It’s the fact that we have a unique proposition so the uptake on our services has been quite dramatic.’
Solving bad debt
Kitcher explained that RTX’s exchange platform has opened up the market to greater collaboration, which he believes has driven the surge in popularity. He described the voice market as ‘a commodity in telecoms’, claiming that RTX has removed the bad debt risk traditionally associated with that market, thus enabling more businesses to work together.
He said: ‘At the moment, voice is very much a commodity in the telecoms space; it has low margins so it makes sense to automate the system. It cuts out a lot of the overhead in the carrier networks around the world.
‘I thought innovation was dead in the voice market but I would say it’s alive and kicking within our business and we have solved an ongoing problem that the industry is seeing – the bad debt issue. A lot of customers would be seen as a bad debt risk and the big global companies wouldn’t have dealt with them.
'This is because, until now, the systems that telcos rely on have not been able to ensure that customers do not over-spend. Not only have we solved bad debt but we are allowing small businesses to connect with global telecoms – we are the white knight for the voice industry.’