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Arbinet revamps management, refocuses on voice



Arbinet has revamped its management team and is asking the industry to
take another look at its voice exchange and capacity services as it refocuses.
Talking with CommsDay, new CEO Shawn O’Donnell and new
sales and marketing VP Dan Powdermaker admitted the company had lost
its focus in recent times with diversifications into markets such as digital
rights management but was now re-focusing on its core voice services.
The firm was founded in 1996 and is best known for developing a spot
market for minutes. Now it claims to support business relationships, back-
office operations and call routing for over 1,000 fixed carriers, cellcos,
prepaid, wireless and IP providers carrying some 2% of the world’s international

Powdermaker joined the company a few weeks ago and is best known
for his decade-long stint with iBasis. He says that he recognizes that spot
exchanges aren’t for everyone and the company will be looking at how it
can leverage its existing assets and services to offer more for carriers. He
added that the company is also looking at simplifying its exchange feeds
and will also be ramping up international sales efforts.
O’Donnell says he expects consolidation to be a feature of the market
in 2009. Towards the end of the year, he predicts that weaker carriers will
merge or sell out. “We could see prices firming after that consolidation.”
He also says that while there are “huge markets” for Arbinet in developing
regions such as south Asia and Latin America, prepaid call volumes—
a significant segment for Arbinet—might drop as much as 30% in
North America as the effects of the recession begin to bite.
O’Donnell says a key feature of Arbinet’s exchange offering that might
prove attractive in recessionary times is its strict credit policies, which sees
members alerted when they reach specific thresholds of their credit limit
and cut off if they don’t make good on payments. He says such controls
are important for carriers that commonly operate on low margins.
Arbinet has opened international offices in locations such as Hong
Kong and Beirut, which it will use to market and develop its presence during
the coming year. Powdermaker says the company is also planning to
become increasingly active at international trade shows.

Grahame Lynch



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