After leaving Earthlink where he served as the company's Executive Vice President when the ISP bought out his former company New Edge Networks in 2006, Dan Moffat took to the high seas for his next telecom adventure. This search took him to the island of Guam--a place that he says is like a Middle America suburb meeting Mexico in Hawaii--to become the President and CEO of recently privatized GTA TeleGuam. Since then, Moffat has helped the former government-owned telco advance its fortunes in IPTV, Fiber to the Home, optical services and 3G wireless. FierceTelecom recently caught up with Moffat to talk about his position and the trends he's seeing take place in the Guam telecom market.
FierceTelecom: You joined GTA TeleGuam in 2007 as President and CEO. Talk about your first few years and the market you operate in?
Moffat: The population makeup of Guam is 180,000 people, and the best way to describe it is it's like a Middle America suburb meeting Mexico in Hawaii. You go down the street and it's full of Home Depots, Hiltons and McDonalds. Then, there are palm trees, white sand beaches and blue waters. It also has heavy Spanish influence because it was under Spanish rule for 300 years.
The other thing about the island is it's about 210 square miles and about a 1/3 of the island is military bases. Then there's a huge naval base. There's a big military presence here. They're moving 8,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam which will be huge because it will take the population from about 180,000 to close to 250,000--so there's a lot of infrastructure build outs going on.
FierceTelecom: Okay, since GTA was once a government-owned service provider, can you give us a lay of the land on the telecom infrastructure on the island?
Moffat: The telecom infrastructure is modern. We are the incumbent and we have varied fiber rings with DWDM and MPLS, we have GSM wireless business, an IPTV business, which is similar to AT&T U-Verse. We do all the Metro Ethernet and all the things you would expect anyone doing stateside. We're like a very, very small AT&T in terms of how we operate and all the services we offer.
The other interesting thing about the island is it's very competitive. TeleGuam used to be a government agency and there was a concerted effort on the part of the government to promote competition. So there are four big wireless carriers including us, there's an aggressive cable television company, and there are a couple of CLECs that use our facilities. It's probably the most competitive place I have ever seen.
FierceTelecom: So GTA was privatized just a few years back? How has that changed the way the company operates?
Moffat: The government said that CLECs, for example, would exist even when GTA was a government agency so unbundling was already occurring. Our wireless competition is DoCoMo, which is the wireless subsidiary of NTT. We also have a couple of Philippines-based companies such as iConnect. The competition began long before privatization and you could argue that we waited a bit too long to privatize because some of these other players became a bit too strong.