Frontier’s Arndt: We’ve become more like a CLEC in our business markets

Frontier Communications (Frontier Communications)

Frontier may be an established incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), but as it battles cable and CLECs to expand its business services reach the service provider sees itself as an emerging competitive business provider, too.

This new mentality follows the telco’s decision late last year to create dedicated sales and marketing teams targeting consumer and business customers.

By realigning the structure of its commercial unit, Frontier hopes it will be able to better respond to business customer needs in its legacy footprint and regions it entered via its Verizon wireline asset acquisition.

RELATED: Frontier fears CenturyLink/Level 3 merger could hurt rural providers

Throughout 2017, Frontier will continue to expand the availability of its Ethernet service and additional capabilities to better target small and larger businesses. The service provider will offer tailored solutions that can meet the needs of specific vertical segments.

Ken Arndt, EVP of commercial for Frontier, told FierceTelecom that the CLEC-like mentality is part of the service provider’s move to get more aggressive in pursuing new business service opportunities.

“We’re acting more as a CLEC now than as an ILEC,” Arndt said. “It’s the right approach where you are selling where the network is versus where the network isn’t.” 

Cable and the BDS threat

Frontier has backed up its CLEC thesis in the business segment, particularly in the hotly-contested business data services (BDS) market segment.

In a recent FCC filing (PDF) on BDS, Frontier cited a USTelecom study that showed ILEC BDS revenues declining from 2013 to 2015.

At the same time, cable and traditional CLEC competitors grew their revenues by 52.2% and captured a total of $5.2 billion in new BDS revenues in the same period.

Cable MSOs and CLECs continue to capture larger shares of the business data services market. By leveraging their DOCSIS networks, USTelecom said cable MSOs’ “best effort” broadband services “continue to eat away at traditional TDM offerings.”

Arndt said that in the California, Texas and Florida (CTF) markets, which Frontier entered when it purchased Verizon’s assets, it is not the dominant business service provider.

“By regulatory definition, we’re still an ILEC, but when you look at the markets that we acquired, we are not the dominant market provider,” Arndt said. “We need to get nimble and focused on operating in a way that some people may not be accustomed to but we’re going to push our folks very swiftly down that path.”

Aligning network, service opportunities

As Frontier expands its business service presence in more markets, the service provider will focus its attention on aligning its local resources with the needs of a particular geography.

What this means for Frontier’s business customers is that customers in each market would be able to get services that are unique to their needs.

A customer in a rural market where there’s a smaller density of customers is far different than one in in a major metro market.

“There’s always going to be a difference if you look at the commercial opportunity in rural Nebraska and San Bernadino, California,” said Ian Petersen, SVP of sales operations and enablement for Frontier Communications. “They’re just different.”

Petersen added that this approach allows Frontier to keep all of its services and customer connections on its own network.

“What’s exciting about being a part of Frontier is that you don’t have to turn around and try to convince an organization that covered Nebraska to look at it the same way like the people who covered California or Tampa, Florida,” Petersen said. “The commercial opportunity and how you go after it will have a commercial flavor and different density in terms of resource coverage and that type of profile based on those market demographics.”