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MCI CEO speaks on what customers want, challenges to MCI

Michael Capellas aired hs views on layoffs, the economy and more

May 13, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - LAS VEGAS -- MCI Inc. CEO Michael Capellas met with reporters after a keynote address at Networld+Interop earlier this week. Here are his views on major issues facing his company:
What MCI customers say they want.
"There are [several] things on customers' minds. No. 1 is reliability. The notion is that customers take reliability as a given, but they do not. Customers still differentiate [service providers] on reliability. Second, they want multitiered security. Third, they want ease of use and to be able to add new applications, such as wireless applications and collaborative tools. And the last of course is cost, but cost pressures as a differentiator [between carriers] are starting to subside, and that's because [voice] rates are so low. So customers ask: What are you going to do for me to add features and functions?
The shape of the economy and the telecommunications industry.
"The traditional notion of telecom recovery has been that as employment rises, telecommunications recovers. That's because the more jobs you have, the more phone lines you have and the more data lines you have. We do see employment starting to recover, but [it's not clear] whether it's sustained job growth or a slow growth in the recovering of jobs. I think that job growth will be slower and it will take time for it to catch up, and there will have to be an extended period of economic recovery before we see the job market pick up, because business is naturally cautious. We will recover as jobs recover."
MCI's commitment to quality and reliability in light of MCI's announcement it will lay off 7,500 workers, totalling 30,000 layoffs since 2002.

MCI Inc. CEO Michael Capellas
MCI Inc. CEO Michael Capellas
"The industry requires [layoffs], which is sort of a given and has happened everywhere else. We've been very careful to put automated tools in place and very careful on customer service, our No. 1 priority. ... Nobody ever likes layoffs. We are adjusting to the economics in the industry."
MCI's new IP-based Webconferencing service, MCI Net Conferencing powered by Microsoft Office Live Meeting.
"This is where it starts ... But at the end of the day, we will completely embed telephony into the desktop with full streaming audio and video capabilities."
On MCI's promotion of new services such as Net Conferencing, in an era when traditional voice revenues for carriers are declining.
"What will differentiate us over time, as things commoditize, is you have to integrate services. This is just the nature of technology. The more you put integrated services on the network, the more value you add."

Read more about Networking in Computerworld's Networking Topic Center.

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