Prestige Telecom

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Prestige Telecom’s story began in 1980, when the company started as a niche provider of refurbished electromagnetic switches and installation services for companies, such as Bell Canada. As years brought more innovation in the field of technology, Prestige Telecom evolved with the market to meet its customers’ ever-changing needs. Today, the company provides an extensive range of professional and technical services to the Canadian telecommunications industry, including network engineering, equipment installation, communications tower design and construction, as well as consulting and system integration.

Responsible for the company’s growth is its focus on staying in tune with cutting-edge technology and drive to become the nationwide telecom infrastructure services leader. That passion has spurred Prestige Telecom to make some significant changes over the years. In 2004, for example, the company wanted to increase its capabilities in outside plant engineering, so it acquired Geotech Communications. That initiative was so successful, Prestige strategically acquired four more companies in a four-year span. SDC Networks (2004), Plantec Inc (2007), and Keen Communication Services (2007) enabled Prestige to enhance offerings in both wire line and wireless sectors. The most recent acquisition, Radian Communication Services (2008), effectively doubled Prestige’s size and added capabilities, such as cellular and broadcast tower construction and maintenance services.

In addition to extending its list of services, each acquisition has certainly increased Prestige Telecom’s national presence. Headquartered in Montreal, the company now has 15 offices across Canada and employs over 900 engineers, expert technicians and administrative staff.

Brian McFadden, President and Chief Operating Officer, believes that national market reach is one of the ways Prestige Telecom sets itself apart in the market. “Most of our competitors are regional,” he says, “whereas, we have a broader reach that allows us to provide consistent services to our national customers in all regions. “The other way the company distinguishes itself it in its array of expertise.

“Not many companies can service wire line and wireless network operators,” McFadden adds. “We are unique in that way.

We have customers like Bell Canada, Rogers Cable, Shaw Cable and Videotron, as well as Telus Mobility, Rogers Wireless and Bell Mobility.”

Welcome changes

Naturally, the telecommunications industry is not static. McFadden talks a little bit about the current changes the company is responding to and benefitting from.

“Fundamentally, there are two things happening in the Canadian telecommunications marketplace,” he says. “One is on the traditional wire line and cable TV network side. More of these companies are outsourcing the kinds of services we provide—equipment installation and network engineering services. As our clients focus more on the customer service side of their businesses, they are looking for areas they can outsource and reduce their internal work forces. Their core engineering operations include many of the activities we can address. We have benefitted from this trend by being able to provide these infrastructure engineering services on a very cost-effective and flexible basis for our customers.”

The second change in the industry that has had a widespread impact is the introduction of competition into the wireless arena through the Advanced Wireless Services spectrum auction in 2008. To recap, the Canadian government held an open auction to sell the rights to transmit signals over specific electromagnetic wavelengths across Canada. This enabled non-incumbent competitors to come in and bid, which, of course, means companies beyond Rogers, Bell and Telus. “These new wireless service operators are now going to build out their networks across the country,” says Mc- Fadden, “and that provides the opportunity for us to respond to that new demand.”

Well positioned for the future

Things are looking bright for Prestige Telecom. “We had a very successful first quarter this year in both revenue and profitability growth,” McFadden explains. “Our team is very focused on continuing that trend of growing our revenues on a profitable basis. The long-term goal is to become the recognized leader for telecom infrastructure services and the partner of choice for our customers across Canada. We are now the largest player in many sectors, but we want to become the largest endto- end telecom infrastructure services provider in all sectors across the country.”

Prestige Telecom’s goals don’t seem so far off. “I think we are well positioned in a very interesting market,” McFadden continues. “When compared to foreign markets, the Canadian wireless market is not as mature in terms of the number of subscribers. Right now, 65 per cent of Canadians have a wireless phone, but there are markets—such as the United States—that have 90 per cent penetration or better. At Prestige Telecom, we believe there will be a tremendous amount of investment and network expansion in the coming years, and we expect to grow our company in line with this expansion.”

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