Magnet+ managing director John Delves believes the Irish telecoms industry is in need of a shake-up.
Magnet+ is the new business that combines sister companies Magnet Networks, one of Ireland’s largest and longest-running independent networks, and fibre and wireless network firm AirSpeed Telecom.
Magnet Networks was acquired in December 2020 by Speed Fibre Group, the owner of AirSpeed Telecom, and following an extensive strategic review of the business by a new leadership team, a decision was made to combine the wealth of expertise, talent and skill sets across the two retail businesses to create one unified brand – Magnet+.
“The industry has become quite ‘vanilla’, with too much of a focus on customer acquisition and not enough on customer retention”
An ambitious strategic growth plan is now in place, with Magnet+ focused on not just transforming its proposition as a business, but also the industry in which it operates.
Under Delves, the business is committed to disrupting the Irish telecoms sector by flinging the traditional telecommunications rule book into the recycling bin and creating a seismic cultural shift that the industry has never seen before in Ireland.
We asked Delves for his thoughts on where Ireland’s telecoms industry is going.
How has the pandemic changed the telecoms sector itself?
Thanks to the pandemic, the criticality of connectivity has never been more important as people have realised that it is the foundation of every business. It has highlighted poor customer service in the telecoms sector across the board, with too much emphasis on the technology and not enough on the “human touch” aspect, which is where Magnet+ is different. At Magnet+ we guarantee customers will always speak to a real person and not a ‘bot’, thanks to our “people powered connectivity” focus. While Artificial Intelligence is very exciting, I rather put my faith in the emotional intelligence of our people!
What are businesses looking for from their broadband provider?
We need to bring it back to the basics. Businesses require two things – engaged and consistent customer service and affordable high-speed telecommunications solutions. Businesses need to trust their broadband provider and they need to be able to have honest and transparent conversations with them.
“I think we need to be more agile as an industry. We need to increase efficiency and be more responsive with our customers”
This is where Magnet+’s “people powered connectivity” message rings true again, as it is impossible for customers to trust or have a conversation with a bot. They need to know if they call their provider with a question, there will be a human at the other end of the phone. It’s as simple as that.
What changes do you believe the sector still needs?
I think we need to be more agile as an industry. We need to increase efficiency and be more responsive with our customers. We need to simplify the sector and make ourselves more accessible to customers.
“Our growth plans are ambitious and we make no apology for that”
The industry has become quite ‘vanilla’, with too much of a focus on customer acquisition and not enough on customer retention. It’s also crucial to create a user-friendly platform, where customers can easily add on additional products and services at the click of a button. The gap between the industry and the customer needs to shortened.
Tell us about your growth plans?
Our growth plans are ambitious and we make no apology for that. We believe we can achieve organic, double-digit growth every year, over the next five years. We want to ensure we grow the business at a pace that guarantees we always deliver a great service to our customer and create true long-term partnerships that are built on trust. We are in this for the long run.
In terms of our overall group – Speed Fibre Group – our 2022 revenue is expected to exceed €80m and exceed €100m by 2025. Our projected capex investment in the network and our assets over the next five years is c.€75m. This is a significant increase on our capex investment of €15m in 2020 & €16.5m in 2021. Over 20 new team members have joined Magnet+ already this year, bringing the combined number of employees to 82. A further 15 roles will be filled before the end of this year.