TW Telecom SWOT Analysis


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This paper explores the facets of two telecommunications companies and provides a SWOT Analysis of one; TW Telecom, previously known as Time Warner Telecom. As of June, 16, 2014, Level 3, a larger telecommunications company serving medium to large enterprise size companies announced its commitment to the take-over of TW Telecom. Although this paper’s primary subject is that of the SWOT analysis of TW Telecom, it will on some occasions make reference to Level 3 Telecommunications as it will be assumed at some point to be the parent company. At one point during my career in telecommunications I worked for Time Warner Telecom, eventually rebranding itself as TW Telecom. I personally have worked for two smaller CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) companies prior to their merger and acquisition by TW Telecom.

I served in 1999 as a Telecommunications Technical Consultant for e.Spire Communications and continued to serve as a Sales Engineer for Expedius Communications prior to the merger and acquisition by Time Warner Telecom in June of 2006 and having my position renamed as Network Application Engineer. Time Warner Telecom continued to be known as such until it renamed itself as TW Telecom. It is not explicitly stated by TW Telecom company history there being a time period of company name change, though as being a former employee during the transition of naming conventions, I can attest to the challenges which will be explored further in the introduction.

The introduction will provide a unique history of a company which has been involved in many mergers and acquisitions, along with the current merger with Level 3 Communications. It is expected the reader is familiar with all telecommunication technologies terminologies and basic functionality of the telecommunications business in general. For the purpose of this SWOT Analysis, the primary focus will be on that of TW Telecom and how the merger with Level 3 will impact its conduct of business. Further, a brief mention of impact upon Level 3 will be observed and commented, making note how the merger and acquisition will affect both companies coming together as one entity.


This introduction will provide organizational history and mission statements of both TW Telecom and Level 3 Communications. By providing this information it will establish the reader with significant background to further understand the companies and their eventual merger and affects. Each company has considerable history so it is made known that this document will provide the most basic evidence in order to establish and provide information worthy of being admitted in a SWOT Analysis.

TW Telecom History and Mission Statement

Originally conceived by a joint venture between US WEST (a Regional Bell Company) and Time Warner; Time Warner Communications was formed. In May of 1999, Time Warner Communications officially became its own entity and offered an initial public offering (IPO). For a brief period of time operations were conducted under the name of Time Warner Telecommunications. It was during this time period the company was in negotiations as to a proper naming convention. Considering that Time Warner Cable, another Time Warner company, had a close and similar name, it was imperative the new name was distinguishable. In 2008 TW Telecom became the official name of the new company. Today, we are seeing the emergence and birth of a new company.

TW Telecom Mission Statement
Vision & values

tw telecom’s commitment to its customers, employees, and communities shines in all we do. Our Vision – People working with people to change the way businesses connect and communicate – reflects our promise to move your business forward, without worrying about the communications technologies that get you there.

We Value:

Service. We bring passion to the pursuit of extraordinary service. We listen; we care; and we deliver. Integrity. We are professional and accountable for our actions, and deliver what we promise. Flexibility. We are responsive and work with you to create innovative solutions that meet the challenges of your unique situation. Putting your business first is at the center of what we do. Teamwork. Our people are our core strength and competitive advantage. We thrive only by working together, openly and collaboratively, with a common purpose and goals. We have industry leading capabilities, reliable solutions, and people you can trust.

Introduction Cont.


Stronger Connections around the Globe

From its beginning, Level 3 Communications was founded on the principles of the Silicon Economicssm cycle: create a global telecommunications network with the scale to reduce unit costs, stimulate demand with these lower costs, support that demand by scaling even more. Level 3 created a network that serves as a foundation for the communications services of the 21st century by providing, among other things, information transmission over a fiber optic network and media delivery over a content delivery network. And we’ve grown to support the end-to-end communications services that businesses and carriers rely on. Level 3 was originally founded in 1985 as Kiewit Diversified Group Inc. (KDG), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Peter Kiewit Sons’, Inc. (PKS). Peter Kiewit Sons’, Inc. is a 114-year-old construction, mining, information services and communications company headquartered in Omaha, Neb. KDG was originally created to hold PKS’ non-construction business assets. In early 1998, KDG announced it was changing its name to Level 3 Communications, Inc., after substantially increasing the emphasis it placed on and the resources devoted to its communications and information services business.

On April 1, 1998, Level 3 common stock started trading on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol LVLT. During 1998, Level 3 raised $14 billion and was called the “best funded start-up in history.” The company constructed 19,600 route miles, and built the world’s first continuously upgradeable network fully optimized for internet protocol (IP). Over the next few years, explosive demand for bandwidth fueled growth in sales. By the end of 2000, Level 3 provided service to 2,700 customers. Level 3 continued investments in infrastructure to become a world-class communications provider, and won the trust of the world’s most sophisticated communications companies. In addition to ongoing construction, the company expanded its assets with the February 2003 acquisition of Genuity. Over the next few years, and through a major industry downturn, Level 3 pursued a strategy that focused on both the balance sheet and investing for the inevitable industry rebound.

Level 3 won the confidence of investors, as the company raised more money than all other NexGen carriers combined; and also of customers, who made Level 3 one of the world’s top three Internet traffic carriers. Beginning with the late-2005 acquisition of WilTel, Level 3 has established itself as a natural industry consolidator. During 2006, the company went on to acquire Progress Telecom, ICG, TW TELECOM SWOT ANALYSIS 5

Introduction Cont.

TelCove and Looking Glass Networks. In 2007, Level 3 acquired Broadwing, the Content Delivery Network (CDN) services business of SAVVIS, Inc. and Servecast. In the fall of 2011, Level 3 and Global Crossing joined forces. The new integrated network united Level 3’s broad, deep U.S. and European footprint with Global Crossing’s extensive international, intercity network. Continuing to operate under the name of Level 3, this new kind of company featured more than 500 global markets in North America, EMEA, Latin America and Asia, as well as a total of ~100,000 route miles. Level 3. Your Trusted Connection to the Networked World.

Level 3 Communications is a global communications provider headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, that provides communications services to enterprise, government and carrier customers in more than 60 countries around the world. Level 3’s global services platform is anchored by its extensive fiber networks on three continents and connected by undersea facilities providing a local-to-global network and solution set to solve a wide variety of communications challenges facing enterprises today. Its comprehensive portfolio of voice, data, video and security services provide solutions to help companies grow and protect their business. Whether that means modernizing your network infrastructure to take advantage of emerging technology and trends, such as cloud computing and mobile communications — to name a few — or creating a security solution to safeguard against the growing landscape of Internet threats, Level 3 offers secure, reliable and effective network communications on a global scale to deliver greater performance and operating efficiencies for your business.

TW Telecom Organizational Strengths and Weaknesses

The first and primary organizational strength for TW Telecom is its reduced labor costs. There are several factors which contribute directly to this cause, as TW Telecom since its inception has continually proven extremely efficient in acquiring and merging with other telecommunications companies. As noted by personal experience working for e.Spire Communications and Expedius Communications I and many other employees took a reduction in income in order to retain our employment. Although this happened during the e.Spire era prior to the Xspedius merger and acquisition, the company or organization as an entity retained the benefit considering they did not have to re-adjust or revert wages to what was previously normal. As information is known, TW Telecom did not at any time increase Network Application Engineer wages. This also is a consideration for other higher level positions. By taking advantage of existing lowered employee wages and not increasing to previous levels, the organization is at a distinct advantage. Level 3 further gains from this ripple effect although seen through a number of mergers and acquisitions’ conducted over a period of years by TW Telecom.

A second organizational strength should be considered from a multi-factor position as several items of focus have built upon each other and contributed to a singular cause and effect. We can assume by the existing sales structure of the two companies, as both come together, an exponential or multitier effect will be seen. In addition to this aspect when TW Telecom and Level 3 join together, the amount of skilled workers will increase. This will provide knowledge flexibility to meet the demands of multiple areas of customer types. TW Telecom has a client base of largely small to medium sized organizations. Whereas Level 3 has a client base of largely medium to large sized organizations. This strength is highly complementary and over time we should expect to see the ability of Level 3 to meet the demands of organizations once only serviced by larger telecommunications companies such as (ILECs) Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers. When examining the culmination of TW Telecom, Level 3 and their expanded marketing potential, we also may anticipate distress among various market locations as the company’s transition to meet future competition in a highly competitive structure. In an attempt at retraining employee’s and training new employees, its expected there will be a slight negative affect in sales strategies and implementation.

Generally, from personal experience, once a company gains another via merger and acquisition there will be a thinning of the number of employees. Although not always is this effective, TW Telecom implemented an environment of fear during their merger and acquisition with Xspedius Communications. Employees were faced with being negatively scrutinized by new management, forced to resign, and met with elimination of position. Those employees who were unwilling to be forced out due to local manager’s demand were individually faced with highly negative sarcasm, unprovable comments, and verbal threats. Such negative experiences are rarely exposed to the public, as there is a common convention not to speak about former employers’ in such a manner. This hidden weakness may cause a great deal of internal strife among the two companies’ employees.

TW Telecom Organizational Strengths and Weaknesses

By focusing on open communication of TW Telecom and Level 3 vision, values and mission, negative thinning can be avoided. For those employees that apparently lack sufficient knowledge of various technologies, training should be organized and planned to meet established standards. Management should seek to utilize encouragement vs. threats of termination to motivate employees. This is especially significant when TW Telecom and Level 3 employees are cross-trained in each other’s specific line of telecommunication and wide area networking technologies. Bridging TW Telecom and Level 3 during the transition to one company, we can expect differences in small and mid-sized business operations and tax structures. Level 3 presently is a global telecommunications organization with sub-oceanic connectivity to multiple continents. TW Telecom account executives and major accounts executives can expect significant differentiation between taxation of customer services at all levels while assuming the Level 3 code of operations. These business executives may lose the ability to leverage (ICB) Individual Case Basis strategies to win new business. The plan-out of phased builds for reaching the customer premises may also be affected by lack of funds to sufficiently accommodate higher levels of technological services. These weaknesses will most definitely impact business in the near future, though up-trend as internal organizations become familiarized and acclimated to a singular organization.

Opportunities / Threats

The most significant opportunity for TW Telecom is its merger and acquisition with Level 3 Communications. This is a mutually beneficial venture as each company compliments the others area of expertise and business focus. In a most demanding market according to “The deal is for $10 per share in cash plus 0.7 shares of Level 3 stock, which puts the deal at about $40.86 per tw telecom share and $5.7B or so. tw telecom investors will own some 27% of the whole on a fully diluted basis. Level 3 has arranged for some $3B in financing to grease the wheels.” By Level 3 enhancing its business mobility and arranging for $3B in financing, we can determine a very positive proposition towards immediate and substantial growth. Visioning application principles that become integrated and common throughout the organization and its sub-units will further enhance cohesiveness and strengthen business unit composition. As TW Telecom is integrated with Level 3 Communications there is a substantial new-member ability to realize significant gains in personal, professional and an objective mind-set. “a vision must be communicated to followers and must be supported by them.” (Manning, 04/2011, p. 73)

Manning, George. (04/2011). The Art of Leadership, 4th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from TW Telecom and Level 3 in their oncoming establishment of a new organization has the unique opportunity to capitalize their investments and increase growth rates and profitability. The range of gain proposition is contingent upon their ability to interexchange technological knowledge factors with sales scope of conduct. “In terms of synergies, Level 3 expects to provide $240M in annualized synergies, with $40M of that coming from capital expenditures and $200M from operating expenses. Of the opex, 55% will come from netex, and 45% from opex, which is the reverse of their usual pattern.

That probably reflects the fact that both companies are pretty lean right now and have relatively little overlap.” TW Telecom is in position to provide elements of strength in markets demanding a high growth rate of small and medium organizations seeking increased Ethernet based wide area networks. An increase of on-net buildings co-mingled with those of Level 3 Communications will impact productivity on the client side in addition to decreasing net cost to network implementation.

Opportunities / Threats

The most integral threat is internal. The power structures existing within each organization are most likely to conflict as the need for direction and the method of achievement is challenged. Personalities, character congruence and incongruence among all levels of business can become a stagnate point within the organization and inhibit business flow of operations. In respect to “Figure 4–1: “Organizational Success9” (Manning, 04/2011, p. 63)

Manning, George. (04/2011). The Art of Leadership, 4th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from

We find that in new mergers and acquisitions, organizational success is preceded by confusion, anxiety, gradual change, frustration, and false starts. “Without vision, there is confusion. Also required are other important ingredients: skills, incentives, resources, and an action plan.” (Manning, 04/2011, p. 63)

Manning, George. (04/2011). The Art of Leadership, 4th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from

. “a vision must be communicated to followers and must be supported by them.” (Manning, 04/2011, p. 73)



How may these organizations capitalize upon the brief opportunity of joining together and multiplying their efficiencies while eliminating their deficiencies? Employing affective leadership while deploying affective motivation techniques will assist in furthering organization behavior towards positive objectives. As higher level leadership seeks to understand the elementary boundaries’ that are prior set within each company, it will take those in power the ability to comprehend and understand what necessities’ are required in creating a new Level 3 entity. In order to capitalize on the merger and acquisition, the former TW

Telecom and the re-defined Level 3 will be required to form an appeal to those customers not ordinarily serviced by each entity. New alliances will also need formed, along with increased efforts to minimalize deficiencies’ in multiple areas of service interest. By investing in their employees, Level 3 may find a new and fresh resource from TW Telecom. Those who wish to also maintain and seek success in the new venture will need to recall the recent, continued and future prosperity.

References (Manning, 04/2011, p. 63)
Manning, George. (04/2011). The Art of Leadership, 4th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from . “a vision must be communicated to followers and must be supported by them.” (Manning, 04/2011, p. 73)

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