An interview with TELEMEDIA MAGAZIN:

With fraud a growing drain on both revenue and reputation, Kwak Telecom is trackling the issue to make PRS a better place. We talk to Josef Bruckschloegl, Chief Operating Officer at Kwak about what is doing.

FRAUD IN PRS and telemedia is nothing new, but as the industry be-comes ever more useful to the likes of media companies, TV companies and other mainstream activities, to the need to protect its reputation grows. And leading the fig ht against fraud – and preserving the reputation of telemedia in the modem era – is Kwak, which has inverted heavily in making sure it can cut fraud to a minimum and make the industry truly mainstream. Telemedia-month caught up with the company’s Josef Bruckschloegl to find out more ahead of the special panel at World Telemedia Amsterdam on 12 October about this very issue.

Telemedia-month: Can you give us an example why we should consider Kwak as one of the good guys? Josef Bruckschloegl : We are an industry leader in fraud prevention and also in the documentation of fraud cases. Our customers can rely on us fighting for their payment if we are convinced that traffic was not fraudulent. But they also can rely on being charged back if they are sending crap. We are reliable.

TM: You have hired extensively and Invested heavily in staff and technology to spot patterns that might be fraud: what is the ROI?
Josef Bruckschloegl : To lead on fraud prevention we have to make sure we spot fraud – old kinds and look out for new kinds- and that takes manpower and technology. But the bottom line is that it helps to clean up the reputation of PRS internationally and domestically and so we get more traffic from media companies and broadcasters who are not put off from using PRS.

TM: You are one of the few industry leaders who have, frankly, committed to supporting arbitrage traffic – why so?
Josef Bruckschloegl: I personally consider arbitrage to be an extremely important part of the international telecoms market, because it helps to clean mispricing out of the mark. In both the retail and in the wholesale markets we are seeing price dumping in the last years. Arbitrage swaps out prices that are too low. And in a long term view this is extremely important for the health of the overall market.

TM: Isn’t this a rather prosaic cover for a very materialistic motivation?
Josef Bruckschloegl: We are out there for one reason:to make money. And because our customers believe in our ability to eam money they are joining us.Yes arbitrage traffic is very welcome with us -the more the better.

TM: So can you give us a definition where arbitrage ends and fraud begins?
Josef Bruckschloegl: That’s quite easy. With arbitrage you always pay for the traffic on the market. You make your margin by buying the traffic cheaper than the payout for the number is. Fraud means stealing and not paying for the traffic. Like hacking a PBX. There’s a big difference.

TM: Kwak Telecom is one of market leaders for international PRS. What about your activities in the field of Domestic PUS?
Josef Bruckschloegl: We have always had a great reputation internationally as being fast and agile to adapt and deliver, so we think it is time to bring this expertise to bear on the domestic market. So, in spring this year our board decided that we want to put more re-sources into this field and we assigned Dieter Krebs to build our Domestic PRN unit. We could achieve good progress and are growing. Our experience from international business really helps and customers wonder how convenient domestic PRN business can be done.

TM: You started your career as at Telekom Austria, becoming director of a-commerce at the age of 21. How do you end up in the premium rate industry?
Josef Bruckschloegl: Because I’m loving the suspense of the business. It’s the fastest and most intense field of telecom industry and it has a lot of trading like known in investment banking. You have to be very quick in decisions and in evaluating risk.

TM: Is this complexity of the business why you hire staff with a university education?
Josef Bruckschloegl: No. Some of our best people have not been to university. But we are a service company and we realize that without the best people we cannot be the best firm.

TM: There are Indians, Arabs, Chi-nese, Americans and Europeans in your team. Is Kwak the prototype of a global medium sized company?
Josef Bruckschloegl: Indeed we are. We are servicing customers in more than 50 countries. They appreciate to have counterparts at Kwak who understand their language and their culture. And for me its really inspiring to work with top talents hom around the world.