CapRock Picks a Phone Fight

M/C/C and ‘The Other Phone Company’ Take On Major Telecoms
DALLAS–M/C/C here kicked off a $2 million-plus campaign last week for a Dallas-based telecom, announcing its arrival into the fledgling local exchange carrier market for small businesses.
The high-tech agency picked up CapRock Communications’ account recently without a review. There was no incumbent. M/C/C president Michael Crawford said the shop’s experience with telecommunications firms like BellSouth, PageMart, TeleCall and Ericsson helped land the business.
CapRock, a publicly traded company with 1998 revenues of $87 million through September, will back a newspaper and radio campaign aimed at the small and medium-sized business owners dissatisfied with major phone companies like Southwestern Bell and GTE.
Most of the print advertising will appear in major daily newspapers and business publications, supported by planned outdoor and direct components. M/C/C will also handle public relations for the client.
Like other firms set free to pursue competitive local exchange business via the 1996 Texas and (federal) Telecommunications Acts, CapRock is zeroing in on business instead of residential customers to gain higher margins, according to Crawford.
Crawford said CapRock is after a slice of a potential $100 billion playing field in the Southwest alone. “Getting 1 percent of that market gets you a $1 billion market,” he said.
CapRock is taking aim at the established major carriers, positioning itself as “The other phone company” in ads that have launched in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Crawford said CapRock will fund a $1 million blitz through mid-January in up to 12 major regional markets.
CapRock’s network currently operates throughout Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Among other local exchange carriers entering the Texas market are Teligent of Vienna, Va., and Nextlink, a sister company to McLean, Va.-based Nextel. Thirteen percent of Nextel is owned by wireless industry pioneer Craig McCaw, according to Hoovers Online.