Thursday, April 15, 2010

International export/import of broadband equipment.

Recent advances in communication, transportation and financial markets have truly made the dream of "Global markets" a reality. At the forefront of this trend has been the "gray market" or after market in broadband/telecommunications equipment.

At the end of the cold war, used equipment dealers were uniquely positioned to exploit opportunities that new broadband, and other, equipment companies could not. Former Soviet bloc countries were starved for technology but were hindered by shaky currency and archaic financial systems. Used equipment dealers proved instrumental in opening those markets with their willingness to trade, barter and establish new capitalist tools. Can't pay in cash...let's try vodka!

Used or refurbished telecomm equipment routinely costs a small fraction of new equipment and typically provides a 30 or 90 day warranty which is more than adequate considering the nature of "solid state" technology. Developing free market countries reaped huge financial rewards by opting for a little slower and slightly used equipment. The most significant down side to used/refurbished goods is that you don't get a manual...but who reads those!

Steve Christensen, owner of Keane Machines Inc., - has been trading in used and refurbished equipment for more than 19 years. He remembers seeing market tools like Ebay, Paypal and sprout up and flourish in response to a dire need to trade across borders and outside of THE BOX. "I remember in 1992 getting a phone call from someone wanting to trade a de-commissioned Russian MIG fighter jet for networking switches and laptops." Sadly, a deal was never made but each attempted deal has led to what is now a routine and very successful global aftermarket in broadband and other equipment. Refurbished markets exist for aircraft parts, banking equipment, business phone systems ( ), medical equipment ( ) -, and most anything you can think of.

This goes to prove that old adage "Necessity is the mother of invention".