Telecom in the new era

“Telcos are mostly going to sell gigabytes in the future. The revenue that funds all our massive infrastructure, whether it be fixed or mobile, is going to come from selling gigabytes as opposed to minutes and messages.”

Excellent.  Recognition that the need for consumers to pay the operator to manufacture voice calling services is over, trumped by the handset’s edge to edge audio capability.

“Data is the saleable item and will be bought in parcels and volumes, and it’s good for the market to have alternatives that are cheap and low volume and medium and high. Some fast, some slow. Unless you create a diverse range of offers that meet every market, you end up with an unhealthy market.”

Half right, nothing is “saleable” when it exists in abundance, which data does in the wired envrionment.  Having recently moved to 0.5TB quota at a residential price, there may be caps, but who’ll know.  The saleable item is subscription to the connection, the end.

Moutter says there is no point in uncapped plans. “That would be like selling electricity with unlimited electricity for $50 a month; how the hell would that be efficient? That would be insane.”

Wholly wrong.  What is insane is comparing an energy transmission network delivering a costly limited commodity to consumers with a datacommunications network that exchanges a functionally infinite commodity provided by subscribers.

 

Vodafone-TelstraClear deal cleared

Commerce Commission chairman Dr Mark Berry said in a statement, “In reaching its decision, the Commission considered that the merged entity would continue to face competition from Telecom, as well as Orcon, Slingshot and other smaller businesses in providing fixed line voice and broadband services to residential and small business customers”.

“The Commission did not find any significant business overlap between Vodafone and TelstraClear in the provision of either mobile phone services or fixed line services to large businesses.

The path to approval was cleared by Vodafone not seeking to acquire all of TelstraClear’s spectrum, which falls in the 4G-friendly 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands.

Ah, so not all spectrum obtained in the deal.

Essential reading for ITU World attendees: Ubiquity is EARNED not ASSUMED

Dial 911!

Emergency calling usually rears its head at this point inthe argument, as an example of the ???greater good??? that customers are only awareof when they really need it. It is used as excuse for continuing the controlled,centralised, federated-telco model.

I think that is a non-sequitur.

I agree that good emergency communications is a must. Italso needs a bottom-up rethink. Nobody sensible would suggest being able tocall 911 from inside voice chat in World of Warcraft (???Police? My sword???s beenstolen???). But nobody sensible would say it???s a bad idea to allow SMS???s to emergencyservices either, yet 20 years on it???s still not possible in most countries.

Emergency calling, by the telcos under threat.

Doc Searls – Will the carriers body-snatch the Net with HTML5?

Background: telcos and cablecos – what we call “carriers,” and the industry calls “operators” – are hounded by what they call “over the top,” or OTT (of their old closed phone and cable TV systems). Everything that makes you, app developers and content producers independent of telcos and cablecos is OTT. ┬áNaaS, as Crossey explains it, is a way for the telcos and cablecos to put the genie of OTT independence back inside the bottle of carrier control.

The blathering about OTT, and its eager adoption as the term of craft to signify understanding, has irked since day one. Because since Day One, every service on the Internet has been (or can be) provided by other than the carrier.

Indeed this structural separation is the foundation of the freedom and flexibility that has caused the innovation for which the Internet is justly famed.

The idea that access to carrier customer information, in the two-sided model advocated for so long by Telco 2.0 (home to “Internet warming” scare monger Martin Geddes), will exclude some by becoming mandatory is a bit of a long bow. Indeed services may differentiate and appeal by not being geo-aware, or interested in all your demographic and social graph information.

That interest is conventionally held to be required for the nirvana of ad-supported services, but Doc Searls has for sometime predicted the demise of the model (or at least its marginalisation).

Too many too large and too clever organisations efficiently deliver their services using the Internet to be tempted by entering a global negotiation with local and national carriers to establish APIs, thus granting them the power Twitter is so casually abusing.

Co-operation at the level required for this strategy is mercifully beyond the narrow short-term self-interest of telcos to co-ordinate. All happy to ITU when the going was good, but competition has changed that happy band of brothers.

Telco 2.0, or at least Dean Bubley, illustrates this over-engineered habit time and time again: http://disruptivewireless.blogspot.co.nz/

In the long term, we’re not going back to X.400, the abstracted Internet market is so many orders of magnitude larger than any “carrier” that working with them (a pig of a job at the best of times) is very unlikely to be worth the grief.

The telecoms industry and a dual-dilemma problem

Thinking about this more today, I’ve realised that my view can be explained quite simply. The telecom industry is (as far as I can tell) the first to face two classical “dilemmas” simultaneously:

  • The Innovator’s Dilemma: The title of Clayton Christensen’s seminal book on disruptive innovation (from which I take a great deal of inspiration, including my company name). It refers to well-managed, profitable companies watching disaster unfold, as they ignore a low-cost / low-profit new technology because it targets only adjacent markets, and would threaten cannibalisation if applied to their own. But it improves over time, gaining strength and scale, and eventually kills them anyway, as it expands from adjacencies to core.
  • The Prisoner’s Dilemma: This is a famous thought-experiment applying “game theory” to collaboration and cooperation. Do two prisoners remain silent & complicit – both receiving short sentences – or does one frame the other, going free while the other languishes in jail? Or, if both try to betray each other, they both get long sentences. (Edit: Martin Geddes has pointed out the different game if you change the apostophe to prisoners’ dilemma)