Thursday, September 14, 2006

STRUCTURAL SEPARATION://Extortion, if not opportunistic or visionary

One last time (at least this week) on Telecom Italia, which the regulator urges to be more clear on its plans.

  • I suppose up to some point it is opportunistic, taking advantage of still high margins at TIM and structurally much higher valuations of B2C media. Now is the time to sell (TIM) and to become a media company.
  • At the same time, separating networks from services would be sort of visionary and could make the company future proof. We are talking natural monopolies (see Martin Geddes) and MVNO/reseller opportunities, as I noted before (see also Dean Bubley).
  • And if that doen't work, there is always extortion (thanks Keith). It works in the US, but it will be hard in Europe (see Germany).

To end, some speculation:
  • Telecom Italia Media is too small. Are takeovers on the cards? Endemol?
  • There are many takeover candidates for the international activities (France, Germany, Netherlands): Tiscali, AOL, Iliad, Neuf Cegetel, Arcor, Versatel Germany, etc.
  • To make the altnets in France, Germany and the Netherlands future-proof, more action is required. LLU investments are at risk (for the plain reason that street cabinets, contrary to COs, simply do not offer physical space for DSLAMs). Are fiber plans a la Iliad (or a la Telecom Italia's subsidiary bbned, which operates munifiber in the Netherlands as a wholesaler) on the cards?
  • Will TIM consider WiMAX (or any similar technology like WiBro, Samsung 4G, UMTS TDD or Flash-OFDM) to become a full-service operator?

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