Friday, May 10, 2013

More on access and services

Telecoms is moving away from its 4 traditional silos: fixed voice, broadband, TV and mobile. A more compelling way of looking at it now is (see previous post):
  • Two enablers:
    • Devices (portable and non-portable)
    • Access (fixed and mobile)
  • Two classes of services:
    • Communication (voice/video calls, text/IM/chat, M2M)
    • Entertainment (TV/catch-up/VOD, gaming)
And thus:
  • This could be the basis for new regulation.
  • The distinction between managed (traditional voice, SMS, TV) and OTT services is becoming less meaningful. Net neutrality is used to create OTT competition to managed services. The call (mostly from the fiber community) to create new and compelling services ('killer app for FTTH') seems quite ridiculous, considering the innovation going on in the OTT space. And as witnessed by the thousands of apps available on smartphones. Not to mention that it is the world upside down: we are not looking for new services to justify the roll-out of NGA networks; we are rolling-out NGA networks to keep ahead of demand (c.q. commoditise bandwidth, put an end to throttling, remove bandwidth as an artificially scarce resource) and especially because of the implied opex savings.
  • A distinction between telco and cableco no longer makes sense.
  • Access:
    • Each of these markets are very competitive, except access. Unless it no longer makes sense to distinguish between fixed and mobile. LTE allows mobile operators to offer fixed-line replacement services, WiFi allows fixed operators to launch quasi-mobile services. Governments could consider to allocate lots of spectrum for unlincensed use to make sure that technologies such as WiFi increase competition.
    • The access market is core for telecom operators. It creates subscriber ownership and generates fat margins (whatever the operators claim). Operators are now throwing in free services to attract/keep broadband subscribers e.g.:
  • Communication is traditionally voice and SMS. A third leg is M2M, e.g. DT's usage-based insurance (mobile) and home automation such as AT&T Digital Life (fixed). The commonality between these services appears to be: sensors.
  • The 'entertainment' market is still developing. It consists of video (live TV, catch-up TV, VOD) and gaming. Will there be a third leg?

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