" /> Telco 2.0: December 2006 Archives

« November 2006 | Main | January 2007 »

December 22, 2006

Seasons Greetings to Telco 2.0 ‘Blognoscenti’

The Telco 2.0 blog will go a little quieter over the holiday season, as we grab a moment to re-charge our batteries and then get our heads down on our current research programmes.

The Telco 2.0 Initiative was started in May 2006 with the first edition of the landmark Market Study and, in the short period of time since then, seems to have captured the imagination of this fascinating industry.

We repeatedly get asked “what are you trying to achieve?” To which we tend to answer “We’re trying to shake things up!”. Why do we think this is useful? It’s taking the role of a catalyst - a force that provokes or speeds significant change or action. We believe, and it’s borne out by our recent our research, that there’s a need for this in the TMT (Telecoms-Media-Technology) space, and we’re passionate about taking a leading position in driving it forward: Strategic Direction, Creative Ideas, Practical Actions for new business models and services for all players in the value chain or, more accurately, the ‘value network’: incumbent operators, start-ups, ‘disruptors’, content owners, consumer electronics manufacturers, internet and IT players, local communities and government, and, most importantly…End-Users like you and me.

There are many people to thank for their support in 2006 - all our speakers and sponsors from the Telco 2.0 Industry Brainstorms, our consulting clients who have provided us with fascinating projects, and a few key individuals (often members of the ‘Blognoscenti’ ) who’ve gone beyond the call of duty and/or commercial interest with their support: James Enck, Dean Bubley, Mac Taylor, Keith McMahon, Norman Lewis from Orange, Colin Pons from KPN, Malcolm Matson from OPLAN Foundation, to name a few of the more opinionated ones! Thanks also to Andy Abramson and Om Malik for sending so much traffic to our survey and events pages.

Most recently we’re delighted to have formed a partnership with the GSM Association (more on this in the New Year!), which should help to extend the reach of our ideas and improve our thinking.

In the words of Margaret Mead, the famous anthropologist: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

In the meantime, may we wish you all, wherever you are, whatever you do:
Buone Feste, Boas Festas, Meilleurs Voeux, Frohe Festtage, Vesele Vanoce, Felices fiestas y un próspero año nuevo, Auguri di Buone Feste e Felice Anno Nuovo, 来る年が皆様にとって幸多きことをお祈りいたします, 节日快乐,新年大吉大利, ZORIONAK ETA 2007 RAKO HOBERENA OPA DIZUT, Seasons Greetings.

To share this article easily, please click:

December 21, 2006

Telco 2.0 ‘Disruptors’ - Packetmobile

This is the second in our series on “disruptors”, who combine both new technology and business tactics. We’ve chosen them because they aren’t just arbitrage plays (even if they can be used that way), and they present opportunities for operators as well as realistic migration opportunities to an all-IP world.

Today’s is the mobile IM and VoIP service from Packetmobile. Whilst there are several technology competitors out there, we think their operator-friendly approach deserves a lot more attention than most.

In our ongoing Voice & Messaging Survey we got a big surprise to this question:

In competing with Internet voice and messaging services with rich functionality (e.g. IM vs. SMS, Skype vs fixed line), rank each of the following tactics: FIGHT, EVADE, CO-OPETITION, CO-OPERATION, RETREAT.

(The full descriptions are in the survey — off you go, if you’re burning time reading blogs, you’ve got 15 minutes to spare to do the survey, and you’ll get the summary results for free when we do the analysis next month.)

The top answer at the moment, getting ranked as “best strategy” by 47% of people, is “FIGHT”. The next-highest scoring answers are EVADE and CO-OPERATION on 15% each. That means operators need to aggressively deploy comparably services which also reach the desktop, and quick. But how? Step up, guess who…

What is it?

A small (<100Kb) mobile handset client, together with Lightweight Telephony Protocol (LTP). This optimises the deployment experience of IM and VoIP onto mobile devices, extending performance and battery life considerably compared to heavyweight solutions like SIP. Indeed, usable voice service can be achieved over GPRS. The preferred method of voice communications, however, is circuit voice, preserving operator revenues.

There is also a desktop IM/VoIP client, plus push-to-talk and click-to-call functionality.

Who is the user

Small-medium businesses, who tend to work in small, loosely knit and very fluid teams, and who don’t fit the Microsoft/Lotus/RIM model of communications.

How does it work?

The handset vendor or operator pre-bakes the software into the phone. Users are not expected to download the software themselves as the primary distribution model. A network gateway interfaces between LTP and SIP (or other protocols).

Users who are not subscribers of the operator can download the mobile and desktop clients.

The product differentiates itself by offering presence capabilities not provided by normal IM clients (e.g. on the move, roaming, in-call):

Problem it addresses?

Operators are stuck between handing over the customer relationship to existing IM operators like Skype, and unattractive operator-only walled gardens. This provides a “third way” which is more open than walled garden, and keeps the operator in the loop. It doesn’t rely on slow-moving industry consortia, or interoperability and settlement schemes.

There are technical problems in getting VoIP to work on handsets with limited battery life and CPU power. Skype recently admitted failure in getting their protocol to work on mobile handsets. PacketMobile’s technology has been used to generate over 300m minutes of network traffic.

Unlike pure-play IM/VoIP technology providers (e.g. softphone vendors), Packetmobile have also built the kernel of an OSS/BSS solution.

Why it’s disruptive?

The technology is hard to crack.

It also allows operators to attack each other by bringing users into their portal and being exposed to their services — even if not a subscriber. This addresses one of James Enck’s infamous instant classic 10 things I [the investor] hate about you [the operator] — that telcos insist on extending their footprint physically rather than virtually.

Opportunities for Telcos?

Rather than a bypass threat, operators can give away such clients to their existing user base. Users can then make free IM or VoIP calls over any IP network. (If you can’t beat them, join them…) Give away download clients to users with devices from other operators, but ensure their user identity is associated with your brand. When they come to your portal, market to them like mad.

The system acts as a segmentation tool between “economy class” VoIP and “business class” dedicated circuit networks. The identity lock-in works as a churn-reducer. As sales and acquisition costs grow as a proportion of the cost base, this becomes more of an issue than squeezing some additional ARPU out (with its associated marketing cost).

To share this article easily, please click:

December 20, 2006

Media Partners for Telco 2.0 Initiative

Amongst a number of media partners and supporting trade bodies, we’re delighted to be working with the excellent free news service Fierce Markets - publishers of FierceVOIP, FierceWireless, FierceIPTV, FierceDeveloper, FierceWifi and FierceMobileContent .

They are high quality, easy to read email newsletters delivered twice weekly, and … they’re FREE! We like them a lot - they seem to have real passion for their topics (often lacking in ‘old media’ these days). For more details go here.

The one newsletter we particularly enjoying at present is FierceMobileContent, as it is covers the fast emerging ‘mobile marketing’ sector, of key interest for our ‘Digital Youth’ programme.

To share this article easily, please click:

Survey Says 2008 is Tipping-Point for Change to New World

We sent the summary results of our survey (What does Telco 2.0™ mean to Operators?) a couple of days ago. I am delighted that several respondents saw the light and decided to get the full results and tons of additional analysis in our updated market study and quarterly report.

Below are some of the results from the survey and some Frequently Asked Questions we have had from journalists about the survey and the market study. These snippets build on previous posts about the survey results.

For those of you that didn’t have time to complete the survey, we asked respondents to estimate when certain key tipping-point events might happen. A few smart people pointed out that we had not picked true tipping-points but more signs that the world was changing. Fair comment but the results were interesting nevertheless because they showed a number of these signs occurring in 2008 and 2009:

  • 2008 was forecast to be the year Wi-Fi starts to enter the mass market (and 2009 when it becomes ubiquitous in cities). In 2008, respondents also predict a major European fixed incumbent operator will be bought out by a competitor (any guesses for which one?) and fixed VoIP will become mainstream.
  • 2009 is the year when next-generation mobile broadband is forecast to be commercially launched in the form of Wi-Max, Flarion etc.

Interestingly, few people predict these technological changes leading to significant business model change in the near-term. Voice revenues were not predicted to fall to less than 20% of fixed operator total revenue until mid-2010 and most predicted that it would be 2011 (or never) that the same happened on the mobile side. It is interesting that BT claims that already voice revenues account for less than 8% of its business but, as a few pointed out, it is always difficult to separate voice revenue from connectivity (line rental) with the latter usually subsidising the former.


Leading Companies for Telco 2.0 World
We collected a huge amount of data about perceptions of company strategies. It has been very interesting to see which regions of the world and individual companies are perceived to be protectionist, dump-pipes, platform players or some combination of these. We also asked respondents to give their top-picks for leading operators in terms of preparing for the future.

It was remarkable how few companies were selected as leading Telco 2.0 lights, even in very fragmented markets like Europe where the Top 10 companies represented well over 95% of all selections. Unsurprisingly, BT was considered the leading company in Europe followed by FT/Orange. No sign at all of Deutsche Telekom in the Top 10 but a showing for tiny Iliad indicates the company’s ground-breaking strategy in France.

Verizon polled 45% of votes in the US despite the fact that it was also considered by more than 50% of respondents to have a protectionist (walled garden) strategy. Does this say something about the consolidated North American market?


Frequently Asked Questions
We have been having several calls with journalists and analysts following our press release about the survey and report. Here are some of the most common questions and our answers:

Can you give me the breakdown of participants in the survey?
27% from operators and services providers (17% Fixed/Converged, 6% mobile, 2% Internet specialist, 2% ISP); 15% NEP; 22% IT Vendor; 11% Telco disrupter; 25% Other (Consultant, Analyst, Academic).
49% West Europe; 27% North America; 24% Other (East Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa)
49% Commercial functions; 40% Technical; 11% Other (Academic etc.)

Which type of operator has the most urgent need to change - fixed or mobile?
Difficult to generalise. This all depends on local market forces and company positioning. The survey and our analysis shows that fixed operators are currently leading the charge to the new world order so mobile operators have further to go. But the reason fixed operators are adopting new business models faster is simply that they have to - the barriers to entry for service providers are lower in their market. Mobile operators still enjoy the protection of licensed spectrum. IP has created a few holes and they are, quite rightly, exploring new opportunities and assessing threats (from such things as mobile VoIP) but they are experiencing less pressure on their walled gardens.

According to your survey, operators should move away from the walled garden business model?
Eventually, yes. But again the speed of change should be driven by the need to respond to external pressures. The walled garden model is VERY profitable and there is no point in operators putting existing revenues at risk until they have to. Operators will move form walled garden to more open strategies when they have to; the difficulty will be managing the migration from the old model to the new. Some will get this right, others will struggle.

So how can operators move away from the walled garden?
This is the $6 million (or $3 trillion) question that the industry faces. The Telco 2.0™ Initiative we set up is all about facilitating these changes through events, research, training and consulting. The survey did reveal some key barriers to change. These varied by market but there was a universal concern about VP and Director level management which suggests that respondents feel that EXECUTION skills are a key barrier to success. Concern about the lack of SERVICE INNOVATION in operators was also evident by the importance of service provider partnerships and in the support of structural business separation (allowing greater focus on retail/service delivery business). TECHNICAL issues are not seen as a major barrier hence partnering with IT-focused vendors is a low priority.

Is the business model you talk about more about adapting the advertising model?
Well, advertising is part of it. But advertising alone is not going to enable sustained growth when subscriber revenues from voice and messaging are under pressure. We believe that operators need to innovate in their core voice and messaging services and adopt new business models to grow. Advertisers are one example of operators moving to a new two-sided business model where they provide a platform for 2 groups (in this case advertisers and consumers). This requires operators to develop new skills and expertise and carve out a clear niche in the centre as Google has done with on-line advertising.

Isn’t the flat rate model (eg 3’s X-series) risky?
There are always risks if you are moving from a per-per-minute (metered) model to a flat-rate model. Not least, is the problem with cannabalisation of an existing revenue stream. Ultimately, we believe more and more operators will move to this open, flat-rate model and will have to manage the cannabalisation risk. The timing of this move will largely be driven by an operator’s market position - the weaker operators in the market, like 3 in the UK, will move first because they have less to lose in terms of existing revenue and more to gain from stealing market share from the market leaders. The risk (and therefore challenge) is greater for these leaders who will have to decide when the share loss to competitors like 3 is sufficient to justify the cannabalisation of their existing voice and data revenues and moving to a similar model. These are the players that need to be trialling these models now to learn about how to implement them effectively. Of course, some risk can be offset by thinking through how to position a new service or business model.

So do you see trialling as important?
Yes very. This came out very clearly in our brainstorm in October and I have no doubt that this will be confirmed in the one in March. This is a time of volatility and change with new competitors and business models springing up all the time - Skype, Blyk, 3’s X-series, etc.). Operators need to take a leaf out of the internet players and organise trials to learn about what services and business models will be successful. Trialling is not an excuse for poor service quality or leaving products in beta mode indefinitely but is critical way of supporting decision-making in a changing world. Try the Telco 2.0 incubator approach - more on this anon or drop us a mail!

To share this article easily, please click:

December 19, 2006

IMS Services - Time to Get Practical

75% of respondents to our recent Telco 2.0 survey said that adopting a ‘protectionist’ strategy based on a ‘walled garden’ approach to services was not the most effective strategy for the future. One problem with IMS is that it was originally designed to support a walled garden approach.

The better commercial strategy was seen as a ‘Platform’ play. The operator acts as an added-value interface between end users and merchants, service providers and media companies. Operators should also continue selling their own services. While some (35%) operators were seen to be moving towards this sort of strategy, the qualitative feedback unsurprisingly showed that few have a clear and comprehensive view of what this should be like in practice.

As a result, however, technical architects are designing and building systems in a vacuum, without a well-defined view of the end goal — i.e. what commercial business model they should be supporting. This is understandable because the market is changing fast. However, it is not acceptable for those who are trying to grow their businesses (particularly in saturated markets) and persuade the investment community they can do so.

Last October at the IMS Services Forum we tried to strip away the hype around IMS Services. We gathered a large group of IMS ‘cognoscenti’ to brainstorm for the first time (after all the normal ‘death by Powerpoint’ conferences) on what are the issues around exploiting the potential of IMS and what areas architects should really focus on (and what they should discard/ignore). We presented our high level summary here.

In spite of this we are astonished by the continuing (if, thankfully, lessening) hype in the press, perpetrated by some vendors.

There are some vendors who are much more pragmatic and sensible. Here’s a very simple and clear piece by Jnetx describing ‘The Service Platform Maze’ . We particularly like the pragmatic approach of extending the life of existing services by upgrading existing Intelligent Network (IN) network elements to NGIN and focusing on simpler service extensions.

So, for the next Telco 2.0 industry brainstorm (27-29 March, London), we’ve decided to keep the ‘Technology Insiders’ stream (on Day 3) laser-focused on the really important practical IMS/SDP/NGN questions that architects should be creating answers to:

  1. What is the true commercial context for IMS/SDP/NGN architecture, and how should we respond to it?
  2. End-User Needs - What are the most pressing unfilled user needs that we can effectively respond to (and for which IMS is the right architectural answer)?
  3. Service Architecture - How to make it cheaper and more flexible?
  4. Payment & Identity - What practical opportunities exist to add value to and differentiate from Internet-based services?
  5. Handsets - What more can we do with ordinary pre-IMS SIP phones?
  6. Trialling - How to test new services on the market more efficiently?

So, we’re currently scouring the planet for the best stimulus speakers on these topics — bringing together commercial and technical people and a whole gamut of new start-up ‘disruptors’ to help to generate creative and practical answers to these questions.

Here’s some more introductory background, and the draft agenda. If you’d like to participate in the brainstorm, click here to sign up. Early bird discounts still apply.

To share this article easily, please click:

December 18, 2006

Gold from straw: profiting from “low-value” customers

You may have come across the business book Blue Ocean Strategy. The central idea is to create a new uncontested space in which to compete, rather than (ahem) “leverage” competitive advantage to compete against existing players. I’m sure these folk won’t mind if we quote the their summary diagram here in return for some Google link-love:

In many ways it complements Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma, which suggests the optimal strategy is often to compete against non-consumption. You could argue that this was Skype’s forte, by enabling new forms of extended casual conversation that didn’t fit in with metered minute anxiety. (Skypers don’t use any less standard telephony — Skyping is incremental use.)

I’ve been challenged to come up with a telecom Blue Ocean strategy, so here goes. It takes our earlier effort at a differentiated MVNO strategy to the next level.

My under-served market would be people of low credit and low mobility. Rather than treating them as a sub-prime market with pre-paid and lousy phones, I’d give them a service which is critically superior in communications functions, highly differentiated in method of sale, but doesn’t include the nationwide coverage that isn’t really valued by people stuck in the ‘hood.

I’d take a city with a large immigrant community as my base, and/or one with significant relative poverty issues. It would be in a developed country, so there’s money about. Maybe Marseilles in France, or before it was demolished New Orleans would have been the ideal location.

My “Blue Ocean” strategy might look something like the following “value chart” that they suggest:

I would partner with an equipment supplier looking to commercialise a new IP-friendly network technology such as Flarion or WiMax and who would give me a great deal on the hardware side — ideally, they’d see it as a marketing expense, not a revenue source. I’d bide my time to get some unpopular slice of spectrum, such as the 450MHz — preferably anything below 2GHz. This stuff has to work in buildings. (The perfect case would be some new unlicensed spectrum from the reallocation of old analogue services — we can live in hope.)

Together with my partner, I’d build low-cost handsets that would draw inspiration from things like the Motophone. I’d cut out all the nonsense that nobody uses (Java, full-featured browser, etc.). Yet I’d still retain “style” and personalisation features like faceplates and polyphonic ringtones. There would be a “bling” element to the handsets.

The handset would be optimised for voice communications and “social” features:

  • Easy-to-use buddy navigation with simple presence features.
  • Wideband audio.
  • Exceptional handling of dropped calls (“We’re sorry, the connection has been lost. Hold to be re-connected, or press 1 to be called back when the other person comes back into coverage.”). We don’t want any support costs or customer dissatisfaction. Perception is everything — the Virgin Mobile MVNO brand scores better than Sprint and T-Mobile as hosts, despite identical coverage.
  • Voice messaging would be included as default and given prominence. (Some research would be done to test the relative preference between voice messaging and push-to-talk.)

I’d also support IM, preferably with interconnect to existing PC IM systems as long as there’s no fee. SMS would not be an out-of-the-box feature. I’m trying to wean the kids off metered digital narcotics: “get one of these and we can message for free!”. Oh, and I’d encourage peer-to-peer (“pre-mesh”) radio capabilities, so if you’re close enough, the cell tower and network don’t need to get involved. Most people are communicating within close proximity, like kids in class.

Now for the biggie differentiators:

  • No billing. On-net calls and messages are free, and no monthly charges. That’s right, I just fired Amdocs. Sorry, we love you, but this isn’t your game. Zero billing costs. No worries about change of address, fraud, etc.
  • No live support. You can leave a voice message, and we’ll call you back when we’re ready.
  • Handsets would come with embedded service for life. But lose it, and you have to buy another one. We’d have a password system to reclaim your old ID. Maybe even some kind of voice authentication. So our recurring revenue comes from carelessness and the need to be seen to have the latest handsets.
  • You’d still get an inbound E164 (i.e. ordinary) telephone number assigned. We like termination fees.
  • Off-net outbound calling would be entirely left to partners from the calling card industry. We’d have gateways to their 800 numbers (with some kick-backs from preferred partners), and would enable VoIP integration so that your caller ID was presented.

I’d anticipate the regulatory assault from incumbents, and throw in emergency calling as a feature.

Handsets would be sold via a mix of channels. The primary one would be small retail outlets and corner shops. I’d also work heavily with door-to-door loan salesmen. Whilst they have an external image as loan sharks, their customers see them as saviours: better to pay some short-term high interest rates rather than have your kid go to school without shoes or a uniform. Most customer would pay on credit — but the risk would be with the retailers and creditors, not me as a wholesaler. I’d also partner with cheque cashing stores, Western Union, etc. — anywhere that the credit-challenged (but often cashflow positive) hang out. I’d work out a mechanism for creditors to give online receipts for payment, and to be able to suspend outbound service for non-payment.

The first few thousand handsets would be given away free to kids. That’s the marketing budget done. Won’t take long before their parents buy a handset to stay in touch for “free”…

The geographic coverage would be the whole city plus some key gathering points around the periphery such as stadia, industrial areas and shopping/retail parks. But no further.

The handsets would feature advertising, and would have access to “sin” services such as lotto and gambling if enabled at the point of sale (where proof of age is required). This isn’t going to be part of your ethical investment portfolio, I’m afraid.

So, does it count as “Blue Ocean”? There are two sets of criteria. The first are very specific actions to take:

  • Raise. What factors should be raised well beyond the industry standard? Answer: Elimination of “tolled minute anxiety” and replacement with flat-rate.
  • Create. What factors should be created that the industry has never offered? Answer: Real-time communications service features such as wideband audio and presence, packaged into the standard product.
  • Reduce. What factors should be reduced well below the industry standard? Answer: Mobility outside the area in which the customer lives and works.
  • Eliminate. What factors should be eliminated that the industry has taken for granted? Answer: Billing and direct channels, and consequently most sales and support costs.

Looks like we’ve scored full marks there. And the second set:

  • Focussed. Absolutely — a narrow under-served segment, who are also conveniently geographically clustered.
  • Divergent. You bet — target market, product, payment and sales method are all differentiated.
  • Compelling Tagline. “Free calls for life” — sounds like a winner to me.

Like the idea? Well, if you want some creative strategic thinking, you know who to call.

To share this article easily, please click:

December 14, 2006

What should telco brands stand for?

In conversation with an executive from a major Internet company the other evening, I came across an interesting thought. His hypothesis was that telcos don’t understand the resentment and anger that users have against the operators. Whilst the operators will attempt to match the softphone, IM and real-time communications features of the Internet players, their brands will get in the way of adoption. He isn’t saying telco brands are poison: just that they don’t stand for what the operators think they mean. Both sides will only be successful in new revenue-generating services deployment if they work together.

So what do telco brands really stand for? And what (if anything) needs to change in the horizontalised Telco 2.0 world? We’ve had out thinking caps on here, and below is our first effort at an answer. We’d love to get your feedback on this thorny question.

Global brand minnows, local brand giants

A Business Week article earlier this year pondered the same question: “Note to Telecoms: Rebrand or Die”. They say that “there were no telecom carriers in Interbrand’s most recent Top 100 Global Brands Scorecard.” For an industry of this size, and it’s awesome spending on customer acquisition and promotion, that’s not a good thing to hear. However, the way the study is structured almost guarantees the exclusion of network operator brands. One of the listing criteria is “must have at least one-third of revenues outside of their country of origin.” The regulatory landscape and interconnected nature of the core products means there are no truly global telecom operator brands (although the handset and network folk do quite well).

Looking at the details of the study, Interbrand list six key factors in their brand assessment. How do telcos fare?

  • Recognition. Has the public heard of it, and does it mean anything to people?

Score: A+. I’d expect most people in most countries could tell you the names of all the leading fixed and mobile operators. They also have a very clear idea over what they do and the relative positioning of each major brand.

  • Consistency. Does it mean the same thing everywhere, even though the product may be tailored to local tastes?

Score: B+. Those cross-border operators that do exist are often stitched-together patchworks or partial or total control, with diverse legacy customer bases, and often confusingly different approaches to the market that persist for years. Even national operators like Sprint operate through affiliate agreements that can create subtle inconsistencies and market confusion. But generally the picture’s quite healthy.

  • Emotion. Does it “symbolize a promise that people believe it can deliver and one they desire to be part of.”

Score: C. Users like broadband and love mobility. But they associate most of the glory with the mobile handset, software providers and online services. Telco brands generally aren’t ones people will tattoo on their arms or see as being cool.

  • Uniqueness. Does it stand out from rivals?

Score: B-. Within each market there are often distinctive “quality incumbent”, “challenger”, “innovator”, and “price leader” roles. However, brands sometimes try to be all things at once, and the rate at which users churn from one operator to another suggests they’re seen as pretty interchangeable. For a while a few like Orange and Nextel really stood for something unique, but emulation has flattened out the differences. When a premium brand exist the pre-paid market, we’ll believe something’s changed.

  • Adaptability. Can it respect local needs and tastes as well as expressing global needs and aspirations?

Score: C. The US market is too homogeneous to really qualify. The multinationals like O2, Vodafone and Orange have had a pretty mixed experience in creating locally meaningful instantiations of their global brand. DoCoMo has notoriously failed to export i-mode to other markets and localise the experience on a consistent basis. We’re not convinced, but less than a “pass” grade would be mean.

  • Management. Does the company leadership “champion the brand” and live its philosophy?

Score: D. Do you really think any of the telco execs really use all these advanced services? At least Steve Ballmer at Microsoft plays with his kids’ XBox, and Bill Gates knows how to use Word and Outlook. Do you get the feeling that telecom executives are passionate about communications? When was the last time a telco exec stood up and screamed how wonderful his product is and shouted down the detractors? How many telco execs blog their passion for the business? (If Motorola’s CTO can do it, so can you.)

Overall, it’s not too bad a picture. However, just like nobody cares about our exam scores when you left school once your career gets underway, these are the backwards-looking scores from the old world.

Before we start on the forwards-looking side, a few other notes about telco branding.

The technology may be amazing, but the promises have been incredible

There are a number of problems that telco brands face.

Firstly, telcos repeatedly over-promise and under-deliver. This is particularly true of mobile network quality and coverage boasts, which simply don’t seem to represent the indoors and out-of-coverage reality that users actually experience. There are plenty of other examples, with most early mobile web adverts probably the best example of confusion over truth and reality.

Secondly, telcos claim credit for parts of the value chain they didn’t create. Your world. Delivered.?. Maybe, but users aren’t fooled that it’s Google and Yahoo doing a lot of the real legwork of service creation.

Finally, telcos consistently deface their brands as suppliers you can trust through usurious or hidden charges and weasel contract terms. It’s not good to disappoint your customer once a month: that’s aversion therapy, not brand building.

Operators need to address these tactical issues as well as the overall strategic positioning.

The core products are unbranded

Telecom is also rather a strange beast. The interconnected nature of the public services of telephony and messaging create services that everyone knows and uses. However, these services remain unbranded. Phoning and texting have almost faded into the background of society, and are taken for granted. You can contrast this with, say, the banking industry which brands the interconnect with powerful VISA and Mastercard logos. Even the airline industry in the era of paper tickets made a (weak) brand promise of “ticket portability” with the IATA logo, where you could get your ticket endorsed and fly on another carrier.

There’s also no obvious answer to the problem of how to express the promise of “works well everywhere for everyone you know” compared to, say, a Skype client which “works well sometimes for a few people you know”. Remember those “QC Passed” stickers everywhere on cameras and TVs when Far East manufacturers were trying to overcome perceptions of low quality? How will operators brand “IMS powered” premium products given the lack of history in platform branding? Again, no easy answers.

In other words, there are corporate bands (e.g. Vodafone) and portal or platform brands (e.g. Live!, i-mode, PCS Vision), but few specific product brands (e.g. Nextel’s Direct Connect would be an exception) and nothing to represent the collective standardisation and interoperation promise of the telecoms industry.

The Telco 2.0 prescription (draft)

So, what do telcos need to do about their brand positioning?

Personally I subscribe to the branding is dead school of thought. Read the words carefully. Brands are not dead, but the activity of putting a false gloss on who you are and what you do just doesn’t work any more. Users are too connected to alternative sources of opinion, and each other, to be fooled like they once might have been. They simply don’t trust or believe marketing claims. Credulity is out, delivery is in.

That means you actually need to do something different or special, and not merely claim it. What you do depends on what Telco 2.0 strategy you follow. In a nutshell, it’s a combination of product differentiation, platform and/or pipe. The branding strategy will follow the Telco 2.0 commercial strategy.

Branding the product

The product/service differentiation route looks arduous. Internet portals already have hundreds of millions of users, so their mobile offerings have a network of buddies from day one. They have portfolios of advanced collaboration and community applications. Operators have little track record and investment in product innovations. That probably rules out product differentiation through features for most operators.

So for operator-provided services the options for most are probably fairly simple: “cheap” and “reliable”. The former is probably fairly self-explanatory. The latter raises some more interesting questions.

Many internet services have a tough time with reliability. Furthermore, there’s a culture of “integrate it yourself” — source your own hardware, security, support, connectivity. Although telcos aren’t much better, pretty much every Internet service has some terms along the following lines:

Google may at any time and for any reason terminate the Services, terminate this Agreement, or suspend or terminate your account. In the event of termination, your account will be disabled and you may not be granted access to your account or any files or other content contained in your account although residual copies of information may remain in our system.

Do you really want your life’s digital artifacts hostage to someone who could erase them at whim? The telco opportunity is to turn the sloth and expense of five-nines culture and lifeline service to its advantage. Make some strong promises about being there when users really need you. Then deliver.

Branding the platform

As operators recede from the services space, the successful ones will open their technology and business platforms and excel at partnership and joint marketing. They will still offer traditional mass-market services as a “hygiene” factor, but increasingly rely on third parties to complete the bundle. Value will be created through simplicity and integration of the total experience from awareness to post-sale support. This means adding on some APIs to enable partners to extend and improve the serivce, and integrate it with their communications and commerce hubs. Those APIs will also allow partners to access marketing, sales, logistics and support data.

In other words, telcos become market makers bridging users and other suppliers. Whilst we don’t have a canned branding strategy, here are some of the “market making” brands we’d draw inspiration from in creating our brand strategy. Each one is an enabler, not the complete end product or outcome.

WindowsJoining consumers and applications developers
Monster.comJoining job seekers and employers
GoogleJoining searchers and advertisers
PlaystationJoining gamers and developers
iTunesJoining music companies and consumers
BetfairJoining punters and bookies

We’d probably construct a similar list of services that are co-marketed as platforms, such as “Intel Inside”.

Co-marketed services and platforms are a very special niche. We’ll be looking at this a little more in our forthcoming Telco 2.0 report on Advertising-funded Services.

Branding the pipe

Few operators are rushing to embrace a “pipe” future (yet). Any such offerings are likely to either follow ISP brands, or be bundled into some larger entertainment or communications offering. We’ll let you know if the Christmas break inspires us as to how we’d brand such offerings. T-Mobile have got close with Web’n’Walk, but the “Plus” and “Max” versions (which are the real “dumb pipe” variants) still are bolted onto a service capability (Web), which isn’t wholly satisfactory. Ultimately, does anyone care about pipe brands? Maybe we’d look at “reliable transport technology” brands like Toyota or Honda for help.

Some closing thoughts

Brands are like children: each is unique, special and loved by a circle of devotees. There’s no one-size-fits-all brand strategy. Some companies like IBM have been masterful at brand management as various lines of business have matured. The horizontalising forces of mature industries have made IBM divest itself of all kinds of previously “core” functions, like hard disk manufacture and computer assembly. At the same time as it created new lines of business such as services and outsourcing. The brand adapts to these changes. Telcos will likewise have to respond to fix their tactical and structural issues and make the brand reflect those changes.

To share this article easily, please click:

Voice & Messaging Survey

In the new year we’re launching a report on the future of the operator voice & messaging businesses. We’d invite anyone with an involvement or interest in this area to complete this survey. It takes around 15 minutes, and all but two of the compulsory questions are multi-choice.

All those who complete the survey (and don’t just enter their names and email addresses!) get a free copy of the summary results in January.

We’re still processing the results of our earlier Telco 2.0 survey — thanks to the over 500 of you! Some of the highlights will be posted up here on the blog (we’ve done some already). The full results will be in the second edition of the Telco 2.0 report, coming out soon.

You can also look forwards to another survey soon on advertising-funded services within the near future, as we’re exploring this as an opportunity area for network operators.

To share this article easily, please click:

December 13, 2006

Second Life, Telco Pipes and Net Neutrality

A very useful piece here by James Enck from his talk at the Cambridge-MIT Symposium on Net Neutrality on Monday. This takes us back to the ‘Broadband Incentive Problem’ which we discussed at the October Telco 2.0 Industry Brainstorm with MIT representatives and described here.

We’ll be running an open debate on this topic (“Who pays for the Pipe?”) on the first day of the Telco 2.0 event in March in which we’re delighted to have Hossein Moiin, Group VP at T-Mobile International participating on one side. We’ll no doubt ask Malcolm Matson from OPLAN Foundation to make an alternative case. The aim is, with audience participation via our Mindshare process, to create some concrete industry proposals for solving the ‘incentive problem’.

James alludes to ‘Second Life’, a virtual world for adults (not an ‘adult’ virtual world, although I suppose there might be popular parts which become this) which, along with other bandwidth hungry services, will put increasing pressure on broadband business models.

Our friend Alan Patrick has been investigating this and other virtual media from a business model and advertising point of view. Some of his initial thoughts following an event last week are here. Alan will be ‘analyst-in-residence’ at the March Industry Brainstorm, in the Digital Home stream.

He’s gathering together a group of the most disruptive ‘disruptors’ (in TV, Blogging, VOIP) to stimulate the debate and to counterbalance the input from Matteo Gatta (Group Strategy Director at Belgacom), Pearce Connolly (VP of Football at Telenor), Jacques Recourdon (VP Marketing Vision, Orange Group) and Stuart Collingwood (VP Europe, SlingMedia), and others soon to be announced.

To share this article easily, please click:

Telecom Vendors - Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

The advisory and ventures side of our business is getting more and more approaches from vendors keen to work out how to sell into the rapidly changing ‘Telco 2.0’ market. These are major players who are seeing old market certainties rapidly dissipate and who are searching for a profitable role for their company. Often the people who approach us are semi-isolated visionaries within their own companies, often fighting against internal myopia.

Our response is: yes, by all means you need to keep selling ‘what’s on the truck today’, but, given the key Telco 2.0 trends, you need some lateral thinking to find a sustainable long-term role in the market. And you need to put serious resources behind this NOW in the S-curve cycle.

Our survey (full results out in Janunary for subscribers to Telco 2.0 Insider) has made it clear that telcos are unclear about how they will grow their businesses in the future (beyond M&A and regulatory manipulation). Snap shots here and here .

This problem is really about business models: what products and services to sell, to whom, how and when, and how to make a healthy profit from doing so.

So, our advice to vendors is that rather than following the telcos by supporting them in their CURRENT thinking (which they themselves say needs overhauling), the greater opportunity is to lead them via, firstly, a differentiated view on the apps and services (and business models) that telcos SHOULD be developing/supporting and, secondly, by developing solutions in the areas that leverage the vendor’s real strengths relevant to the telcos’ problems. These ‘solutions’ must be - heresy! - primarily commercial solutions (full end-to-end sustainable money making schemes), rather than technical (“Here’s our stuff, you work out how to make money from it”).

To achieve this vendors need to start out with a fresh assessment of end-user needs within different market segments (the categorisation of which, itself, needs a fresh assessment).

There’s clearly a huge opportunity for major vendors (particularly IT players) in the ‘Telco 2.0’ market, if the market is analysed creatively in this way rather than from a product-centric or a ‘what are our telco customers currently asking for’ point of view.

Our research shows that telcos would be highly receptive to unique thinking in the apps/services and business model areas: either improving their current plans (ie. Where to Properly Focus IMS? How to Make IPTV really Make Money? How to Grow Business Upstream with Advertisers? How to Develop Voice & Messaging Services that Beat Internet Competition?) or developing new growth opportunities.

We’re delighted that many of the leading vendors are using the March Telco 2.0 Industry Brainstorm as a key milestone to a.) get their internal thinking in order and b.) educate their key customers and prospects. (The cleverest ones, though, are getting their internal functions together for a Telco 2.0 Internal Brainstorm in advance of the event…!)

To share this article easily, please click:

December 11, 2006

Telco 2.0 ‘Disruptors’

One of the things people valued at the Telco 2.0 Brainstorm in October was the demos/short presentations by a number of ‘disruptors’ we’d gathered at the event. There’ll be a new group at the follow up March event (watch this space for announcements).

In the meantime, this week on the blog, we’ll share a few of our favourite disruptors. For each we describe: What is it? How does it work? What User Problem does it address? Why it’s disruptive? What are the opportunities for incumbent Operators?

Today we start with PhoneGnome from TelEvolution, started by David Beckemeyer, the ex-CTO of Earthlink.

What is it?
A small box that sits between the POTS line and regular telephone, but also has a broadband connection. It enables users to get the best of both the PSTN (powered line, emergency service, compatible with all alarms and set-top-boxes) and VoIP - without changing number, getting locked into a long-term plan, or buying new handsets.

PhoneGnome is to fixed lines what WiFi handsets are to mobile.

How does it work?
The box automatically self-configures when plugged in, associating the user’s phone number with their IP address in a directory hosted by TelEvolution. The dialtone is entirely synthetic and generated by the device: it effectively takes over the experience and substitutes any new telephony experience you care to invent. Users dial as normal, and inbound calls work as before. Outbound calls can be routed over the Internet if to another PhoneGnome device, or the user has selected an ITSP’s long distance or international calling plan. Inbound calls can have their handling modified, such as call forwarding. Furthermore, the device can add new features (e.g. voicemail-to-email) without the host carrier needing to be involved. See demo.

Problem it addresses?
The primary function of the device to a user is as a means of reducing call and feature costs. However, for a carrier it offers out-of-territory competition opportunities. For example, a wireless operator can build an FMC product and avoid paying termination fees to any host network by using the Internet as a bypass.

Why it’s disruptive?
It enables “unbundling at the edge”, without regulatory approval or constraints, opening up competition to new players. It overcomes all the objections typically aimed at VoIP services, particularly for primary landline replacement. It also undermines the pricing structure of many existing high-margin (yet technically trivial) services. You can also modify the behaviour of existing services. For example, the number for directory enquiries can be re-directed to a rival ad-funded directory operator, not the incumbent fixed line supplier.

For much less than the cost of an IMS deployment, you can hand out PhoneGnomes, and build a platform business with far more features than could ever be deployed in IMS, and deploy them within weeks, not years.

Opportunities for Telcos?
If you’re a fixed operator, compete out-of-territory against rivals. If you’re a mobile operator, enter the FMC market with simple combinatorial services and without the nightmare of user-provisioned WiFi equipment and network handoffs.

More analysis on the impact of disruptors in Telco 2.0 Insider.

To share this article easily, please click:

December 7, 2006

Value-based vs. abundance pricing

If there’s one thing telcos are indisputably king-of-the-hill at doing, it’s value-based pricing and tariff obfuscation. Even the airlines with their sophisticated yield management systems and variable pricing don’t come close. The airlines’ forte is price discrimination, which is selling basically the same thing to different people at different prices based on willingness to pay. Airline prices are easy to compare, and the product is fairly homogeneous — we fly you from A to B.

Telco bundles are deliberately fiendish to compare. The services are quite diverse (e.g. SMS, video calls, broadband, handsets and a zillion phone call rates), which gives plenty of scope for innovation in creating a unique non-comparable packaging of the offer. There’s a whole sub-industry grown up around this.

There’s just one, small, tiny problem.

We don’t believe this skill is going to be a critical factor to being successful in a Telco 2.0 world, where abundance, flat-rates and low internal costs of sales, billing and support are key themes.

Let’s make a small case study out of Vodafone UK’s current promotion. We’re picking on them, but most other operators would do just as well: only a few, like T-Mobile, 3 and Sprint have made any serious effort at simplifying their pricing. Vodafone has a weaker position in the UK consumer market than you might expect. (Their enterprise offerings, as always, continue to sell well — these were the early adopters right back to the analogue cellular world, and Vodafone’s DNA is built around them.) They’re doing some positive things to help change this, such as family plans.

Vodafone Family. Unlimited calls between four people.

Now family plans aren’t anything new — in the US market they’ve been around for ages. Keith has done a good job of explaining how this move may strengthen Vodafone’s market position.

The problem is that Vodafone can’t seem to choose between simplicity and complexity in its pricing. A family plan is about predictable pricing and removing “metered minute anxiety” in close social groups. Let’s click through their web site to buy a service plan.

So far, so good, although these plans are not particularly competitive: the strategy is to ask for lots of money, and then sweeten the deal by offering lots of added-value extras which have low marginal cost to Vodafone but relatively high perceived user value.

Let’s select a plan:

I think you can see the difficulty. The average user has got better things to do than combinatorial optimisation problems. Choices and more choices — and lots of research to do. The consumer gets increasingly worried about making the “wrong” choice. “Hahaha — you fell for that Stop The Clock trick mum. Don’t you know most mobile calls are under a minute, and that the long ones are mostly off-peak minutes anyway?”

Finally, the family plan promotion re-surfaces. If it’s what you were looking for at the outset, you’ve had a long wait. What Vodafone need to concentrate on is simply closing the deal. They assume that they’re more special than they really are, and that consumers will be patient enough to wade through their marketing maze.

Contrast this with consumer-friendly Virgin Mobile’s proposition:

That’s it. One choice: how much do you want to spend? Now, Virgin Mobile have their own execution and strategic woes, but as a consumer marketing operation, it’s hard to beat.

Pip Coburn’s recent book The Change Function talks about perceived pain of adoption in how new technologies and products are adopted. What Vodafone are doing is increasing the non-money search and transaction costs for users. They’re also infecting the rest of their brand proposition with a taint of complexity. It might not seem like a big deal, but Vodafone have consistently underperformed in the consumer market, despite their scale of operation and favourable on-net economics.

Apple’s iPod took out the complexity of ripping, filing and filling — and presented a stripped-bare user interface. The perceived pain was low. (It was also sold on the benefits of songs and style, not acronyms and features.) Yet the problem persists in the entertainment world, where DRM encumbers every purchase decision with additional implicit costs. More acquisition pain, lower sales.

The airlines have also followed the same path, with Southwest and Easyjet forcing simplified pricing on the “majors”. Consumers don’t want to be bamboozled, and fear being ripped off.

The alternative to value pricing is abundance pricing. We’ll give you lots of it — lots and lots. It need not be cheap, but it will be predictable and simple, and you won’t be faced with choices, decisions and buyer’s regret at every turn. You then tier your market based on quality. In the case of telephony, you’d offer “business” quality services like wideband audio and enhanced voicemail to separate out the price-sensitive customers from the rest that way instead. Vodafone’s chief, Arun Sarin, recently said that flat-rate was the future. Maybe it’s time for the marketing to catch up with the leadership intention?

We’ll be looking more into the degeneration of pricing as a marketing tool in our forthcoming report on the future of the voice and messaging business.

To share this article easily, please click:

December 6, 2006

Less than 40% of Operators Have a Strong Strategy for Telco 2.0 World

We have started analysing the 561 responses to the survey, What does Telco 2.0 mean for Operators? It will take a couple of weeks to do the basic analysis and participants should have the summary results in their inbox during the week of 18th Dec (for perusal over the Christmas festivities).

Even at this early stage of the analysis several revealing (and somewhat disconcerting) findings are emerging. As a teaser, I’ll outline a couple of the quantitative responses below. However, much of the value of the survey is contained in the answers people gave to the open qualitative questions. We are poring over reams of news, views and comment and figuring the big ‘So What?’ take-aways from the survey. Those interested in the full survey results (where we look at individual operators and do all the cuts by geography, company type, job function etc.) and our analysis of this and other Telco 2.0 topics, should consider our quarterly publication, Telco 2.0 Insider. Each edition builds on much of the analysis we carried out for our (now updated) 270 page market study, How to Make Money in an IP-based World, and contains in-depth and up-to-the-minute analysis of how Telcos are (and should) be developing new:

1. Business Models
2. Service Portfolios and
3. NGN architecture

to serve the four customer segments we are focusing on in our March Telco 2.0 brainstorm:

  • Digital Youth - Comms, Entertainment, Social Networking, Self-Expression
  • Digital Home - IPTV, FMC, Home Hub
  • Digital Town - FTTX, Muni-nets, WiMAX, OPLANS
  • Digital Worker - Flexible working, mobility, collaboration

So what news from the survey so far?

Over 60% of Operators Barking up the Wrong Tree…

In our survey, we asked respondents to review 5 generic strategies:

  1. Protection - Retain Network Control: ‘Network-based’ innovator, Shut out new competition
  2. Platform A - Enabler + Service Provider: Co-opetition - partner & compete for services: Open up network, Leverage network capabilities for own services
  3. Platform B - Enabler only: Cooperation - partner for services, Open up network, Lock partners in with unique network-based assets
  4. Pipe: Provide bandwidth - intelligence at the edge: Provide network access, Price leadership
  5. Mix of all of these - Combine elements depending on competition, market maturity etc.

We also gave respondents the option of defining an alternative strategy of their choice. 99% of the time these were combinations of one of the above: Protection + Platform A was one example.

We asked respondents to choose an operator and select which strategy:
A. It is currently pursuing
B. Would be the best choice for it for the future

We collected sufficient data to do detailed analysis on around 20 operators in Europe and North America. However, below is a chart which explores the proportion of operators pursuing the strategy (Y axis, bar height) versus the long-term attractiveness of the strategy (X axis, position of bar).
Strategy%20Appraisal.jpg One surprising result is that so many felt that a ‘Mix’ strategy was not particularly attractive. With many operators having presence in a wide variety of markets, we had expected respondents to believe this is a sensible approach. It could be, of course, that several people were looking at a specific market (or an operator that only operates in one market) and felt that a ‘Mix’ strategy was just that: mixed up and lacking clarity. This is where we will have to see what comes out of the qualitative responses where people have explained the rationale for their evaluation.

…And More Gloom in Mature Markets with Sophisticated Customers…

We have also taken a look at whether there is more confidence in the future for Operators in different geographies. Here we found a very clear correlation between confidence levels and market maturity. Overall, noone is exactly cock-a-hoop about Telco prospects but there is clearly less confidence in more mature markets.
Confidence%20by%20Region.jpg This suggests a belief that operator business models are well suited to providing basic voice and messaging services but are less appropriate for delivering advanced services in an IP-based world.

Why are operators less well suited to delivering advanced services - more competition, internal shortcomings, etc? What should operators do to address this situation?

Again, you’ll have to wait until we’ve done the detailed analysis and then buy Telco 2.0 Insider or the updated Telco 2.0 Market Study!

To share this article easily, please click:

December 1, 2006

Credit to BT: a diversification strategy

In our market report, we see several likely strategies for a network operator: pipe, platform, or customer intimacy (with varying degrees of product specialisation). There’s also an “outside the consultant 2×2 matrix” strategy of diversification.

In my email inbox on Friday night I received the following offer:

BT Market Research Survey - A chance to win £500!

As a customer of BT, we would be very grateful if you would participate in the attached survey. The survey concerns a new financial product that BT is considering offering to customers. […]

Only a small number of our customers have been invited to take part, so your chances of winning are good.

The survey opens with the question:

If BT launched a BT branded credit card with a competitive APR (annual percentage rate), a rewards scheme and other features and benefits; would you consider applying for the card?

So BT, a Telco 2.0 poster child (once we’ve photoshopped out a few zits), is clearly considering diversification. (If there was one criticism of BT, it’s that they seem to be enthusiastically following all strategies at once without having fully re-structured first to 100% separate the network and loop from the platform and retail businesses — but they’ve gone far further than anyone else.)

What’s more interesting are the survey questions about what incentives we’d like to see to use the credit card. The options are presumably presented in random order to prevent selection bias, but there are two groups. Firstly, those which specifically integrate with other BT lines of business:

  • Complimentary BT services (e.g. dedicated IT support helpline)
  • Complimentary home telephone on your 12 month anniversary
  • Reduced prices on BT Total Broadband packages

And then a generic list of consumer bribes:

  • Exclusive promotions on theatre/events
  • Reward points exchangeable for cash
  • Sign-up cash bonus
  • Balance transfer cash reward
  • Monthly prize draws (i.e. cash, holidays)

What’s nice about the telco business is the marginal cost of delivery many services is near zero, and you can also provision people with services that they never get to use (“breakage”). So BT could give away calling features and minutes at internal on-net costs with little cannibalisation of existing business lines. A great deal of creativity could be expended on building a rewards scheme that attracts the low-fraud, low-churn, credit-worthy customers you seek.

Unfortunately, when the survey gets to the point of asking you to compare various pairings of credit card offers, it bombs out:

Sorry, but the system has encountered an internal error and cannot go on with the interview at this stage.

Please check back later.

Powered by Confirmit

So maybe my chances of winning weren’t so great after all. Still, BT’s chances seem to be holding up quite well. Others would do well to explore market innovation with the same vigour.

EPILOGUE: Monday morning, and a letter from BT:

“I wanted to you to know that we are withdrawing our BT Communicator service on 31 December 2006. … The new BT Broadband Talk Softphone service replaces BT Communicator service […] and gives you […amongst other things…] Hi-definition (Hi-dS) quality sound when you talk to other Softphone or BT Hub Phone users.”

Seems that the relationship between BT and Yahoo! has dissolved as a result of BT’s decision to fight (rather than flee) in the services space. The home hub aspect provides clear strategic and user differentiation. (A really evil strategy might be to try to insert subsidised BT Home Hubs into third party broadband service, re-capturing the user and customer relationship.) Together with BT’s forthcoming integrated messaging suite, BT Contact, we have the prospect of a direct conflict between the telcos and Internet portals based on service capability and quality, which can only be good for users.

Whilst we’re on BT’s case, they’ve also announced their IPTV product will follow the well-worn path of signing up expensive football rights. Not very “TV 2.0”, but as a defensive move against BSkyB (satellite TV) and NTL (cable TV) their list of options isn’t very long.

At least BT’s strategy appears joined up, unlike T-Mobile’s: I’m at a Starbucks hotspot, but they’ve only sold me the connectivity, not the VPN that’s clearly needed to make working here secure — and their NAT is messing with my usual VPN tunnel in bad ways. Selling partial solutions and expecting the customer to fill in the gaps won’t cut it.

To share this article easily, please click:

Telco 2.0 Trends Survey - Last Chance to Have your Say

So far we have had over 550 of the global telco cognoscenti participate in the Telco 2.0 trends survey.

The survey closes at midnight GMT tonight (1st Dec). So, last chance to make your voice heard…and get a free summary of the results. Click here.

If you’d also like more in-depth analysis, including details of the key implications (the ‘so what’), you can always subscribe to the mightily good value ‘Telco 2.0 Insider’ - a quarterly journal for those seeking the crown jewels of Telco 2.0 insight. Next edition hits the virtual newstands in January 2007. More details here. (Readers of this blog can claim a 10% discount if they sign up in 2006).

To share this article easily, please click:

Telco 2.0 Strategy Report Out Now: Telco Strategy in the Cloud

Subscribe to this blog

To get blog posts delivered to your inbox, enter your email address:

How we respect your privacy

Subscribe via RSS

Telco 2.0™ Email Newsletter

The free Telco 2.0™ newsletter is published every second week. To subscribe, enter your email address:

Telco 2.0™ is produced by: