Ring! Ring! Monday News Analysis, 10th September 2007

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Technology Disruptions

When billing attacks: Vodafone suffers.

Telco 2.0 Comment: They say billing is for people who find operational support subsystems too exciting, but there's a reason for that; it's got to work every time, especially if you're charging for every bit. Because that means every bit has to be kicked and counted through the billing system before you can do anything else with it.

More seriously, Vodafone has been very keen on setting up big, partly outsourced shared-service centres recently. Here's an example of this going badly wrong. Imagine if they had been charging "by event"...

Digital Product Innovation

Another m-payments attempt.

Telco 2.0 Comment: From the people who brought you triumphs like Simpay - European network operators! Where's my M-PESA?

Can't think of anything to do with phones? There's always surveillance; in this case, it's intended to improve the quality of TV ratings data.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Having spent all this time and money inventing a new medium, it's ironic that one of its uses is to improve TV advertising...

Mobile TV comes to South Africa: Vodacom's MobileTVPlaya.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Mobile TV? In Africa? Surely not...in fact, they've taken the very sensible and T2-compliant decision not to have any mobile TV technology and just fill their underutilised GPRS network.

Motorola's strategy: be boring, consistent, and competent.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Well, yes. It's the kind of statement that tells you more about how bad things have got than anything else. Apparently they've also discovered WiFi.

Vodafone buys into Tele2; wants DSL lines in Italy and Spain.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Who thought the very first alt.telco would end up being part of a really big integrated carrier - but one that started off as a pure mobile operator? Good example that there's still a long way to go in the cycle of disintermediation, horizontalisation, and reintegration.

Regulation and Digital Politics

Dept. of Justice doesn't like net neutrality, on free-market grounds.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Indeed. After all, US subscribers mostly have a choice between AT&T, AT&T, and AT&T, or Verizon, Verizon, and Verizon. Or Sprint, Sprint, and Sprint...

Broadband Connectivity

Telefonica: fibre is coming.

Telco 2.0 Comment: As everywhere else, bandwidth is cheap, demand growing, costs shifting from opex to capex. See also here and here: it's the same under the sea. And they don't know how to pay for it either.

European voice ARPU down but data ARPU will save the day; sez Analysys.

Telco 2.0 Comment: It's finally happening...special notice is in order for the fact that they think femtocells might save the voice business too.

Leap and MetroPCS getting together; Leap CFO leaps.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Low margins; higher volume. Especially if you're stuck with 1800/1900MHz GSM spectrum and therefore almost twice as many cellsites to rent as your competitors.

....and happy 20th birthday, GSM!