Saturday, 30 April 2011

Everything Everywhere - a misnomer

I notice that Everything Everywhere has once again posted disappointing results. Seems to me that the UK's least differentiated operator needs to find a proposition and find one fast if it's to maintain it's position as the largest UK mobile Telco (by subscribers, if nothing else).

Not easy in one of the World's most competitive Telco markets, but it strikes me that the answer might lie in the group's rather awkward name. How long will it be, I wonder, before a consumer can buy an allowance of minutes, data and VAS that are portable between devices? I know it goes against the grain - embedded after 25 years of habit - of one contract, one SIM, however, with that lovely new network that EE are in the process of (re)building and LTE on the horizon, perhaps now is the time...

...or perhaps it's just self interest. One way or another EE needs to find some traction, because Management can only go on about operational savings for so long.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Verizon launches Digital Content Distribution Services

Verizon announced yesterday that it will launch an end to end digital video service that enables content creators and digital retailers to outsource the entire digital supply chain to them. This is the first such move by Telcos to get a cut of the maturing market in digital content delivery and differentiate themselves from the pure CDN players. By providing a large scale "utility" service for this increasingly non-differentiating part of the value chain, Verizon should be able to dramatically reduce the cost of streaming video and potentially further accelerate the demise of traditional TV (if one believes that the latter's demise is inevitable). I can't say much more as I've been involved in the launch of this service, other than I'm looking forward to seeing whether the market is ready for end-to-end delivery to be fully commoditised. Time will tell.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Breakdown of my holiday emails

Just for fun, I decided to classify all the emails I received in 2 weeks of holiday, rather than delete them all. Interesting that even having been out of the office for a week, I was consistently receiving 30-40 emails a day. Not surprising that email is becoming a useless tool...

Monday, 11 April 2011

Influence layers and active behaviour monitoring

Here's a nice presentation from Seth Priebatsch of SCVNGR about the addition of an influence layer onto the internet. The concept is to use gaming techniques to generate patterns of behaviour amongst users - not new but certainly powerful. It's also an interesting path that the mobile industry can take without garnering too much regulatory attention. Recent news from Germany on the way that telemetry can expose patterns of behaviour suggests that a harder line may soon be taken on the information retained by operators. Interestingly, this was something we looked at a number of years ago with a major operator, but decided not to proceed with because of data concerns. Perhaps the answer is a hybrid between manipulation of behaviour based on active monitoring and passive "nudges" (the SCVNGR model). If the user can be incented to score points, gain influence etc by the way they behave - where they go, how many calls they make, how many friends they meet, then they may be willing to share the telemetry data that empowers tight marketing and service targeting.

Indian corruption scandal

More in the press today about the alleged $39B the Indian government "lost" due to corruption in the country's 2G auctions 3 years ago. Although the machinations of the notoriously Byzantine India legal and governmental system are frankly beyond me (it strikes me that such anti-capitalist rumblings by Indian politicians attempt to distract from their long-term failure to set India up for growth), an important question that should be considered is the trade-off for consumers and for overall growth of cheap spectrum licenses. Communications are a proven multiplier for economic growth and on my last visit to India practically everyone was glued to their handset. If the same can happen with data phones in the future then the net effect on an economy the size of India's will far exceed the $39B they "lost" due to corruption. In any case, the supposed loss seems rather arbitrary, since no one in a developed economy would have paid that much for the spectrum on offer, let alone in one where ARPU is under $5. 1.2B people or not... Anyway, just my 2p...