Monday, February 07, 2005

If you love your business, set it free

If anyone was under the impression that telcos are feeling more comfortable with their situations, then they need look no further than two pieces on the newswires to measure the true extent of the underlying anxiety regarding just maintaining customers, let alone generating growth.

Les Echos is reporting this morning that, having only just won the right to raise monthly PSTN subscriptions, France Telecom is pursuing plans to launch naked DSL. In the few European markets where it exists right now (Norway, Denmark) it has been the product of either direct regulatory mandate or the existing commercial codes, rather than as a strategic development. If we ever needed graphic evidence of the pain caused by having 25% of DSL lines in the hands of the unbundlers, this is it, and other markets are heading the same way over time (BT's press release from last Thursday throws in a reference to 1m unbundled lines in the UK by December '05).

Meanwhile, Skype has inked its first carrier deal, with Hutchison Global Communications in Hong Kong. As we've written about in the past in relation to City Telecom, the Hong Kong market is one where 10Mbps symmetrical service might set you back EUR16 a month on a bad day. With European broadband in quasi-meltdown mode in markets like France, the Netherlands and the UK, I wonder how long before we see Skype carrier deals in Europe as well.

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