Wednesday, November 29, 2006

OFCOM - most prolific regulator on the planet?

The folks at OFCOM have just published what promises to be a very interesting international survey of the communications market, spanning most of the key European markets, Japan, China and the US. Among other things, the research finds, somewhat unsurprisingly, one-third of broadband subscribers cite lower television viewing habits, and the level of online viewing of video/TV content in China is, frankly, jaw-dropping.

In a separate, but related development, I am very happy to have been invited to participate in a panel at an OFCOM event tomorrow, coinciding with the launch of a collection of essays, "Communications: The Next Decade," edited by Ed Richards, Robin Foster and Tom Kiedrowski. I will be joining three very distinguished speakers: Carolyn Fairbairn, Eli Noam, and Jonathan Zittrain. More on this after the event.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Swedes at Christmas

This survey from TeliaSonera has a couple of factoids of note: a) 78% of its Swedish broadband customers interviewed said they could use a webcam on Christmas Eve to communicate with distant family members; b) webcams apparently rank second only to the PSTN as a preferred means of communications with friends and family. I don't know how representative Sweden is given some of its peculiar cultural traits around Christmas celebrations, but I'd like to think this maps pretty well across a lot of Europe.

I'm too sexy for my blog

I'd like to extend a very warm EuroTelcothankyou to someone signing himself simply as "jon k," who has very kindly nominated me in Wired's 2006 Sexiest Geek competition (comments section, time stamp 5:20 PM 27th November). Not sure how I'll do in the swimsuit competition...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Elementary, my dear

Rather than the IP n-play, I wonder what telco churn rates would look like if they marketed services which might be genuinely useful to their customers? The ever-excellent alarm:clock euro alerts me to the Wattson from DIY Kyoto. The site is designed in Flash, so I can't link directly to the "Online" page, but there we see that this is not merely a clever device for saving energy within the home, but it also has a social element to it, around which communities of interest could develop. Elegant, useful and relevant - how often do you find yourself using those words to describe a telco-supplied experience?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Video boom in Italy

Stumbled across this press release from Nielsen//NetRatings today. My Italian is not too good, but I believe it says a couple of interesting things: 1) web usage in September surpassed 17 hours per week for the first time, a YoY increase of 32%; and 2) there has been a notable increase in traffic to video sharing sites such as YouTube and Metacafe, but if I understand this correctly, they also cite the contribution of local player Libero (Wind's ISP/portal) in driving this change.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The next generation

Deutsche Telekom is probably hurriedly trying to buy some cancellation insurance for its regulatory holiday - the EU has reportedly been talking tough all day, and I understand that there is a reception in Berlin this evening where Ms. Reding is apparently going to be telling it like it is. Back here in the UK, mega-uber-hyper regulator OFCOM, apparently having "been to school" on the turmoil evident in the Dutch and German markets, has released a position paper on next generation access which looks to clarify a few key issues before they come to a head. Interesting passages so far:

"The level in the network where regulatory remedies may be applied to next
generation access networks may differ substantially from the current copper
local access network. Therefore, one key consideration for any next generation
access regulatory policy is the correct level in the network to mandate access
to promote downstream competition. This will, in part, depend on technology
choices made by industry. The levels may vary for different technology
deployments, but could include: access to ducts; unbundling options, including
sub-loop or fibre unbundling; or access to a wholesale bitstream product."


"It is not the role of the regulator to protect investments made by competitive communications providers against market risks. These risks may include the emergence of new technology developments, such as next generation
access that superseded operators’ current market propositions. However, it is
appropriate for Ofcom to consider the interests of existing competitive
operators in ensuring the continued availability of and terms for current
wholesale inputs to their products, during the lifetime of the assets in which
they have invested. We also need to ensure that a suitable migration path for
existing infrastructure investments is allowed for following the deployment of
new technologies."

UPDATE: T-Regs has some valuable additional insight on the situation in Germany.

10 things right back atcha

Keith McMahon and the Telco 2.0 posse have written a fasincating post, turning the tables on my "Ten Things" list to focus on shortcomings in the internet brigade which provide telcos with opprtunities, if they think laterally and rise to the challenge. I particularly like the musings on identity - I was having precisely this conversation with a journalist yesterday - and the reference to ownership of user-generated content is also destined to be a massive issue, also highlighted by Norman Lewis in his presentation last month at Telco 2.0. Following on from Ian's post yesterday, it is really satisfying to see that my message from last month has become a template for further debate, rather than just another static Powerpoint gathering moss on the web. This is precisely what I hoped would happen.

The return of hosting

Back to picks and shovels, though unlike the great hosting bubble 1.0 (anyone out there remember Exodus?), I think the dynamics are totally different this time, and much more supportive. This looks like a very interesting report from BroadGroup on projected UK hosting supply and demand to 2010. Sadly, I've already spent all my money on Christmas shopping...

Sniffing the air

Well, you've got to hand it to the folks at Nokia for their ability to read the market. Last week 3 rocked a lot of worlds with its embracing of openness, saying that consumers should have the same experience of the mobile internet as they have on fixed broadband. Of course, that stance could be interpreted in a number of ways, because the fixed broadband experience includes all sorts of frustrations and impediments. Now, a week later to the day, Nokia delivers the goods to ensure that the door remains only halfway open.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pimp my 3D webcam

In an attempt to keep up to date with new companies and emerging technologies, I subscribe to the Venture Wire alerts, which I have found to be a good source of information. Today's issue carried an article on 3DV Systems getting funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and an Israeli VC, Pitango Venture Capital, and I thought I would share it, if only out of my sense of fascination with what they are doing. It's intriguing to think of the changes that might eventually occur in the ways we interact with devices and applications as a result of a highly accurate 3D webcam. Forget the annoying keystroke commands of the virtual world (and the interesting, but cumbersome attempts to make it more natural), and move as your character should. Add steroids to the lowly production values of your video podcast. There's a lot of other highly non-trivial stuff I can envisage around telemedicine, simulation-based training, hazardous engineering work, personal safety, and obviously some that I'm perhaps less enthusiastic about. Still, I reckon innovation like this is something to be thankful for.

Slinging another award on the mantlepiece

Congratulations to the Sling Media folks, who have been awarded the FT Disruptive Communications Technology award for 2006. It must have been a tough choice for the judges, but they beat back an impressive field, including FON, AVM and Actelis.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf?

Apparently the EU, judging from this whopping commitment to R&D in ICT - EUR9bn over six years, making it the single largest component of the research framework program's budget. I'm not saying there's a causal relationship necessarily, but it is interesting to note that the DTI survey of the largest 1,250 companies globally determined that a third of total R&D spend derives from the tech hardware (19.2%), electronics (7.4%), and software/computer services (6.6%) sectors combined, yet only seven of the top 50 R&D spenders were European companies with significant exposure to ICT, and only two (BT and Ericsson) registered as coming up in the top 20 in terms of increases in spending compared to the previous year. It also looks to me as if European companies (in this survey at least) score poorly on R&D-to-patent conversion rates. Maybe the results are skewed because we're talking about just the big companies, but it's also interesting to look at venture deal flow in Europe - average deal size is up, but the deal pipeline looks significantly less active than a year ago.

The trouble with telcos

I really had a great time putting together the 10 Things presentation from last month's Telco 2.0 event, but these things are really only meaningful if they stimulate some thought, discussion, and a basis for moving forward. So I'm really gratified that my mega-uber value reader and cyberfreund Ian Hay, who has a real job within a genuine EuroTelco, has taken the concept as a point of departure for a survey trying to get at something more constructive. I'm still absorbing his post, but one thing that leaps out from the list immediately is that the word "open" appears in four out of ten items on the wish list. I think this could evolve into an industry self-help wiki, if Ian has the energy to run with it.

Shameless self-promotion 3.0

Sadly I won't be able to get back to good old Memphis for the next round of the Net Neutrality slugfest early next year, but I am pleased to have been invited to take part in the Cambridge-MIT Institute event in London on 11th December.

Less power to you

Any feedback on this post would be warmly received.

Identity crisis

A couple of articles in Technology Review caught my eye this morning, because they seem to throw up once again the yawning gap which lies between what telcos are doing and what they could be doing. In this corner, yet another vaguely delusional article about IPTV (Fastweb, yadda-yadda-yadda - a reality check is found towards the end of this piece - and I love the understatement regarding Versatel: "the company may have overestimated the importance of sports"). And in this corner, a new start-up is trying to give consumers the ability to control and monetize aspects of their identity - and hoping to create a more targeted marketing opportunity for advertisers in the process. I know which appeals more to me as a consumer.

Friday, November 17, 2006

15 minutes of fame

Doing a bit of long-overdue cleaning today, I came across this Warhol-esque mosaic of Chris Gent put together back in 2000 by a colleague. Look at the smile on his face, fueled by some beefy M&A and the undying optimism of an all-3G world.

Good riddance Q3

Personally, I found the Q3 reporting season to be really physically taxing, moreso because of the unfortunate trend of companies reporting on the same day, which reached a nadir this time around with Telefonica and Vodafone (the two largest and most complicated) reporting simultaneously. I think there must be some sort of conspiracy at work. Anyway, now that the quarter is behind me, I will be returning to more normal posting frequency here, and I have also resolved to do more on Chaotica.

An awful lot happened in the quarter, and I won't attempt to recap it here. However, my favorite and most memorable moment was in the BT presentation, where Ben Verwaayen alluded to having been invited to visit other European carriers to discuss the process behind the creation of Openreach. Near the end of the webcast, he was asked if the other carriers had sought advice about how they could replicate the Openreach model, to which he replied whimsically something to the effect that not many had exactly shown that sort of enthusiasm.

I found this really intriguing, given comments on the issue from Ken Ducatel last month at Telco 2.0. One comment of his, which I initially refrained from including in my account of the event, was that structural separation might offer a possible remedy to the chronic underperformance of telecom in the capital markets, leading to a spate of demergers/separate listings, more transparency and a greater range of choice for investors. I sense that the carriers will naturally feel threatened by the prospect of change on this scale, but then again, if regulatory shifts and pressures from the institutions converge around this issue (as I believe they will), I assume they will learn to love it.

Weekend reading

UK mega-uber-hyper-sooper-dooper regulator OFCOM has published what looks like a very informative report on the UK consumer experience in communications. Lots of very granular demographic data, as well as interesting findings on consumer awareness and satisfaction levels. Check out the increase in awareness of alternative fixed line suppliers over time (p.53), and in particular look at the comparisons of satisfaction levels between bundled telecom customers and bundled energy customers (pages 65 and 66) - bundling telecom so far seems to show no improvement in satisfaction.

Visual complexity

A Palladium Club mega-uber value reader from South Africa writes in to thank me for pointing to Pandora, and returns the favor by introducing me to liveplasma. Type in a name like "Kevin Bacon" and see if you really can connect him to Charlie Chaplin (alternatively try the Oracle of Bacon search engine). A Google search about liveplasma led me to this amazing site, visualcomplexity. Whoa, baby. Now see if you can get back to what you were doing. Happy Friday!

UPDATE: A Palladium class mega-uber value reader chips in with Musicovery, which is also a great idea with a really interesting UI.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Get slung

While I was trapped on a disrupted London Underground train to my meeting, Disruptive Dean was raving about the new 3 UK X-Series deal with native Skype, Sling Player Mobile, and a bunch of other very cool stuff, and no volume-based pricing in sight (though subscription to Orb or Sling services apparently does carry some additional access fee). Needless to say, I share his enthusiasm - at last a mobile telco which embraces the idea of delivering end-user value through providing abundance and embracing third party services.

"Just like the fixed line internet, all X-Series services will be free at the point of use, subject only to fair usage limits."

I saw a demonstration of the Sling Mobile application at Telco 2.0 last month, and it was extremely impressive. Stuart Collingwood from Sling Media, in that presentation, discussed the Viasat deal and alluded to "a couple" of carrier deals in the pipeline, so now that we have this one, I am curious as to which cellco "gets it" next. (A replay of the webcast, which I missed, is apparently going to be available in about half an hour.)

UPDATE: Even if you don't make it through the entire webcast, you should listen to CFO Frank Sixt's segment.

Consulting today

Today I have been asked to brief a media company about "convergence," or, as I prefer to think of it, chaotica. If you would like the same sort of briefing, contact me here.

UPDATE: The background on this post may be useful, because frankly, it's a bit of a weird one. The company in question is a Japanese media company which has some corporate relationships with Daiwa, I think. Anyway, they asked and I obliged. The audience wasn't necessarily well-acquainted with some of the themes I discussed, so I took along my laptop, plugged it into the projector and after my presentation, fired up some of the applications I had just talked about. We made a Skype video call with young Thomas Anglero in Oslo, started to download a Torrent file, played around with Second Life, etc. This post was made to demonstrate how to post a photo from Flickr! to the blog, update it in Blogger, and publish. The whole exercise elicited smiles of the kind I like to see - kids in a candy store.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Running to stay in place

Mega-uber value readers, I have been buried with some work commitments, but normal blogservice should be restored in a few days. I should be focusing on catching up with bloggables from the company reporting of the past week, but to be honest, Keith has done such a splendid job so far, it would be almost embarrassing for me to pick up the baton at this point. In the meantime, and in no particular order, here is some unfinished business from my "OUT" tray, which may be of interest to some of you:

A Palladium Club mega-uber value reader points me to this amazing site which converts link data from websites into a beautiful graph resembling a molecule diagram of some sort. I couldn't resist running it on this humble bloglet, and I'm amazed to see the results. Wish I had some insight into what each node in the diagram represents (maybe that's included in the upcoming premium version?).

My iPod died recently, and while I consider my next purchase, I have been consoling myself in the office by playing around with Pandora. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out, it's very impressive. Think of it as going around to a friend's house and having them play you some music they think you'd like - some you have heard, some is new and intriguing. And I like the founder Tim Westergren's style, getting out on the road in America, building awareness and also picking up some insight into the local/regional indie scene in each place. I didn't think these sorts of things happened anymore...

Apparently in response to comments I made at VON to the effect that telco video is only worth doing if it is different and relevant to the local market, a mega-uber value reader submits TV Terra, from Terra (Telefonica) in Brazil. My Portugese is not great, but it seems to be a mash-up of in-house content production and user-generated video culled from around the net (including the now-legendary Aleksey "Impossible is Nothing" Vayner), with a YouTube-like interface. Um tubo diferente, perhaps, but Terra's efforts seem to be attracting interest from mainstream advertisers, if I have gotten the gist of this segment. Perhaps telcos are getting the message afterall...

Monday, November 13, 2006

On the carousel

Poor Dr. Ricke may be feeling the sting of a boardroom coup, but elsewhere in EuroTelcoland, it's party time! Vincent Dekker at Trouw in Amsterdam published a blazing piece over the weekend about executive compensation (which he terms a "share carousel") at Liberty Global, whose flagship UPC Netherlands unit is, well, something of an object of derision to some of its customers (and some non-customers).

Meanwhile, UK cable giant NTL/Telewest/Virgin/(ITV?) was fingered by the Observer as being unable to explain what sort of performance targets underlied its Chairman's recent share windfall. I can only assume that it has nothing to do with delivering value to the end user. As a customer I've never had any trouble with NTL, though I think that may be about to change, as we have decided to dump cable in favor of Freeview. Yesterday, when I tried to call the company to ask about the procedure for changing packages (which will necessitate a move from a set-top box broadband modem to a standalone), I discovered to my shock that it would cost me 5p per minute for the pleasure, as NTL seems to have disconnected all geographic equivalents for its various "customer care" lines. Money is not the issue - I just think it's simply an outrage to charge people by the minute because they want to discuss changing their packages - what about people who want to upgrade, i.e., actually spend more money with the company? Madness, yes, but part of the overall character profile, it would seem.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Outward mobility

A Palladium Class mega-uber value reader writes in on this busy Sunday to point me to an article from Spiegel Online which says that a secret board meeting of DT last night has ousted Dr. Ricke in favor of Rene Obermann (like Ricke before him, also the bright young lad atop T-Mobile), with immediate effect. If I'm reading the article correctly, it seems to suggest that there was some serious dissatisfaction with Dr. Ricke's new proposal to transfer 45k employees (35k shared services and technical staff, and 10k call center staff) to a couple of new services units yet to be created (and, I presumed, shit-canned to some foreign buyer within a couple of years). What isn't clear to me is whether the proposal was too radical, or not radical enough.

UPDATE: Well, it's a well-publicized done deal now, apparently with some pretty nasty behind-the-scenes spats and subterfuge.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be the best

Telenor is the best performer this year among the universe of companies I follow, by a significant margin, but seemingly it is possible to be a bit too successful. A mega-uber value reader points me to the flap over Telenor's CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas' decision to cash in $2.5m in share options. Hell, the Crooked E boys could have spent that sort of money on a single trip to Nieman Marcus, and Dennis Kozlowski undoubtedly had a shower curtain or two worth more than that. I think it's safe to assume that Barry Diller will not be emigrating to Norway any time soon.

UPDATE: An anonymous mega-uber value reader, who seems to be quite credible, writes in to observe, intriguingly, "Nothing in this situation is as it would seem. There is a very carefully scripted departure scenario for Mr. Baksaas which has been in place since day one. Maybe the added pressure from the government over share options accelerates the timetable a bit, but take every bit of news about this with a large grain of salt."

A day in the life of fiber

There are still a lot of people who play up concerns that fiber builds in dense urban areas are inherently massively disruptive to traffic and normal life. Check out these cool photos from Amsterdam, which seem to convey a slightly less apocalyptic reality - a section of pavement is dug up, fiber buried, and the pavement left clean and ready for restoration, all within a single day.

While you're at it, there are a number of other fiber themed photos in Flickr - it seems like a subject which excites people, imagine that...

Survey 2.0

Do yourself and EuroTelcoland a favor, take some time out today to complete the Telco 2.0 survey.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Berlin slides

Available here, but you can help me conserve my bandwidth allotment by opting for the Torrent version - it also gives you street-cred!

Mission creep

Nothing out of Vodafone yet, but Dutch daily Het Financieele Blagdad is reporting that Vodafone has acquired The Network Factory, a virtual network operator in the broadband space. "Asset-lite", yes, but it shows that M&A is not entirely out of the question, as we saw last month in New Zealand (interesting that no announcement of the deal has been made to Vodafone shareholders...)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Go back to the lobby...

A Dutch Platinum Class mega-uber value reader alerts me to the following post on the site of law firm Houthoff Buruma, which represents, among others, the Amsterdam fiber SPV. This document, dated 19th October, is a letter from the Dutch Housing and Environment Minister to UPC, stating that UPC's request for a prohibition on social housing corporation investment in FTTH would not be granted. UPC had argued that re-investment of social housing corporations' rental charges and service fees in FTTH represented an abuse, given these companies' limited remit to provide social housing, as well as the unfair advantage of access to cheap capital. The H&E Minister counters by stating that under new law, such companies can establish "free subsidiaries," which would be able to invest small amounts of the corporations' capital in venture projects which might be beneficial for both the corporations and the tenants. I think the underlying message here is a strong one: cable protests that housing is housing and nothing more, while the government says that housing is housing plus the greater environment, and part of that might just be an intangible benefit like access to information, which is only achieved through tangible investment.

Got my MoKo w0rKin'

Palladium Club mega-uber value reader Amsterdam Sam points me towards open-source handset in-the-making, "Neo1973," based on the OpenMoKo standard. Check out the interesting coverage here, and the slide show. Interesting that they have named it Neo - after all, he chose to take the red pill and unhook from the false reality of the Matrix. Coincidence, or hidden message?

Doubling up

Looks to me like Telecom Italia is already budgeting for the proceeds of the "unsolicited" bid/bids for TIM Brasil (this must be America Movil, given its balance sheet strength and Telefonica's outstanding issues with Vivo), judging from this article in Trouw, detailing TI subsidiary bbned's more aggressive plans for network deployment in the Dutch market. So far, bbned is the number four player in retail DSL in the Netherlands (number three adjusting for KPN's Tiscali acquisition), and is the network partner in the Amsterdam Glasvezelnet project (as well as a being both network partner and end-to-end service provider on other fiber deployments via its subsidiary Pilmo brand). What comes next, according to the bbned spokesman quoted in the article, is for bbned to expand its FTTH coverage where possible, and elsewhere to piggyback on KPN's fiber deployment to do VDSL collocated in KPN's street cabinets. The two have apparently already agreed on pricing for the "last hundred feet" of copper, as well as collocation space in street cabinets, and are reportedly now negotiating prices for KPN-provided fiber backhaul to interconnection points on bbned's backbone. This is an impressive level of commitment to what is, in contrast to TI's other extraterritorial broadband markets (France, Germany), a relatively small and concentrated market. It clearly raises the spectre of a second wholesale player in access, and will further pressurize the poorly performing Orange to either up its game or get out of town.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Catch-up post from Berlin

Life goes on outside the Berlin ICC venue, even if what is going on inside isn't necessarily as exciting as I have found it in the past. Here's a few interesting items, by way of catching up.

Back in the UK, my cyberfreund Keith has been on a tear, revealing some interesting ingredients in Carphone Warehouse's broadband "roll-out" (single 100Mbps circuits from the exchanges? - no wonder he's getting such dismal throughput). He also has a nice piece on Sky, which matches many of my own views, which I was unable to write up due to work commitments. In particular, I agree the broadband roll-out contrast with Carphone Warehouse is pretty stark, much smaller in scope, but better in quality, with 88% unbundled - this is the difference between poorly-resourced land-grab effort and incremental service targeted at an existing adjacent user base. (Point of clarification - the numbers reported by Sky do not include the legacy Easynet/UK Online subs.)

A Palladium Club mega-uber value reader alerts me to an important announcement coming out of the Broadband Cities conference in Stockholm tomorrow. INEC is to announce an international declaration on open networks, including the following statement:

"Communities deserve to have open, high bandwidth infrastructures which are operator-neutral and able to satisfy current demand as well as meet the requirements of the future in terms of both the quantity and quality of information exchange."

Signatories to the declaration include: the municipality of Seltjarnarnes, Iceland; City of Stockholm; City of Amsterdam;, the mayor of one city involved in the UTOPIA project; Multimedia Super Corridor of Malaysia; PortoDigital of Brazil, and the City of Almere, the Netherlands. The Declaration has also been formally endorsed by the Dutch foundation 'Stedenlink' (CityLink) – directly representing 13 Dutch cities, among them: Rotterdam, The Hague, Arnhem, Enschedé and Eindhoven.

I think this is both very exciting and very significant news for anyone tracking the mounting tension between the "broadband market" and broadband as a lever of public policy. Here we have both highly-penetrated broadband markets in affluent countries, as well as initiatives in "emerging" economies, joining hands to say that what they're getting today from the market will not deliver the connectivity essential for where they hope to go in future. I think this is the broadband equivalent of "the shot heard round the world."

Here in Berlin, talking about the move from command and control culture to openness (at least that's what I was talking about), we today have another example from Adobe, which has announced the open-sourcing of its Flash scripting engine into a Mozilla project called Tamarin. This is massive.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tomorrow belongs to T

UPDATE: I think I might have confused some people - this is tongue in cheek, a pun on the song title, "Tomorrow belongs to me," from Cabaret, which was set in Berlin, where I am now.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Found in the clouds

Just received a press release about a new visual "find engine" from Quintura. Enter a search query and it produces a relevant tag-cloud, with more standard text-based results below. One really supercool thing is that if you move your cursor over results in the tag-cloud and hover for a couple of seconds, you will see the associated tags change, as well as the textual results below, without having to do any clicking. The same principle applies for the image search function. Russian innovation at its very mega-bolshoi best.

Call for views/data

I am in the early stages of collaborating on a research project with a very smart, but currently anonymous person. One bit of information would be of tremendous value to us, and as I know that a high proportion of this blog's readership derives from the industry itself, I would like to appeal for some assistance. The question is:

What part of your cash cost base relates directly to what we might term the service plane? Forget about call centers, billing, sales and marketing, etc. What proportion of your cash cost base do you estimate directly relates to allowing customers to connect and communicate?

Any assistance would, of course, be treated confidentially and very highly appreciated. However, we'd like, if possible, to focus on informed opinions or highly educated guesses rather than speculation.

Many thanks!

Breathing room

A mega-uber value reader responded to my post on the carbon footprint of the conference industry by pointing me to this amazing site, Breathing Earth.

Telling it like it is

Excellent presentation from the representative of Delft University, which seems to have shaken the Regulators up a bit. He's a P2P research and development person, so many of his views are probably pretty unpalatable to people with a conventional view of the "telecom industry." His straw poll of the audience seemed to determine that only two people in the room were familiar with the concept "mash-up." Oh dear, let's get on up that learning curve. My favorite observation was that the current leader in HDTV programming is, of course, P2P networks. Check out this graph from the excellent Plusnet customer information site, which gives a clear illustration, if one were needed.

Webcast reminder

Just a reminder not to miss the Future of Telecoms Regulation webcast, which should start in 20 minutes here.

Expanding ecosystem

I'm pleased to report that the universe of European telecom blogs seems to be expanding rapidly. Today I stumbled across Vienna Calling!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oslo take-down

My cyberfreund Keith McMahon has some interesting thoughts on Telenor, which he presents here. I hope the team at SeekingAlpha is reading this, because it's right up your street, and once again demonstrates how the opinions of the frank, uninhibited and well-informed blogger can potentially put the brokers on the back foot. Only three out of 30 brokers have negative ratings on Telenor (I am one of them), and my suspicion is that the sell-side is glad to have a rare bit of strong performance from a sector which has been out of favor for years, and is milking it for all it's worth. True, Keith is not going head to head with the brokers - he doesn't have forecasts and doesn't spend two pages talking about scintillating topics like working capital or cash tax - but he does highlight some risk factors which are worthy of attention, especially after such a strong run this year. In particular I like the risk score he derives by weighting group revenue contribution by country according to the corruption ratings issued by Transparency International - then again, I would like it, as I am the "anonymous" collaborator he alludes to.