Thursday, December 25, 2008

Season's Greetings

Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2009 (though, if we're honest, I think we all know it's going to suck, barring some intervention from a benevolent advanced alien race)! EuroTelcoblog will be embarking on its 2008 North American Roadshow from 27th December, which in practice means an extended engagement in Memphis, Tennessee, with minimal to nil posting. I know of one amazing story which may break during my absence, so if I miss it, I miss it - but it's a good one. Anyway, back in service on 7th January. All the best until then. God bless us, every one! 

Friday, December 19, 2008

FTTP = Fiber to the People

I've been suffering blogger's block recently, partly just busy with other things, and partly desperately in search of some positive news to restore a sense of Christmas cheer. I just got a press release (not yet on the site) from my friends at City Telecom in Hong Kong, alerting me to the fact that the company is going to sponsor 25Mbps service for two years for 1,000 underprivileged families with school-age kids. Thinking about some of the appalling telco PR fumbles of the past, I'd just like to say well done folks, this is how it's done. Merry FTTX-mas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday shock and awe, again

Well, it's a grey and dismal Friday afternoon in London, and the shelves are most definitely half empty. No shortage of surprising, shocking and ridiculous news, so why not dive straight in?

Too bad Nortel's not an American company, because then it might have a decent crack at some TARP funds. Perhaps an emergency merger of the US and Canada can be arranged over the weekend to allow this - hey, rules were meant to be bent. 

Alcalu says, "I ain't going out like that," and brandishes its Web 2.0 credentials, threatening to escalate to Web 3.0 if necessary. Oh, and they're going to fire, sorry, I guess that's "de-friend" in Web 2.0 parlance, 6,000 people just in case. I hope this Web x.0 escalation meme doesn't catch on, because if Cisco gets onboard, we could very soon find ourselves stuck right in the middle of Web 9.0 by next weekend, and Huawei will always promise 10x more Web x.0 for half the price. It's a slippery slope. 

(Meanwhile Ben Verwaayen has issued a friend request and superpoke to Gabrielle Gauthey of ARCEP. All joking aside, she was gracious enough to give me a private meeting at her office back in 2007, and I found her to be hugely impressive. To say she is well-regarded and connected is an epic understatement, and if Lucatel is in search of people of substance, they would struggle to do better.)

Different day, same old cable stress. Will we see the formation of CARP?

Nobody can lose $50bn like "The Ponz." 

I guess I could keep going, but it's Friday for God's sake, there's got to be some good news somewhere, and indeed I have precisely two items:
  • In a time of eroding corporate earnings, Netia in Poland has today increased guidance for the year, which means more cash.
  • My friend Thomas Anglero at WiHood gave me an exclusive demo of the alpha version of WiHood Mobile. I can't really say any more, but I was extremely impressed. No doubt all will be revealed in due course. 

Now, go home and have a good weekend. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Virtual bedtime story - 10th December

Apologies for the dearth of posts, I have been otherwise engaged. Anyway, as you prepare for your slumber, here are a few of the interesting things which I have happened to notice through the fog:

Oh, to be in Switzerland, now that fiber has come...

The EC welcomes EC2...

The mother of all self-destruction. I continue to be in disbelief that anyone could have expected to get away with deception on this scale. Even more quizzical is the choice of name for the property venture. As far as I know, Kandahar is an inhospitable place where interlopers typically get blown to bits. Actually, maybe the name is appropriate.

How to serve advertising to people who are hellbent on avoiding it. 

Do you believe in reincarnation? I do

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Only 21 more shopping days left!

Recessionary Christmas
Originally uploaded by jimiinc
From the latest Equifax consumer survey:

"Following the Bank of England rate cut at the beginning of the month, 10% of those who responded to the Equifax survey said they planned to use the savings on their mortgage to pay off other debts and 11% planned to put the saving towards day to day living expenses. 4% said they planned to put the saving made on their mortgage back into their own savings. However, only 2 respondents planned to use the extra cash for Christmas gifts and celebrations."

Virtual afternoon tea - 3rd December


Apologies for the lack of structured posts, but I've got to focus on topping up the Christmas Club account... 

Here's another snapshot from the inner circle of hell - the iTraxx Europe Crossover moving above 1000. Without going into the tedious details, this is a proxy for the perceived creditworthiness of a basket of 50 sub-investment grade companies, which is reshuffled every six months. As we're talking here about spreads on credit default swaps, the higher the number, the uglier the picture - and 1,000 is a very high number. But the equity market is having a quiet rally...

A friend alerts me to a chilling montage of videos of Peter Schiff - it's quite edifying in hindsight to see the derision with which his predictions were received at the time, though it's all common knowledge today. I particularly like the commentator who touts Merrill Lynch at $76... 

Currently working on a report on how telco assets can be best utilized in advertising and marketing, I happened to stumble across this little snippet of AT&T thinking outside the call-box. It's not particularly relevant to what I'm working on, but I found it oddly refreshing.

Seeing Carlyle's Hawaiian black eye brings to mind a conversation I had recently with a friend in the more mainstream telecom consulting world, who intimated that he is seeing more interest from PE backers of telco/cable assets. My reading, and only my reading, was that the backers are now expecting to be running these companies for longer than they originally thought, which I think is a safe assumption.