Friday, November 17, 2006

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.

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