The Regulator and the onset of madness

Written by on June 22, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

Cure for Stupidity - Blister Pack Tablets.We live in hope. We have lived in the hope that telecoms operators would break free from network thinking and journey to the land of innovation. We convinced ourselves that operators would not become utilities or – in our own depressing term – ‘bit pipes.’ We hoped that Regulator would understand and would lighten – or ignore – regulation and help our industry partners remain competitive.

And yet it seems that both operators and regulators are succeeding in making operators into utilitarian bit pipes.

Sure, there are new competitors. SMS and voice revenues are declining as SMS and voice are commodities. Data is going the same way. And yet, in response, operators do not innovate but form committees – sometimes called Innovation Committees – to design their defence against messaging apps. They call them Rich Communications Suites and take seven years to be nearly ready to launch. The world, in the meantime moves on, and very fast. The culture within operators remains where it was.

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

Meanwhile, the Regulator, mumbling things like ‘level playing field’ and ‘where’s my pension’ decides that it is OK to fine one the world’s major telecoms operators $100 million for managing its network capacity. Not surprisingly, AT&T, is about to invest billions of dollars in networks so that ‘data hooligans’ can abuse them, and it is not happy.

Imagine owning a bar. Imagine a couple of people come in every Friday night, drink themselves silly during Happy Hour and then set about breaking the furniture. And imagine the police telling you that not only do you have to let them continue to do this, but you have to replace the furniture by the following Friday.

What actually happens is that you ban them.

Yet, this is exactly what Net Neutrality seems to be doing to companies that are already struggling to compete in a race where they find themselves, at the age of fifty something, competing with twenty year olds. And the referee says that not only must they compete but they should maintain the track to certain standards.

This, by the way, is not limited to the fine people at the FCC – Europe and other parts of the world are definitely included.

Net neutrality is a madness and everyone seems to be able to see it, except the Regulator.

Just saying.

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Alex Leslie

About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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