Two weeks ago I found, as a guest post at GigaOM, an interesting article from STL Partners on the future of broadband. While I disagree on a few points, it does bring some fresh ideas about the evolution of telcos:
– Wholesale. Increasingly important model as we see in wireless with MVNOs reselling capacity from operators. New application service providers could be envisioned to re-sell connectivity as part of a Service, like high-def video streaming with some QoS assurance on top of the basic package. “Postage and packing included” models will proliferate, like the Amazon Kindle, where Amazon pays for the EVDO service on behalf of the end-user.
– Two-side business model. Service providers will monetize revenues from new sources, like: advertisement, e-commerce or access to user profiles, location and presence.
– The control of the Home Network. What is simple for techies and early adopters it is still too complex for the mainstream. Telcos are in a privileged position to manage the home network for their customers and make life easy for their mainstream users.
– Virtual Networks overlaid on Internet. Broadband Service Providers can offer best-effort Internet as a standard package to comply with net-neutrality issues, and still deploy overlay networks with a guaranteed QoS for bandwidth demanding or sophisticated usages: Hi-Def Videoconferencing, Hi-Def live events broadcast, etc. This overlay networks could be provided from the telco as a wholesale for Applications providers to re-sell it bundled with their Service.
Where I disagree with STL Partners article is in the inability of telcos so sell applications or media content. IPTV and Mobile TV are in their infancy yet, and operators are still learning. Many telcos have launched successful services, like Telefonica Imagenio (IPTV), AT&T U-verse (IPTV), KDDI Lismo (Music) or Telstra Mobile TV, that demonstrate how user experience in content services can be improved through technology, and this is something telcos do master.