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July 13, 2017

Some disruptors create the markets of the future because they bring new business models which revolutionize markets and harness new technology.

Other disruptors play a game which is a race to the bottom. They engage in a cut throat price war which sends everyone else to the wall, and they are among the last men standing. It’s a game of corporate Darwinism, not digital disruption in a positive sense.

Looking at India’s telecoms industry, I’m thinking that Reliance Jo is in the second category.

In the pursuit market supremacy, Jio has engaged in a price war which is... MORE

June 26, 2017

China is Australia’s major business partner and the value of its currency rises and falls almost in line with the price of the iron ore and coal which it sells.

The Port of Darwin is owned by Chinese business interests, and Chinese investors are major players in almost every sector of Australian business life from residential and commercial property to mining.

One area that the relationship does not penetrate is, inexplicably, telecommunications and IT.

While neighboring New Zealand has been a happy hunting ground for Huawei, where the company has built networks and... MORE

June 06, 2017

A longtime friend and former colleague received an angry email blast from his boss the other day.

What was interesting to me about this was not that it was totally unjustified and outrageous (my friend is a champion), but that his boss had written and sent the email from a business class seat in a plane flying over the Persian Gulf.

Once upon a time, and not so long ago, such connectivity was unthinkable. International airline flights were disconnected zones where emails might have been written, but not sent. 

For many of us, they were a refuge from the... MORE

April 05, 2017

India. What a great place to be a retail telecoms customer right now.

Serial disruptor Reliance Jio has upped the ante yet again and extended its Prime membership deadline until April 15, as well as extending its three-for-one month offer of data services.

Having already undercut the competition several times already with its VoLTE handset deals, Jio says it now has 72 million Prime customers, well above the 50 million most projected, and some analysts believe its going to go as high as 83 million by next year.

This is a huge bet by Jio, which is leaving at least $... MORE

March 22, 2017

If I had looked at a deal such as the Vodafone-Idea Cellular merger ten years ago, I would have immediately put a tick in most boxes.

Second and third ranked players join forces to become number one, putting distance between themselves and the new rival – Reliance Jio – shaking up the market and snapping at their heels. Tick.

After all, consolidation is the big theme in Indian telecoms. This deal is only the biggest in a string of similar consolidations in a market with too many players, so it makes sense for two plus three to equal one. Another tick.

This is a... MORE

March 06, 2017

Mobile World Congress 2017 showcased a host of innovative gadgets and prompted some major 5G announcements, but in its timing it caught the telecoms industry at an uncertain point in its development.

I went, I saw, I listened and I enjoyed fighting those Zombies with my VR goggles on.

I learnt that “Buffer Face” is a thing, and that the frustration people experience when videos buffer on their smartphones is recognised by the industry as one of the major impediments to the user experience.

I saw innumerable new handsets, all touting themselves as the high point in... MORE

February 16, 2017

2017 isn’t very old yet, judging by any calendar you might use, and industry headlines are full of news about Nokia.

Several years ago you would have expected the brand which began life in a 19th century Finnish pulp mill to join others in the dustbin of history, along with the Symbian operating system used by the once conquering Nokia mobile phones.

It has been a near death experience. If any company can take a $7 billion hit on an investment it is Microsoft, but it’s a matter of record that thousands of jobs were written off back in 2013 when the iPhone ruled the world... MORE

February 09, 2017

The Year of the Monkey was exhausting by almost any criteria. Measured by celebrity deaths, political surprises and global uncertainty, it was right up there.

For the regional telecoms industry it was also pretty turbulent.

All that digital disruption and the erosion of revenues we are seeing in profit results from operators and vendors such as StarHub, Ericsson, Vodafone, Chunghwa and Bharti Airtel. Those consequences have been evident in a slew of results over the CNY break.

Executives at those companies might not be followers of the Chinese Zodiac, but we can be... MORE