InCode's top 10: Neutrality anxiety, backhaul issues

Kate Gerwig
14 Dec 2009
00:00
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Telecom industry predictions for 2010 are popping up all over, but strategic business and telecom technology consulting firm inCode has let loose an astute annual take on its top 10 telecom industry predictions that identify emerging network, device, application and business trends that will affect carriers and their consumer and enterprise customers.

As we get closer to 2012, the word "predictions" produces search results about the end of the world, Nostradamus, tsunamis, earthquakes and World War III. Although inCode's predictions don't go quite that far, the looming death of the smartphone is on this year's prediction list. Then there are industry-rocking issues like the increasing difficulty of measuring average revenue per user (ARPU) in the traditional sense, what to do with all of that 4G data to backhaul, and how netbooks are driving carriers to embrace the IT side of the business with different support issue. These are all on an insider's tsunami list.

"This year's list looks quite a bit different due to cloud computing, video and wireless data pricing trends," said Jorge Fuenzalida, inCode's vice president and general manager. "But some are generational and crop up again and again." As for inCode's self-proclaimed accuracy rate, it's about 80%. Check out inCode's top 10 pain points and opportunities, and figure out which eight of 10 telecom industry predictions might become your reality.

Wireless operators push netbooks -- a mixed bag Users expect seamless synchronization among features such as contact lists for all their wireless devices. Operators will need to spend significantly to develop these capabilities or outsource them to prevent consumer backlash.

Net neutrality: Unsatisfactory outcome for everyone
Debate on Net neutrality rules continues, and FCC efforts to reach a compromise bog down for many months. The potential imposition of net neutrality in wireless already has had a chilling effect on spectrum auctions and rural broadband stimulus participation. "The carriers have a very different perspective than the FCC because they have bid billions of dollars for spectrum, so carriers want to have some market power to offer different gradations," Fuenzalida said. Ultimately, the FCC will reach a compromise between network reliability and innovation that satisfies no one. Operators will need to find ways to gain traction in an environment encouraging more over-the-top (OTT) services.

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