Having worked in the telecoms industry for longer than I care to remember I have been privy to much of the hype that has surrounded technologies, services and platforms. My personal favourite was the marketing image constructed around WAP – particularly the high tech individuals surfing the WAP-powered internet. This fantasy, seen in multiple campaigns, was particularly deceptive when the actual experience of using WAP was more like watching a glacier melting.
The much vaunted battle between the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire (HD) and iPad Mini in the sub 8inch tablet market has been ongoing in the press with a number of impassioned views expressed for each side – although the zealot quotient is particularly strong in the iPad corner.
Having developed models and published forecasts for some time I am often intrigued by the way people read information. For some reading and interpreting data is a simple task but for many of us it is an impenetrable mist punctuated by mysterious terms like multi-point regression, Gompertz and sigmoid functions. Within such an environment forecasting begins to live up to its reputation as a dark art.
In a recent interview request I was asked to comment on the demand from Indonesian Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring to remove roaming fees between ASEAN countries.
The focus was on two questions: Do you think it would be possible for Asean to become a free roaming region? And if so Why? And what steps need to be taken for Asean’s telcos to agree to a no roaming fee agreement?
As communication, entertainment and even working processes draw closer it is clear that the consensus of what is driving convergence needs to be reappraised.
Pursuant to my role as a senior analyst within the mobile operator strategy team at Informa I constantly consider market opportunities and strategies in which new services are brought to market. In this position it has become clear to me that the idea of convergence as a standalone concept has grown to the point that one can no longer consider it a single approach. Such an approach risks ineffectually conveying all the points of complexity involved with it.
European regulation has become something of a poster child for legislators around the world with the overall character of regulation heavily influenced by the EU experience. This replication has manifested itself in the increasingly resolute attitude regulators are taking to roaming regulation around the globe.
European operators will face a challenging time ahead as Western Europe is overwhelmed by strict EU regulations, with the price of voice calls falling by 46 per cent and data roaming services cut from average costs of around $4 to just $0.26 by 2014.
The success of mobile communication within the African continent is a given, penetration has grown from just over 20 per cent to over 60 per cent in less than five years, but the region suffers some of the highest IOT rates in the world. These rates are now beginning to rise as European operators suffering under EU regulation pass on the pain of price capping and cuts hiking IOT rates for international partners.
At the recent Roaming World Congress hosted by IIR an animated panel session highlighted a number of challenges and opportunities imminent in the forthcoming London Olympics. These Olympics have been heralded as a major opportunity for medals to be won and sport to be celebrated but there are also a number of reasons to celebrate the games as a major driver for mobile roaming.
Knowing some pain is coming does not always reduce the impact when it comes, ask anyone growing up in the pre-health and safety school playground of the 1980’s were entertainment revolved around activities any marauding Viking would be proud of. The sense of impending doom coming whenever the break-time bell rang is most likely the way European operators had been feeling in the run up to the May 10th meeting to agree the final details of Roaming III. However there are strategies one can use to reduce pain for particular ailments and the current analgesic for regualtory price capping is bundling.
The opportunity for roaming in Africa is tied to the available audience which is limited by factors that include the available audience for such services based on national expenditures and the GDP PPP of would-be roamers and travel patterns in the region. On the positive-side Africa’s roamers are biased toward enterprise users who generally have higher expendable incomes and greater resistance to price fluctuations (price inelastic).