Technology Forecast: The end of Telco’s.
Predicting technological change and the end of a whole business type is bold and predictably wrong. In this vain, I predict the end of telecom companies, both landline and mobile based, within a very short period. In years, not decades.
If you look at the stock exchanges of the world, you will quickly notice that the top companies in every national index include telecommunications companies. In the UK it’s Vodafone and British Telecom. In Europe, Orange, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Telia, etc. In the US, Verizon and AT&T. Every country has their national telco, often now publicly owned.
Facebook recently announced they will launch a satellite over Africa to bring the internet to remote communities (BBC article). Google has already invested $1Billion in SpaceX, with the aim of launching micro-satelittes.
If Apple, Google or Facebook bought Iridium or Inmarsat (market capitalizations, respectively of US$650M & $6.5B), they could instantly deliver telephony – voice and data – to anywhere on the planet. They will either do this, or they will launch their own satellites.
The telephone has already become a function, a mere app on a smartphone. Why do you need a service provider limited to national boundaries and excessive roaming charges?
What role in the future for Vodafone, Telefonica, Verizon, etc? Absolutely nothing. Their days of providing poor service to customers are over. Their reason to exist is evaporating. I predict the end of telco’s as we know them. Internet access and telephony anywhere on the planet has been available for a longtime. Now we have companies that are big enough to kill off national telco’s and provide a global service.
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