The twilight of the telco dinosaurs

Facebook made a bold move to acquire WhatsApp (See article)  This was to be expected sooner of later. In the last five years, all that the  major carriers  did was what ? deploy 3G, 4G ? Yeah, yeah. The moment when  $0 wifi  will be everywhere, that day the mobile carriers will be out of business. Yes, you’ve read it right.  

What are the services offered by major carriers during the last five years ? unlimlited SMS, unlimited MMS and a big chunk of voice communications. That’s all. Sorry to tell, but today, every 8 out of 10  under 30 uses social means of communication on a more that frequently basis. What does this mean ? It means that each time a new  alternative  appears, it will get to the masses. A major  telco is still limited by the size of its own PLMN. That means it cannot reach more than say  100 million customers and that is for the big players. The smaller ones are in for 50 million customers.  That’s all. Compare that with half a billion users most social networks have conquered in a few years and you’ll see the big picture. The top 10 mobile operators have invested jointly 1 trillion dollars in their own networks. And that has allowed sharks like facebook to gain access to hundreds of millions of users, because they are sitting on the shoulders of the giants. Usually, the credit goes to the one they stays visible most of the time. Who is more visible ? Facebook or Vodafone ? WhatsApp or Telefonica. Twitter or  that dinosaur I don’t even remember the name ?

Did big telcos shoot in their legs ? I think they did. Will they survive ? It is likely to see in a few years many a telecom company bought by a dotcom 3.0 startup.   

Anyway, like one movie character said , this is very sad. But life goes on.


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