Sky has entered the UK mobile market with a SIM-only deal that allows data allowances to roll over each month, and offers free calls to the 11 million British households that buy its telly services.
The broadcaster said that it was “time to shake up” the mobile market, particularly in data, where many customers paid for more than they used because they were worried about exceeding their allowance, the pay TV group said .
Sky is the last of Britain’s big four broadband providers to offer mobile to its customers, giving it the full “quad play” offer, which also includes TV and fixed-line telecoms.
Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s UK and Ireland chief executive, said the company had asked more than 30,000 potential customers what they wanted from a mobile service, and more flexibility on data was top of the list.
“We’ve designed it based on what people told us they want – it’s easy, flexible and transparent and it puts the customer in control,” he said
Sky is also piggybacking on the O2 network, although it will issue its own SIM cards and handle all parts of the customer relationship.
Mobile customers will not receive a combined bill for all Sky services, however, as the company said customers preferred to keep an individual relationship with their mobile provider.
Sky is offering three packages of 1GB, 3GB and 5GB of data a month priced at 10 pounds, 15 pounds and 20 pounds, respectively, with free calls and texts for its TV customers.
China and the European Union have decided to bury the hatchet over subsidies made to telecoms giant Huawei and others.
The EU was worried that the government of China was subsidising Huawei and ZTE, so threatening European vendors’ ability to compete.
But, reports Reuters, EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said the telecoms matter has now been resolved.
De Gucht said that the EU takes every opportunity “to level out the playing field” for European vendors.
Both China and the European Union are expected to hammer out a free trade deal in the near future.
Huawei was started by a former member of the Chinese PLA. It has come under repeated criticism in the USA because of fears by some politicians that its gear is embedded in American infrastructure.
Private equity outfit Silver Lake wants to sell IPC Systems which makes communication systems for Wall Street traders.
It will be the end of one of Silver Lake’s longest-held investments and the outfit bought IPC from Goldman Sachs Group private equity arm in 2006 for $800 million. Ironically it has hired Goldman and Evercore Partners to auction IPC off.
IPC makes about $160 million a year and could be valued at more than $1.4 billion in a sale, including debt. It makes specialised telephony systems for financial institutions ranging from investment banks to hedge funds. It is present in 5,000 customer sites in more than 60 countries.
IPC could be become a little more of a risky investment as the outfit seeks faster growth in sales of data and network services to financial services customers. These services are highly commoditized and IPC’s competitors in this area have more dosh to fight the upstart.
In August, IPC announced it had named Neil Barua, a Silver Lake operating partner and interim chief executive of IPC since February, as its permanent CEO.
Private equity funds typically hold companies three to seven years, making Silver Lake’s ownership of IPC for more than eight years unusual.
Silver Lake also wants to get rid of another financial technology company this year – the high-frequency trading outfit Virtu Financial.
Worldwide revenues for the telecoms industry are expected to stay mostly flat over the coming years, according to a report.
A deep decline in spending on voice services will be offset by growth in mobile and fixed broadband data services, according to analyst house Ovum. Total telco IT spending is expected to reach US$60 billion in 2017, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.6 percent between now and then. It will be emerging markets such as APAC, Middle East and Africa, and South and Central America that will drive top spending.
For North America, it’s predicted spending will run a CAGR of 0.8 percent to hit $17.5 billion by 2017.
Telcos will have to get their thinking caps on about tariffs and services to build revenues over the next five years. LTE, network optimisation and “creative” approaches to partnerships will become ways for businesses to save cash, according to report author Shagun Bali.
“Telcos need to monetise new business models, leverage customer data by investing in analytics, and define their response to over-the-top players,” Bali said.
Ovum has mapped the overall trend as reducing internal IT spending while increasing spending on external IT projects. Telcos will have to outsource maintenance of legacy systems, and make use of trusted partners that can provide expertise in segments such as big data analytics.
“The combination of middling profits, high capital requirements, high risk, and uncertain economic growth requires telcos to place their bets carefully, including investing in growing revenue streams and managing customer experience more than ever before,” Bali said. “The result is increased opportunities for the IT industry. In the long term, telcos will place more focus than they have before on software to drive innovation”.
While us Brits may shake our fists cursing at the telecom industry at large – swearing one day we’ll move to GiffGaff – in Latin America, telecoms is doing a world of good economically and socially, at least according to a report from industry analyst Ovum.
Ovum which has joined AHCIET to publish the AHCIET-Ovum Observatory of Telecoms Indicators in Latin America – or AOOTILA for short. As much of the world sank into economic doldrums in 2008, from then up to 2011 there has been overall growth in fixed and mobile internet connections by 72 and 41 percent respectively, according to the report.
Jobs, too, have enjoyed significant growth throughout the region. Workers employed by operators have increased by almost 60 percent – marking almost a quarter of a million jobs. Brazil and Nicaragua saw their telco workforce double, and Guetamala almost managed the same.
Telecom companies are increasing their capital investment – at roughly 28 percent overall- because they’re focusing on deploying access infrastructure. Without the correct infrastructure they are missing a trick on selling digital services, so it’s in their best interest.
In 2009, a year on from the onset of the global recession, Ovum noted that growing demand for fixed and mobile broadband has meant continuously strong investment – while capex grew by 28 percent on average to pass $22 trillion in 2011. Falling prices of entry level tariffs are helping to boost connectivity, too.
AHCIET secretary general Pablo Bello said that telcos are emerging in their influence and they do have a role to play in tackling poverty.
“It is time for countries to seriously consider how much faster we could close the digital divide and remove the regulatory moorings that are still hindering telecoms growth and equitable access to advanced services,” Bello said. “Our hard data shows that countries which have made the most progress are those where key players recognise the need for public-private cooperation with convergent public policies, regulations and taxation that encourage investment”.
“There are no magic spells to close the digital divide,” Bello said. “The key is to invest intensively in next-generation access networks and to educate on the sophisticated uses of digital connectivity, a challenge facing all participants”.