TheTelecomblog’s Top Five Posts for November 2011

by Jeff Wiener on December 5, 2011

1. The Battle for Control of our Technological Future

As history has shown us, today’s technology, telecommunication, and mobile success stories could soon be tomorrow’s flops, their current domination saying nothing about their ability to continue their momentum into the future. Thinking about this trend I began to wonder, what will the technology market look like in 2050?

Will Apple be able to continue its market dominance? Will Microsoft emerge as a true mobile competitor or simply fade away? Will Google continue its Android success, or will its disparate focus lead the company astray? Will Facebook morph into some SkyNet-like project that ends up controlling the entire world?

Who will win the fight for the technological dominance of our future?

2. Telecom Complaints Double In a Year, That’s what ‘Healthy Competition’ is all About?

When studying Economics there’s one primary lesson ingrained in every student’s head: Competition leads to high-quality products and services, thriving innovation, reduced prices and last but not the least – improved customer service. Although I’ve applied the same rule with great success in a number of industries, the Canadian wireless segment continues to defy my hard-earned conventional wisdom.

Despite several new players joining the fray last year and the so-called ‘cut throat’ competition in the Canadian wireless market, one thing hasn’t changed – the number of customer complaints continues to rise exponentially with every passing year. In fact, complaints from Canadians about their telecom (mostly wireless) services more than doubled in a year.

3. No End in Sight: RIM’s Troubles Continue

Optimists have tried to suggest that Waterloo’s Research in Motion may be ready to put the last six months behind it. A few unacceptable quarters, listless sales and trouble transitioning to BBX have all helped RIM’s reputation weaken over the last while, but some glass-half-full folks have argued that the company can and will recover.

But with JMP Securities downgrading RIM, with a resultant 5% dip in stocks, and RBC Capital Markets’ Mike Abramsky cutting his per share profit estimate to $1.20 from $1.28, setting a share price target of $23 (down from $29) the trouble is that the odds continue to be stacked against RIM.

4. Spectrum Blues: Wind Mobile Threatens Boycott

The Canadian wireless spectrum auction circus is now in full swing. The drama officially began in March when the CRTC announced the deadline for submissions to Industry Canada as to how to handle the event. Back then perhaps the most pressing question facing Industry Minister Tony Clement about this whole thing was whether or not he should be setting aside spectrum for the new entrants.

While the new entrants have been requesting the Government to set aside a portion of the 700 MHz, the Big Three have been lobbying to preserve their vested interests. As things stand, the battle for “beachfront” property of the airwaves in the upcoming wireless spectrum auction is getting uglier with time.

5. AT&T Faces FCC Opposition

It would be an understatement to say that the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger has been unpopular. While its clear that AT&T was supremely confident in its chances of getting the deal approved, going so far as to agree to pay T-Mobile $3 billion if the deal fell through in addition to promising several billion in assets and spectrum, it wasn’t long before the voices of opposition starting the seemingly endless stream of lawsuits.

Now, already reeling from the news that the Department of Justice is pursuing legal action to block its intended merger with T-Mobile, AT&T may have received the knock-down blow as FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski officially weighed in on the controversy, stating that the merger is not in the public’s interest and should be voted down.

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