Paradigm Changes: Communications Networks I

The biz has shifted from selling phones to selling interconnection and now is going back to selling phones.

1. From Phones to Network to Services

Once upon a time, in 1874, you would buy a couple of phones and you will look for someone who would lay the required wires to connect them. Not very practical indeed, so it doesn’t come to a surprise that in just a few years the telecom biz got tipsy turvy and started by deploying cables and you had to pay to connect to them. The phone originally was provided to you by the Telecom Operator (for free or at a subscription cost) and more recently, in the last 30 years, you could buy your own phone and connect it to the fixed line or wirelessly still paying for the use of the lines. 

Even today, the telecommunications biz is network infrastructure based and whoever controls the network sets the contractual obligation to its access. However, in the last fifteen years we have seen that digitalisation has led to a progressive decoupling of the services from the network. The services have started to be provided by third parties that did not own, control the network.  Notice that this is a process that started back in the 1980ies in the analog era with the fax.

Still cited the clash between fax producers and Telecom Operators, the former demanding the right to plug in their terminals and provide the fax services, the latter trying to stop this since “any service has to be provided by the network and is an integral and not divisible part of the network itself”.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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