Telecommunications

This section covers all the strategic, regulatory and political issues in relation to the overall telecommunications market – both national and international issues. It discusses business and investment models and strategic market and industry developments.

Interplanetary Internet

We had a very interesting presentation and discussion regarding the topic of interplanetary internet with my international colleagues of which Vint Cerf – one of the “fathers of the internet” – is also a member. As a partner of the Interplanetary Networking Special Interest Group (IPNSIG), he took us on a journey that he has …

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Unveiling T25, Telstra’s vision of its future.

In September 2021, Telstra CEO Andy Penn revealed the company’s plan for the next four years, unveiling T25 — the next tranche of T22, which is part of an ongoing transformation of the telco. This is the company’s strategic program aimed at leading the Australian telecommunications market by simplifying its operations and product set, improving …

Unveiling T25, Telstra’s vision of its future. Read More »

C-V2X standard for autonomous vehicle services

Around 20 years ago, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in the USA allocated 75 MHz (5.85-5.925 GHz) to Intelligent Transportation Systems. This led to the dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) standard, 802.11p, which is a tweak of 802.11a. Approximately zero cars adopted it. There were demo projects and some roadside units were built, but it never …

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Global developments in broadband

High-speed fibre overtakes DSL as OECD countries add 21 million fixed broadband connections in pandemic year High-speed fibre Internet subscriptions surpassed copper-wire DSL connections across OECD countries for the first time in 2020 as the need to move work and home life activities online during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a record 21.15 million new …

Global developments in broadband Read More »

Vale Professor Reg Coutts

By Ben Grubb in InnovationAus In 2008, Professor Coutts was appointed by then-communications minister Stephen Conroy as one of six members of a panel of experts to assess proposals to build the NBN and to advise the government on the awarding of a $4.7 billion contract to part-fund its construction. The panel eventually rejected all …

Vale Professor Reg Coutts Read More »

Satellite another tool in the fight against Covid

Over the last few decades of an increasingly well-connected world, the use of data to assist us in managing the many complex issues that we as a global society are facing has become more and more important. We have seen this in the IPCC report on climate change, which uses massive amounts of data that …

Satellite another tool in the fight against Covid Read More »

Broadband Developments in the South Pacific

The Australian Government together with Telstra have made a $2 billion offer for the Digicel telco assets in the South Pacific.  The Irish company is one of the largest mobile operators in island nations in both the Caribbean and the South Pacific. It is facing financial difficulties because of the drop in revenues from tourists …

Broadband Developments in the South Pacific Read More »

The ACCC is worried we will use the NBN too much.

Recently, IT was reported that a new Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Commissioner, Anna Brakey, said: We have got an opportunity to have a look at the regulatory framework and to make sure, that we efficiently use the NBN. If we set prices too low, there would be overuse of the NBN. And as …

The ACCC is worried we will use the NBN too much. Read More »

Challenging telecoms conditions for the Northern Territory

Recently, I visited the Northern Territory. Apart from the occasional business meeting in Darwin, this was my third trip to this amazing part of Australia. I first spent time here in 1988, when I lived for two weeks with the Angatja people in Amata, approximately 100 kilometres south of Uluru. My second trip some 10 …

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Enough is enough ACCC will become involved in the NBN monopoly.

NBN Co has released its plans for the 2021 pricing review consultation process. It is seeking retail service provider (RSP) and broader industry feedback on current and future matters of NBN wholesale pricing. However, in its outline of what will be reviewed, it became clear that the key issues are not on the discussion list. …

Enough is enough ACCC will become involved in the NBN monopoly. Read More »

Are the LEOs going to disrupt the telco market?

We are getting closer to using alternative broadband solutions, offered by international companies. Local telecommunication entities will in this respect be relegated to resellers. The reality of accessing low Earth orbiting satellite (LEO) services is now clearly on the horizon. Most of the telcos as well as governments are not prepared for the potential shock …

Are the LEOs going to disrupt the telco market? Read More »

Telstra restructuring too little too late?

Telstra is finalising its restructuring that we discussed in previous articles here and here. With the restructuring, it very much looks like the focus will shift towards infrastructure rather than digital services — that battle might have been lost. While the Telstra restructuring is heralded as a good move, it is important to put this …

Telstra restructuring too little too late? Read More »

Australian fixed broadband in the international context.

During the past two decade, there have been considerable efforts undertaken by governments and national telecom regulators to ensure that their countries’ economic growth is underpinned by capable broadband infrastructure. The success of national policies has been variable, but the scale of investment and the way the development of fibre infrastructure has been encouraged has …

Australian fixed broadband in the international context. Read More »

Macquarie Group is set to shake up the digital infrastructure market.

A few months ago, I reported on the broader market of which telecommunications infrastructure is a part. I mentioned data centres, cloud computing and data analytics (big data). All together we can perhaps best call this digital infrastructure. While the importance of this merged set of infrastructures will benefit all economies and societies, I recently …

Macquarie Group is set to shake up the digital infrastructure market. Read More »

What will 2021 have install for the ICT industry?

While 2021 will remain a year with lots of uncertainties, at the same we can say that the pandemic has not affected the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in any significant way. Yes, there has been a slowdown, for example, in the sale of smartphones. Shortages in both materials and expertise are slowing the …

What will 2021 have install for the ICT industry? Read More »

The break-up of Telstra: Interesting potential new telecoms scenarios.

For decades, we have basically been conditioned to look at the telecoms market based on the regulatory arrangements that exist around it. The Postmaster-General’s Department (PMG) which became Telecom Australia was a state-owned business that had the monopoly on all telecoms services and was mainly paid for by taxpayers. The market was opened in the …

The break-up of Telstra: Interesting potential new telecoms scenarios. Read More »

Will Infra Co be gamechanger in the telecoms market?

It has taken a long time but it is good to see that Telstra has finally recognised that a significant part of its business is infrastructure. The business model of infrastructure is rather different from that of services. Infrastructure will not necessarily achieve high short-term returns but it will deliver long term very steady returns …

Will Infra Co be gamechanger in the telecoms market? Read More »

Smart Regional Towns – Game changers for reginal and rural Australia

Developments in telecommunications and technology are key to creating more liveable regional centres. At the recent CommsDay Summit, two interesting Low Earth Orbiting Satellites (LEOsat) services were mentioned. . A few months ago I wrote an extensive article on this subject., which provides some global background information on these satellite development. At the conference, Michael …

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NBN battle between the ACCC and the Government

It came as a surprise to many in the telecoms industry as well as in the legal profession that the Government issued a Statement of Expectation (SoE) to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). In my opinion, what this means is that the Government would like the ACCC to facilitate NBN Co to increase …

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Agriculture ICT and travelling in Outback Queensland

In October 2020, I went on a two-week tour into Queensland’s Outback, travelling through various landscapes from pastoral and agricultural lands to savanna and the desert. Leaving Brisbane, past Toowoomba you enter the Darling Downs. This is one of the richest agricultural areas in Australia. It was first explored by British Botanist Alan Cunningham in …

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Vale Brian Perkins

Former AAP Telecommunications executive Brian Perkins has died in Sydney, aged 88. Brian was my mentor in the telecoms industry during the 1990s. I have very fond memories of him, most importantly as a person. He generously shared his understanding of the industry and the many contacts he was able to build up during that …

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Smart cities want to co-design change with Telcos

With 5G earmarked as a game-changer for cities, wireless technologies are already widely deployed by Australia’s leading smart cities. However, cities do not want to be locked into proprietary technology solutions, rather seeing themselves as a platform on which many organisations can build infrastructure, applications and services for the benefit of all citizens and all …

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Internet of Things requires a rethink of business models.

There certainly is a lot of interest in machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and the internet of things (IoT). But what we are seeing is only what is happening on the surface. Most of the M2M activities are taking place unnoticed. For example, most newly produced electronic devices are now all M2M enabled. Over 100 million smart …

Internet of Things requires a rethink of business models. Read More »

Hassle over LEOs

The following article is based on a blog written by my Dutch colleague Fred Kappetijn. We have worked together to present this to you. Every second, 4.5 billion people using computers and other electronic devices send 100,000 gigabytes of information to each other. Around 60% of the world’s population has an internet connection. North America …

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Digital economy essential for regional Australia

Back in the early 1990s, I was a founding board member of Service Providers Action Network (SPAN), which later became part of Communications Alliance. The key aim of this organisation was the promotion of new value-added services that could be provided over the telecommunications network. At this time there was no public internet and we …

Digital economy essential for regional Australia Read More »

Encouraging online lessons from the corona crisis

The players in the telecommunications industry have decisively reacted to the COVID-19 crisis. The NBN is holding up and the company is effectively implementing a range of measures for those who rely on it. Equally, the support from the major telcos and the digital players has been first-class and, where needed, the industry is working …

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Australia leads the South East Asian data centre market

Australia has progressed to now be one of the four major sub-markets for data centres in Asia alongside Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. As data centres become larger and more efficient, new data centres are generally being built in centralised areas, mainly in the larger cities of Sydney and Melbourne, in order to achieve the …

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Monetising solutions for the telcos

Developments in the telecommunications industry and the broader digital economy have opened up many new markets over the last few decades. Telecoms has changed from a more or less standalone, horizontally-organised industry to one that has become a key facilitator in a range of vertical markets. The keyword that is used to indicate that change …

Monetising solutions for the telcos Read More »

NBN Co’s gain is the retailer’s loss

However, as we have heard now for over a year, this has been at the costs of the margins of the retail service providers. NBN Co’s high wholesale prices have squeezed margins for some of them to close to 10%. Companies such as Telstra were used to margins of 30-40%. Without any wholesale infrastructure competition, …

NBN Co’s gain is the retailer’s loss Read More »

The NBN and Net Neutrality

While the network neutrality debate mainly applies in the U.S., it recently flared up in Australia when NBN Co discussed separate pricing regimes for video-based infrastructure. Net neutrality is breached when telecommunication companies provide a preferential pricing regime for companies offering video-based service. This basically creates a two-tiered system: a premium service for those providers …

The NBN and Net Neutrality Read More »

Have we reached ‘Peak Telecom’ and what does this mean for 5G

“Peak telecom” is described as the maximum point of expansion reached by the traditional telecommunications industry before the internet commoditised the industry to a utility pipe. I had to think of this when I read the recent outcomes of the famous Ericsson Consumer Lab survey. The company used the result of the survey to counteract market criticism …

Have we reached ‘Peak Telecom’ and what does this mean for 5G Read More »

Can Macquarie Bank run a niche mobile service?

Macquarie Bank Is  going to launch a mobile product in the telecoms market. This is an interesting development.. It doesn’t happen that often that an investment itself launches a mobile service, to be known as Nu Mobile. Even more remarkable is that it launches a niche mobile service known as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator …

Can Macquarie Bank run a niche mobile service? Read More »

New opportunities to open up the mobile market.

In my various media comments on TPG’s withdrawal from the mobile network market, I commented on the one side that the government’s ban on Huawei was a great excuse for the company to abandon its ambitious infrastructure plans. Building such a new network doesn’t make economic sense, especially within the context of a merger with …

New opportunities to open up the mobile market. Read More »

Happy New Year – The NBN and the Australian Telecoms Year ahead.

I hope that those of you who celebrated Christmas enjoyed being together with families and friends, and that everyone took the opportunity for a break from the everyday world. Happily the holiday season continues so most of us will have a bit more relaxing time ahead. And of course the new year is upon us. …

Happy New Year – The NBN and the Australian Telecoms Year ahead. Read More »

Infratech reality or marketing plot.

Infratech seems to be a new buzzword in our world of technology. It covers the area of convergence  between technology and infrastructure. I have been involved in this market since its early beginnings, some 25 years ago (since the internet became mainstream) and I have seen first-hand how difficult it is to marry the two …

Infratech reality or marketing plot. Read More »

Will 5G trigger smart city PPP collaboration?

As discussed in previous analyses, the arrival of 5G will trigger a totally new development in telecommunications. Not just in relation to better broadband services on mobile phones – it will also generate opportunities for a range of IoT (internet of things) developments that among other projects are grouped together under smart cities (feel free …

Will 5G trigger smart city PPP collaboration? Read More »

What is the future for our mobile network operators?

‘Wireless is just one wire less’ or ‘Wireless is just spectrum wrapped around a  fibre core” The Australian mobile telecommunication industry is continuing to resist structural changes, but the reality is that if they don’t transform, technology will do it for them. We have seen the fixed telecom operators slowly being pushed back into the …

What is the future for our mobile network operators? Read More »

Vocus and TPG continue to challenge Telstra and Optus

TPG Telecom Limited acquired local ISP iiNet. TPG is now Australia’s second-biggest provider of fixed-line broadband in Australia with over 1.7 million customers. Services including voice, internet and data solutions are provided to a customer base ranging from the consumer market through to small and medium enterprises, corporate and government sectors. The company also owns a …

Vocus and TPG continue to challenge Telstra and Optus Read More »

Australia’s top three Telcos face growing competition

Telstra is Australia’s largest telecommunications provider offering a full range of telecom services throughout Australia. The company provides basic access services to most homes and businesses, local and long-distance telephone call services, and mobile and internet services. Wholesale services are also provided to ISPs and RSPs while advertising and subscription television services are provided through subsidiary …

Australia’s top three Telcos face growing competition Read More »

Charles Todd Medal acceptance speech

  This year I have been awarded with the prestigious Charles Todd Medal for Excellence in Communications. The presentation was done by Charles’ great-grandson Barry in the presence of representatives of the telecommunications industry at a luncheon organised by Telsoc.   The Charles Todd Medal The award was established by ATUG (the Australian Telecommunications Users …

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Australia progressing as a major APAC data centre hub

BuddeComm describes ‘big data’ as looking at intelligent outcomes that can be achieved from data collaboration. The most critical issue here is strategic management, rather than technology. Big data has become a vital tool as competition is forcing many companies to transform their organisations from a company-centric approach to a customer-centric one. The fact that …

Australia progressing as a major APAC data centre hub Read More »

The future NBN might look rather different

In all reality it looks like the multi-technology mix (MTM) as it is currently being rolled out by the nbn company is as good as it will get. Some Australians will have an excellent service, especially those on fibre-to-the-home (FttH) and fibre-to-the-curb (FttC) technologies. Others won’t see any difference from the current ADSL services they …

The future NBN might look rather different Read More »

Don’t look at Kenya, look at Sweden.

  A recent article from Bloomberg on the NBN, in which I was also quoted, mentioned that Kenya had faster broadband than Australia. While that was true for a tiny part of that country, most people in Kenya don’t have speeds that high. The Australian Prime Minister jumped on that and ridiculed the Bloomberg comparison. …

Don’t look at Kenya, look at Sweden. Read More »

Upgrading the NBN with G.fast has its limitations

Quite coincidentally, at the same time that G.fast is being discussed in Australia a similar discussion is taking place in the USA; and there is doubt there too about the contribution that G.fast can make to improve the performance of the faltering broadband systems in both countries. G.fast is a band-aid solution that can be …

Upgrading the NBN with G.fast has its limitations Read More »

The end of the Foxtel wars

The announcement of the proposed merger of Foxtel with Fox Sport Australia, combined with Telstra’s agreement to dilute its shareholding in the pay TV operator, paves the way for the end of the Foxtel war between News Corp Australia (formerly News Limited) and Telstra.  The decline in revenue and subscriber numbers will most certainly have …

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Australian National Broadband Network rollout finally gains momentum

Within the market there is a dynamic shift among customers to fibre networks, as this infrastructure is being built out by nbn (NBN Co), the company responsible for the national broadband deployment. Australia’s broadband sector is making improved progress in its migration to a multi-technology the NBN. Growth in the overall number of broadband subscribers …

Australian National Broadband Network rollout finally gains momentum Read More »

IoT network for farmers

Agriculture is forecast to be one of the key industries where the Internet of Things can make a significant contribution to Australia’s future growth and competitiveness. The future of farming is in collecting and analysing big data in order to maximise efficiency, mitigate risk and drive productivity. Connected farmers will be able to monitor and …

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Telecoms infrastructure and digital technologies lead the way

  There are a number of industries leading the current changes brought about by the digital evolution – but none more so than the ICT industry. This sector alone has been transformational in developing the appropriate infrastructure, services and equipment required to underpin our societies of the future. The enormous shift towards digital technologies continues …

Telecoms infrastructure and digital technologies lead the way Read More »

The Next Big Thing

Last week I chaired a number of very well-attended sessions at the Connect Conference in Melbourne. My compliments to the organisers, who had gathered together a range of excellent speakers, very different from the commercially motivated group of speakers who so often feature at commercial conferences. The Plenary Opening session featured Dr Amanda Caples, the …

The Next Big Thing Read More »

Australia’s telco market grows slowly with mobile broadband driving growth

The overall telecoms services revenue reached over $42 billion in 2016, a growth of under 1% for the 12 months to June 2016. The overall market is predicted to grow at a stronger rate in 2017. The strongest growth is coming from the second tier providers, which grew at over 10% during that time period. …

Australia’s telco market grows slowly with mobile broadband driving growth Read More »

Australia progressing as a major APAC data centre hub

BuddeComm describes ‘big data’ as looking at intelligent outcomes that can be achieved from data collaboration. The most critical issue here is strategic management, rather than technology. Big data has become a vital tool as competition is forcing many companies to transform their organisations from a company-centric approach to a customer-centric one. The fact that …

Australia progressing as a major APAC data centre hub Read More »

The state of telecoms competition in Australia

fter the rowdy 1990s and early 00s the dust did settle a bit on the competition problems that continued during that period – more than 20 Inquiries, many court cases and ongoing regulatory corrections. The situation settled down somewhat with the arrival of a new CEO at Telstra, David Thodey in 2006. Subsequent changes to …

The state of telecoms competition in Australia Read More »

Will Telstra be able to create a more affordable alternative to the NBN

If we go back to the early days of the NBN, now more than a decade ago, some of you might recall that from the very first day we have maintained that affordability was more important than the latest technology. I actually said that affordability was THE most important element of an NBN. Subsequent governments …

Will Telstra be able to create a more affordable alternative to the NBN Read More »

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone face increasing threat from 2nd Tier Market

The overall telecoms services revenue reached over $40 billion in 2016, a growth of 2.0% for the 12 months to June 2016. The overall market is predicted to grow more strongly in 2017. The strongest growth is coming from the second tier providers, which grew at over 10% during that time period. The market incumbent …

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone face increasing threat from 2nd Tier Market Read More »

From DSL to FttN, G.FAST, Fttdp, XG-FAST – building the NBN the tortuous way

In September 2016, NBN Co indicated its interest in a technology known as XG.Fast, it is a next level up from the G.Fast technology they started to trial in 2015 and it also needs to be seen in the yet still bigger picture of Fttdp (fibre to the distribution point). The development and deployment of …

From DSL to FttN, G.FAST, Fttdp, XG-FAST – building the NBN the tortuous way Read More »

QUESS and Quantum Communications

In 2016 China launched “QUESS” (Quantum Experiments at Space Scale), a new type of satellite that it hopes will be capable of “quantum communications” which is supposed to be hack-proof, through the use of “quantum entanglement”. This allows the operator to ensure that no one else is listening to your communications by reliably distributing keys …

QUESS and Quantum Communications Read More »

Flawed NBN structure undermines competition

Bevan Slattery’s scathing attack on ACCC boss Rod Sims in CommsDay might be a reflection of the attacker’s towering personality but he most certainly has a point. When the government changed the NBN policy from full fibre to mixed technology they fundamentally changed the nature of the project, including the underlying fundamentals. That being the case, …

Flawed NBN structure undermines competition Read More »

High-speed infrastructure takes hold – paving the way for revenue streams

Recently there was an important development for the broadband sector when the market share of fibre infrastructure lines finally overtook DSL technologies as the largest on a global level. The fixed broadband network is the infrastructure needed to meet the needs, both economic and societal, of the developed markets. In fact in many of these …

High-speed infrastructure takes hold – paving the way for revenue streams Read More »

Tesla doing a Google in the Australian electricity industry?

Back in 2001 I established Utilitel, an industry alliance of all the major electricity companies in Australia. The initial set-up was aimed at looking at business opportunities for the utilities in the telecoms industry and over the subsequent years various new telecoms businesses were established by the utilities. Obviously this was a tough market and …

Tesla doing a Google in the Australian electricity industry? Read More »

The complexity of multifunctional smart city projects

One of the so-called low-hanging fruits in smart city plans is street lighting. Significant savings can be achieved by replacing the existing system with LED light and allowing for the management of light contingent on the level of traffic. This, of course, also results in cost savings. I discussed the street lighting project with my …

The complexity of multifunctional smart city projects Read More »

China Continues to Evolve as a World Leader in the Digital Media Sector

The Chinese telecom market is the largest in the world in terms of subscribers and is undergoing transition. Mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed voice connections and voice is giving way to data as the primary revenue generator. China’s telecom market is served by three operators; China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. All three are integrated …

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VR demand set to grow, but little prospect for telcos

Over the last 20 years or so we have regularly revisited the developments in virtual reality (VR). I remember experiencing VR for the first time in the late 1980s, so this technology has been in the making for a very long time. And we are still uncertain about its growth over the next decade. There …

VR demand set to grow, but little prospect for telcos Read More »

The end of our printed era – 1983-2015 Telecoms & Broadband Business Newsletter

After 32 years of publishing the monthly Telecommunications Newsletter in print, we have reached the end of our printed era. We were the first telecommunications newsletter to be printed in Australia but it will now only be available online, where it continues as a free weekly newsletter to some 4,000 customers, as well as a blog (2,000 …

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The Internet Monopoly

The all-powerful social network sites People are increasingly becoming aware of the emerging ‘internet monopoly’. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and many  the other (local) social network and media sites are becoming so large and powerful that they can dictate the use of their services in such a way that people lose control over …

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