In Business Model, Internet Access, Mobile, News, Spectrum

No matter what limitations you presently believe fixed wireless networks suffer from, progress now is proceeding at stunning rates. An order of magnitude increase in spectrum efficiency is one example. An order of magnitude decrease in installation labor provides another example.

To be sure, predictions about wireless access adoption have been wrong in the past. But the promise of high capacity networks costing a fraction of traditional fixed networks especially is important.

Though there is disagreement about fundamental prospects for fixed and mobile network businesses (some still believe the big tier-one providers are dangerous monopolists), there is growing evidence that the ability to wring revenue out of even advanced fixed or mobile networks is challenging.

Stranded assets are one problem. As the number of leading providers in a single market grows, stranded assets also grow. Where, in a monopoly environment a service provider might reasonably hope to reach 80 to 95 percent penetration, in a competitive market, customer adoption rates might only reach 40 percent.

In the next wave of development, it even is possible that mobile networks (operating in both mobile and fixed contexts) will actually begin to take share from all fixed network providers.

Also, all the legacy revenue services are declining, forcing suppliers to create or develop big new revenue sources to replace those lost revenues. That never is easy. Indeed, most observers will tend to agree that big telcos have been fairly poor to awful at such innovation.

It would help if service providers could avail themselves of vastly more efficient network technologies.

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