Will the telecom industry globally eventually look like the airline industry? Many would argue that will happen.
In the global airline industry, not every nation has its own “branded” air carrier.
Eventually, and perhaps within a decade, the global telecom industry will have consolidated so much that only about half of countries have their own fully-domestically-owned communications providers.
If “winner take all” increasingly is the shape of markets with network effects (where each incremental node or user makes the whole network more valuable), then scale economics also matter. That is clear in the mobile business, but also in many other industries and markets.
“Winner take all” seems to be the case for mobile phones, e-commerce networks, search, social networking, ride-sharing, lodging sharing, video entertainment services, the “telecom” business and arguably many other industries selling intangible products.
Basically, “winner take all” means markets become oligopolistic (two or just a few market share leaders).
That is one of the reasons some of us believe massive consolidation of service provider networks and assets will happen, in the mobile space perhaps especially. Bell Labs, for example, forecasts a reduction of about 810 tier-one service providers to about 105, within a decade.
If there are 195 countries globally, that means some countries will have communications services provided by firms from outside the home nation. That might mean as many as 54 percent of nations might not have a single domestically-owned provider of communications services.