Inside telecommunications Issue 10
In this issue, we consider a number of industry themes, from operator strategies to cope with over-the-top providers to the drive for single market reforms in Europe.
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The second quarter of 2013 proved notable on several fronts. A wave of deals in Europe is seeing some telcos seeking scale in key markets, while others trim their footprints.
The European Commission is proposing a number of reforms designed to create a single telecoms market, including:
- Reducing roaming rates
- Coordinating spectrum release
- Providing “passports” to aid operators working across borders
More efficient market structures cannot come too soon: at present, Europe is lagging behind other developed regions in LTE rollout and take-up, placing operators and regulators under pressure to increase the availability of new infrastructure.
Such concerns extend into the fixed-line environment too. While Europe is close to attaining an EU Digital Agenda target of 100% coverage of basic broadband by the end of 2013, super-fast broadband coverage levels remain low.
A target of 100% household availability of 30Mbps+ services has been set for 2020, but such services only grew from 49% coverage to 54% in the year to January.
Infrastructure rollout remains top of mind for operators, but so does the need to develop new service propositions. Operators are adding new home security offerings to their residential propositions. US carrier AT&T has introduced new “Digital Life” products for consumers, designed to simplify management of home activities.
Innovative security-oriented products are being unveiled by operators across a range of use cases. In May, Deutsche Telekom launched a tool allowing developers to identify vulnerabilities in apps and websites regardless of their programming language.
Managed security services for enterprise are also gaining traction, while many in the industry are calling for new frameworks for mobile security standards. Standards bodies are already responding. In May, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a fourth revision to its “Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations,” factoring in the security implications of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend along with the growth of mobile malware.
The issue of smartphone theft has also been generating headlines. Police figures show 10,000 handsets are stolen every month in London alone, and device manufacturers are being called upon to introduce measures to help curb this phenomenon.
In June, US prosecutors and other groups announced a “Secure Our Smartphones” initiative, which tasked phone makers with providing “kill switches” and other technology innovations to help prevent the resale of lost or stolen phones.