Thursday, July 05, 2007

homie David Pogue explains why AT&T is running scared

Are U.S. Cellphone Carriers Calcified? - Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog -- David Pogue, son of Dick, or Richard Pogue, and now also home-boy expatriate in the NYC area, explains why AT&T was so frantic to jam SB117 up our nether parts, and all with the mindless cooperation of our elected lightweights at the state level: They're losing ARPU:

The cellular industry is going through insanely rapid change. Almost everyone there—800 attendees from 200 phone companies in 65 countries—was running scared of VOIP. That’s voice over I.P., better known as Internet phone. VOIP includes cheapo unlimited home-phone service like Vonage, as well as absolutely free computer-to-computer calling with programs like Skype. It’s all growing like crazy, which is making a huge dent in these companies’ ARPU.

Oh, yeah—that’s Average Revenue Per User. Telecom companies live and breathe ARPU. The talks at this conference were all about “Improving Your ARPU.” (They *love* acronyms in this business. Typical seminar description: “Learn how ISM and FSM can decrease your OPEX and CAPEX and boost your ARPU!”)

Most of these carriers intend to fight off VOIP by growing into a Double Play, Triple Play, or even Quad Play.

What, you don’t know those terms either!?

If you’re a single-play company, you just provide landline service. Add cellphone coverage, and you’re a double play. Add Internet service and TV, and you’re a quad play. You can see the same syndrome here in the U.S., too, as cellphone companies try to deliver TV service, cable companies roll out phone service, and so on.

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