Friday, March 14, 2014

The Great Telco Debate is coming to London

In June, London is going to see a great gathering of well-known and highly-respected independent telecoms experts.

They are coming together for The Great Telco Debate, which is bringing together a unique mixture of industry analysts, financial analysts, consultants, trade associations and bloggers.

The debate is the brainchild of Chris Lewis from Lewis Insight and Graham Wilde of BWCS.

Chris explained: "We think the Great Telco Debate is unique in two respects. The primary idea behind it is to give senior level people in the industry a chance to participate in a forum with respected independent analysts. Obviously, Gartner and IDC have annual events, but this idea was borne out of the realisation that there's no forum where you can hear from independent thinkers in the industry. So we're not trying to pedal a universal view of the world, because each one of our analysts has their own opinion. And as a group, we're also not tied down with conflicts of interest - we're not evaluating our customers' technology, for example, or dealing in our customers' shares.

"The second unique element is the format. We thought let's make this a traditional debate - you know, this House believes the telco is dead and buried, or not, as the case may be. The great thing about the debate format is that everyone who attends gets to have their say, and ultimately vote. A debate is a great vehicle for boiling things down to some critical issues and examining the evidence on both sides of the argument, and also for getting some incisive insight from the floor.

"And this is an important area for telecoms. I heard someone the other day describe telecoms as a 'sunset industry'. The implications of that are quite scary, but is it really true? What are telcos supposed to make of things like WhatsApp, or or GoToMeeting? Are they supposed to just shut up and carry the bits? There's no consensus but the Great Telco Debate will certainly provide senior execs with more insight and analysis on both sides of the argument."

Priming the debate is an intriguing and entertaining list of speakers. As well as Chris and Graham, this includes Richard Kramer (Arete Research), Keith Willetts (TM Forum), Dean Bubley (Disruptive Analysis), Richard Windsor (ex Normua and now blogging at Radio Free Mobile), Benoit Felten (Diffraction Analysis), Caroline Gabriel (Maravedis-Rethink), and Pim Bilderbeek (ex IDC and now with The METISfiles).

They will be discussing all the hot topics in the industry including:

  • The view of telecoms and the telcos from the end user perspective. Do CIOs or any users care about connectivity any more apart from when it doesn't work? What will drive consumer margins - sport? What about WiFi? How about convergence? 

  • Can telcos transform their organisations, networks and operations to reflect the end user demand of the future? Or are the global OTT players, apps and content providers going to be the kings of the digital future? What is the telcos' core business anyway? And what will it be tomorrow? 

  • Do suppliers really have the first clue about the telco business? Who is best placed to help the telcos succeed in the future - the traditional on-network equipment players, the IT crowd, or a new-breed of vendors who are free from legacy thinking and business models? Prepare to be inspired. Or dismayed. Or both. 

  • What do telco finances really look like today - warts and all. How might they look tomorrow? Feast or famine? 

  • The Great Telco Debate is taking place on 26th June 2014 in central London. Visit the website for more information on the agenda, the speakers and how to get a ticket.

    Alternatively, watch Chris and Graham go 'head to head' (the Alas Smith & Jones of the telco industry?) in a series of videos on YouTube.

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