Editor's Corner

It's day two here at Supercomm in Chicago and things are still busy. During my address this morning, I gave a brief overview of the global telecom market, focusing on wireless and convergence. I spoke about how convergence is reinventing the very notion of a carrier, giving specific examples of trends like service bundles and MVNOs both in North America and the rest of the world. I also spoke about VoIP and how this technology will create disruption for the global market, especially once it converges with wireless.

The big news at Supercomm yesterday was IPTV. Landline carriers know that if they're going to win the market for the quadruple play, they have to develop compelling content services. Thanks to the growth of cell phones and VoIP, voice will no longer be the telecom industry's gravy train. During his speech, Edward Cholerton, vice president of broadband marketing for SBC, talked up his company's upcoming video services. Some financial analysts remain skeptical about the landline carrier's ability to deliver compelling TV services.

I think landline telecom TV service could prove whether wireless TV services will also take off with the mass market. Two questions remain to be answered: can landline and wireless carriers deliver video services as reliably as traditional MSOs, and will consumers trust their carriers to deliver TV? I suspect if the landline carriers begin to show early success with their TV services that wireless carriers will push even harder with their mobile video services. If the landline guys stumble out of the block, the wireless carriers may be forced rethink their current strategies.

Also on the wireless front, Alcatel said it plans to incorporate UMA technology into its some of its network equipment. The announcement gives more firepower to UMA. At this stage, UMA seems poised to give carriers the ability to offer dual-mode cell phone/WiFi voice access and increase in-building coverage. While the pure-play SIP VoIP firms dislike UMA, I think it could prove to be an excellent bridge technology that will help lead the wireless industry into the all-IP era.

I am heading out later today. I want to thank everyone for a great show this year. This is the last Supercomm as this show will split into two different shows next year. To everyone at Supercomm 2005, have a safe trip home. - Stephen