Global Services Industry Should Not Take Telecom for Granted

It's not the T1 line or boring issues like throughput speeds that get people excited about mobility, broadband and the massive advancements we've seen in telecommunications over the last 15 years. End-users are fixated on the utility of their end-device. How that service is rendered and, in the wireless realm, how an air interface is put to service to transmit bits of data across the clear blue sky is essential irrelevant. End-users want their data anytime, anywhere on any device.

Those end-users include, of course, business users whose demands for high availability, bandwidth and application resiliency are insatiable. This is even more pronounced in the global services/ outsourcing industry, where relations are forged across national boundaries and oceans. In these instances, network reliability and data protection are paramount. Futhermore, clients from developed economies who have gotten accustomed to certain service levels at home and are quickly disturbed when service in the country of their delivery partner does not match what they have at home.

End users are setting the tone, and those end users carry a lot of weight. That's why the conversation about telecom - and that includes everything from capacity, to services competition to redudancy - is not something that should be swept away as an issue that's "already been addressed." TV and video, for example, are claiming more and more mobile network capacity raising serious questions about network management. It's not an overstatement to say that the Internet and private telecom networks have enabled the global services industry to emerge and flourish.

Because we as a global society have relied on the convenience and 'always on' features of technology like smart phones, there seems to be an increase belief that the world is entited to blazing fast speeds just about anywhere a person roams. Even more amazing is the belief - and I admit I am now in this camp as well - that Wi-Fi should be free and available anywhere one decides to crack open a laptop.

Is there anything wrong with this view? Well take a step back to recognize that vast reliance on these network comes with little consideration of whose providing services and what innovations are driving delivery. In other words, end-users - including business decision makers - are no longer making all important inquires about whose doing the serving. As long at the service works - people are content. It's only when something breaks, or more likely when an oligarchy develops whereby services are delivered by a few select providers at premium rates - will the end users start to pay serious attention.

So the next time you're visiting Cebu or Beijing or Mendoza, be extra vigilant and pursue the full 'back story' on where those telecom services come from and whose provisioning them. Chances are there will be a rich story there and one that you should feel you have a right to know.