TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Home Phones Face Uncertain Future

Re: Home Phones Face Uncertain Future

w_tom (
Sat, 30 Oct 2004 08:44:18 -0400

Bubble memory was suppose to replace disk drives. Mainframes were
being obsoleted by mini computers. Mini computers were obsoleted by
PCs. The CRT would make the office paperless. In each case, the
predictions were made assuming a static world. Common mistake when
predictions are based upon business school concepts rather than first
learning the details.

One must first appreciate the dynamics -- which means extensive
experience and underlying knowledge of details and the long term
potential of new technology. Long and complex sentences that say
those predictions assumed too much fiction -- and therefore fail to see
the entire future.

One need only see why AT&T is almost nothing more than a paper company
to appreciate why such fictional predictions are not viable.

What do land lines provide? Security. Predictable service. Almost
unlimited bandwidth. Three major weaknesses in cell phones. The
weakness with dedicated service is the lack of mobility. No problem.
Move the existing technology towards its three strengths. Virtually
every building in these towns are being rewired with direct fiber
optic cables -- from CO to every building. That means VoIP, massive
data transfers, security, the reliability not provided, yet, by cell
phones, and a host of other yet to be discovered features.

Third generation cell phone technology has finally made standard
(POTS) phones obsolete. The baby Bells are not dominated by myopic
MBA managers whose education literally destroys both innovation and
what little remains of AT&T. AT&T management has a static perspective
because they view from anti-innovative B-school concepts. If AT&T
still ran the baby Bells, then Nokia's predictions would have merit.
But baby Bells (about 10 years too late) suddenly realized that they
too will go the way of the anti-innovation AT&T. Baby Bells are
finally, after more than 50 years, rewiring their entire network.

Cell phones will always be chasing land line communication just as the
PC chases the mini computer (ie Sun) which in turn chases the main
frame (IBM). Cell phones have limits such as radio frequencies which
means cell phone towers may eventually be replaced by WiFi type
technology -- to keep chasing the land line companies. But don't
expect mobiles to replace land line just as IBM found new purpose in
their core businesses (once IBM replaced their MBAs with computer
guys, then IBM rediscovered innovation meaning that a main frame is no
longer a dinosaur).

Devil is always in the details which means the manager must have 'dirt
under his fingernails'. Without a long detailed list of advantages
and disadvantages for each technology combined with a list of future
markets and innovations, then one can only make predictions like
business school graduates and that BBC article. These latter people
routinely stifle innovation because they don't have education from
where innovation happens. Spread sheets and marketing mentalities are
important peripheral parts of business; but only with a short term
perspective. To see the future of land lines with a long term
perspective, one must apply knowledge and experience of the

3G cell phones will take future business from land line companies as
the second generation (now considered unreliable) cell phones are
replaced. And land line companies must discover, invent, and expand
into new markets -- which also means innovation. Any land line
company that intends to be alive in 10 years will have replaced or
duplicated their entire network in fiber -- and learned new products
based upon the new demands of that technology.

Standard technologies potentially on the chopping block: faxes,
portable phones, conventional dial up phones, international shortwave
broadcasting, and maybe even conventional letters. Remember what
happens to companies who don't innovate. Any Baby Bell that uses the
bean counter concepts of cost controls is doomed just like Western
Union and AT&T. AT&T and Western Union both were dead center in a
wonderful future -- and instead failed to innovate their core
business. Nokia's article assumes the Baby Bells are also
anti-innovative. It even fails to see the massive move to fiber.

Nokia also has a serious problem. Cell phone technology, once
complex, has now become so simple that others can also build phones.
Standard cell phone chip sets are doing to Nokia what happened to
IBM's PC business. Ironic. Innovation threatens Nokia for same
reasons that Nokia feels their product will replace the Baby Bells.

Lisa Minter wrote:

> Nokia in the UK seems to feel landline phones will be gone entirely
> in the next few years, at least in many countries, replaced by
> cellular phones. Check out this link:

> The fixed line phone in the home could soon disappear, a study by
> mobile firm Nokia shows.

> < >

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