Poll: Bearish on Telecom Future?
That's the grim prediction from 55 percent of Light Readers responding to the recent poll, The End Is Near?, which asked whether "the provision of telecom infrastructure will become a boring, low-margin business operated by utilities."
And that's just one of a few gloomy statements favored by an awful lot of the 115 respondents. This could get depressing.
Sixty-four percent of the poll takers think telephony revenues will become "insignificant" within 10 years. Indeed, thousands of circuit-switched voice accounts are canceled every day, and voice is increasingly becoming a feature, not a product. (See ViaTalk Offers Free Year.)
Service providers expect to make up for lost telephony revenues with new broadband services, such as Internet TV or the application of quality of service (QOS), and on these topics, readers split almost evenly. A slim majority (54 percent) agreed that "TV over the public Internet will be huge, but telecom operators won't make serious money out of it." (See 2006 Top Ten: Emerging Trends and Yahoo Yells for Internet TV.)
As for serving up QOS, 47 percent say it's just "wishful thinking" for telecom operators. The rest, apparently, see a ray of hope in QOS. (See AT&T Sets Up Internet Tollbooths and Qwest CEO: SLAs Are A-OK.)
If everything's so bad, the Monkey asks, why did telecom stocks make such a strong showing in 2006? Thirty-nine percent of our poll takers say 2006 looked good only because 2005 was so bad. On a brighter note, 27 percent say the 2006 stock prices show that telecom has a bright long-term future, and investors know it. (See Stock Rantings.)
When we really took the gloom and doom to an extreme, readers cheered up a bit. Only 18 percent agreed with our statement that most of today's incumbent telcos will go out of business within 10 years. (See FTTH Hits Mainstream.)
And 63 percent disagreed with the suggestion that most folks in telecom will lose their jobs in the next 10 years. Still, the fact that more than a third agreed with that statement betrays some pessimism among telecom pros. (See Poll: Lucent Faces Bigger Cull and AT&T Adds 2,000.)
Since things can't possibly be as bad as our results suggest so far (fingers crossed), we'll leave this poll up for a few more days. If you haven't already, please take the poll and tell us everything's going to be OK -- or not.
— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading