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Things Are Looking Up, Sort Of

Dennis Mendyk
9/27/2013

Results from Heavy Reading's first CFP (Community Flash Poll) are in. The small crowd has imparted its wisdom. The telecom industry is on firm if somewhat flat ground. No need to panic, but it's probably not the best time to run out and buy one of these.

In case you were dozing or were mesmerized by the haiku poetry currently gracing Light Reading, our first CFP focused on how our beloved community (that's YOU) feels about the current state of the telecom business and its future prospects. (See So, How Are Things?)

Response was mildly underwhelming (no Starbucks cards offered as an incentive), but vaguely informative nonetheless.

Regarding where the telecom industry is today, one word sums up the crowd's feeling: this word. Less than 5 percent of us feel that the telecom business today is in "great shape." The vast majority says it's OK but could be better. About a quarter of us think telecom is in distress.

On the more positive side, most think the industry will get better or at least stay the same -- kind of like the sixth-year senior pulling a solid 2.0 GPA. Less than 10 percent of us think things will get worse.

Not surprisingly, individual circumstances influence our view of where things are going. Half of those who see bad times ahead for telecom also say their company is falling behind its competition. Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of those who say their company is outperforming its rivals think the telecom business is headed for better days.

We'll be rolling out our next CFP in a few days. Meanwhile, let's keep that community spirit going!

— Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading/Pyramid Research

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MarkC73
MarkC73
9/30/2013 | 1:09:49 PM
Re: Survey
I think it would also depend on what section of Telecom that you are in.  In the service provider space, if you are a IP/MPLS, VoIP, wireless or DC skilled architect, then things are great.  If you are caught in an expertise or sector that is not in demand, then things can get scary as companies look to improve 'expenses'.  How do you tell if you are in denial?
DOShea
DOShea
9/29/2013 | 8:39:24 AM
Re: Survey
I kinda think that at any given moment, about 25% of this community thinks the industry is in distress. When things really do get bad, that will head up toward 75%, the remaining 25% of course being the part of the community that is always in denial.
mendyk
mendyk
9/28/2013 | 10:09:46 AM
Re: Glad there are some positives
Yes -- considering that telecom is now one of the five most important drivers of the world economy, you'd think salaries would be growing to reflect that. Then again, that would run counter to the interests of shareholders, that amorphous group that now dictates most of what happens in business operations.
macster
macster
9/28/2013 | 12:45:17 AM
Re: Glad there are some positives
Cautiously optimistic would be the phrase.

There's been an uptick in telecoms employment, but it's somewhat tempered by job losses at Blackberry, etc. M&A activity will surely see overlap and job losses. Vodafone also got rid of M2M contractors and haven't replaced them yet with permie staff. Etc. 

Telecoms have traditionally paid well, or at least, better than some other industries. But new roles seem to command less. Which is to be expected I guess, given that it's a bit of an employers' market, with more people chasing roles.

This is my main concern, i.e. wage levels, e.g. total UK wages still some 10% below 07/08 peak and I'm sure if we segment for telecoms, it would show something similar.

 

 

 
mendyk
mendyk
9/27/2013 | 3:25:30 PM
Re: Survey
It's good to see the optimism. One area that stood out as being bullish (careful how you type that word) was Sweden, suggesting that Ericsson is on the uptick. Either that, or a giant Bergman film festival is in the offing.
@jopocop
@jopocop
9/27/2013 | 3:20:48 PM
Survey
There seems to be pockets globally where telecom fever by consumers and gear providers is more prevalent.  News out of S/E asia, around Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, and Bankok, generally are upbeat with greater 3G and LTE developments in progress.  The Persian Gulf States and S.A are for the most part pushing out LTE and moving into LTE-Adv. Just lately we are seeing signs that Russia is endeavoring to upgrade.  It is important to note the UK greenlight that was given by Ofcom a few months ago and the 4G race started in earnest.  Now, we are seeing Ireland being targeted, finally, with 4G.  

Brazil is gearing up in order to be ready as much as possible for the world soccer games and eventual Olympics.  So.Korea has been a leader in 4G and moving into LTE-Adv. 

USA centric, perhaps one of the more notable stories is how Verizon with its vastly strong balance sheet finally took out Vodafone and floated a historically high bond offering.  We certainly cannot overlook the Softbank Mr. Son and Dish Charlie Ergen battle that targeted Clearwire and Sprint.  

Lastly, at and since Barcelona, the amount of mobile devices being introduced has been white hot.  We can clearly see the low end devices coming out of China and India to serve their masses.  Until only several months ago, who knew much about China's Xiaomi?  

As for social media, we see Facebook pulling a double from about $25 to $50 because they finally found the magic formula to pull of surprising ad based revenue.  Yahoo just reached it Microsoft bid highs, based on the strenght of its Alibaba invesment and acquisitions.   

Thus, as said, there are pockets of strong activity and excitement in telco and broadband world with certainly big headlines and large deals to be brokered in the next year as there continues to be consolidations and major players increasing in power and clout in the marketplace.  

 
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
9/27/2013 | 11:25:54 AM
Re: Glad there are some positives
Our past salary survey reports give a good indication of the climate, too. It seemed that 4G brought about an uptick in hiring across all deparments, which helps morale. 

Here's last year's take: http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=699317

 
Ray@LR
[email protected]
9/27/2013 | 10:18:56 AM
Glad there are some positives
I wonder what the response would have been a year ago?

4G and it's knock-on impact on transport and core are clearly have beneficial effects for some. Let's hope it lasts. 
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