Telecomm providers are running scared. Shackled with old technology, piles of debt, and a thoughts of a bygone era, they continue along M&A paths without a clue as to whether their actions will make things any better. Certainly, much of the thinking isn’t going to change.
Threatened, the telcos turn to lobbyists (and in turn, Congress). Lobbyists push protectionist measures on behalf of their clients. Congress will propose taxation and further regulation. Politicians will convince the general public that they have everyone’s best interests in mind, all to rein in the cowboys (like Google, Vonage, Amazon, and eBay). They’ll captivate their audience with their “do-goodness,” while they fly around on some telco company’s private jet to all the town hall meetings.
What the public will wind up with is slow, cumbersome, expensive service. The cowboys, sitting on beautiful balance sheets and a boatload of brainpower, will just innovate their way around it, and some early adopters will smile once again. The financial markets are unforgiving too, and they will take notice. A bunch of phone companies will wind up even more starved for capital as their asset base continues its path of depreciation and obsolescence.
When the telcos come back for another round of help, government will be kicking back – basking in self-defined wisdom and altruism – and and blaming the original targets for it all. They’ll put their hand out for another plane ride, and we can start the whole process over.