Hot topics and strategic thinking

Hot topics and strategic thinking

Welcome to Capacity’s 2011 Yearbook, which looks forward to what will surely be another vibrant year for wholesale telecoms globally. We hope that this year’s edition will help telecoms management in their considerations of the best markets and areas of investment as they plot a course through the coming year.

The previous 12 months were hugely eventful, marked by the lighting up of Africa, as commercial services began on the swathe of subsea cables that now encircle the continent. Many eyes also turned to the US, as it dawned on investors that metro assets were ripe for revaluation and, given the economic climate, mergers and acquisitions activity was reassuringly brisk in other parts of the world. 2010 will also probably come to be seen as the year when Ethernet went truly global. Equinix opened the first Ethernet exchange in October 2009 and by the end of 2010 had opened another nine: during the year other players such as CENX and Telx joined the Ethernet exchange party and there are now exchanges all over North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

In our 2011 Yearbook, we consider many of the developments and issues the industry is debating. As connectivity in Africa has improved, so has the opportunity for mobile money services on the continent. African mobile money transfers are forecast to exceed a total value of $200 billion in 2015, accounting for some 8% of the continent’s gross domestic product; according to Pyramid Research, it seems an apposite time to consider the carrier’s potential role in this exciting market in Africa and elsewhere. We consider the capital markets, as private equity returns to telecoms, and ask whether the investment trends of the past year are set to continue. We also look at the drivers behind the explosion in the number of data centres worldwide and where in the telecoms spectrum both investment and consolidation are likely to occur. We look at the likely hot technologies of the coming year, asking where cloud computing will move next and how carriers can secure their place on the cloud computing value chain without being a “dumb cloud” provider. And with the prediction that there will be 50 billion connected devices worldwide in 10 years’ time, we also look at the machine-to-machine connectivity, and the potential revenue opportunities for wholesale in the Internet of Things.

As ever, Capacity has joined forces with many of the companies working at the forefront of the telecoms market and they have given us the benefit of their strategic thinking in areas as diverse as Middle Eastern telecoms, cloud computing strategies, possible solutions to the problems caused by the huge increase in mobile data traffic, and how to turn customers on to Ethernet.

The Yearbook also gathers together the analysis and research that Capacity has collected over the past year, as well as its briefings on new technologies and market developments. We include, amongst other topics, European telecoms reform, smart grids, virtualisation, smartphone signalling and high-definition voice, in the hope that they may spark some thought or provide some guidance.

Eira Hayward

Editor, Capacity Yearbook