From an agent side of telecom, I do think it is broken. So many carriers have merged for survival that the integration was a disaster. The blunder poster child would obviously be Sprint as it wrote off $29.5B on the Nextel merger. Sprint can't get out of its own way. Qwest is looking to jump ship as an MVNO partner. As an agent, I can not get a quote out of Sprint (or Embarq) in any reasonable time frame. Sprint's Board should have hired a consumer exec, like a former C-Level at P&G or Unilever, not some bean counting Bell-head like Hesse (who basically ruined Embarq with his so-called leadership).
Paetec merged with USLEC then McLeod then Allworx. I don't even know how that worked out, but I do know that their CEO will say it is all about the people. (That's his mantra and keynote address. Ho hum). It's actually about the planning and execution done by the talent. A lesson that Level(3) learned during its integration of Broadwing, Progress Telecom, ICG, Looking Glass, and the Savvis CDN. L3 released too many people; people that had valuable knowledge about the systems that they needed to integrate. Oops!
SBC buying AT&T and BellSouth has been no picnic either. And the VZ and MCI merger still has employees and customers alike flummoxed about who to buy from (Verizon or Verizon Business).
Time Warner Telecom bought Xspedius last year. This year it is still trying to figure it out. (Try to get a quote). And TWTC has to change its name by June, since its rights to use "Time Warner" run out. Why didn't TWTC take the Xspedius name and only do the branding and printing thing Once? It seems Bell-heads can only follow what Ma Bell does. (Ma Bell spent Billions on renaming AT&T Wireless TWICE!)
Two CLEC's that did some merging are now kind of quiet. One is One Communications - the result of the merger of CTC, Choice One and Conversent. The other is Broadview Networks, which is in IPO mode after rolling up InfoHighway, ATX and Eureka. I don't know how well the integration went personally, but I don't hear a lot of screaming about it.
Then there's the gang of 5 at the FCC, led by a chairman (Kevin Martin, K-Mart for short), who can't create a level playing field for the players. That's all anyone wants. (See my post on AstroTurf coming up). Deregulate the RBOCs and let them merge, but regulate the cablecos and not only can't cable merge but neither can the DBS companies (DISH and DirecTV) or the satellite radio companies. Verizon must have a person who lives in that building because they file Forbearance petitions and ex-parte almost daily. The FCC's job isn't to make billions selling spectrum to the Fortune 500. The FCC's mandate is to improve radio, TV, and communications, which it has done a poor job of so far as competition in every arena is failing. (And wait for the DTV disaster next year!)
The days of easy money are over. As we enter this economic slump and credit tightening, even the big boys are making notes in their SEC filings about possible impact on revenue and subscriber growth. But then everyone tends to look at The Street to determine thier strategy. You are looking the wrong way. Look at your customers. Help them and you will grow. Stop offering the same stale stuff. Open the gate to the walled garden and help your customers be productive and communicate. At the end of the day, that's what they give you money for.
My name is Peter Radizeski and I am a member of TA - telecom anonymous. Members of TA have a love-hate relationship with telecom and carriers and the FCC. You can comment here or send me email at Peter at RAD-INFO dot net. Thanks for reading.