Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Europe - Commissioner Reding welcomes changes towards ICANN by US administration the

[ec] Viviane Reding, the EU's Commissioner for Information Society and Media, today welcomed news that ICANN, the body primarily responsible for managing internet domain names, will become more open and accountable to billions of internet users worldwide. As of 30 September, ICANN, the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, will no longer be subject to the unilateral review by the US Department of Commerce, but by independent review panels appointed by ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and ICANN itself with the involvement of governments around the world. Since 2005, the European Commission has repeatedly called for reform of the governance of the internet's key global resources. This is necessary to ensure important public policy objectives such as freedom of expression and facilitating stable business transactions online. The European Commission is strongly committed to accompany and support the implementation of the reforms announced today, in close cooperation with the EU's 27 Member States.

European Commission welcomes US move to more independent, accountable, international internet governance

Friday, September 25, 2009

Europe - a review by the EC of the work by the Barroso Commission

[ec] Europe is home to a strong telecoms and media industry and to ground-breaking technological innovation. It is the world’s leader in mobile services, high-speed broadband internet and leading researchers: the World Wide Web, the GSM standard for mobile phones, and the MPEG standard for digital music all started their global success in Europe, driven by European talents and entrepreneurship.

Today nearly 50% of productivity growth in Europe is driven by information and communication technologies (ICT). The development of a digital economy and skills are essential to ensuring Europe’s long-term sustainable growth and leadership in tomorrow’s world.

During the Barroso Commission 2004-2009, the European Union placed a new policy emphasis on promoting ICT, new networks and services, and creative media content in Europe by:
• Strengthening fair competition in the telecoms market across the EU;
• Stimulating private and public research and investment in innovation, new services and modern networks in Europe;
• Reducing regulatory obstacles and facilitating the launch of new cross-border communication and audiovisual media services;
• Promoting cultural diversity in Europe’s vibrant and economically successful film and media sector, and by launching a European digital library;
• Making sure that consumers are the main beneficiaries of a competitive, innovative and borderless single telecoms and media market encompassing the 27 EU Member States.

Creating a Single Competitive, Innovative and Borderless: European Telecoms and Media Market for 500 Million Consumers: The achievements of Commission’s Information Society and Media Policies: 2004-2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

UK - Ofcom has deregulated retail telecoms marketa move it hopes will trigger more choice and lower prices

[ofcom] Ofcom today removed one of the last pieces of regulation in the retail fixed-line telephone market.

This will have the effect of allowing BT to offer discounted bundles of services including traditional fixed-line calls for the first time. Bundles might include landlines, broadband, digital TV and other services.

The decision to deregulate, 25 years after BT was privatised, was taken after BT was judged to no longer have 'significant market power' in the majority of retail landline markets in the UK. Ofcom has concluded that other providers - such as Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk - provide effective competition to BT in this part of the market.

The move follows a major piece of deregulation in 2006 when Ofcom removed the regulations on how much BT could charge its customers for phone calls.

The trigger for deregulation was an increase in competition in the market. Today, more than 12 million UK households and small businesses use a telecoms provider other than BT. The growth in competition was spurred by the Undertakings that Ofcom agreed with BT Group plc in September 2005 which required BT to set up a new division, called Openreach, to provide services to its rivals on equal terms.

Besides increasing choice, competition has also delivered lower prices. Ofcom's latest Communications Market Report shows that the cost of residential calls from a landline has come down from £25.04 in 2003 to £21.57 a month in 2008.

Many communications providers offer discounts to consumers when they buy two or more services. According to Ofcom's latest figures, in 2008 nearly half (46%) of UK consumers bought a bundle of communication services of two or more services, up from 29% in 2005. Some 47% of people said they intended to buy a bundle of services in the future.

Today's decision which will affect all parts of the UK (except Hull) - will benefit consumers by helping to increase competition in the delivery of these bundled services.

Ofcom's Chief Executive, Ed Richards said: "This is an important step in deregulating telecoms where competition can be relied upon to serve the consumer interest."

Ofcom deregulates retail telecoms market: Move could trigger more choice and lower prices for consumers

Monday, September 07, 2009

UK: T-Mobile and Orange agree on a joint venture, merging their UK operations

[MarketWatch] A deal has been struck to merge the U.K. mobile phone operations of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, according to published reports.

T-Mobile UK, the unit of Deutsche Telekom, will be merged into the operations of Orange in the U.K., multiple reports said, citing people familiar with the matter.

France Telecom, which holds Orange, fought off rival interest from Vodafone Group and Telefonica.

The deal will be announced Tuesday morning before the market opens, the report added.

Deutsche Telekom shares underperformed the broader market after the reports, up just 0.1%. A joint venture would remove the possibility that Deutsche Telekom would sell the division.

France Telecom rose 1.9% in Paris trade.

The U.K. market is a fiercely competitive one, led by Telefonica's O2 that includes Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 from Hutchison Whampoa.

Deutsche Telekom wrote down the value of T-Mobile U.K. in the first quarter, and that division's operating profit fell 13.5% in the second quarter. See full story.

T-Mobile U.K. has been widely considered on the block since Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann in May stressed the need for consolidation in Europe and said that "nothing was unthinkable" regarding the business

U.K. deal reached for T-Mobile: report

McKinsey: heaviest users of Web 2.0 applications are also enjoying benefits such as increased knowledge sharing and more effective marketing

[McKinsey & Co] Over the past three years, McKinsey has tracked the rising adoption of Web 2.0 technologies, as well as the ways organizations are using them. This year, we sought to get a clear idea of whether companies are deriving measurable business benefits from their investments in the Web. Our findings indicate that they are.

Nearly 1,700 executives from around the world, across a range of industries and functional areas, responded to this year’s survey.1 We asked them about the value they have realized from their Web 2.0 deployments in three main areas: within their organizations; externally, in their relations with customers; and in their dealings with suppliers, partners, and outside experts.

Web 2.0 technologies improve interactions with employees, customers, and suppliers at some companies more than at others. An outside study titled “Power Law of Enterprise 2.0” analyzed data from earlier McKinsey Web 2.0 surveys to gain a better understanding of the factors that contribute most significantly to the successful use of these technologies.

The findings demonstrate that success follows a “power curve distribution”—in other words, a small group of users accounts for the largest portion of the gains. According to our research, the 20 percent of users reporting the greatest satisfaction received 80 percent of the benefits. Drilling a bit deeper, we found that this 20 percent included 68 percent of the companies reporting the highest adoption rates for a range of Web 2.0 tools, 58 percent of the companies where use by employees was most widespread, and 82 percent of the respondents who claimed the highest levels of satisfaction from Web 2.0 use at their companies.

To improve our understanding of some underlying factors leading to these companies’ success, we first created an index of Web 2.0 performance, combining the previously mentioned variables: adoption, breadth of employee use, and satisfaction. A score of 100 percent represents the highest performance level possible across the three components. We then analyzed how these scores correlated with three company characteristics: the competitive environment (using industry type as a proxy), company features (the size and location of operations), and the extent to which the company actively managed Web 2.0. These three factors explained two-thirds of the companies’ scores.

Furthermore, while all of the factors are slightly correlated with one another—for example, there are more high-tech companies in the United States than in South America—each factor by itself explains much of why companies achieved their performance scores. Management capabilities ranked highest at 54 percent, meaning that good management is more than half of the battle in ensuring satisfaction with Web 2.0, a high rate of adoption, and widespread use of the tools. The competitive environment explained 28 percent, size and location 17 percent. Parsing these results even further, we found that three aspects of management were particularly critical to superior performance: a lack of internal barriers to Web 2.0, a culture favoring open collaboration (a factor confirmed in the 2009 survey), and early adoption of Web 2.0 technologies. The high-tech and telecom industries had higher scores than manufacturing, while companies with sales of less than $1 billion or those located in the United States were more likely to have relatively high performance scores than larger companies located elsewhere.

While the evidence suggests that focused management improves Web 2.0 performance, there’s still a way to go before users become as satisfied with these technologies as they are with others. The top 20 percent of companies reached a performance score of only 35 percent (the score increased to 44 percent in the 2009 survey). When the same score methodology is applied to technologies that corporations had previously adopted, Web 2.0’s score is below the 57 percent for traditional corporate IT services, such as e-mail, and the 80 percent for mobile-communications services.

Their responses suggest why Web 2.0 remains of high interest: 69 percent of respondents report that their companies have gained measurable business benefits, including more innovative products and services, more effective marketing, better access to knowledge, lower cost of doing business, and higher revenues. Companies that made greater use of the technologies, the results show, report even greater benefits. We also looked closely at the factors driving these improvements—for example, the types of technologies companies are using, management practices that produce benefits, and any organizational and cultural characteristics that may contribute to the gains. We found that successful companies not only tightly integrate Web 2.0 technologies with the work flows of their employees but also create a “networked company,” linking themselves with customers and suppliers through the use of Web 2.0 tools. Despite the current recession, respondents overwhelmingly say that they will continue to invest in Web 2.0.

How companies are benefiting from Web 2.0: McKinsey Global Survey Results