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SATNAC - Telcos! Give up your Fear and embrace Innovation

Several talkers at the conference, including keynote speaker Anton Musgrave used the word extinction. They were refering to Telcos (or telecommunications operators) like Telkom or the Deutsche Telekom. In fact these are not extinct. They have restructured and are restructuring and _some_ are suffering under the yoke of regulators. They are perhaps an endangered species, but not extinct at all. In Africa, government Telcos are a reality to be reckoned with A brave new world of ubiquitous ICTs as trumpeted by some is still no more than the hint of a cooling breeze in the overheated information desert. And there is no sign of rain. Unsocially minded MBA graduates who live in an ethically sterile environment make the decisions which leave the poor in the lurch (as one Exec with an Engineering background put it - Engineers should be making the decisions, not MBAs). The absolutely unapologetic and uncaring (even smirking) attitude visible in most African Telcos and governments is hopefully a last show of strength from the endangered raptor. They seem to be waking up to the danger being mastered by their 1st world cousins. The problem is their reaction could be (as in Iran and China) deleterious to the majority of the population, i.e. a poison pill for ICT4D. That is perhaps a good thing about a conference like this - which highlights that a glass being half-full and half-empty are fundemantally different. As a context for decisions they lead to completely different outcomes. As the MC just said: I don't know if I should be scared or euphoric about the future. Telcos - give up your fear! Embrace the future - unlock the frozen government Universal Service Access funds by making a strong move for the future. It WILL pay off!

Posted: September 1st 2009 07:53

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