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Author Topic: New aqcuisition ??  (Read 17044 times)

Black Sheep

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2014, 05:28:34 PM »

Stuart won't sleep now .......  ;) ;D
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broadstairs

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2014, 05:44:12 PM »

Stuart won't sleep now .......  ;) ;D

Nah I wont.... Sorry to say but the only telco I have ever had big problems with was BT, most of them can be annoying but BT takes the biscuit so I'm not looking forward to them running EE.

Stuart
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broadstairs

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2014, 05:48:17 PM »

Kamal Ahmed on the BBC here makes some very valid points about this deal and how it might fall on the hurdle of the regulator.

Stuart
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UncleUB

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pedro492

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Re: New aqcisutiion ??
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2014, 07:31:16 PM »

Sorry to say but the only telco I have ever had big problems with was BT, most of them can be annoying but BT takes the biscuit so I'm not looking forward to them running EE.

O2 customers had a lucky escape.   Back in the late-nineties, I was a customer of BT Cellnet, before BT spun it off as O2, to raise a few shekels.  Not the best experience for many of us.

BT Cellnet had just launched a novel tariff which initially attracted me.   Offering "unlimited" calls to one geographical number, for a fixed monthly fee of £15 in addition to other call charges.

However, it soon became clear that BT's definition of "unlimited" was very different to the customers' definition, and indeed very different to the common meaning of the word.

Just two or three months into this novel deal and BT were imposing tight limits on the number of calls you could actually make for free.

BT Cellnet customers found that their "free" calls were suddenly being barred with mysterious "network error" messages on the phone.  BT initially denied that it was placing any limits; instead offering spurious technical explanations for why those calls were not getting through.  Cock-up rather than conspiracy, or so it claimed.

However, as more and more customers reported problems, BT Cellnet eventually had to admit the truth. It was indeed unilaterally reneging on the "unlimited" aspect of the deal.   Unfortunately, except for those free calls, the BT Cellnet tariff was otherwise very expensive, and had nothing else to commend it.

Punters, including me, weren't at all happy. We set up a web forum to discuss strategy. The national press picked up on the scandal.  With the Sunday Times covering it, as did a Watchdog-style consumer programme on ITV.  Yours truly was invited to be interviewed for TV, but stage fright won the day.  :'(   In any case, Great Aunt Beatty refused to budge.  Intransigence is, after all, her middle name.

What really piqued my curiosity with this particular tariff was the possibility of using it for Call-Bridging...

Take two POTS lines in a consumer premises; and take one PCI telephony card with two FXO ports. With suitably configured PC telephony software (e.g. Asterisk) it should be possible to make unlimited mobile calls for free, or very low cost, to anywhere in the world. (Recall, this was still a few years before VOIP calling had come of age)  :-X   

The mobile user would simply dial into the inbound FXO port (for free), and enter on his mobile keypad (generating mid-call DTMF tones) the number he wished to call.  The telephony software would then interpret those DTMF tones, and place an outbound call on the second FXO port, before bridging those two circuits - inbound and outbound.  Sadly I never got to test this out as BT Cellnet blocked the cellphone altogether (and subsequent replacements!) and told me NEVER to call them again.

And that, dear kitizens, is my rather short-lived yet deeply unsatisfactory experience with British Telecom and its mobile phone services.  Once bitten, twice shy! 8)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 04:37:14 AM by pedro492 »
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pedro492

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2014, 02:36:47 AM »

Get ready for a hike in line rental.. ;D

That's what the Daily Mail says too; brace yourselves for big price rises, because it won't be BT shareholders funding this £12 billion takeover :o  [1]

Quote from: Daily Mail (15 Dec 2014)
BT bills could rise after company continues its expansion plans with £12billion bid for mobile phone giant EE
...
The deal could make BT a one-stop shop for households seeking a landline, mobile contract, broadband internet and premium TV services.
...
BT has recently undergone aggressive expansion, buying rights to Premier League football for its new sports channels. This has been funded in part by repeated, inflation-busting rises for existing customers – which began just weeks after the launch of BT Sport. This month saw standard line rental for Direct Debit customers rise by a further 6 per cent.
...
At least half of the £12.5billion bid would be paid in cash, raising the spectre of further price hikes.

Analyst Dan Ridsdale of Technology Media Telecoms said the deal would also 'reduce churn – as it is much more complex to change service providers when a customer is using them for multiple services'.
...
BT, won Money Mail readers' Wooden Spoon Award this year for the worst customer service in Britain.  The firm, which has nearly 10million landline and broadband customers, admitted that it had struggled to deal with a flood of new accounts after the launch of BT Sport.

BT plans to give Deutsche Telekom and Orange [owners of EE] a mixture of cash and shares; the firms would respectively hold 12 per cent and 4 per cent stakes in BT.

However, analysts said regulators should block BT from taking such a dominant position over rivals such as Sky and Virgin.

Barry Collins of PC Pro said: 'Even the notoriously spineless Ofcom must be concerned about one company having such influence over the entire telecoms market. BT simply cannot be allowed to dominate both fixed-line and mobile.'

--

Elsewhere, the Financial Times reckons that if this BT/EE merger or takeover goes ahead, there may be further consolidations in the UK/EU telecoms sector.  Again, bad news for competition and pricing for UK consumers. [2]

Quote from: Financial Times (15 Dec 2014):
Spain’s Telefónica faces the most immediate challenge in the UK market, having had its British mobile operator O2 passed over by BT and lacking any other offerings to consumers in the market.
..
The Spanish group has stated its desire to sell or merge O2 with a rival with mobile or fixed-line capabilities as it focuses on continental Europe and Latin America. Analysts say that could make Hutchison Whampoa, the operator of Three, an attractive partner for Telefónica. Such a move would alter the competitive landscape in the UK market from four operators to three and give a combined Telefónica-Three greater scale. Alternatively, Telefónica could acquire TalkTalk, the UK market’s smallest pay TV, fixed line and broadband operator, a move that would allow it to offer bundled services.

We are with Three (via MVNO Globalgig) and TalkTalk, and would be sad to see either fall to Telefonica.  Despite the chequered background to Three's parent, Hutchison Whampoa - its financing being linked, purportedly, to hot money from organised crime; [4] Hutchison's chairman is Li Ka-Shing, "Hong Kong's leading narco­-billionaire" [5] -  Three have nevertheless provided an excellent service for some years now.  I can't see that success continuing under Telefonica ownership. 

In its second in a series of articles about the BT/EE merger, the FT also reports the following:

Quote from: Financial Times (15 Dec 2014):
BT had ambitious plans to create its own mobile network using its home broadband hubs to undercut the big mobile networks. But just months before the launch of its own plans, BT has instead decided to join their ranks by buying an existing player to create a telecoms group of formidable strength in the UK market.

That's something new: BT proposing to use our home broadband hubs as pico- or nano-cells to improve cellular coverage.

I got this vision of BT cross-subsidising its mobile services by using its fibre broadband network as a budget backhaul.  In rural areas we've already generously funded that fibre network through our BDUK taxpayer-subsidies. So we should expect to be compensated if BT goes down that route when rolling out its mobile network.

Politics aside, BT could eradicate many mobile reception black-spots by connecting microcell base-stations to pole-mounted distribution points across its POTS network. [6]

BT's VDSL2/fibre network would provide the cellular backhauls over spare copper pairs between those pole-mounted distribution points and the street cabinets, and then over fibre to the cell network's aggregation points.

Powering those pole-mounted cellular base-stations - some of which would be very rural - could be solved using reverse-powered feeding circuitry; a similar solution to that proposed for Fibre To The Distribution Point. With multiple copper pairs bonded together to support the load needed to power the microcell base-station apparatus at the top of the pole.  [7]


Pole-mounted micro-cell base-station

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[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2875369/BT-bills-rise-company-continues-expansion-plans-12billion-bid-mobile-phone-giant-EE.html
[2] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0c7e13b6-8482-11e4-bae9-00144feabdc0.html
[3] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/220991a6-847d-11e4-bae9-00144feabdc0.html
[4] http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1999/eirv26n51-19991224/eirv26n51-19991224_076-trilaterals_incite_china_bashers.pdf
[5] http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1993/eirv20n28-19930723/eirv20n28-19930723_004-george_soros_the_central_banks_s.pdf
[6] http://www.thedasforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/DAS-And-Small-Cell-Technologies-Distinguished-2_4_13.pdf
[7] https://www.lantiq.com/media-center/news/press/235/
 
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 04:13:12 PM by pedro492 »
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Chrysalis

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2014, 06:19:25 AM »

I think BT feel invincible given the lack of ofcom action on the abusive line rental price increases, currently line rental is an ATM for BT, they can buy a company and get the money back by adding 10% to line rental every year.

The problem I have with multi play providers is that it is usually the case the customers not taking up all services pay extra for their individual services and are effectively subsidising the rest.  We e.g. see this now with line rental and broadband, pretty much every major isp now will add a surcharge to the broadband fee if there is no line rental.
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c6em

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2014, 08:39:55 AM »

This might have been fueled by the EU informally indicating that consolidation, possibly some exclusivity and of course price rises to fund the significant investment needed is the way forward.
In short: if you want it all whether that is 5G access everywhere or 1Gbps to each home then - then you are going to have to start to pay for it.
 
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kitz

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2014, 09:44:25 AM »

I do think we should keep a sense of reality into all of the 'BT are spawn of the devil' threads of late.  At the end of the day they are a company who have shareholders and a duty to remain a major player in the market.

Im quite happy to point out stuff where they go wrong but TBH their CS is no better nor worse than the other major players.  Im well aware that I myself have berated them in another thread myself because I do think what they are doing with the DNS thing is wrong, but to put it into perspective weve all seen things go wrong with TT & Sky & Virgin, who also keep their customers in the dark.  I dont agree with port blocking and stealth routing.  I dont like such things as nanny state filtering and I was a strong adversary again Phorm.  BT get all the attention in such matters yet both TT and Virgin etc have also done the same thing.

Ive also been hit by what I call the false 'unlimited' in the past and received warnings, but all the major players also did it.  'Unlimited' whether its calls, texts, bandwidth, time online has all come under fire at some time in the past.  The problem is it usually starts off as a good idea, then some people take it to the limits and when the company start to lose money then they call a halt to it. 

Of course BT are the major player, because not too long ago they owned practically ALL of the UK lines. When it comes to broadband Sky and TT arent really too far behind.  Virgin is the major player when it comes to cable.   Would there really have been such a fuss if one of the others bought out EE?   Wasnt it EE that approached BT.   Why shouldn't BT enter the mobile market?  The way we communicate these days has changed and when it comes to consumer markets, more and more people use their mobile phones.

The press speculation makes me laugh.  On one hand you have reports saying that it will mean cheaper calls and it will be good for competition in the market, then on the other this morning you have the Daily Mail saying less competition and price hikes.

As regards to company buyouts and mergers, this is not just limited to the telecoms industry, its happening world-wide be it banking, insurance, supermarkets, stores, utilities or whatever. Its the way the world is headed. :/

Comments such as 'concerns over backhaul services".  So someone tell me what the big deal is here, am I missing something?   Because it sure doesnt mean that the mobile market will get it for free.  BT is Chinese walled in so many departments, so BT mobile will have to pay for their transit just like any other organisation.

I dont agree with everything that BT do, but would it have been any better for sky or any other to have bought EE.  EE were obviously up for sale and someone had to buy.  BT appeared to be all set for buying O2 at one point.  It makes sense that they should enter the mobile market.   Just trying to inject some form of balance into the debate.
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kitz

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2014, 09:45:50 AM »

Quote
BT's VDSL2/fibre network would provide the cellular backhauls over spare copper pairs between those pole-mounted distribution points and the street cabinets, and then over fibre to the cell network's aggregation points.

Isnt that already being trialled.  Im sure Ive seen mention of it recently being put into action.

----------
ETA

I think I may have read your post wrong.   I thought you meant cellular to provide the link between exchange and dslam in the cab.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 09:54:14 AM by kitz »
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broadstairs

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2014, 10:00:22 AM »

I think the problem is more to do with a toothless regulator, OFCOM has not been effective in regulating the comms industry. I also think that the likely scenario of more expensive mobile is highly likely. The only way you will get cheaper mobile deals with BT will be to end up taking a package containing most (or perhaps all) of their offerings. For me this will not save anything because I am not interested in bundled TV for example and I'm sure that will be the same for a significant proportion of the customer base. Bundles like these are only worth it IF you need all of the included offerings, it just means those who dont buy bundles are subsidising the rest. I read this morning in the paper that the BBC may be in discussions with BT (and perhaps others) about hiving off parts of Wimbledon's annual tournament to pay TV.

It might put up prices but I for one believe OFCOM should make all companies in this area charge the actual costs for services to all customers and not permit subsidising one service from another. However this is never likely to happen  :(

Stuart
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kitz

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2014, 11:28:29 AM »

Quote
OFCOM has not been effective in regulating the comms industry.

and IMHO putting too much attention in the wrong areas. 
Take for example the 'up to'.  Instead people could perhaps be better educated why a long line is never going to get full wack.  Other countries dont seem to have a problem in this area.  What is it that makes the UK different and also have such a large population that moans like mad when they cant get their full speed using wi-fi.     ::)  OFCOM should also have stamped on the 'Fibre' claims right from the start.  Again we are the only country where we use Fibre Optic to advertise FTTC and cable.   Other countries use the proper terms of  ADSL, VDSL & cable.

Far more important is the ISP's that can hide limited capacity in the 'up to'.  Making the ISPs provide an actual speed is only going to drive down the quality of service because common sense means they will always err on the conservative side, thus in turn if there is a genuine fault, it doesnt count because yeah its ok, its still within the limit.  ???

Quote
I for one believe OFCOM should make all companies in this area charge the actual costs for services to all customers and not permit subsidising one service from another

That I totally agree with.  I have no issue for discounts being given if you buy a multi-package, in fact thats often to be expected.   But say with BTSport, that atm is subsidised by other services.   There must be a fair population like myself who have absolutely no interest in BTSport. Even if I did get it for free Id likely never watch it.
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loonylion

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2014, 03:13:23 PM »

As an EE (formerly Orange) customer, I'm not too happy about this either
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Chrysalis

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2014, 04:02:12 PM »

Quote
OFCOM has not been effective in regulating the comms industry.

and IMHO putting too much attention in the wrong areas. 
Take for example the 'up to'.  Instead people could perhaps be better educated why a long line is never going to get full wack.  Other countries dont seem to have a problem in this area.  What is it that makes the UK different and also have such a large population that moans like mad when they cant get their full speed using wi-fi.     ::)  OFCOM should also have stamped on the 'Fibre' claims right from the start.  Again we are the only country where we use Fibre Optic to advertise FTTC and cable.   Other countries use the proper terms of  ADSL, VDSL & cable.

Far more important is the ISP's that can hide limited capacity in the 'up to'.  Making the ISPs provide an actual speed is only going to drive down the quality of service because common sense means they will always err on the conservative side, thus in turn if there is a genuine fault, it doesnt count because yeah its ok, its still within the limit.  ???

Quote
I for one believe OFCOM should make all companies in this area charge the actual costs for services to all customers and not permit subsidising one service from another

That I totally agree with.  I have no issue for discounts being given if you buy a multi-package, in fact thats often to be expected.   But say with BTSport, that atm is subsidised by other services.   There must be a fair population like myself who have absolutely no interest in BTSport. Even if I did get it for free Id likely never watch it.

Kitz what makes the UK different is a key event that happened in the early 2000s.

Remember when 2mbit adsl was expensive? and the speed affected the price?
Then ofcom did a deal with BT to subsidise the cost of faster speeds with extorniate backhaul utilisation costs.  Now almost everyone in the UK thinks burst speed is free without a cost, but they dont realise its subsidised by backhaul revenue.

Other countries still charge for speed so e.g. 4mbit dsl would be chaper than 16mbit dsl, in that situation the up to isnt so important because if you get crappy speeds you downgrade to the cheaper product, whilst we had a one size fits all approach on speeds.
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kitz

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Re: New aqcuisition ??
« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2014, 06:10:15 PM »

Quote
Other countries still charge for speed so e.g. 4mbit dsl would be chaper than 16mbit dsl,


Good point. :)  re other countries, but I thought that changed since adsl2+ and they also have the equivalent products in USA & Aus, but I think you may be correct when it comes to some European countries.  I guess we pay for speed again now with FTTC.


Quote
Kitz what makes the UK different is a key event that happened in the early 2000s.

Remember when 2mbit adsl was expensive? and the speed affected the price?
Then ofcom did a deal with BT to subsidise the cost of faster speeds with extortionate backhaul utilisation costs.

It was Capacity Based Charging - link that brought down the cost of 2Mb adsl in Nov 2004.  I remember that time quite well.  Plusnet was the first ISP to offer 2Mb at an affordable price for consumers because they used CBC.   I also remember very well the mess they got into because they suddenly became swamped with 2Mbps customers using 100's of GB per month. ;)

I cant however recall BT doing a deal with OFCOM re Capacity Based Charging  ??? It was CBC that enabled the price of 2Mb to come down and it was left up to the ISPs whether they wanted to use traditional, CBC or UBC.  CBC effectively took contention away from BT's network and placed it into the hands of the ISP.   Most ISPs eventually opted for CBC and this is when the ISPs started cramming more users on the central pipes.

Back then* I wrote an article on Capacity Based Charging which became quite widely branded around and quoted by many other sites such as TBB and other broadband and technical sites.   I dont have a copy of the original capacity report as it was written for somewhere else, but there's a summary here and a slightly edited version of the original report here.   
 

I do recall all the hot debating though regarding OFCOM & BT re the Margin Squeeze Test.  This was OFCOM forcing BTs hand and backhaul bandwidth becoming even more expensive.  OFCOM made BTw charge the IPstream ISPs more for bandwidth on the centrals.  Basically they said bandwidth was too cheap and unfair for the datastream providers (who were also in a mess with contention anyway).  Ahh the days of MST and every Tom_Dick_&_Harry_ISP now having to introduce caps. 

MST was not popular - it was brought about by OFCOM and it wouldn't make sense to introduce the MST if BT had recently cut a deal with OFCOM about subsidising backhaul. - [ 1, 2, 3 ]

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*The period 2004-2008 was at a time when my knowledge on BT's network was pretty damn hot, these days my memory isnt as good but I really cant recall OFCOM being anything to do with CBC, just the MST.   It was during that period (really trying not to blow my own trumpet here) but it was often acknowleged that I knew more about BT's network than any other outsider and that included some ISPs and Saffy.  I get the impression these days that some think Im a dumb blonde who knows nada, & forget where my knowledge is strongest.
 
Finally, Just to clarify before I get accussed of being a shill.   I have no connection with BT. Im not nor have I ever have been paid or employed by BT.  Whilst I may have been asked to give talks & presentations to BT staff Ive have always declined.  I am not the type of person who enjoys standing up in front of a room full of people, plus I enjoy my position in that I can say what I think when I like.  All that I know has been obtained through much study, research, having an equiring mind and being respected enough to know that if I did ask questions then I wouldnt abuse or twist any of the facts... oh and lots and lots of hard work.


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