September 20, 2013 19.28 Europe/London By by Robert Briel, CTAM Eurosummit 2013, Barcelona
“Our business has never been very good at ensuring that everything works,” said Ben Verwaayen in an interview by Don Tascott, at the CTAM EuroSummit.
The former CEO of KPN, BT and Alcatel Lucent was frank about the current state of the industry: “People have to talk fifteen minutes to a call centre to explain what is wrong and then take half a day off. The differentiator is services and for a long time that was the last thing.”
“Things need always to work and that means service comes first; but today services comes last. I have great doubt that this industry can do it. Pure distribution won’t be enough.”
The cable industry needs to adapt to the new situation – fast. “Consumer is changing radically the build up of this industry.”
Until recently, the division was clear: telcos were in the business of television, cable network in the distribution of television. “The big disruptor are ubiquitous networks. People were training to think vertical. But now the protections has gone away.”
The second thing is the need to change fast and adopt to new market situation. Speed is everything. “The old speed is now snail speed, which was okay till recent. But now, if you are not fast in the decision process you’re in trouble.”
The third problem is that technology has gone global – you dont know where it is coming from.”
A recent example of unexpected competition was the recent bid by Google for the NFL Rights, “that was for me the most important event of the past few weeks. And the Virgin deal with Netflix might be a brillian deal creating value in total chain.”
“The industry also needs to consolodate, there is way too many of us. Look at the US, there are five to ten major player, while in Europe there are 128 operators. That is a factor of ten and there is no way that a factor of ten can survive. We need to converge, you can see it coming.”
In Europe there is also no space for 28 regulators, there need to be one, sinhle European market.