In the last 24 hours 2 stories have broken that cause me to pause and look a bit closer at 2Degrees, from a TUANZ perspective we have encouraged the competitive impact of having a 3rd mobile network and we have walked much of the journey with 2Degrees.
So here are the stories, the first is a blog post by Australian (Global?) telco commentator Paul Budde which asks a number of hard questions about 2Degrees and challenges a number of key assumptions about their performance and their future prospects.
The second story broke in this morning’s edition of industry newsletter TechDay about Indonesia’s largest telco being about to buy a 27% stake in 2Degrees as the second largest shareholder in 2Degrees after Trilogy Partners looks to sell out.
Read together both stories are in sharp contrast to the quite celebratory piece that appeared in the print edition of last weeks NBR, its not online but I’ve got a scan of the articles here. and here.
This is a story that is going to develop so I’m not going to speculate much further about what’s happening at 2Degrees, what I want to quickly reflect on is what this means for our overall market structure and system.
There have been 2 really big telco issues this parliamentary term beyond those set in train by the 2011 Telco Act (ie UFB, RBI, Copper Wars & the Chorus Crisis) and they have been the Vodafone purchase of Telstra Clear and the 700Mhz spectrum auction.
In both cases we have seen light handed approaches from the political and official realms often citing the success of 2Degrees as proof of a robust competitive market. The Vodafone / Telstra Clear deal has created a seriously capable, vertically integrated telco with no regulatory constraints or oversight and the spectrum auction again has taken the cash over the wider needs for a balanced mobile market moving forward.
There are additional issues around the long term success of the Maori spectrum and subsequent investment in 2Degrees.
Personally I’ve been a 2Degrees customer for the last 5 years and I want to see them prosper, we need agile and innovative challengers, I hope the new investor shares this desire.