Looking Forward to Management World 2010 – Akil Beshir, Apps and Content

Not long to Management World 2010 or, as we’ll probably call it for some time yet, TMW Nice 2010.

It’s at this time I start thinking about how I’ll spend my time at the Acropolis. Which projects to see? Which speakers are worth missing a coffee-and-network with an old colleague?

As far as the keynote speakers go, it’s often a mixed bag. As a general rule the telco folk tend to offer less insight than a speaker from outside the industry.AKil Bashir

But this year I noticed Akil Beshir, Chairman Telecom Egypt has a slot. Judging by his short piece in the TMF Perspectives magazine, he’ll be worth your attention.

In his Perspectives article he’s candid and provides an insight in to a region that many TMW attendees may not be familiar with.

Akil predicts a difficult year for the region in 2010, despite reasonable GDP growth rates. Mobile growth rate is slowing and fixed line deployment has become stagnant. The opportunity for growth, as he sees it, is broadband, both mobile and fixed, provided enough Arabic content can be produced.

Also, Akil does not expect to see profits from triple play in the next three years, due to the long time it takes to see a return on investment.

This could well be the theme in Nice this year: Content and apps. It was certainly given a massive profile at MWC earlier in the year.

And yet again we see a new bandwagon replacing the old one. Wasn’t triple (or quad) play predicted to be the future of revenue generation just a couple of years ago? Well, at least this time someone’s proved there’s money in it. But I question whether there is much of a long-term future for revenue derived from apps. The free internet sucks for telcos, but the 59 pence app isn’t all that much better…

None-the-less, I expect to hear lots of talk about content. Some of it will be buzz words and ‘us-too’. But I hope Akil, and some of his contemporaries, provide us with a reasoned view of how content, service and networks can combine to create a platform for long-term telco revenue.

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