by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 4th 2008 8:39pm
It's always interesting to see stories worrying about high growth markets maturing. When a market is growing rapidly, there are always those who believe they'll grow forever. But markets mature and run out of growth potential. The telco industry is now coming to terms with that, as 80% of Americans have mobile phones, and 79% of homes with computers have broadband access. At that point, it's no surprise that telcos might not have the same growth opportunities as before, and might start scrambling to try to find new avenues for growth. That's why you see both Verizon and AT&T pushing into the television market, while poking around in some other areas as well. It's also why Sprint needs to kiss and make up with Clearwire, and get a nationwide WiMax system up and running. Also, start expecting to see attempts to create more innovative uses of the telecom systems already in place, such as non-phone equipment making use of mobile networks (the Kindle was just the beginning). Either way, the scramble is now on for telcos who are used to growing at a certain pace to start aggressively seeking new avenues for growth. While that's happening, don't be surprised to see more aggressive attempts to poach customers from each other as well. That's going to be good for customers, as it's likely to force the various telcos to become more open as a way of attracting more customers by doing more than just dropping prices. No matter what happens, the telco industry recognizes that it needs to change and change quickly if it wants to keep up some form of growth.
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