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Monday, September 11, 2006

Iliad Annoucements - applicability to the UK?

The torrent of information coming out of Iliad, the second largest broadband player in France, obviously raises questions about the UK market:
1) The French Consumer market is narrowing to three key players: France Telecom, Neuf Cegetel and Iliad. It looks as if Telecom Italia (via Alice) and Deutsche Telekom (via Club Internet) will be left with sub-optimal market share - perhaps they will exit the market soon;

2) The whole basis of the theory of natural monopoly in the copper local loop is turned on its’ head with a non-incumbent investing in fibre. However, I note that some of Iliad’s PR can be interpreted as a call for Local Authorities to financially assist them in the build-out;

3) A pure national operator such as Iliad can gain a leap on the much larger multi-nationals through aggressive pricing, innovation and apparently a lack of focus on quality - compare and contrast with the TalkTalk strategy. I wonder if Charles Dunstone at TalkTalk (aka Carphone Warehouse) will strike a deal with his entrepreneurial soul mate Xavier Niel at Iliad on technology sharing, especially in the Set Top Box / ADSL modem hardware arena;

4) Perhaps there is another dimension to the Vodafone Wholesale DSL decision: if Vodafone believe Fibre to the Home or even VDSL is due to be deployed by BT in the near future, it will mean a big write-off for a proportion of the LLUers investment: read Bulldog (aka C&W), TalkTalk (aka Carphone Warehouse), Easynet (aka BskyB), Orange (aka France Telecom), O2/Be (aka Telefonica); and

5) Why should there be a lot more broadband players in the UK compared to France? Perhaps, there could be a few exits from the UK market over the medium term.