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Telcos' future: Slim down and open up

Phone companies have allowed over-the-top players to roll over their turf. But customers are fickle, and, with a more innovative approach, they can soon claim back their home-ground advantage.
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor

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Jason Collins is Alcatel-Lucent's vice president of Emerging Technology and Innovation. He came to the ZDNet studios this week to talk about the future role of telecommunications companies. Are they destined to remain as network providers selling dumb pipes?

Jason says not. He says that ultimately, an approach where intelligence sits in the cloud and on the network makes more sense; services can be more flexible, and phones won't need to be quite so smart, and therefore cheaper to produce.

With their ownership of the network, phone companies have a bigger advantage than most, yet they constantly fail to find ways of adding value to what the user wants. We discuss the need for these big old companies to change their ways — perhaps including slimming down and opening up their network and management systems to innovators.

What do you think? Can phone companies change enough to give Apple a run for its money? Can we shift the approach from smart phone, dumb network to smart network, dumb phone? Call the Twisted Wire feedback line on 02 9304 5198 to leave a message with your views.

Running time: 34 minutes, 21 seconds

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