mass extinction

i went shopping for a mobile contract on saturday. with the new alliance between swisscom and vodafone, i was vainly hoping that they would offer an intelligent plan for people who travel a lot and do not want to pay ridiculous roaming charges. i was especially interested in a plan that would let me have 2 numbers, one for switzerland and one for the us, while also offering me GPRS.
of course, no such thing exists. which means i will be looking into VOIP solutions next.
meanwhile, the telcos will have a problem on their hands too (tip o’hat to martin geddes):

I was just doing some computations today on my fingers and toes on the scale of the problem of replacing voice revenue at a hypothetical telco totally unrelated to my employer:

  • Voice Revenue of said hypothetical telco: $25bn
  • Proportion of voice revenue that is service rather than access: 50%
  • Gartner prediction for last circuit-switched PSTN call: 2020

Assume you retain 100% of access fees, lose 100% of service fees. Assume wireless and wireline go 100% IP-based.

Some numeric prestidigitation means that on average you need to find $600m of new business EVERY YEAR for the next 17 years. This needs to be conjured up from completely new intermediary roles and new services: access revenue is already factored in. And this is just to stand still. Oh, and it�s front-loaded since most of the people who are motivated to leave because they�re paying a lot will leave in the early years. The last person with a pure circuit PSTN line will be a sad case indeed. So you�re probably looking at having to invent a new billion dollar business every year. Without fail.

also, dear telcos, what is your strategy for ambient virtual co-presence?