Time flies when you are having fun, and once again, ITW is suddenly upon us. The conference circuit has rapidly expanded over recent years, especially on a regional basis, but in spite of this, ITW remains the main event for wholesale telecoms.
I think this will be my thirteenth or fourteenth ITW/GTM – I lose count – which makes me something of a veteran (but loath to admit it). Fresh-faced ingénu I am certainly not.
As a key entry in the TSIC calendar, we are sending over 30 delegates to Chicago with at least 200 formal meetings booked so far, plus the inevitable chance encounters to supplement that number when the conference kicks off in earnest. Back in the day (when wholesale voice was apparently dead in the water), it was resolutely voice-dominated, but we’ve thankfully moved on from systematic half-circuit discussions and simple bilaterals and see tangible opportunities for data and infrastructure services as well as voice and mobile. As year on year ITW swells in size, we can only assume that this is due to the increasing influx of content providers, internet behemoths and systems vendors, making it a more rounded and hopefully lucrative experience for TSIC as a whole.
The choice of Sir Tim Berners-Lee as keynote speaker resonates extremely well with TSIC: not only does it demonstrate the broadening agenda of ITW with the internet taking centre stage in much of what we do, as sponsors of the Internet Hall of Fame it also reflects TSIC’s commitment to recognising and supporting the pioneers of our industry. Given his advocacy of net neutrality, I would be very surprised if this was not mentioned in his address – whatever your position on this subject, I think it is always welcome to see the cat being thrown among the pigeons at these events. I’d always caution against complacency, and having that bubble pierced on occasion is healthy and keeps us on our toes.
IPX is firmly on my agenda for next week. I think it is safe to say that marketing and PR departments across the carrier industry have been afforded the leeway to have all manner of fun with IPX – with the major drawback being a general lack of common understanding as to what it actually is. At TSIC, we have strong views on this issue: feel free to browse www.whatisipx.com to see just how right we are, and I am keen to focus on what I would term the “purity” of IPX. Is your IPX network a fully end-to-end quality guaranteed highway for running next-gen services, or a convenient way of making basic VoIP appear high end? I’m certainly looking forward to some healthy debate on that subject. For all the talk of peering arrangements and loose partnerships, it’s all pretty moot until true services are operating on these networks – so ITW gives my team an ideal opportunity to talk to customers about our swift progress in LTE roaming. After all, Telia in Sweden was the first MNO to launch domestic 4G services, and as far as mobile data is concerned, our Sonera colleagues practically invented the stuff – so we have a rich heritage to live up to – and doing so is a major priority for the business.
Looking forward to seeing you in Chicago.