40 Years of Differences

In January 1978, when the first Pacific Telecommunications Council conference was held, the world was quite different.

  • Fewer than 7% of the world’s people had telephone service
  • Telecom was a monopoly and most firms were government owned
  • Nobody used a mobile phone
  • There was no Internet, no Ethernet, no browsers
  • 82 analog voice circuits connected Hawaii and Australia/New Zealand
  • Modems were acoustic and operated at 300 bps
  • Global telecom revenue and profit was driven by voice, especially long distance
  • “Billions” of people had never made a phone call
  • The business model was simple: build networks, earn a guaranteed return

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, we all live in a world where:

  • Usage has migrated from voice to data to video
  • Bandwidth routinely is measured in terabits per second
  • There are 7.9 billion mobile phone accounts, used by 4.8 billion people
  • Telecom is part of the internet and computing ecosystems
  • Most telecom markets are fiercely competitive
  • All legacy revenue streams are under pressure, and new revenue models must be created
  • Cloud computing, OTT, 5G, smart cities and internet of things are top of mind
  • The business model is anything but certain,and every legacy service is mature or soon to be mature
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