Bob O'Donnell

After years of hype, 5G making progress in the US

AT&T announced that it had achieved nationwide coverage for its 5G network, joining T-Mobile, who reached that important goal Dec 2019. AT&T announced about a month ago that they have turned on a technology called DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing), which allows 4G and 5G phones to use the same frequencies.

Trump election likely to drive new tech investment priorities

[Commentary] While much of Silicon Valley and the tech industry is still reeling from an election outcome that none of the best data analytics models predicted, there’s another important question that’s starting to be asked: How might a Trump Administration’s priorities impact tech investments and the resulting tech developments? The short answer, of course, is no one really knows.

But given the staggering disconnect that’s been highlighted by the recent election results between the tech community and a large portion of the US population, it’s not unrealistic to think that the changes could be profound. At a simple level, there are already signs that the business climate is moving into a more conservative phase with a focus on basic types of developments. All the discussion about infrastructure improvements, for example, clearly highlights the areas that are going to receive attention from the new administration. Wall Street and many observers have interpreted this to mean that industries like construction, steel, and heavy equipment are the likely beneficiaries of this shift in investment priorities. While that is no doubt true, there are also potentially interesting pockets of opportunities for tech companies—if they’re focused in the right areas.

[Bob O'Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research]

Cable service providers need to offer more than ‘dumb pipes’

[Commentary] The notion that telecommunication company carriers and other service providers have provided little more than basic connectivity has been an industry hot button for quite some time. Even now, despite a number of efforts to spice things up, most telecommunication companies and cable service providers are seen as companies that provide a very indistinct connectivity service that people only reluctantly pay for. The primary differentiators for competitive players in this space are price, price and, oh yeah, price, with maybe a bit of coverage or service quality thrown in for good measure. It’s little wonder that many consumers hold these companies in such low esteem — they just don’t see the value in the services beyond basic connectivity. It’s also not surprising that so many people are looking at cord-cutting, cord replacement and other options that attempt to cut these service providers out of the picture. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The amount of data that telco and cable service providers have access to should allow them to generate some very interesting, useful and valuable services that consumers should be happy to pay for. Admittedly, there are some serious privacy and regulatory concerns that have to be taken into consideration, but with appropriate anonymizing techniques, there are some very intriguing possibilities. The fundamental problem is that service providers act more like utilities than companies that offer services people are happy to pay for, such as Netflix. There’s little sense of personalization or differentiation from service providers, and the aforementioned router/gateway boxes they currently force into consumers’ homes are a classic example of that utility style of thinking. Honestly, if your power company was to put a box into your home, do you think it would look much different?

[Bob O’Donnell is the founder and chief analyst of Technalysis Research LLC, a technology consulting and market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community.]