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Digiworld Economic Journal

Call for Papers

Dossier to be published in No. 106 – 2nd Q. 2017

What does the future hold for telecoms?

Eds: Paul de BIJL, Richard FEASEY,

The telecom services market represents a sizeable percentage of the digital economy, as much in terms of revenue (over €1,100 billion) as ensuring the conditions for the different sectors’ digital transformation.

At the same time, the market has experienced major upheavals over the past several decades: opening up to competition, the explosion of cellular and later fixed and mobile Internet. Telcos are having to contend with the fallout of sometimes fierce competition that is weighing on both their growth and margins, and with the need to make considerable investments in fibre and 4G/5G networks, to keep pace with increasing connection speeds and fixed and mobile traffic. More than anything, however, it is telcos’ old business models, dominated by charging for calling minutes, which is steadily being erased by the emergence of all IP, and their integration into the Internet’s far more complex value chain.

The first reflex under such circumstances is typically to cut costs, reducing personnel costs and requiring suppliers to shoulder some of the burden of the cutbacks. Whenever possible, these cost-cutting measures are accompanied by investments in growing emerging markets and in consolidation deals in more mature markets.

Beyond that are considerations over what the business of operator will look like, and what the scale of their operations will be 10 years from now, over the sector’s future industrial organisation, the regulatory framework that will apply… all of which give rise to a host of questions, such as:
• To what extent can telcos avoid competition based solely on retail prices? How can they differentiate themselves (in their access to customers, integrating access to content and services…)?
• How are the market’s barriers to entry likely to change? Are we moving towards regional or global consolidation of the sector? What synergies are available to cross-border consolidation efforts?
• What underpins the fixed-mobile convergence trend (merging infrastructure, cross-selling, etc.)?
• What is the economic argument coming for the many telcos that are investing in the distribution or production of TV content? Should we expect to see a shift in the relationship between telcos and OTT providers? Will we still be talking about net neutrality 10 years from now?
• What other avenues of diversification are we seeing in top telcos’ strategies (cloud, IoT, security, banking, e-commerce, video games…)? Is it too early to draw conclusions from these forays into new markets?
• What distinguishes telcos’ positioning from OTT players’ in terms of utilising and monetising user data? Would there be any competitive advantages for telcos to act as trusted third parties?
• Can the features of platform economics (two-sided market) apply to telcos?
• Just how far can telcos go in their vertical integration? And what role could an opposite business model play, in which the network operator would be a pure wholesaler?

These are the questions that issue No. 106 of the DigiWorld Economic Journal is taking as its point of departure for economic analysis pieces that could be case studies, benchmarks, modelling exercises, scenario building, explorations of the public policy challenges surrounding the telecommunications sector, etc.

Please send submissions (in the form of full papers)
by 30th March 2017 to:

Submission of papers

All papers submitted for publication will be reviewed by at least two referees/experts using the "double blind" system.
Proposals must be submitted in Word format (.doc) and should not exceed 6,500 words – including the abstract and references.
As far as possible, the publisher recommends that you insert some illustrations (tables, diagrams) in the paper, in order to facilitate the general comprehension.
Please ensure that they are readable in grey scale, and that they are of high-definition, in order to guarantee the printing quality.
Bibliographical references should be included at the end of the article. Should these references appear in the text, please indicate the author's name and the year of publication in brackets.

Extra papers

Our DigiWorld Economic Journal also welcomes submissions for extra papers - off dossier - that typically cover innovative issues in the sector of the telecoms, internet and new media. If your paper is selected by the Editiorial committee, it will be submitted to the double-blind review process.
On the other hand, should you wish to propose a short paper (1500 to 3000 words maximum) for the "Features" rubric, offering factual analyses of recent developments in the fields of regulation and competition, firms and markets, technical innovations, public policies and use logics, please contact us.
Book reviews are also very welcome should they are in connection with our usual thematics.



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