Tim Poulus linked to an interesting interview of Telecoms.com with Don Price, CTO of Bharti Airtel on how they have grown from hating outsourcing and one single network for all to loving it. Could you imagine Deutsche Telekom arguing for one network for all? (actually you could, but that would be in the traditional monopolist way, not in the lets all share the same network and compete on access and services)
This kind of heresy can only come from a country where the telecommunications game is played on different scales with different budgets and margins. Rolling out the whole of India is a daunting task, evenmore when taking into account that the 1 billion Indians have much less to spend each month but all want to have a mobile phone. (Yes all of them have a need to communicate, so I actually expect mobile penetration to reach 100% before 2020)
As a network person I can do very little do drive the top line but I can certainly do a hell of a lot to drive cost out of the middle. So therefore I believe things like passive network sharing, site sharing, co-building of sites and ultimately even the active network sharing is the right path to go down. If you and I are competing in the same market, it doesn't make sense for both of us to do the build out. We have an expense that we can't reduce, you're left with an expense that you can't reduce. You're on the left side of the highway, and I'm on the right side of the highway. What did we do? We crossed the finish line six weeks apart. So as we go forward in the industry, as a network community, let's build one highway, one common infrastructure and let the sales and marketing guys compete on the cars."