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Sunday, May 23, 2004

While Regulators Dither
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Did you see the WSJ's May 17 report [subscription required] on the top stock-picking telecom sector analysts for the last quarter?

The Journal's wireline telecom sector report begins this way: "With competition from wireless phones and cable companies intensifying, most large U.S. fixed-line telecom companies saw business erode last year -- and it could get worse."

Then it quotes last quarter's No. 1 telecom analyst, Vik Grover of Needham & Co., as warning: "Large regional phone companies are suffering from so much competition and change in technology that their business model is no longer viable."

Maybe Mr. Grover is a bit too gloomy, but he does pick telecom stocks for a living, and, apparently, is pretty good at it. I bet he's shaking his head in wonderment at the policymakers' slow motion debates concerning whether wireless is really a "substitutable" or merely "complementary" service for wireline or whether VoIP is an "information service" or a "telecommunications" service.

For my money, I bet Mr. Grover would agree with me that it's time for policymakers to eschew the regulatory "metaphysics" and heed the blast from Schumpeter's trumpet.

posted by Randolph May @ 2:10 PM | General

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