Tomorrow I'll make some predictions for 2016. Today I'm going to turn a critical eye on the ones I made for 2015 with the benefit of hindsight. So what did I predict and how did I do?
- In the US, less M&A, More Organic Activity - Well, M&A didn't exactly stop, but we only had a few network deals of real size (Lightower/Fibertech, Crown Castle/Sunesys, Frontier/Verizon) -- the big M&A money was in data centers this year. But I was right that organic fiber expansions got more active. Capex among fiber builders was up again relative to revenue, and we saw more intercity fiber getting built then we've seen since the dot com boom. Verdict: Kind of.
- Euro, Asian, and Latin American consolidation will boom - Among European infrastructure providers, yes, though mostly for fiber and colo rather than the big telcos. In Asia/Pacific, less so, although Australia and Japan saw some activity. And in Latin America, not really. Verdict: Kind of.
- NFV will quickly become a runaway train - NFV definitely accelerated in 2015, and it's going to be big. However, it didn't really reach the point of commercialization that I had gone out on a limb to predict, and the effects will be less visible to outsiders than I had been thinking. Verdict: Not really
- 'Small Cell' will splinter into diverging opportunities - While I think this dynamic is still there, it's still the same phenomenon to most. Real deployments are happening now, perhaps I should have predicted that. Verdict: No.
- Windstream's REIT will expand inorganically in a big way - Err, no. Didn't happen. It still might, but CS&L hasn't yet made a followup move. They still might, and 2016 could be quite different, but that doesn't help my 2015 prediction. Verdict: No.
- Sprint will sell it's wireline network business in some form - Didn't happen, and it's probably too late now. Verdict: No.
- Both AT&T and Comcast will prevail in their M&A attempts - AT&T succeeded, but Comcast's purchase of TW Cable collapsed in April. Verdict: 50% is not a passing grade.
- Obama's vision of net neutrality will get implemented - Finally, I got one! Verdict: Yes.
All in all, 1 yes, 2 kind of, 2 half credit at best, and 3 unqualified misses. That's pitiful but nevertheless better than last year. Tomorrow we'll try again for 2016. Maybe this time I'll make less specific predictions so I can pretend to be smarter next year. Nah.
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