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The voice of Alice

01 December 2004

The word 'broadband' is banned because it appeals only to geeks, and Telecom Italia is boosting VoIP takeup with a range of advanced, attractive phones. Stefano Pileri and Gionata La Torre outlined their strategy to Alex Ritman

Don't forget the voice. This was the message from Stefano Pilari, Telecom Italia's president of domestic services, speaking at Marconi's press and analyst conference in Genoa. Many incumbent operators, terrified at the potential losses in revenue from VoIP and broadband cable operators, have been looking for new sources of income, such as TV on demand. However, Pileri acknowledged that, while this is important, they shouldn't ignore voice.

Yes, new operators pose a threat, with cheaper services, but voice is still the cash cow, the killer application. In fact, voice revenues make up over 50% of TI wireline's total and, despite the emergence of successful triple-play operators in Italy, most notably FastWeb, this revenue fell only 0.8% in the last year.

As Pilari put it, "Voice is still our first priority." The trick in maintaining high voice revenues is, according to Pileri, in making voice more exciting to the...