The history of telco has been a story of accelerating change. It took a hundred years for the first visual telegraphy system starting in France to be replaced by electrical telegraph. It took broadband a decade to relegate dialup back to the hobby clubs it started from.

Because we like to talk, spending on telco infrastructure has always grown. But broad numbers hide the regional monopolies that exist away from the major cities. In Australia where there are vast unpopulated regions, the places without competition are easy to see.

The problem is that competitive markets don’t like new entrants. For telco’s this means pricing customers just below the cost of entry for their services. A much higher price than the long run average cost. For data this means fibre connections aren’t laid when new entrants think the market is too small. For customer’s this means choked data limits and high price caps.

Breaking an incumbent’s hold requires a new entrant to risk building new infrastructure. Group buying is one way of getting enough demand. But groups need a co-ordination point and need to be careful not to please the demand of a one large consumer (unless they’re not able to be tempted away by special deals).

Telco’s are already using crowdsourcing to help them answer customers’ questions. It’s just a matter of time until new models become a way of buying voice and data services.