Vodafone asks how data retention applies to M2M

Number-three telco also urges competition regulation

Vodafone seeks more clarity on how the data retention legislation introduced today will apply to machine-to-machine (M2M) data, among other questions.

Vodafone sees M2M as a major growth area in the next two years, said Dan Lloyd, Vodafone director of strategy and corporate affairs, in remarks to the Ovum 2020 Telecoms Summit in Sydney.

He pointed to an Ovum/Vodafone report released in September that predicted M2M will be worth more than $530 million by 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of 20 per cent. Globally, Vodafone has M2M operations in 18 countries.

The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 would require telcos to store metadata for two years. There is a risk this could create large costs for Vodafone if has to store metadata on M2M communications, said Lloyd.

"The clarity that has been given to data around what metadata actually is, what's actually required to be stored, how's it required to be stored and retrieved, for what period and time and so on, is still unclear."

Lloyd said he looked forward to debate over these issues in the Joint Parliamentary Committee for Intelligence and Security.

The Vodafone official did praise the government for acknowledging in the legislation that there is a cost to storing data for two years and that the government would share some of this cost, he said.

Separate to the data retention issue, Lloyd urged government to set a regulatory atmosphere that promotes telecom competition.

He complained about the "disturbing" dominance of Australia's telecom market leader, Telstra, saying that telco has a greater share of revenue, profit and free-cash-flow than the incumbent telco of any other country.

"If we don't find the right policy and regulatory solutions and protections in an emerging industry which has all this extraordinary potential, then the detriment ... is very, very serious indeed."

Policymakers should look at M2M as a "global ecosystem," Lloyd said.

"If there are individual countries who want to see bespoke deployment for that individual country, then there is a very significant risk that they are simply left out of the benefits of that technology."

In what sounded like a dig at Telstra, Lloyd said that companies that are strong domestically but have "little or no experience or track record internationally ... tend to look for ways to complicate or disrupt the global business model."

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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