After plunging though 500-odd pages of technological and budgetary planning roadmaps (plus independent research of my own into the annual reports of a few hand-picked technology companies), a lot of things finally started to make sense. I don't think the average non-telco folk (not to mention around 90% of the telecomms industry commentators and pundits) have the least idea of how overwhelmingly complex the whole thing is - and why it takes most people a good many years to come to grips with it all - let alone how a modern 3G operator does something as mundane as shift a voice call around inside their network.
Comparison between the telco industry and Gaudí's efforts is inevitable, but my guess is that the telecomms industry will eventually collapse into a clear-cut, easy-to-understand cognitive model - so it will always be easier to understand (as a whole) than La Sagrada Família.
That consolidation will mostly be due to convergence to IP technologies (what the insiders call "the packet domain", in almost TRON-like reverence), but the current state of affairs and the way both vendors and operators are planning for the future makes it plain why things like VoIP and Wi-Fi haven't a snowball's chance of fulfilling the promise of their "disruptive technology" stickers without some backing from operators - that and a few fundamental shifts in transmission technology, but not even WiMax is living up to the promise yet.
Oh well. I suppose even half-baked attempts at designing alternatives are better than nothing. Breaking with the past is a much better overall approach than using default thinking, but of course some folk never learn from past mistakes.
Check back here in 2007 and we'll see.