John Strand is CEO of Strand Consult
John Strand founded Strand Consult in 1995. Its first focus was optimizing the sales process and reducing cost for companies in the information technology (IT), telecom and media industries. John had already built successful consulting company providing direct sales and marketing services for the IT, telecom, finance and publishing sectors. The mobile industry exploded in the 1990s, and Strand Consult grew along with its new clients from the mobile and telecom industry, analyzing market trends, publishing reports and holding executive workshops that have helped telecom operators and mobile services providers all over the world optimize their business strategies and maximizing the return on their investments.
For more than 20 years, John Strand has published his annual predictions on how the mobile telecom industry would evolve. You can read the collected predictions and see that John Strand consistently gets it right. Strand Consult was first to describe the 3G market and South Korea’s pivotal role in mobile services. Strand Consult was first to describe the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and how it allows classic mobile providers to operate multi-brand strategies. Strand Consult is a leading knowledge center on MNVOs and mobile distribution models. Strand Consult was also first to publish research on premium SMS, value added services for mobile broadband, cost reduction strategies for prepaid services, etc.
John Strand has a unique ability to critique new technologies and how they affect the market and the industry’s ability to make money for their shareholders. Strand described that the celebrated iPhone would not increase shareholder value for mobile operators. Strand Consult’s blockbuster report “The Moment of Truth – A Portrait of the iPhone” proves this assertion and earned John Strand a global reputation as a fearless critic of conventional wisdom.
Strand also examined Wimax and its ability to compete with WCDMA which is the roadmap that we know today as the foundation of 3G, 4G and now 5G. He performed similar analysis of another hyped technology, OpenRAN. Strand has debunked the many OpenRAN myths. When the industry marketed OpenRAN as an alternative to Chinese suppliers like Huawei and ZTE, Strand documented how 44 Chinese companies had a central role in the development of OpenRAN.
In the last decade John Strand has amassed a team of engineering, legal, and regulatory experts to help his clients with growing international policy challenges. In the past, telecom providers enjoyed a measure of permission-less innovation in their product and service development, but no longer. The telecom industry has become a target of rent-seeking by policymakers and their online competitors that use regulation to gain an unfair competitive advantage. Strand Consult bring transparency to expose abuse of the political and regulatory process by self-interested actors whether multinational companies or greedy city mayors wanting to artificially inflate the cost of mobile infrastructure
In Denmark Strand Consult led the effort to improve the policy for mobile coverage and deployment. As a result, Danish mobile operators have reduced rental cost on their installed infrastructure base by 20 percent, and mobile coverage has improved. In its process to bring transparency to the public discussion on mobile coverage, Strand Consult’s research documented that 15 Danish municipalities created an illegal cartel to set a high price for site rental, prompting an investigation by law enforcement which ended the collusion.
Strand Consult’s research revealed another illegal act involving a Danish mayor directing subsidies to a local utility in knowing violation of the European Union’s state aid rules which prohibit the use of government funds for broadband infrastructure where private provision already exists. The municipality spent €2 million of city funds to defend itself in a case it lost.
Strand Consult also exposed an illegal act on the island of Bornholm in which the municipal energy company built broadband infrastructure. A subsequent investigation forced the municipality to sell the infrastructure.
In the European Union, John Strand has exposed the lack of transparency by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), a regulatory oversight group chartered by the European Commission which holds secret meetings with pre-selected stakeholders on controversial policies while claiming to work in an in an open fashion. Strand Consult has been an effective critic of the EU’s Roam Like At Home (RLAH) policy and exposed that policymakers did not conduct proper legal, economic, or operational analysis before the imposition of price controls. Strand Consult’s research notes prompted the European Commission to adopt a fair use clause for the policy and has allowed some firms to exit the harmful regime.
While John Strand is a noted advocate for market freedom, Strand Consult’s analysis stopped the liberalization of the telecom market in Greenland showing that the large, ice-covered nation with some 50,000 people fulfills the criteria as a natural monopoly for telecommunications and that liberalization would have negative consequences for people living outside the two largest cities in Greenland.
Strand Consult is also expert in the security of mobile telecom networks. Its reports on use of Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese government technology in 102 European mobile networks was a critical element to the development of the EU’s 5G toolbox. In addition to the technical security elements of networks, Strand Consult studies the policies and practices of the Chinese government and their effort to influence international technology development. Strand co-founded the think tank China Tech Threat to study and describe the security and privacy risks of using Chinese government technology in networks.
John Strand’s uncanny ability to predict the future of the telecom market and his compelling communication has made him a valued speaker in the press and at conferences around the world. His precise statements combined with a unique insight in the industry help make complex issues understandable.
Hundreds of companies in the telecom industries have tapped John Strand and Strand Consult’s workshops and reports to develop strategy, launch new products, and conduct a dialogue with policymakers. Strand brings political and regulatory attention to critical and sometimes controversial issues.
John Strand sits on the board of Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum. He served as a member of the Arctic Economic Council Telecommunications Working Group and the Advisory Board for the 3GSM World Congress, the event known as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.