Are Telcos ready for Cloud computing?

CNET news has a post on on Cloud Computing listing who the players will be Google, Microsoft,, VMware, Amazon Web Services, IBM, HP, Hosting companies and Telcos.

Telecommunications and cable companies
One possible industry segment that may surprise us with respect to one-stop cloud services would be companies such as AT&T, Verizon Communications, Comcast, and BT--the major telecommunications providers. They own the connectivity to the data center, the campus, mobile devices, and so on, and they have data center infrastructures perfect for a heavily distributed market like the small-business market (where each small business may be local, but the market itself exists in every town and city).

The problem is the same as it has been for decades: business models and regulatory requirements of these companies make it difficult for them to address software services effectively. These companies have traditionally been late to new software market opportunities (with the possible exception of the mobile market). You don't see AT&T, for instance, competing with others in bidding for a platform-as-a-service opportunity. So until they show signs of understanding how to monitize business applications, they are not in the running.

One other area that the author James Urquhart misses is that gives Telcos an advantage. 

They have access to every account due to their network services.

Verizon says they have 200 data centers worldwide.  The number 200 is hard to imagine.  But, think of all the Verizon telephone switching rooms that are much smaller as technology has advanced.  All that power, air conditioned space in locations where network access is top in the industry.

Add to the list, Deutsche Telecom, Chunghwa Telecom, China Telecom, Singtel.  They all have this advantage and all are looking to add cloud computing.

My bet is Telcos are going to be big.