The companies that connect our phones and computers are often portrayed as staid behemoths that only wish to maintain the status quo. They can seem unassailable: protected from competition by their expensive infrastructure, exclusive licences and network effects. Their apparent inertia makes the telecoms industry an enticing target for disruptive newcomers. Yet the incumbents haven't been toppled so easily. So far they have maintained their advantage - through innovation, iteration and above all acquisitions.
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