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Ring! Ring! Monday News Analysis - 3rd September, 2007

This week we look at important stories concerning Product Innovation, Broadband Connectivity, Technology Disruption, Regulation, Partners.

Digital Product Innovation

Nokia is reconceptualising itself; it wants to be an “Internet-driven experience company,” not just a crummy old vendor. To that end, its web presence is being shuffled into a new portal called “Ovi” (it’s Finnish for “door”), which will integrate its new music shop, its Web 2.0 activities (eg Lifeblog), and a rebooted mobile games division. Even N-Gage looks like it might get a new lease of life..

Telco 2.0 Comment: Horizontalisation isn’t just for travel agents and bloggers, y’know. Nokia is probably the keenest of the vendors on trying to shunt the carriers out of the way and get a direct relationship with users; this was only to be expected.

100 million prepaid subs in the Middle East.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Note the surging growth at Iran’s two heavily prepaid networks, Taliya and Irancell (MTN Investcom); contrast the sluggish incumbent MCI. The recipe for emerging markets is still low prices, prepay, credit transfer, SMS, and autonomous distribution. These strategies also work pretty well in Germany too…

China Telecom’s business is hammered by mobile.

Telco 2.0 Comment: It’s not just in the 100% mobile penetration world that the fixed-line business model is sinking fast - it’s also in rural China.

More of a lack of digital product innovation here: Motorola: it’s not getting any better. Market share slides 7.3 per cent in three months

Telco 2.0 Comment: How long before the idea of selling off the handsets division gets refloated? It’s not particularly clear, after all, what Motorola’s strategy is other than hoping for another RAZR-splurge.

Broadband Connectivity

Vodafone UK flips on HSUPA and HSDPA Class 8; pushing data rates towards 1.4Mbits/s uplink and 7.2Mbits/s downlink in selected cells.

Telco 2.0 Comment: It’s a pity their pricing model is designed to discourage you from using it…

BT signs up DSL customers at 2,000 a day.

Telco 2.0 Comment: We told them it would work…

Municipal Wi-Fi: Earthlink zaps 900 employees.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Two huge muni-WLAN projects are left to rot. No clear business model (“It costs too much and there are too few people who will use it”, says a Chicago official), and geek idealism rather than radio-planning; no wonder it doesn’t work.

Samsung gets the contract to build Sprint WiMAX in New York

Telco 2.0 Comment: Can we say it’s a reality yet?

Technology Disruptions

Clap your listening gear on this: Java techies on how their database works on a smartphone.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Is the window of opportunity for telcos to make themselves indispensable for mobile applications development closing? With the rapid growth of storage on mobile devices, they are getting more independent of data stored in the network; peer-to-peer technologies, as well as simpler stuff like RSS, XML, SyncML and Co, can handle synchronisation. If you’ve got multiple gigabytes of storage, and a real database engine like this (or SQLite on the S60 platform), you don’t need to rely on the network operator to store data.

SignalMap is great, says Brough Turner, but why doesn’t it gather objective data?

Telco 2.0 Comment: Good point, Brough, but how many young webdevs really want to replicate telco network optimisation tools? Snark aside, this is an important point; so far, network measurement has been entirely a function that caters to operators, not users. And only T-Mobile has grasped this so far; but they are hardly likely to recommend you go to the competition…

Qualcomm MediaFLO gets a trial in Malaysia. Maxis Comms and Astro TV check out the broadcast possibilities.

Telco 2.0 Comment: It’s been a bad few weeks for Qualcomm, but this is a timely reminder that they still may have a big hit in the mobile TV world, especially among the uncommitted to either the GSM or CDMA camps. That’s if anyone actually watches mobile TV…

Regulation and Digital Politics

Singapore has stronger legal protections for Internet users than… most places, it turns out.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Google says don’t be evil; the reason is that a good reputation is an asset, and only a good reputation with the people who pay counts. After all, there’s no reason to think they won’t just cut you off.

The future of provisioning? More like its medieval past. Comcast declares a fair-use policy and cuts off people who breach it; it’s a pity they don’t say what the policy is..

Telco 2.0 Comment: The customer is evil and must be eliminated, right?

Man fired over GPS-tracking mobile: NYC carpenter accused of sneaking off early.

Telco 2.0 Comment: One thing proponents of the “digital worker” with mobile devices tend to softpedal is that one of its primary uses is to extend managerial monitoring, surveillance, and control. This guy’s case is likely to set a very important legal precedent; he claims he wasn’t told that the free gadgets offered to staff by City Hall were logging his every move.

Partners and Platforms

Ericsson grabs two more managed service contracts…parts supply in Mexico and Deutsche Telekom’s microwave network.

Telco 2.0 Comment: In the future, there’ll be one huge telco for the whole planet and 600 million service/application providers on top of it; and the telco will be Ericsson. Fear of our Swedish future…

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