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December 19, 2007

Voice & Messaging 2.0 Survey - Last chance to have your say

If you’re winding down for Christmas this week and have a spare 15 minutes before midnight this Friday to contribute your thoughts on the future of consumer voice and messaging, please take part in our online survey here. (You’ll get a free copy of the summary results later in January as a thank you).

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December 17, 2007

Ring! Ring! Hot News, 17th December

Telco 2.0 Strategy

Structural separation? We don’t need no stinkin’ separation! So says Belgacom…

Telco 2.0 Comment: They built a VDSL network, and now their competitors want to play. Belgacom of course claims they took the risk and therefore should reap the rewards; but the biggest competitor is the company that laid the fibre already everywhere else, and now wants to offer unbundled service in the rest of the country. Will profits come from pleasing customers, or regulators?

Cinven dumps half its Numericable stock.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Who wants to be a French ISP anyway?

Vodafone: wants to go to Brazil.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Arun Sarin’s Great Emerging Market Splurge strategy rolls on. Apparently they don’t want to do a greenfield deployment in Brazil, which means only one thing; their acquisition finger is itching again. And with their monster cashflows, even a global credit market meltdown won’t stop them. Might it all turn ugly when India and Brazil saturate and commoditise in five years’ time?

Broadband Connectivity

UK TV spectrum up for grabs.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Everything from 470 to 862MHz could be on the block. Seriously, somebody’s bound to do a really big WiMAX network…

MWeb gets its WiMAX ticket punched.

Telco 2.0 Comment: This really has been the year of WiMAX, which is amusing when you recall the top telecoms official who told us it “wasn’t a commercial reality” back at 3GSM this spring. MWeb’s trial licence has been extended; that makes five WiMAX operators in South Africa alone.

Ericsson snags three contracts to build municipal metro-area fibre networks in Greece.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Remember Roy Gradwell’s talk at the Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in October? You should; it was all about how to get a municipal fibre network started incrementally, by linking up buildings that had an existing need for fibre. That’s precisely what is happening here.

Algeria gets the fibre out there already.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Algeria goes for FTTH! Look, this is getting embarrassing…

Sprint WiMAX tiptoes onto the stage.

Telco 2.0 Comment: They’re calling it a “soft launch”, but it’s more like a big trial. To begin with, Sprint employees only are allowed to use the test network. But it’s a start.

Earthlink misses major metro-WLAN meeting.

Telco 2.0 Comment: “We’re going down in a ball of flames”, according to the comments… Need we add more?

Digital Product Innovation

Amazon to give away MP3s with devices

Telco 2.0 Comment: And you thought content would offset your costs, not add to them. How long before home hub/media centre devices come pre-stuffed with flicks? Former BT tech supremo Peter Cochrane has been predicting it for years, and at last it’s coming true.

France Telecom and Universal have a deal over content licensing.

Telco 2.0 Comment: But there’s going to be no Orange IPTV any time soon. Priority #1: Get the fibre out there, right?

Technology Disruptions

Palm’s awful year ends with a burst of layoffs.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Apparently they’ve missed a deadline for a key new product. This comes after the forever-delayed Linux phone and the Foleo flub; stick a fork in Palm, it’s done. Expect someone to buy them for the Treo name in 2008.

Watch your own stuff on your iPhone.

Telco 2.0 Comment: God knows we’d mocked the iPhone hysteria enough. But we didn’t know they’d gone as far as blocking RTSP traffic so as to break streaming applications.

Nokia moves its CTO to the West Coast.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Keeping an eye on the Googleplex, apparently.

Telco 2.0 Recommends:: Google ID?, T-Mobile USA furts Twitter, those unlocked froggy iPhones are dangerous, Hello Android!.

And finally, two customers get mugged by their operator: Chris “Long Tail” Anderson gets a $2,000 data roaming bill from AT&T for leaving his iPhone on — doing nothing but pinging for new email. Bell Canada easily bests this feeble effort by charging one victimcustomer C$85,000 — on an “unlimited” data tariff. What could possibly go wrong?

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December 14, 2007

Telecom TV coverage of last Telco 2.0 event

Below is some Telecom TV coverage of the last Telco 2.0 event. More videos of interviews, presentations and panels can be found here. Due to some on-site technical hitches the coverage unfortunately missed out some of the key elements of the event. But we’re delighted to be deepening our relationship with Telecom TV in the build up to the next Executive Brainstorm in April where we’re introducing a whole host of new features and formats!

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December 13, 2007

Advertising: The Telco Trojan Horse

We recently gave readers of this blog a summary of the key highlights from the Advertising and Marketing Summit at the Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in October, run in partnership with the GSMA. This post seeks to build on the last one and give further insight into why Advertising should be interesting to operators: not because it will fill the gap created by declining voice and messaging revenues alone, but because it represents an entrée into other lucrative areas.

Let’s look at what was covered at the Advertising and Marketing Summit in a bit more detail:

Customers: “Why aren’t you doing more?”

We kicked off the day with three potential customers of Telco advertising services:

  1. Nick Strauss, Senior Planner, Mather Advertising - ‘The Brand’
  2. Sunil Gunderia, VP Mobile EMEA, Walt Disney Internet Group - ‘The Content Provider’
  3. Richard Wheaton, Managing Director, Neo@Ogilvy - ‘The Media Buyer’

Each presenter had a slightly different angle, but the messages were fairly consistent: if operators want to create a substantial advertising market, they must do more. Specifically, the presenters said there was a need for operators to:

  • Stop talking technology and start talking marketing - reach, customer engagement, brand loyalty, CPM, image, sales, creativity NOT Telco three-letter-acronyms:

  • Stop providing proprietary solutions - open up and make it easy and cost effective for advertisers to use the Telco channel
  • Make the business model attractive to all members of the value chain, starting with content players: no content, no advertising. Remove punitive (off-portal) data charges.
  • Give media buyers and advertisers data and metrics:
    • Before the campaign = aggregated customer data (demographics)
    • After the campaign = performance metrics
  • Standardise to increase reach:


  • Realise that the emphasis is on operators to make it happen, not the advertising or content industry

Operators: “Some of us are committed but many feel the opportunity is too small”

We then had a ‘response’ to this from the operator industry in the form of Richard Saggers, Head of Advertising at Vodafone Group and Henry Stevens, Business Development Director at the GSMA.

Richard and Henry both argued eloquently that they were leading the charge on behalf of the operator community and that they were taking the opportunity very seriously. Richard explained how Vodafone planned to offer advertisers Reach + Relevance (targeted ads) + Interactivity (making use of the return channel offered by mobile). He ran through the array of Vodafone partnerships across the Globe, together with some specific services such as the advertising available on Vodafone Live! in the UK and the Czech ad-funded SMS service. Henry stressed the need for operators to collaborate to create the building blocks for advertising - common language, processes and capabilities (particularly metrics). He explained that the GSMA is coordinating activities across operators.

It was a bit of a surprise when Richard announced, however, that several European operators seemed surprisingly reluctant to engage in collaborative activities. He cited that only Vodafone had rung in for a recent GSMA Mobile Advertising Programme (MAP) conference call.

Andrew Bud, Vice Chairman of the Mobile Entertainment Forum, went some way to explaining this. The key message from in his presentation was that mobile advertising did not justify strong investment from operators: the market is too small. This is something that we have covered at length on the blog and in our report, Telcos’ Role in the Advertising Value Chain, but it seemed to be a revelation to several delegates.

The overall feeling from delegates was that some operators are doing things and others are talking ‘a good game’ but action is thin on the ground. As one person put it:

We have heard lots of ‘we could’ or ‘we might’. Very little ‘we are’. How hard is it for an operator to make the internal business case to spend money on putting in these kinds of systems?

The problem at the moment is that too many pundits and practitioners consider advertising as the end-game for the platform play. An alternative view is that it is just the beginning. It may not be big enough it in its own right but, combined with the other platform opportunities, it is likely to be very interesting. We haven’t yet defined all the platform opportunities available to operators but believe that these are likely to include:

  • Advertising
  • Marketing Services
  • Content Distribution
  • E-Commerce Support (including billing and payments)
  • Everyday Business Processes (supporting B2B and B2C processes across a wide range of industries)


Critically, we also believe that a shared set of capabilities are required to create these platforms AND that operators possess these capabilities OR can grow them organically OR can acquire them OR can partner to add them:

  1. Breadth and depth of customer information. Behavioural, demographic, contextual, financial, social interactions, commercial relationships — anchored to robust foundation of user identity management processes and services.
  2. Deep customer relationships. Including the ability to bill customers and take payments, manage sensitive private data. Telcos are trusted brands.
  3. A Response Channel. For end-user customers so that they can interact with upstream customers.
  4. Distribution Skills. Ability to package up access or content delivery with data, devices and applications and bill distribution costs to upstream partners (not ISP-based users) (“free postage and packing”).
  5. Privacy management. Environment and platform within which operators can use personal data to personalise services on behalf of third parties without necessarily sharing that data externally.
  6. Interoperability. Across networks and operators so that scale can be developed and the network effect can come into play - per GSM approach.
  7. Strong end-user customer service support. To deal with post-transaction issues and technical enquiries.
  8. Sales, support and commercial framework for upstream partners. The biggest challenge - make yourself ‘nice to do business with’.

As we mentioned in a previous post, we are embarking on a major new research programme to size the potential of The Telco Two-Sided Business Model Opportunity. This research will become a report (to complement the work we have done on Advertising and Broadband Business Models) and will be presented at our next Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in April and at the CMO Forum at the Mobile World Congress in February.

Lots of Operator Portal Trials …But, So What?

We had three great case studies presented by Tarek Wahba, Senior Manager, Orascom Telecom; Charles Sword, Head of Mobile Advertising, Yahoo! Europe on the work being done with Vodafone UK; and Victor Malachard, Senior Director, Infospace on the search capability that Infospace has developed for Virgin Mobile.

It was refreshing to see some practical solutions being offered in the marketplace today. However, the presentations did serve to emphasise the focus operators are giving to on-portal advertising at present. We at STL Partners have long since argued that the bigger opportunity for operators is to help third-party websites to deliver advertising through better targeting.

When asked to vote on this, nearly two-thirds of the audience seemed to agree with us:

Low Hanging Fruit Still Ripe for Picking

What really surprised us was the reaction from delegates about the opportunity for incremental growth in SMS advertising. The STL Partners’ Telco 2.0 view is that operators are failing to exploit the inventory offered by the core Telco products of Voice & Messaging. Delegates were fairly evenly split about this:


Delegates gave reasons for their answers:

Why do you Agree?

  • Volume and ubiquity, push model, simplicity, hugely valuable core asset that can be monetised
  • They consider mobile advertising as an Internet extension - which it isn’t. The potential is there, but the experience lags behind.
  • SMS is so pervasive and so well understood that it will be the near term opportunity

Why do you say Disagree?

  • SMS can be perceived as spam… and be rather annoying, unless done in a constructive manner!
  • There is plenty of SMS advertising traffic which produces text revenue
  • Advertising gets more acceptable the better the context match with the user ( e.g search) SMS ads are very annoying since they alert you to read them (may be important) but are 99% unwanted info. Operators are right to steer clear of them
  • Main revenues come from messaging - difficulty though is creating a pull model in a messaging environment
  • Is it a bad thing to be focusing attention on the ‘next big thing’? After all, a key take away from the first session today was that we need to create a more graphically-compelling user experience to tempt brand advertisers to the mobile platform…
  • SMS has been overused in most very-competitive markets, i.e. many markets (emerging markets, UK). The value has been exhausted.

What was really surprising was the number of people who seemed to believe that the SMS ad market is either saturated and/or simply capable of delivering spam. Neither is true. There is a substantial growth opportunity for SMS advertising and one of the key drivers of this will be better targeting and relevance. This is not difficult for operators to exploit and is a relatively simple way for them to raise the profile of the Telco ad channel since much SMS advertising is cross-platform (e.g. premium rate codes in newspapers or on billboards) and so easier for advertisers to include in their existing campaigns.

Increasing Acceptance That DATA is The New Telco Asset

Tony Riley (Founder, Mobile Enterprise); Steve Van Zanen (Vice President, Acision); and Joe Hogan (CTO, Openet) gave three terrific presentations on the opportunity available for operators to use their data (behavioural, contextual and demographic) to enable better advertising on their own inventory AND third-parties. As one delegate put it:

I think the presenters have hit the nail on the head. I completely agree that operators hold rich data that can be monetized through advertising

Tony, in particular, demonstrated how the operator is the only player in the value chain that has a holistic view of customers across technology platforms, channels and brands:


A couple of barriers were raised by delegates:

  • Privacy
    Organisations whose purpose it is to protect me can have a government-given right to intrude, I believe. Organisations, whose purpose it is to make money do not. I believe that Joe Bloggs does not know what Joe Hogan described and if he did, there would be uproar! I believe that consent must be requested before the data is used and furthermore I believe that there needs to be Chinese walls between collection/storage and use. George Orwell could not have imagined this… I understand why Telcos want to think about this and possibly use it to make money as that is their role in life, but there are more important things.
  • Operator Ability to Exploit the Opportunity
    But who should monetise it? Not the operators - they don’t know how!

Privacy is clearly a complex area, but it should be feasible to protect customers by anonymising and/or encrypting data and by ensuring customers opt-in for ad services with ‘eyes open’. All this can, of course, be backed up by self- or government regulation.

Two things Needed to Drive Long-Term Advertising Effort

As the other quote above demonstrates, several delegates (and others within the industry) remain sceptical about the operators’ ability to realise the opportunity. We are more optimistic. However, operators need a better incentive than they currently have because the advertising market alone is not big enough to excite them.

We hope that our research programme will go some way towards giving senior management the confidence to invest in the two-sided business model opportunity. The ROI profile is similar to building a Telco network: high upfront investment which is amortised over a long period resulting in strong cashflows later. This is not without its risks but operators are, at least, familiar with this risk profile.

Investment alone, however, will not be enough. Success also depends on coordination and collaboration. Operators will have to work hard to develop an interoperable approach akin to that used in their GSM networks if they are to develop a large-scale ad business. Some of the delegates summed it up like this:

  • In some countries (where operators are willing to cooperate) create a single x-operator national offering to local advertisers and media planners. Why? To give a less fragmented service to advertisers. When? Design offering in the next 12 months. Take to market over next 24-36 months.
    • Even that’s too complicated. Just get the 2 biggest operators in a single country to agree to do something simple together, and the others will follow. Why? To show some quick successes and create momentum. Next 6 months.
  • One single x-operator offering is complex to implement. If done right it is a powerful catalyst. Yet there is a more important consideration why 1 single x-operator offering will be difficult to achieve and that is market regulation. Operators could work together and establish a federation or at least some sort of national framework (guidelines, datasets, etc) and allow the different operators to define their own business models and pricing (competition must be encouraged). Besides this would allow other brokers to emerge and compete. But to make this market going some orchestrated effort and implementation is required.

One of the reasons that deleages so endorsed a collaborative approach was due to an excellent presentation by Carl Rijsbrack from Alcatel-Lucent. Carl kicked off by painting a compelling vision of the future in which a Telco-supported ad model provided end users with tangible value by helping them manage their lives more efficiently and effectively. A husband received a notification to change his running shoes and an alert that it was his mother-in-law’s birthday (now wouldn’t that be useful?). The data protection activists in the room were calmed by Carl’s vision of strong privacy filters being used in concert with contextual, behavioural, consumption (usage history) and socio-demographic customer data to deliver the service. The key to achieving this goal? An open API marketplace combined with Google-esque dynamic auctioning (as well as trust and metrics, of course):


Of course, if operators don’t get this right you can be sure that Google will.

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December 12, 2007

Orange: Success in Access, Failure in Apps - Lessons for mobile business models?

We’ve been doing some rummaging around Orange UK’s latest figures on data and application usage. They put a positive spin on them, of course, but here’s our take:

Good news: SMS, as expected, is delivering the goods, but the hidden gem is mobile access. The numbers of people using mobile broadband was large (1.4m) - it was almost as much as fixed boadband (1.6m). People are either paying per megabyte or have a contract. This positive trend is being repeated across the pack in the UK - vodafone (via data cards), 3UK (dongles) and T-Mobile UK (via web ‘n’ walk).

Bad News: The applications (MMS, selling music, games etc) are performing poorly. Here’s how they didn’t present the information:

MMS: 7.4m/month at average of 4.3/customers gives 1.72m active users which is just over 11% of the base - ie hasn’t crossed the chasm yet by a long chalk. Compare with 1bn sms/month at 71 messages/customer.

Games: 690k games downloaded in the quarter say average price of £3 and 50% margin = approx £1m gross margin per quarter which is basically not worth the orange management’s team time.

Music: 295k music downloads/month. Again not worth the effort.

Video Downloads: 938k for the 1st half - very low - film clips are #1. Question: why they don’t allow movie trailers to be downloaded for free as part of their Orange Cinema brand?

TV - They say: “All this has led to tremendous growth in subscriber numbers - so much so that revenue from mobile TV is almost double the forecast.” We say: The figures must be really low if they won’t release them and yet have published such low data from games & music.

Orange Images:
Logo’s & Wallpaper - Around 97k/month. This market has been severely damaged. Thought: they would be better just giving them away.

Photo album - 700k/month. Real potential here as a substitute for flickr if Orange/FT ever got their act together (esp as flickr is probably declining under the yahoo umbrella).

Overall, pretty depressing data for anyone thinking of mobile beyond voice and texting. So, the battle lines are being drawn: mobile operator applications and portals versus the handset players (eg Apple & Ovi) versus the OTT internet players. Partnering will be key..

…but with the Mobile World Congress coming up fast in February, is it now time for the industry to seriously consider a new type of model - a two-sided business model?

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Draft Agenda for April 2008 Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm

We’re delighted to release the draft programme for the next Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm (16-17 April 2008, London) here.

More details on this in upcoming posts. Suffice it to say that it builds on the outputs from the last event and our ongoing business models research programme. In particular, at the event, we are looking to clarify a roadmap for achieving the vision we laid out in our recent ‘re-definition of Telco 2.0’ . A wiki will be set up on the event site soon to get as much input from as many people as possible. We are also developing the interactive ‘Mindshare’ format further (based on great feedback from our alumni)…

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December 11, 2007

IBM/Economist CEO Survey Supports Telco 2.0 messages

IBM and The Economist’s annual survey of top telecoms executives is out; it reinforces the messages we’ve been trying to convey in this blog and via the Telco 2.0 Initiative as a whole.

69% of IBM/EIU respondents thought that “business model transformation” was the most important source of value, compared to 34% in 2002. 72% of those people specified “collaboration with external partners” - and that certainly isn’t the first time you’ve seen that here - as a “critical initiative”.

Compare this result from our Broadband Business Models 2.0 report; when we asked our (rather larger) sample of telecoms types about the best commercial approach to delivering video, this is what we got:


69% of 223 respondents thought that telcos should pour video investment into CDNs and other elements of a platform that many different partners could use to reach many different groups of users. 35% thought setting up a monolithic IPTV system would be the worst possible option. Similarly, 33% of our respondents thought that payments from “advertisers, merchants, employers, or government” to provide end-user services would be “very important” or “extremely important” in terms of revenue

There’s still room for improvement, though, as only 53% of the same group in the IBM survey mentioned “enabling third-party access to telecoms capabilities” as critical. It’s absolutely critical to Telco 2.0, in fact, that both of these things are done; trying to sign up external partners is going to be painful and will probably fail to come up with anything new if you don’t do the underlying technical platform to support this. And just providing a gaggle of APIs is not enough without the economic and operational parts of the puzzle.

It may not be terribly surprising that only 16% of a sample of telco people thought that customer service was one of their strengths; perhaps this was a moment of clarity. Similarly, “a culture of collaboration” came in at 11%. But how can it be possible that only 16% of these Bellheads gave “scalable infrastructure” as a strength? Or, for that matter, “ease of use”, at only 11%?

It’s probably also worth pointing out that 47% of the respondents thought advertising would only be a “minor” source of revenue by 2012 as against 23% for “major-to-moderate”. There’s a clearer way of thinking about this issue, which we described after our recent ‘mobile advertising summit’ here.

If you haven’t already had chance to taste of our thinking about these issues, have a look at the analysis from this autumn’s Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm .

The key challenge with all of this, of course, will be firstly to disseminate these messages through the ‘treacle layers’ of the organisations, secondly, to create a coherent story for investors, and thirdly (related to the previous points) to work out what to do about them. We need to remove the blinkers and re-set our thinking. To help, a road map is needed, and that’s our focus of our 2008 research and events programme (here are some slides, if you haven’t already seen them, to kick start the process)…

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Nokia Ovi - presentation and video

Following our very popular post on Nokia, a useful introductory presentation and video from the recent Nokia World event describing Ovi can be found here. We believe Ovi is a very important industry development…

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December 10, 2007

Ring! Ring! Hot News, 10th December

In Today’s Issue: Asia goes crazy for network sharing, plastic fibre, fixed-line videocalls (yes, really), Opera Mini conquers all, make a widget and win a Nokia N95, UMA gadget with 2GB storage, data centre heists, iFlop, BlackBerry WiFi on a plane, Nokia threatens UGC boom, new torrent tracker tech terror, free music, ads in P2P movies, and Telco 2.0 Recommends…

Broadband Connectivity

Vodafone, Bharti, Idea in monster network sharing deal.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Shared, structurally separated, and community-owned infrastructure is a major industry trend in responding to the broadband incentive problem. This deal is especially interesting due to its sheer size; India is getting a giant shared mobile infrastructure operator, which will probably draw in other carriers.

More infrastructure sharing; Indonesia.

Telco 2.0 Comment: That last one should of course have included outsourced infrastructure. Here again, it’s a huge deal: 7,000 BTSs are being sold.

Plastic fibre; could it make FTTH cheap?

Telco 2.0 Comment: Infrastructure is all about pipes and wires, so if you can provide better pipes or bendier wires (as here) you’re on to something. Even at “only” 2.5Gbit/sec it’s enough for GPON or GigE to the home…

Digital Product Innovation

Fixed-line videocalls in Argentina.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Apparently it’s the future. Seriously - we remember this on Tomorrow’s World in the 1980s. And the 1970s.

How to tell if Opera Mini is any good?.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Answer: if your phone bill goes through the roof with extra data charges. One more cross on the chart to confirm the mobile Web is seriously coming of age.

Technology Disruptions

Make a widget; win an N95. These people did.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Here’s Nokia, embracing the developer ecosystem. Mwah! Mwah! Love the FlashLite, daaarling. Will any of our readers have a crack? And more critically, will any operators work out that Nokia has stolen their future business partners?

New UMA gadget for T-Mobile

Telco 2.0 Comment: They’re still as rare as hen’s teeth, but this Samsung device looks promising at delivering on fixed-mobile convergence - not least because it ships with 2GB of storage.

Now that’s what we call a privilege-escalation attack.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Verizon Business’s UK data centre got its technology well and truly disrupted this week; robbers posing as cops got access by claiming there were intruders on the roof, and stole £2m worth of equipment. What’s even more worrying is the data on all those drives… It’s a rising problem: see also here.

Portals, Partners, and Platforms

Only 30,000 iPhones in France; similar sales in the UK

Telco 2.0 Comment: Give a lonely iPhone a home this Christmas. Come on - look at the heartbreaking glint in its touchscreen. But seriously, folks - it seems that the great iHype has fallen more than a little flat due to iOverpriced. Retailers are claiming that many of them have been purchased but will only be activated on Christmas Day; they’ve got to say something, and it’s tough to blame this on the weather. It’ll be interesting to see how the activations go over Christmas, come to think of it; Apple certainly didn’t take that risk in the US.

WiFi in the sky; it’s back

Telco 2.0 Comment: If you’ve been missing Boeing Connexion, the WiFi-in-the-sky service, you might be able to get online on JetBlue. Note that RIM is involved; a readymade customer base. When Connexion launched, of course, there was no such thing as a WiFi BlackBerry.

Content 2.0

Nokia: 25% of content to be user-generated by 2012

Telco 2.0 Comment: Time to upgrade those uplinks (even if the figures sound aggressive to us)…

Distributed torrent tracking for high robustness.

Telco 2.0 Comment:..and a new kind of BitTorrent tracker intended to offer resistance against efforts to take it down, through an OpenID-like distributed ID system. Did your network P2P blocker come with a money-back guarantee?

Nokia: stick with us for a year and you can keep the tracks.

Telco 2.0 Comment: and what do you get? Free music with every N-series, with the special feature that if you don’t renew after the first year, you get to keep all the tracks. Except that you don’t really, due to the DRM stopping you moving them to your iPod when the phone goes out of fashion.

Ads in your P2P video? BT can embed them for you.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Another blow to DRM. If you can drop ads in those codecs, there is no longer any reason for rightsholders to object to P2P. A lot of people will probably object on the grounds that ads in P2P is like putting grit in your tea, though.

Telco 2.0 Recommends: Supply chains; done badly, done well - Amazon well, Happy birthday, SMS, Brough Turner: drowning in comms.

And Nokia gets into the touchscreen game:

And finally, stupid network telco nemesis David Isenberg loses his cat; perhaps we could get him a robot? After all, cats don’t improve with Moore’s law, yet…

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December 7, 2007

Job at Telco 2.0

Demand for Telco 2.0 research is growing rapidly. So we’re now looking for an experienced commercial manager to grow our business in this area.

The role is UK based, but with worldwide coverage. The ideal candidate will have experience of developing a research business with a major market research player in the Telecoms-Media-Technology sector. There’s a significant bonus element to reflect the green-field opportunity.

If any of our readers knows anyone who would be interested, please point them to us here.

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December 4, 2007

Consumer Voice & Messaging 2.0 — New survey

We’re pleased to announce a new online survey about the future of voice and messaging. The survey takes 15-20 minutes to complete and is designed (as always) to be thought provoking. It closes on the 19th December.

All those who complete the survey will receive a free set of summary results. The full results, as well as a deeper analysis of the changes in the industry and a full directory of every “2.0” player in the field will be published in our Consumer Voice & Messaging 2.0 report at the end of January.

Voice and messaging service operators face increased competition: fixed-mobile substitution, converged services, new low-cost entrants, as well as external competition from rich Internet communications services. The survey is designed to identify the key changes likely to happen in delivering consumer voice and messaging services for fixed, mobile and converged operators. Respondents are invited to identify the best operator strategies and select the key unmet user needs.

This survey has 4 short sections:

  1. Introduction & Your details
  2. Consumer Voice & Messaging Market Scenarios
  3. Best Operator Voice & Messaging Strategies
  4. Voice & Messaging Service Execution

Based on feedback from last year’s voice and messaging survey, we’ve made this one shorter and simpler. If you did the survey last year, you’re very welcome to do it again this year so you can get a copy of the new results.

Please take part here.

(Thanks too for everyone who participated in our previous survey on the future of broadband. Those who completed the survey were mailed the summary results a few weeks ago — we’re always keen to hear feedback. The resulting Broadband Business Models 2.0 report is in the final assembly stages.)

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December 3, 2007

Ring! Ring! Hot News, 3rd December

In Today’s Issue: 3.3bn Mobiles, Open VZW, 3UK sues the world, Peter Erskine spends more time with his money, another WiMAX outbreak, Japanese data prices tumble, Dutch fibre prices untumble a tad, Saudi Mobily buys huge IP network, Vodafone and Telefonica and adverts, Lithuanian and Brazilian IPTV, rapid withdrawal from Iraq, Nokia’s cool tools, sinister stalkerware from Google, and Telco 2.0 Recommends: the best of the blogs.

Telco 2.0 Strategy

3.3bn mobile subscribers worldwide

Telco 2.0 Comment: And that’s still only 50 per cent world penetration. The big question is now just how close to the world adult population it’s possible to push; is more than 75 per cent achievable?

Verizon ends lock-in; “any application, any device”.

Telco 2.0 Comment: There is much more detail here. We like this bit: “Unless people bring in home-made devices…”

3UK sues everyone over MNP.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Slowly, slowly, the barriers are coming down. Ofcom demands faster number porting; 3 sues all other operators for the same. It’ll come, though; don’t you wish the UK had done what the Finns did and set up a joint numbering company?

Erskine quits

Telco 2.0 Comment: Peter Erskine resigns from O2 - certainly the £17.7bn sale to Telefonica was the deal of the century from O2’s point of view…

Broadband Connectivity

More WiMAX: this time it’s UK Broadband

Telco 2.0 Comment: PCCW’s little-known UK subsidiary has been offering rather expensive 1MBits/s service in London with UMTS-TDD for a while. Now, though, they have got the restrictions on their licence lifted and it’s WiMAX time.

HK breaks out the WiMAX spectrum.

Telco 2.0 Comment: And in Hong Kong as well, it seems…

Dutch munifibre op bought out.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Brunssum’s hybrid fibre/coax op gets snapped up by @Home, with the result that prices for all-inclusive Internet, phone and TV go from €10 a month to….a princely €15.

7.2MBits for the price of 3.6 from EMobile in Japan.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Prices tanking worldwide - E-Mobile goes up a notch in HSDPA, prices stay the same.

Mobily invests in big IP infrastructure to back its HSDPA network.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Probably backhaul fibre next, too.

Hungary: broadband subs up, PSTN subs down.

Telco 2.0 Comment: It’s going to happen.

Content 2.0: Advertising and Attention

Vodafone, Telefonica buy into mobile ad platform.

Telco 2.0 Comment: To be watched closely. What is intended isn’t clear, but it’s something they both need to try. We shall see if it’s the beginning of the great ads boom, or just some really annoying spam.

Lithuania gets IPTV.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Incumbents, eh? They love IPTV.

Brazilian telcos can buy TV stations.
Telco 2.0 Comment: Which is, at least, an answer to the question of what to show on the IPTV…

Digital Politics and Regulation

Arcor suing DTel.

Telco 2.0 Comment: The usual regulatory strife about competitive access to fixed lines. There’s really only one way to fix this - surgery. Nurse, the structural separator please!

Orascom pulls out of Iraq.

Telco 2.0 Comment: You wonder why telecoms people care so much about regulation and politics? Orascom weren’t held back from building a GSM network across central Iraq with incredible speed by power cuts, unidentified gunmen, or US Air Force electronic warfare. But the Iraq Communications and Media Commission finished them with a stroke of the pen. This also means Vodafone’s indirect stake in Iraq just got bigger - for some reason Arun Sarin doesn’t talk about it much.

Tech Disruptions

Killer developer tool: power monitoring.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Nokia is still the most geek-friendly of vendors - what is more important in mobility than battery life? You can’t optimise without measurement, so now, if you’re developing an S60 application, there’s a tool to monitor the gadget’s power consumption in real time.

New beta version of Google Maps Mobile.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Not only is it native Symbian C, rather than J2ME, but it’s got a new and powerful location function using Google’s own cell-location database. But do you really want to send Google your stalker address?

Useful mobile search…

Telco 2.0 Comment: The other Martin likes a search engine for mobiles that also lets you produce short URLs. Fine, until you remember that TinyURL itself had a major DNS furt last week…

N95 gets an OS update.

Telco 2.0 Comment: Faster! Bigger! User-reconfigurable menus!

Telco 2.0 Recommends:
Brough Turner concludes CDNs continue cheaper; O’Reilly Radar: phones mutating into unphones, the other Martin in a pool of acronyms, Dean Bubley whinges about WiFi, Wired: Ed Zander, an industry mourns, Google zaps sploggers.

Apple won’t be able to stop you doing that with a software update…

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