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Ring! Ring! Hot News, 10th November 2008

In Today’s Issue: Your churning handset market; Apple beats RIM into third; horrible quarter in the Telco USSR; astonishingly trivial jailbreak for Gphones; iPhone emergency call only function lets you call any number; AT&T’s iPhone-as-router; cap watch; MobileMe sporked; some kind of election in US spikes SMS service; CEP is your new favourite TLA; Virgin Media struggles, Iliad soars; Rio gets really fast Internet service; Orange cans IPTV; DTAG feeling better now; Turkcell stars at Telco 2.0, boosts profits 50%; 900MHz 3G in Finland; Vodacom = Vodafone Africa; Nortel MetroEthernet sale off; C&W split forever delayed due to unexpected good news; YouTube eats the world

The handset market is churning frantically, as Samsung unexpectedly races into the lead in the US and elsewhere. Motorola is the biggest loser, even with last week’s good news from Sprint. Here’s more on the devices, especially the Omnia iPhone clone. Apple has overtaken RIM for smartphone shipments.

We said last week’s good news from Sprint; good news is a relative term. It’s been yet another sapping quarter for them. Unlike some other Kansan stories, this time there’s little prospect of waking up to find it’s all just a bad dream.

And those pesky kids have beaten the restrictions on the Google Android G1. The hack is alarmingly simple — it requires you to install a terminal client and telnet to the device’s own IP address from within your /bin/system/ directory. That’s a total of three commands to get full root access; cd /bin/system/, netstat (or ifconfig), telnet your.ip.address.here…and you’re done. Of course there’s a patch coming, but you really have to wonder about Android’s security if it’s that simple. Has anyone tried to telnet into it from another IP address? For geekier readers, the original XDADevel thread is here; it gets interesting when they start talking about running Jabberd and the curious fact that everything on a G1 runs in a hidden console as root…

Relatedly, it appears that the iPhone’s password lock allows thieves to call any number they like. There’s more on AT&T and the death of the iPhone-as-router app, too. AT&T is also apparently planning to cap heavy users, with a Comcast-like big bucket approach (150GB a month for the top speed bracket).

Apple’s been caught short of infrastructure to support its cloud activities before, and this week it happened again, with MobileMe going down for seven hours.

In the US, meanwhile, apparently there was some sort of election. Telephony Online reports that Barack Obama’s election spiked SMS traffic by around 10% (“She cannae hold it much longer, Cap’n!”). Worthy of note:

The power of the mobile phone was a prominent theme throughout Obama’s campaign, which included a dedicated mobile effort with the ability to download ringtones, wallpaper or receive text updates on the issues. The campaign reached across nearly every major social network and even called upon geographically and demographically targeted advertising messages over Quattro Wireless’ network to encourage voters in key states to vote early.

There’s more here.

Interesting new buzzword watch; Complex Event Processing. It looks like it ties into a lot of Telco 2.0 themes.

Meanwhile, a tale of two telcos. Virgin Media’s net loss doubles; Iliad sees profits rise by 30%. Even stripping out the effect of acquiring Alice France, they were still up 17%. It’s rather depressing that out of the three fundamental business strategies, the one that the UK ISP industry hasn’t tried is “operational excellence”. And come to think of it, “new product” has barely been touched in the general dash for price leadership.

In Rio de Janeiro, they’re trialling 60Mbits/s cable service. Dude, where’s my fibre? Orange UK, meanwhile, is cutting back on investment and canning its IPTV rollout; apparently it’s too similar to BT Vision. Or, for that matter, to all the other IPTV and cable TV operators in the world.

Deutsche Telekom peeked out of the hospital this week with unexpectedly good results. “Improved processes” were given as one of the reasons, which certainly sounds like an attempt at operational excellence to us. But one of the stars of Telco 2.0 last week, Turkcell, matched that with a 50% boost to profits.

900MHz spectrum refarming is coming: DNA in Finland announced a major deployment of 3G base stations in the old GSM band. Meanwhile, Vodafone took a controlling stake in Vodacom. It seems that Vodacom is now going to be developed as the centre for Vodafone’s activities in Africa, with the Ghanaian and Kenyan stakes rolled up in it.

Fixed-line voice is dying in Hungary. Everyone mourned Nortel’s announcement that it was selling its optical networks business; but this week it looks like that’s off - nobody can afford to buy it!.

Cable & Wireless isn’t going to divide itself in two after all, or at least not for a while, in a “things not so bad after all” storm.

And finally, this is interesting — a new study shows that Web video has overtaken P2P filesharing as a traffic generator. Come on, you’re not seriously proposing to block all web traffic too…

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