" /> Telco 2.0: June 2010 Archives

« May 2010 | Main | July 2010 »

June 29, 2010

Survey: What do you need from your SDP?

A survey on SDP, developer communities, and app stores: What do you expect and need from your SDP suppliers? What do developers need from an SDP?

From the earliest days of Telco 2.0 we’ve been concerned by the importance of the Service Delivery Platform layer in the network - in the future, it might be where the economic activity is. Without our concern that the industry was drifting towards a monolithic, control-minded, IMS-based solution without a clear business model, we might not have started the company. Now, Moriana, in co-operation with Telco 2.0, is conducting an industry wide survey.

It is aimed at operators, service providers and communication service providers (CSPs). The objective is to gather information from CSPs about their wants, needs and intentions in relation to Service Delivery Platforms, app stores, developers, and their SDP suppliers.

Your input is important. The results of the survey will have an impact on the industry and help determine the strategic direction of SDP, applications and services in the telecom industry.

If you’re a developer, there’s a special version of the survey here.

What you get in return

  • Your input and influence on the future of SDP in the telecom industry
  • A free summary of the results
  • Plus the chance to win a netbook
All results will be presented TOTALLY ANONYMOUSLY.

The survey is here and closes July 7th, 2010. The special developer version is here and also closes on the 7th.

To share this article easily, please click:

June 28, 2010

Rapid Telco 2.0 Implementation - “Yes, we can!”

One of the questions we are most commonly asked by strategists is how Telco 2.0 business models can be deployed in the face of opposition from IT and other management divisions which claim the technology involved in servicing upstream customers will be too expensive, too disruptive and will take too long to implement. At the 9th Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm held in London at the end of April, Infonova’s Andrew Thomson offered up one possible solution in a specially arranged session entitled, ‘Yes we can! Rapid implementation of Telco 2.0 Business Models.’

The session was created to look at moving from Telco 1.0 to 2.0 with minimum disruption to existing services and Andrew Thomson began by saying that upstream customers genuinely wanted to consume, bundle, and re-use telco services and assets. However, typically, telco IT departments struggled to deal with this, and even worse, telco management was loath to invest in changes to the billing platform. His

The Vital Importance of Multi-Tenancy
He introduced details of Infonova’s billing platform, specifically its ability to operate as a multi-tenant platform. Multi-tenancy, he explained, enables telco systems to accept upstream customers as operator-like entities, which could inject their own business rules into the system, use its development APIs, and run their product management independently. The whole system therefore adds up to a modular ‘order-to-cash’ platform that permits the operator to sell to many upstream customers, while the upstream customers themselves get a wide degree of control of their own order to cash cycle.

Telco 1.5 in 10 weeks
He cited cloud computing, logistics services, and a KPN-like multi-MVNO strategy as early use cases and also identified smart grid, e-health, and other utility services as major markets of the future. He argued that the Infonova system could deliver “Telco 1.5 in 10 weeks”, and had the advantage that the deployment of new tenant businesses could be repeated again and again without further software development on the side of the operator. This, he claimed, made the move to Telco 2.0 much more possible in the real world.

A video of Andrew’s presentation at Telco 2.0 is here.

To share this article easily, please click:

Telco 2.0 News Review

Telco 2.0 Top Stories

It’s been widely trailed, the FCC has spoken, and now it may be about to happen. The big US spectrum dump may happen as soon as today, when President Obama signs an executive order to start releasing the 500MHz of additional spectrum required for the National Broadband Plan (our response is here). NTIA is mandated to pick out spectrum allocations that the Feds currently aren’t using and prepare for auctions, although some elements of the plan, notably the type of auction and the idea of reusing the proceeds for public-safety radio networks, will need approval from Congress.

It’s official; the photo-optimised N8 will be the last of the main line of Symbian smartphones, as Nokia moves its flagship range to MeeGo Linux. It’s not yet clear if the E-series enterprise gadgets, which are in many ways comparable with the N-series and sit in Anssi Vanjöki’s division, are going the same way, but you wouldn’t bet against it. Relatedly, Charles Davies, Psion’s first employee and long-time pioneer of the industry as (among other things) CTO of Symbian and head of architecture at Nokia Research, is leaving Nokia to join several other ex-Psion figures at TomTom.

Since Vanjöki took control of Nokia’s smartphones, software, and services, there’s been a string of dramatic changes. Another is here; following the release of the Qt-based cross-platform SDK, Nokia is finally getting to grips with its developer infrastructure. The requirement to spend $210 in all and be a company in order to get the all-crucial Publisher ID is going; there’s now a $50 signup, and a target of getting approval times down to less than 2 weeks. And there’s an installer tool that automatically fetches whatever bits of Qt are missing in order to simplify deployment.

Now, if they could just integrate Python for S60 (and just ordinary Python for the Linux devices) in the SDK, they’d have a truly excellent product…

On the other hand, it may all be irrelevant. Google is activating 160,000 Androids a day, growing at 60% monthly. Sony Ericsson, the other major user of Symbian, seems to be concentrating on Android after having a relative success with the X10. Motorola launches another supergadget based on the platform. A survey shows, not surprisingly, that developers are fascinated by iPhone and Android (although MeeGo is beginning to gather buzz).

It’s suggested that very little has been paid out for Android Market apps so far, but this may be an artefact of rapid growth from zero, and also the fact that Android developers are disproportionately drawn from the Linux community and a lot of material on the Android Market is free. Relatedly, this analysis of iPhone app economics would be interesting if it wasn’t for the quite odd assumption that it costs on average $35,000 to develop an iPhone app - perhaps it does if you let a telco billing department try.

Samsung is warming up Bada, its developer platform that wraps LiMo and BONDI in a brand someone’s actually heard of. Sensibly enough, the BONDI standard is being transferred to WAC, with the low-level standards work at OMTP being moved to the Open Mobile Alliance. OMTP boss Tim Raby is moving over to head the WAC.

RIM, meanwhile, shipments up 42 per cent. As they said at MWC, carrier billing is coming to the next version of RIM App World.

Last week, Microsoft announced quite a lot of different mobile platforms. The core product, Windows Phone 7, is their rival to MeeGo, RIM, iPhone OS, Android, etc. Apparently it’s going to be “an ad-serving machine”, with ads in the browser, inside apps, and also outside both the browser and any application context. That is to say, ads everywhere all the time. Microsoft calls the home-screen ads “Toast”, and the jokes are already multiplying. Another cogent criticism of mobile ads is here, compressed into 140 characters.

Apple, however, has apparently decided to give its competitors a chance; hardly had the iPhone 4 (now with gyroscope) appeared, than people were complaining about it dropping calls if you held it the wrong way. Steve Jobs’s remark that they shouldn’t hold it like that is now inscribed in Internet folklore. If you still want one, UK pricing is rounded up here.

Also, Jobs has been summoned to make explanations to Congress about the new iPhone Ts & Cs, which they sneaked out under cover of the iHype, and which allow them to collect and resell location information without any further consent.

Here we go for another privacy row. Juniper Networks, the world no.2 in IP routers, is pitching a new product that adds a geocode to the HTTP headers passing through ISP networks, so that advertisers’ Web servers can alter their responses based on location.

If you’re desperate for video calls, Apple has an app for that - you can talk to a nice person from Apple, who might even answer your prayers for rain. Or something. Nokia Beta Labs, meanwhile, is looking for people to test an application for reading your kids a story remotely using video calling and screen sharing.

Cheap calls; there’s an app for that. Rebtel is offering an Android app that takes over the dialler and sends your international calls via their VoIP service’s PSTN dial-in number. Sweet, but on the other hand, most of the potential of better voice and messaging beyond cheap calls comes when you take over control of incoming calls, which has to happen in the network. Another cheap-calls mobile VoIP service, Vopium, announced a major fundraising and plans to “target Skype”.

England’s brief and disastrous World Cup campaign drove surges of traffic through the Internet. Eyeball networks reported 50-55% greater than normal streaming activity, while business-focused operator EasyNet Connect was up 225%. Interestingly, the BBC’s service appears to have been much more robust than ITV’s - showing the enduring truth that peering is the fundamental architecture of the Internet.

The UK government says Britain will have the best broadband infrastructure in Europe by 2015, with the expenditure of a maximum of £300m in public funds. They may have a different definition of the words “best” or “broadband” from the rest of us.

Meanwhile, it gets dramatic between Telefonica and Portugal Telecom. First, the two of them bought a fixed and a mobile operator in Brazil. They worked out a sort of Treaty of Tordesillas 2.0 under which the Spaniards would run the fixed operation and the Portuguese the mobile. Vivo, the mobile operator, has done very well, Telefonica is jealous, and wants to buy it out. The Portuguese refused. Now Telefonica is threatening to make an offer for the whole of PT. The Portuguese government says it will have a state bank and three major Portuguese institutions vote their stock against, and perhaps even make use of a golden share that gives it reserve powers over the operator.

It’s rumoured that Verizon is pushing back against a new effort by Vodafone to extract a dividend from VZW.

They’re also preparing to launch a variety of smart-grid and home automation services in their FiOS fibre triple-play bundles. And they aren’t holding back on pure connectivity - they recently demonstrated gigabit service over the network, in a test campaign that looked very much like a response to Google’s FTTH initiative.

Last week, the Australian government and Telstra came to an agreement about the National Broadband Network plan. As a result, things are falling into place. NBN Co has issued a shortlist of 21 contractors for the civil works. They’ve also tapped Alcatel-Lucent as the main supplier of GPON optical network gear, which is likely to be a monster of a contract, as much as $1.5bn. The fact that former Alcatel COO Mike Quigley, once considered Serge Tchuruk’s likely successor as CEO, is the boss of NBN Co has given rise to certain suspicions, especially as the CFO is also ex-Alcatel.

At the same time, the Aussies are planning to auction 126MHz of new spectrum for some A$1bn. There’s something odd about Australian attitudes to the Internet - on one hand, they’re planning to fibre up every dunny from Birdsville to Thursday Island, on the other hand, they’ve been trying for years to impose a censorship firewall on the whole country. It’s the classic Australian conflict between larrikins and wowserism, being played out in a new sphere. It looks, however, like the latest effort will fall when parliament dissolves for the coming general election.

O2, Orange, and Vodafone are planning a further trial of UMTS-TDD as a mobile-TV technology (they did this back in 2006 and it worked), which would fit in the unused TDD spectrum they got with their 3G licences and use the 3GPP’s Mobile Broadcast-Multicast Subsystem standard in the back-end. Apparently you can now buy part of the system from Amdocs.

Aftershocks from the Indian 3G auction. State-owned MTNL, which got its spectrum earlier, is now offering national roaming agreements to the privately owned operators, who are desperate to save on deployment costs after paying through the nose for spectrum. On the other hand, BSNL, equally nationalised, is asking for time to pay over its BWA licence.

Another study shows no reason to worry about THE RAYS!, but it won’t stop them.

Having got its way with OFCOM, BT is reselling Sky Sports 1 and 2 on BT Vision at low low prices. At the same time, Sky Italia announced price cuts - are we seeing the beginning of a content price war?

The BBC Trust gives Project Canvas the go. Spotify signs up more content. Share and archive your whiteboard. The Afghan Ministry of Communications orders AWCC to block “alcohol, dating, social networking, and pornography”. Apparently there’s alcohol in GMail - who knew? They blocked it anyway. And Twitter, but then, it certainly gives me a headache.

To share this article easily, please click:

June 21, 2010

Telco 2.0 News Review

Telco 2.0 Top Stories

Verizon Wireless is signalling that it may resume paying a dividend to Vodafone next year. At VZW’s current monthly free cash flow, the company’s debts should reach zero some time in 2011; Verizon itself is as keen as Vodafone to get its hands on VZW’s profits, although they have been insistent on paying down the mobile operator’s debts first. A resumption would increase Vodafone’s free cash flow by 30%.

Meanwhile, VZW’s CFO said that they would soon introduce a mobile data cap. Apparently, Verizon’s smartphone users are consuming between 600-800MB of data a month. Connected Planet also notes that AT&T femtocell users will see their data usage on the femtocell counted against the cap - which is cheeky, seeing as the point of a femtocell is to radically reduce the costs of delivering mobile data. (Operators are always tempted by this. Recall the early version of BT Fusion, which worked at a business level by making your friends subsidise your cheap calls.)

They point out that such users are very likely to use Wi-Fi anyway, which renders the whole issue moot. Now they can do so at Starbucks, where the Wi-Fi is now free, as long as you sign in with a single identifier for advertisers’ convenience.

On the other hand, AT&T has cancelled a trial of capped fixed-line DSL service, on the grounds that it costs too much.

Vodafone Portugal has launched a triple-play FTTH service, offering up to 300Mbps Internet service, HDTV to an unlimited number of TVs, and of course, voice. The service rolls out first in the Lisbon area and then expands to 200,000 homes in the first wave of deployments. Vodafone will, no doubt, be making use of open access to PT’s ducts.

There’s also news from Vodafone 360, the app store/social network platform they launched on two Samsung LiMO handsets earlier this year. Vodafone is now looking at integrating Android apps on 360, in order to get more developers involved (currently there are 8,500 apps on 360, compared to 50,000 on Android Market) and push the platform to a broader base of devices.

Vodafone UK has invited its customers to join the network engineering department. If you twitter which device you have, where you are, and how many bars are showing to #vodafonesignal, you’ll appear on a Google Map on their website. Why you’d want to do that is another matter, as there’s nothing obviously in it for the subscribers. It’s telling, though, that it was easier to come up with this than pulling in the data from Vodafone’s radio network. (Another data point: Foursquare, the LBS hit that doesn’t bother with GPS or network location, and just asks users to say where they are.) The map is here and it’s not particularly impressive.

In Australia, meanwhile, the NBN project took a step forward, as Telstra agreed to provide its layer-zero infrastructure and to undertake further universal service projects in return for A$11bn in payments from NBN Co over several years.

Reliance is preparing to sell off its towers and other civil works infrastructure, in a new business unit called Reliance Infratel, which will be the biggest non-operator owner of telecoms infrastructure in the world. They are hoping the deal will pay for their expensive spectrum commitments and permit them to pay off a substantial debt, while the new company looks likely to be a multi-tenant provider. In other network sharing news, Maxis is planning to share infrastructure, and may join the existing joint venture between the other two main operators in Malaysia.

BT, meanwhile, claims it’s going to deploy fibre to 87 per cent of London by next year’s Olympics, which will require some 114 local exchanges to be upgraded and another 2 million customer premises to be passed.

Brough Turner has been conducting automated tests on his Verizon FiOS link, and he’s not happy about the quality of service. Download speeds vary between 1 and 21Mbps.

The FCC is looking at cracking open 90MHz of Mobile Satellite Service spectrum, possibly on the basis of a “hybrid” system like the one Harbinger/SkyTerra are proposing. It still doesn’t look sensible to launch satellites so you can also deploy thousands of base stations. The Feds are also going to start taking comments on whether or not to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service in the meaning of the Communications Act, moving it under their Title II authority and giving them the ability to impose common-carrier status. This would functionally replicate most of the Net Neutrality concept, and possibly render ISPs less liable for alleged copyright violations, as well as having an impact on wholesale markets (“special access”).

Unsurprisingly, the RBOCs are not happy. Connected Planet doubts if their threats are credible.

Spain is preparing to break out the 800MHz band and have a spectrum party sometime next year. Submissions to the Ministry must be in by the 15th of July.

Bad news for WiMAX: Infotel, a big winner in the Indian BWA auction, is planning to deploy the TDD flavour of LTE rather than WiMAX. On the other hand, the technology is now available in two more frequency bands. In the UK, Daisy, the current owner of what was the Pipex wireless broadband network is selling up to concentrate on its unified comms business. Its rival, Freedom4, acquires the assets and spectrum.

IBM is making a pitch to outsource entire operators’ back-end activities.

Microsoft has announced another mobile operating system: ZDNet reckons that makes seven. As well as the old Windows Mobile, there’s also the new Windows Phone 7, and then a whole range of different takes on Windows for various kinds of embedded, netbook, smartbook, TV, ruggedised, M2M, and other uses, which descend from the old Windows CE platform. There’s a little more here.

While all that’s going on, they’re trying to work up buzz about Windows Phone 7 among the developers. One way is to offer them cold cash, which is precisely what MS is doing with some iPhone games developers. On the other hand, Windows Phone requires a compass in the hardware, but doesn’t provide an API to it.

Twilio has launched a virtual PBX product that extends their VoiceXML-like API and acts as a sort of hybrid cloud/local application, running on your Web server but getting its telephony functions from Twilio’s infrastructure. The upshot is that it provides a graphical tool for designing Voice 2.0 applications in your business. At the link, Thomas Howe is impressed.

Google is endeavouring to make Android OEMs stick to a common user interface, although surely part of the point of Android is that it allows for a maximum of customisation. Google has been described in the past as the world’s favourite command line, but now they’ve gone the whole way, and released a software package that implements exactly that.

Apple has released some improvements to MobileMe, including an application for finding that iPhone 4 you left in a bar. Nokia has promised to integrate NFC in all its smartphones. Toshiba has a neat ARM-based netbook, sorry, smartbook.

Project Failures’s Michael Krigsman experiences the iPad data breach, and confirms that the attackers did indeed carry out a dictionary attack by generating lots of possible ICC-ID numbers.

Facebook may be making $800 million this year. Everything is a platform. Should you give up on voice? F-Secure Labs give away Nokias.

To share this article easily, please click:

June 16, 2010

Telco 2.0 Agenda Update: Hottest Topics for H2 2010

Developing strategies to optimize mobile broadband profitability is a major theme of Telco 2.0’s research and event agendas for the next 6 months. Competing with Facebook, collaborating with Hollywood, and better M2M strategies are also part of clarifying the roadmap to sustainable telecoms business models.
Below are previews of the agendas for our next two physical events, which complement our virtual event programme:

(Regular readers will know that both events use our ‘Mindshare’ interactive format, and involve 200 invited senior execs from the Telecoms, Media and Technology sector. More information, please contact the Event Director: tom.davies@stlpartners.com or call +44 207 247 5003.)
10th US Brainstorm chart for event agenda posts june 2010.png

The EMEA event agenda is here:

11th EMEA Brainstomrm chart for event agenda posts june 2010.png

Fuller details on objectives and outputs will be available next week. In the meantime, here are a few more details on the topics we’ll be covering:

Telco 2.0 Growth Strategies: Key business model opportunities to enhance growth, profitability and shareholder value

  • Disruptive Strategies and business models, new frameworks for business model innovation, and global best practice from telco and adjacent markets

  • Mobile Broadband Economics covering new strategies to optimise mobile broadband profitability.

  • M2M & Embedded Mobility: Horizontal vs vertical Telecoms industry platform strategies. Best global case studies.

  • Cloud computing: as an enabler of dramatic cost savings and potential new service revenues

  • Managing the ‘Co-opetition’: Facing up to Facebook, and defending the core product (voice and messaging).

  • Sweating the asset base: Case studies and use cases showing network, IT and device assets used for new sources of growth (mobile money, voice & messaging, ICT platforms).

2nd Hollywood-Telco International Summit/Digital Entertainment 2.0: New Telecoms-enabled Business Models for Film, TV and Gaming in a multi-screen, 3D/HD, mobile world.

  • Online Video: Disruptive strategies and business models, latest global market developments in five key ‘digital entertainment’ business models.

  • Defining the next TV experience: creating a differentiated online experience, fully exploiting 3-screen capabilities, and ‘content anywhere’ (digital locker).

  • Optimising International Online Distribution: new methods for content delivery, asset management, and workflow efficiency.

  • New ‘Direct-to-Consumer’ Entertainment Services: leveraging telco consumer data and reach to create new commerce and advertising platforms, and exploring the practicalities of new ‘use cases’.

  • New Devices: Impact on Consumer Entertainment; the role of the iPad, tablets, MIDs, 3D and Internet TV’s, Set Top Boxes and Media Servers on consumer engagement; how new operating systems and hardware will enable richer consumer interaction; and market scenarios, opportunities and threats in the digital entertainment market.
  • The Consumer ‘2.0’ (incorporating the Privacy 2.0 International Summit); Leveraging consumers’ ‘personal data and information’ to invigorate the digital economy.

    • Consumer Data: understanding its true economic/social value, latest output from the World Economic Forum’s ‘Re-thinking Personal Information’ project, including a draft policy and commercial framework for telcos and key stakeholders.

    • Enriching Consumer Experiences: the practicalities of leveraging consumer data to improve the quality of everyday services (Customer Management, Customer Loyalty, the impact of technologies like Augmented Reality). Realising the opportunity for telcos to take a role as ‘custodians’ of personal data and information.

    • Augmented Reality & Mobile Apps: disruptive business model opportunities at the intersection of technology, devices and consumer data; and market scenarios, opportunities and threats in B2B and B2C.

    M2M & Embedded Mobility 2.0; defining the most profitable strategic role(s) for telcos in this developing market.

    • Strategies and business models: horizontal vs vertical Telecoms industry platform strategies. Best case studies from around the world.

    • Beyond Connectivity: adding value through additional Telecoms enabling capabilities

    • Overcoming Practical Issues: device numbering limitations, SIM inventory costs, network congestion, network service differentiation for devices/apps.
    • (For more information, please email our Events Director - tom.davies@stlpartners.com - or call +44 207 247 5003.)

      To share this article easily, please click:

    Press Release: Broadband ‘Happy Pipes’ worth $416Bn by 2020

    Both fixed and mobile broadband markets will continue growing in revenues, up to $416bn in 2020, but operators face some hard decisions about future business models, according to a new study published by the Telco 2.0 Initiative.

    The report, “Mobile, Fixed & Wholesale Broadband Business Models: Best Practice Innovation, ‘Telco 2.0’ Opportunities, Forecasts and Future Scenarios”, finds that telecom operators will benefit from both new types of broadband wholesale and more sophisticated direct-to-consumer retail propositions and tariffs. Recent introductions of new tiered and capped wireless Internet data plans are early evidence of this trend.

    Key findings from the report include:

    • Global broadband access is forecast to increase from $274bn in 2010, to $416bn in 2020, an increase of 52% in revenue terms;

    • More than half the revenue growth will come from wholesale and “two-sided” fees for improved access capacity and quality;

    • By 2020, mobile broadband will be worth $138bn, or 32% of the total broadband industry revenues;

    • Three new revenue streams are identified: “Bulk Wholesale”, “Comes with data”, “Slice and Dice”;

    • New ‘upstream’ customers are forecast to generate over $90 billion in broadband revenues globally by 2020.

    Today, many operators fear the supposed risks of becoming “dumb pipes”, but the study suggests the forecast market value means the term “happy pipe” is more appropriate for some. Certain telecom carriers will be able to add further value through enhanced “Telco 2.0” services and platforms, but it is important to note that the basic carriage of data can itself be profitable and a source of substantial growth.

    On the conventional retail broadband side, the big winners are fibre-based fixed services and mobile data for smartphones. ADSL and cable revenues will peak in mid-decade, and then decline with substitution from the progressive deployment of fibre. PC-based mobile broadband retail revenues will grow strongly in the short term, before being impacted by price competition and a shift from user-paid retail subscriptions to new wholesale-enabled models.

    The study predicts that the wholesale market for broadband will evolve in three separate directions:

    • “Bulk wholesale” is an evolution of today’s approach to MVNOs and data roaming in mobile, or loop-unbundling and open fibre access in fixed markets. The report predicts an acceleration of this type of wholesale provision, as governments force greater openness on telecoms licencees, and operators look to alternative partnerships to supply new market niches with capacity. There is also a possibility for parties other than the end-user to pick up the bill for subscriptions - for example, some local authorities are now providing free broadband to disadvantaged communities.

    • “Comes with data” business models have started to emerge recently, with devices such as the Amazon Kindle. Here, a product vendor or service provider contracts for data capacity with the broadband provider, and bundles it in a combined offer - the user does not have a subscription or direct relationship with the telco. The report expects this approach to be important for laptops, netbooks, tablets and various other new device categories.

    • “Slice and dice” wholesale is more complex, and more controversial. This involves operators selling data capacity in fine-grained “parcels” to parties other than the user, who is typically also paying for some level of access. This type of “two-sided” business model could involve deals with device vendors for inclusion of data in bundled M2M offers, or to content/application providers where they pick up the bill for data transmission rather than the end-user.

    The incremental revenue opportunity for new “slice and dice” wholesale business models in mobile broadband alone is forecast to be $21bn worldwide by 2020.

    According to Chris Barraclough, co-author of the report and Managing Director of Telco 2.0, “Telco 2.0 is not about throwing away existing operator business models, but about evolving them to generate additional value. In new Telco 2.0 style ‘two-sided’ business models, there are ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’ customers - upstream customers are typically enterprises or merchants seeking to reach their markets - the so-called ‘downstream’ customers.”

    “As we show in this report, there are many creative ways that operators can add more value for existing downstream customers. However, it is also clear that those companies providing services over the internet will increasingly seek to mash-up connectivity more tightly with their own offerings, for example by including connectivity as a part of their products. These new ‘upstream’ customers are alone forecast to generate over $90 billion in broadband revenues globally by 2020.”

    The report’s co-author and founder of Disruptive Analysis, Dean Bubley, said “Both fixed and mobile operators need to look beyond the traditional ‘end user subscription mindset’, and examine new and innovative wholesale opportunities. At the same time, they need to embrace radical evolution of their retail portfolios - for example, supporting prepaid fixed broadband, or offering innovative tiering and policy structures for mobile Internet access from smartphones and tablets. Whoever coined the term ‘dumb pipe’ has cost the industry billions in shareholder value”.

    The report, “Mobile, Fixed and Wholesale Broadband Business Models: Best Practice Innovation, ‘Telco 2.0’ Opportunities, Forecasts and Future Scenarios” is available to buy from Telco 2.0. For more information, please see here, email contact@telco2.net, or call +44 207 247 5003.

    To share this article easily, please click:

    June 14, 2010

    Telco 2.0 News Review

    Telco 2.0 Top Stories

    Don’t forget to register for our FREE virtual (online) event - Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! Over 30 presentations from senior execs from around the world addressing important aspects of business model innovation. Strategies, case studies and use cases covering: Mobile broadband; Digital Entertainment; IT & Cloud Computing; Mobile Advertising; M2M; Voice & Messaging 2.0; Consumer Data/Privacy; Living with Google; Mobile Payments, and more…Register FREE here.

    Data repricing watch; O2 UK is the latest operator to (re)introduce tiered pricing, with monthly buckets ranging from 500MB on contracts between £25 and £35 to 1GB for £60. Another 500 costs a fiver. Oddly enough, existing unlimited contracts (and anyone who signs up before the 24th) get to keep their unlimited status, so the famous USB dongle torrent freaks and radio network controller-mangling iPhone fans aren’t affected yet.

    As well as putting prices up, the operator has called in Nokia Siemens Networks to boost supply. The investment is targeted as a quick-hit project, concentrating on data service in central London and using Nokia Flexi multisector base stations to double the number of sectors available. (Also, Wind Telecom signed a major upgrade contract with Huawei for both HSPA+ and LTE.) There is much more on this issue in our Broadband Business Models report, extensively revised for 2010.

    There’s a rather good piece by Mike Hibberd of Mobile Comms International on the iPhone signalling load problem. NSN’s latest products implement a paging channel, which is standardised by 3GPP but isn’t mandatory, that could be used to limit the number of signalling messages generated by “chatty” smartphone applications. We’ve mentioned before that the radio paging channel is a hidden telco asset.

    The poster child for this problem is, unhappily, the industry’s flagship product. This week saw the launch of the latest Apple iPhone, of which Computer Weekly has a comprehensive review. A new feature is that it finally gets a user-facing camera for video calls - if your network engineers were surprised by the iPhone’s signalling demands, wait ‘til the circuit-switched video channel fills up. You might find the leftovers from your Millenium Eve party in there.

    Actually, we’re going in too hard there. At the moment, it only works over WLAN. This is probably less of a restriction than it seems - it’s even harder to make a convincing case for video as something analogous to mobile voice, ubiquitous and instant, than it is to make one for video as something like fixed voice, where you have to be sitting down near a telephone at the moment you want to communicate. The great bulk of actual video telephony is of course on Skype, or on enterprise webcast or telepresence systems - all of these require that you’re sitting comfortably, having negotiated the video element in advance.

    It may be more of an issue that you can only call other iPhone users.

    Rumours are circulating that there may soon be an announcement from Google on voice, specifically, integrating it into the GMail chat function. This should be technically simple - Google Chat/Talk (the terminology depends on whether it’s integrated in GMail or in a standalone application) is an implementation of the much loved XMPP messaging protocol, whose VoIP extension (Jingle) Google created. So it’s a question of binding the Jingle signalling messages to HTTP requests (XMPP developers call this BOSH and do it quite a lot) and talking to the user’s speakers and microphone from inside the browser, which Flash has done for years.

    (There’s a good piece on why people, Steve Jobs chief among them, don’t like Flash here.)

    Oddly, though, there doesn’t seem to be much going on around integrating Google Voice, which is mostly a Web interface for traditional SS7 telephony, with the GTalk/GChat platform.

    After 14 hours, meanwhile, Google turned off a brief experiment with putting a picture on their front page.

    Apple also amended the iPhone developer agreement to ban in-application adverts from networks other than iAd (read: Google). In fact, it goes further. You can’t gather stats that might be useful to advertisers without getting their permission in writing. More here.

    Someone who certainly did gather useful information on iPad users is now on the lam from the FBI, as last week it was discovered that hackers had acquired 114,000 e-mail addresses of iPad users, including numerous VIPs, by spoofing an AT&T Web site with the devices’ ICC-IDs, an information field from the SIM card. (How they acquired these isn’t clear - they could have been somehow extracted from the network, or they might have discovered a way to generate all the possible IDs and carry out a dictionary attack.)

    It’s meanwhile being rumoured that Foxconn is planning to move production capacity out of China, relocating to India, Vietnam, or back home to Taiwan. However, we’re a little suspicious that the number of employees given is roughly double what everyone else thinks it is, and so high that Foxconn would be a similar size to the NHS in terms of full-time equivalent staff, or half the size of Indian Railways or the Chinese State Electricity Grid.

    On the other side of the smartphone business, HTC’s Evo, a WiMAX/EVDO Android device launched on Sprint this week, setting the highest first day sales in the operator’s history. Unfortunately, the previous record holder is the Palm Pre, so you have to make allowances. The gadget is getting good reviews, focusing on its monster, 4.3-inch touchscreen. However, it’s going to make your network beg for mercy - an unusual feature is an HDMI socket, so you can hook a hi-def TV set to it, presumably to watch high definition video streaming. It also comes with the Qik personal video creation app pre-installed - Qik said that the launch weekend saw 20 times the average level of traffic through their servers.

    However, Sprint later had to revise down the sales numbers, and a lot of people appear to be disappointed by battery life - although that would be no different to any other ‘droid in our experience. On the network side, Clearwire put its head on the block and promised to stick with unlimited data plans, presumably betting on not having the signalling issues AT&T has experienced. (In the light of last week’s Phone Scoop drive test, though, they may be mistaken.)

    The Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin writes in Business Week that the mobile market is separating into Apple, and the rest, who all run on Linux, and that open-source products have a duty to be “fabulous”.

    Apple Insider runs a piece on the emergence of Microsoft Windows Mobile malware, specifically diallers, and demonstrates that their name is indeed accurate. If you’re distributing applications through the Android Market (so, the great majority of cases), users have to review which capabilities they will use before installing; hardly “security free”.

    Nokia’s strategy to leverage its huge emerging market user base took a step forward, as the C3, a low-cost smartphone based on Symbian Series 40, had a big launch week in Indonesia. It may have helped that Telkomsel was giving away data for the first month.

    The release-candidate version of Nokia’s Qt SDK is out.

    How do you know you’re a telco? When you buy an Amdocs billing system. Time was when Vonage was a scary new VoIP player. It’s like moving to the suburbs and buying an estate car. What they’re actually getting is the BSS Pack product, which is the cut-down, quick install version that provides the core billing/CRM/OSS features.

    Iliad closed on a $1.7bn line of credit from a syndicate of eight European banks to finance the first steps of its mobile network. After the Indian 3G auction, the Wireless Broadband auction closed, with Infotel getting a nationwide licence for a fairly chunky $2.74bn.

    The Apple video-calling announcement gave this week’s news a heady flavour of the year 2000. As if on cue, messaging vendor Syniverse Technologies reported that it’s seeing year-on-year growth of 235% in MMS traffic, of all things. The interesting bit is the reason why - rather than sending photos to each other at 50p a shot, or subscribing to “content” delivered in MMS messages, it’s quietly become a significant route for uploading photos, video, text, and sound into social networking applications. Rather than a peer-to-peer, unicast, retail, standalone application, MMS has eventually turned out to be a one-to-many, multicast, wholesale, enabling technology. So all we got wrong was the use case, the business model, the customer, and the pricing.

    More retro: a row between BT and OFCOM about premium rate numbers. BT reckons it can set termination fees as a percentage of whatever the originating operator charged the caller; OFCOM says no.

    The European Court of Justice upheld the roaming caps, thus ending a three-year lawsuit with several operators. And the EU’s Article 29 working party has told Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft that they’re still breaking the law on data protection - they need to anonymise harder.

    Meanwhile, the Guardian fact-checks the UK Government’s revised broadband plans. Key detail - the Tories are opposed to paying out public money for reachability, but the great majority of the people who can’t get broadband are in the broad acres of safe Tory constituencies. Work that out. Perhaps they’re worried about keeping them down on the farm once they’ve seen Paris?

    Vimpelcom wants to help you keep your robots in line - it’s announced what it claims is the first M2M platform in Russia, as a partnership with Jasper Wireless. Thinking of Telenor Objects, perhaps operators in places with lots of space, relatively few people, and oil pipelines have a strategic advantage here?

    Security guru Ross Anderson liveblogged an international conference on economics and information security.

    How a search company decided that mining Facebook data wasn’t worth it.

    Installing HTML5 applications. A world without PowerPoint. Engineering for kids. HP pays $460 million damages over project failure. 30 essential Android applications. And disgraced Qwest CEO petitions court to be taken back to jail.

    To share this article easily, please click:

    June 10, 2010

    New Telco Growth: is Time Running Out?

    At a time when telcos are being re-rated as quasi utilities by investors, the importance of creating sophisticated and effective strategies for new growth is becoming ever more pressing. But the recent Telco 2.0 ‘Executive Brainstorm’ demonstrated that the clock is ticking fast and the opportunity could slip away from Telcos as nimbler competitors from adjacent industries take the value.

    There’s a write up of the top level take-outs and votes from the Brainstorm here.

    Below are two useful videos from the event below showing Telco 2.0’s CEO, Simon Torrance, interviewed by Telecom TV on the overall messages, and our Director of Consulting, Phil Laidler, outlining the opportunity in enterprise services.

    Simon Torrance, CEO Telco 2.0, on the overall messages.

    Phil Laidler, Director of Consulting, Telco 2.0, outlines the enterprise services opportunity.

    To share this article easily, please click:

    June 9, 2010

    Telco 2.0 ‘Best Practice Live!’ - New case studies, use cases and strategies FREE online

    This is an open invitation to our readers to join strategy leaders from around the world for Telco 2.0’s first ‘Best Practice Live!’ virtual (online) event being broadcast to 3 timezones on 28-30 June 2010. We’ve collected some of the best Telco 2.0 strategies, case studies and use cases from around the globe. You can register for FREE here.

    As well as the Telco 2.0 analysts, leading industry speakers include:

    • Hans Vestberg, President and CEO, Ericsson
    • Olivier Baujard, Group CTO, Deutsche Telekom
    • Dr Hans Wijayasuriya, CEO, Dialog Group
    • Sally Davis, CEO, BT Wholesale
    • Prof. Sandy Pentland, Human Dynamics Lab, MIT
    • JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist, BT Group
    • William Hoffman, Associate Director, World Economic Forum
    • Ibrahim Gedeon, CTO, Telus
    • Joe Weinman, VP Strategy, AT&T Business Solutions
    • Cenk Serdar, VP International Payments, Vodafone Group
    • Roberto Saracco, Director Future Centre, Telecom Italia
    • Marie Austenna, VP Strategy, Telenor Objects
    • Chris Hitchens, VP Business Transformation, Oracle
    • Armin Hessler, Head of Enterprise IT Strategy, Vodafone Group
    • Rolf Assev, Chief Strategy Officer, Opera Software
    • Marc Davis, Co-Founder, Invention Arts

    Telco 2.0 ‘Best Practice Live!’ is part of a programme to curate and communicate a knowledge bank of the best case studies, use cases and strategies from across the globe, in key ‘Telco 2.0’ areas: Corporate Growth Strategy; Mobile Broadband Economics; Customer Experience & Service Innovation; Machine-to-Machine; Consumer Data/Identity Services; Voice & Messaging; Apps & AppStores; Mobile Advertising & Marketing; Online Video Distribution & Entertainment Services; Mobile Money; Cloud Computing.

    It will be repeated quarterly with new content and the virtual exhibition will be udpated with the leading ‘Telco 2.0’ vendors. More information below:

    The aim is to give players across the Telecoms, Media and Technology sector tangible examples of what they can do to enhance their business models, using rich, interactive virtual event technology to disseminate and discuss these practical ideas.

    The Telco 2.0 analyst team will also be presenting updated analysis on ‘Living with Google’, ‘M2M 2.0’ and other key topics, and there will be other case study presentations and examples from those leading the way in business model innovation from around the world, including AT&T, World Economic Forum, BT, Vodafone, AdMob, Ericsson, Opera, Telecom Italia, DoCoMo, 3UK, Telefonica Argentina, Telus, MIT, O2 Media, Amazon and Safaricom.

    How does it work? Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! is made up of short (15 minute) pre-recorded video presentations (to our template), which are then broadcast online at set times as part of the event. Online Q&A between speakers (and their representatives) and delegates follows afterwards. There are multiple tracks, based on Telco 2.0 themes, and an online exhibition. The event is broadcast to 3 timezones, as per below and is then available ‘on-demand’ afterwards for 3 months:

    • 28th June (Americas - 0900-1700 Mountain Time)
    • 29th June (EMEA - 0900-1700 British Summer Time)
    • 30th June (APAC - 0900-1700 Hong Kong Time)

    Register for FREE here.

    What next? Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! will be refreshed with new cutting edge ‘Telco 2.0’ case studies, use cases and strategies for new events on 28-30 September and 7-9 December 2010.

    Get involved If your company has cutting-edge case studies, use cases or strategies that you feel could grow the entire market if they were more widely adopted, or you would like to exhibit and/or sponsor, please contact us.

    In the meantime, registration for 28-30 June is now open here.

    Website here.

    To share this article easily, please click:

    June 7, 2010

    Telco 2.0 News Review

    Telco 2.0 Top Stories

    We are delighted by the response to the inaugural Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! virtual event, broadcast online to 3 geographies worldwide on 28-30 June. Senior execs from around the world are preparing special presentations for this FREE event - including Olivier Baujard, new Group CTO, Deutsche Telekom and Sally Davies, CEO, BT Wholesale. Support also from MIT, the World Economic Forum, Vodafone, Telecom Italia, Telenor and others. You can register for FREE here.

    More information on the accelerated BT fibre roll-out: the European Union has spoken, and it has decided that the carrier will have to offer so-called “virtual unbundled line access” to its wholesale customers in the first instance. This seems to be an odd hybrid of a wholesale generic Ethernet product and unbundling, which will still use BT’s electronic kit. However, although OFCOM thinks that will be enough, the EU insists that eventually they will have to transition to full LLU with physical third-party control of the fibre and colocation of third party equipment.

    We were ploughing through the BT Investors’ Day transcripts for unrelated reasons, and one thing that stands out is that they seem to have come up with some handy new tricks about fibre deployment - for example, they’ve been trying out laying plastic conduits on the pole infrastructure, so that the fibre can later be blown to the premises in a one-shot manoeuvre. The people who are going to carry out that manoeuvre, meanwhile, are going on strike for the first time since privatisation in 1985.

    In other infrastructure news, this was the week AT&T brought in tiered pricing for mobile data. Crack financial blogger Felix Salmon has some questions for them, notably about why you can’t just be switched automatically to the heavy user plan for the rest of the month if you burst the cap. He also wants to know why low users can’t roll over unused capacity from month to month. The answer is probably because the costs are driven by peak busy hour usage on the heaviest cells, so letting people save up their megabytes and then drink the lot doesn’t help AT&T manage its outgoings. It is, however, true that operators who want to put up prices for heavy users ought to look at cutting them for low users - otherwise, there’s a structural incentive for the BlackBerry users to buy more capacity than they need, which is both uneconomic for them and an encouragement to guzzle the lot rather than let it go to waste.

    Wired points out that this means doom for mobile streaming-music services, as the $15/month data plan would be consumed with 7 hours of music. But this was never a good idea anyway. The typical commuter use case involves trains, railway tunnels, and such, and the availability of multi-gigabyte storage and iTunes on the device undercut the whole rationale.

    Undeterred, the founders of Skype have launched a streaming music service with social features (a bit like Last.fm, really, or rather, quite a lot like it).

    The New York Times interviews some app developers who are concerned about the move. They also mention that the development of the iPhone itself is tending to increase data demand. Notably, the arrival of a front-facing camera for video telephony looks likely to increase uplink traffic - as will improvements in the camera in general (and just wait for the Nokia N8 users…). Qik, for example, is offering VGA-quality video free and high definition video for $5.

    Hewlett Packard is planning to give all its printers their own e-mail address, in order to let smartphone users print to them more easily - which is another uplink heavy application (“Let me print you this 10MB PDF file…”). Notoriously, many HP printers are accessible from the Web by default, by dint of a well-known Google search, so this is something of an improvement (although the spam filter better be good).

    TelecomTV has a series of discussions - not so much a webinar as a whole web symposium - on the subject of net neutrality and mobile.

    In the light of all this traffic, which is best - HSPA, LTE, or WiMAX? We’ve been arguing about this, but PhoneScoop went out and drivetested various devices and applications against T-Mobile USA’s upgraded HSPA and Sprint’s WiMAX networks. The results are interesting - both of them are acceptable, but HSPA+ can sometimes beat WiMAX for downlink, usually beats it for uplink, and also beats it for latency. The latency issue may tell us something about their comparative network architectures, specifically that T-Mobile is probably using a product like NSN’s iHSPA 2.0 base station that breaks out Internet traffic at the lowest possible level.

    WiMAX is meant to be a flat architecture technology, of course, which only makes the point more telling. They may also be doing something interesting with regard to their peering, colocation, and CDN strategy. Anyway, it’s a fine example of the enduring truth of kaizen.

    It’s been a grim couple of weeks for WiMAX - as Wireless Watch points out, a major force in this has been the arrival of a TDD (Time Division Duplex) version of LTE, which opens up a lot of unpaired spectrum for LTE use. The WiMAX Forum headquarters in Beaverton, meanwhile, shuts down.

    And Clearwire has discovered one way of monetising WiMAX spectrum: wait until AT&T is gagging for data capacity, and sell it.

    Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs is disappointed with take-up of FLO TV - it is still very much the case that people who want to watch TV - broadcast, big content, long format, non-interactive video - usually watch TV. It works, a lot of it is free-to-air, there is a nice big screen, and a comfy chair. Web video isn’t the same stuff. It’s worth noting that Jacobs is worried that his operator customers may decide to use the FLO spectrum for their generic mobile data service.

    So, last week, we learned that AT&T (and by extension, Apple) were now cool with a Skype app for the iPhone, as long as iPhone-to-iPhone calls were charged for. This week, it emerged that Verizon Wireless users will still get the full benefit of Skype - and their Android devices will let it run as a service (Android’s term for what other Linux/Unix systems call a daemon) in the background, as well. Connected Planet speculates that the difference may be that VZW is getting a share of SkypeOut revenues.

    There’s a fascinating thread at Skype Journal, which confirms that the Skype for iPhone (Skyphone?) app is a proper Skype node, rather than either a special SS7 dialler or a SIP client - which means that Skype is proposing to charge AT&T subscribers for calls that don’t pass through the Skype infrastructure, something of a first. Unsurprisingly, users are not pleased, and Phil Wolff points out that they can no longer say “Skype to Skype calls are free”, rather “Skype to Skype calls are free except when they’re not”. This isn’t the best sales pitch ever.

    Verizon, meanwhile, added its own carrier-VoIP service to more FiOS bundles, thus demonstrating still further the approach of a post-PSTN world. After all, VZ line technicians are in the habit of cutting the copper wires when they install a fibre connection.

    VZW has formed a new partnership to promote itself as a smart grid enabler - specifically, it’s keen on extending corporate networks out on mobile, something we’ve often cited as a role for telcos in the future.

    RLECs oppose the National Broadband Plan…because the nation is planning for insufficient breadth in their view.

    Brough Turner has a list of the top 10 cities for average broadband speeds, based on Speedtest.net’s aggregate statistics. Seoul is top, unsurprisingly, followed by Riga and Hamburg, giving the list an odd Hanseatic flavour (herrings, probably). Stockholm is up there, but it’s interesting that places 7-10 go to Sofia, Bucharest, and Kharkov - Brough theorises that this is the result of extreme open access, aka “just hang your damn fibre on the lampposts!” That’s borne out by Lisbon being no.9 - Portugal is one of the earliest markets to get open access to ducts. This post applies.

    So, India’s mobile operators are waking up from the 3G spectrum auction to the hangover, the buyers’ remorse, and all that good stuff. Reliance Communications has an instant fix for their huge bill - flog a 26% stake of the company. Apparently, Etisalat and AT&T are in the running.

    Samsung’s LiMo-powered, WAC-standardised Wave launched in the UK this week…and delivered assorted malware to German users’ Windows PCs. Rather than shipping an install CD for the various utilities that the gadget comes with, Samsung decided to ship the gadget with a big microSD card, and to load the installer on that - when the user connects it to a Windows PC, the AutoPlay function executes the installer, and in this case, the virus.

    Microsoft promised Windows tablets, while Intel demonstrated some MeeGo ones, and a range of Linux distributions lined up their flavours of the new mobile Linux standard, including Novell, makers of the enterprise SUSE Linux. Netbooks are coming next year.

    MS also cancelled a slightly odd scheme under which it paid random users to search the Web with Bing, and before that, Live Search. The idea was that advertisers would kick back a percentage of the purchase price to anyone who bought from them having searched with MS. Hilariously, someone worked out that they might be able to sell money for more than its face value, and share the reward with the buyer in such a way as to make them both come out ahead at Redmond’s expense.

    Microsoft’s mobile strategy is apparently to let you get at all your stuff from your phone, by putting it in the cloud. This seems to be a lot like Nokia Ovi, or for that matter, Google services on Android.

    Apple is going to announce the next iPhone, which looks likely to be a lot like the last one, with some incremental improvements. Kaizen again. Daring Fireball advises Apple to beat the charge that the iPhone OS is too closed by offering a configuration option to turn off all the security features.

    Felix Salmon, meanwhile, learns that Apple iAds are much more expensive than the usual Web rates - as we predicted - and that they’re dependent on an active Internet connection.

    In ironic news, Apple has deployed a demonstration of HTML5, boasting that it was “designed with Web standards”, and made it detect the browser user-agent and only run on Safari. In fact, Firefox, Chrome, and IE8 support HTML5, although there are differences between them and the Apple browser - one wonders if it works with other WebKit browsers like the Nokia browser and Konqueror. Actually, we don’t wonder - we checked, and it doesn’t, although the demos do work on the developer site.

    At Foxconn, meanwhile, a second round of pay rises adds up to 96% for some workers by the end of 2010.

    Nokia’s developer contest is out. It’s also added more gadgets to its Remote Device Access testing service.

    A cautionary tale: Digg learns that even super-high traffic Web platforms can lose customers as fast as they gain them. Zuckerberg speaks, doesn’t say much. Yahoo! tries to opt-in all its e-mail addresses to a social network product. And Twitter increases its intellectual level, with Twitter for cats.

    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
    To share this article easily, please click:

    June 2, 2010

    Top 10 Technology-Led Approaches to Mobile Broadband Traffic Management

    Many mobile operators have to deal with short-term problems around capacity utilisation and improved management of their existing networks, as well as evolution to 3.5G/4G networks and new business models (as featured in our latest strategy report New Mobile, Fixed and Wholesale Broadband Business Models).

    Last week we published the articles Optimising Mobile Broadband Economics: Key Issues and Next Steps, analysing the output of the mobile broadband session at the latest Telco 2.0 Brainstorm, and ‘LTE - Long Term Enthusiasm?’, an analysis of the recent LTE Summit by our long-term associate Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis.

    This week we’re highlighting the publication of a new Disruptive Analysis research paper: The Top 10 Technology-Led Approaches to Traffic Management for Mobile Broadband which focuses on solutions possible in the near term with existing technologies.

    Dealing with Now while Planning for Next

    While future deployments of LTE or HSPA+ will add more capacity for mobile operators, it is still critical to examine ways to reduce congestion on a shorter-term basis. Even with future 3G / 4G capacity additions, the hunger from new applications - especially those based around video or other rich media - will demand strong discipline for optimisation.

    The Factors are Complex

    There are many ways to control traffic, or minimise its impact on the most expensive parts of the cellular network. There are arguments for offload to WiFi or femtocells, traffic-shaping compression in the core network, or numerous forms of innovation for policy management and charging. [NB Telco 2.0 covers the concept of “managed” offload extensively as a Use Case in the new Broadband Business Models report here.]

    Operators are facing a bewildering set of choices here, as almost every vendor evolves and repositions its product range to assist in the traffic management challenge. Disruptive Analysis’ new research paper gives an independent perspective on these approaches, and is the first we’ve seen that highlights the range of traffic management options available - and the operational and organisational challenges involved in moving from “fire-fighting” isolated problems to a more holistic medium term view, and on towards the 4G deployment horizon.

    And the Answer is…

    Dean says that there is no single, easy answer, and that the best approach will depend on a given operator’s existing customer base and its behaviour, the mix of smartphones and laptops on its network, the operator’s spectrum and cell site holdings…and its forecasts and beliefs about the future.

    In many operators, there is also an organisational and management problem: there is often no single individual who “owns” the issue of data traffic, who can develop a holistic solution. Instead, there are often diverse individuals who pursue narrow goals, which can have unintended consequences elsewhere in the network - or impacts customer experience.

    In almost no operator is there an individual with the job title of “Policy Manager”.

    To Buy the Disruptive Analysis Report

    More details on the new Disruptive Analysis paper on Top 10 Technologies for Mobile Broadband Traffic Management are here. The paper is based on dozens of meetings and interviews conducted over the past few months, and a total of 100+ conversations with operators and vendors since the beginning of 2009, and Dean has asked us to tell you that prices start at $350.

    To share this article easily, please click:

    June 1, 2010

    Telco 2.0 News Review

    Telco 2.0 Top Stories

    Telco 2.0 “Idea Watch” No. 1: AT&T is testing managed offload of cellular traffic to WLAN around Times Square in New York - managed offload is something we analyse in depth in our report “New Mobile, Fixed and Wholesale Broadband Business Models”.

    The special detail here is that AT&T is actually deploying more WLAN hotspots in order to augment its capacity; they’re a lot cheaper than Node-Bs. Interesting quote from Connected Planet:

    It’s not too hard to imagine a network architecture where the vast majority of 3G device data actually passes over local area and femto networks. The femtocell or Wi-Fi router at home downloads the morning paper and traffic conditions; the 3G network takes over during the commute; and once at work the phone links up with the office LAN then transfers to the sidewalk hotspot at lunch time. After another stint on the 3G network on the way home, it’s back on the home network

    [Ed: There will be even more on putting Telco 2.0 ideas into practice at the ‘Best Practice Live!’ free online event on June 28-30 June 2010.]

    Telco 2.0 “Idea Watch” No.2: T-Mobile USA plunges with HSPA+ upgrades and calls it 4G anyway, vastly hiking its capacity with minimal investment and without waiting for that Late, Tempting, and Elusive stuff, analysed recently here.

    Telco 2.0 “Idea Watch” No. 3: when we interviewed Crick Waters from Ribbit a few days ago, he suggested that BT wanted to provide more of its core services using Ribbit technology. Here goes; BT’s Onevoice business voice product now comes with the whole Ribbit feature set, and of course, access to the developer API. They’ll be rolling it out in the next few months. The Register points out that unlike Google Voice, of course, they won’t be selling adverts based on your phone calls:

    So basically Ribbit Onevoice has everything Google is offering with Google Voice, but it’s backed by a telecommunications company which will integrate it with your existing systems. BT also won’t listen into your communications for demographic profiling purposes. The catch is that the service costs money.

    Telco 2.0 “Idea Watch” No. 4: at Safaricom, meanwhile, profits were up 44% on strong performance from data service and MPESA fees.

    Telco 2.0 keynoteer Sanjiv Ahuja has been looking for a new gig, and he’s found one - he’s the boss of Harbinger, the company that wants to build a new half-satellite half-mobile LTE network across the US. The investors behind it have backed more than one national satellite buildout before; it looks like they’re in need of a gnarly GSM network builder - to say nothing of a bit of luck and a lot of capital.

    Potentially significant video news: Apple prepares to relaunch the Apple TV as a much cheaper and more limited device. The original Apple TV was so overspecified for its primary mission that one British ISP used a flock of them as low-cost dedicated Linux servers, on the grounds that for most applications, an Intel or Sun-based rackmount server was hugely underutilised, and the Apple hardware was next to indestructible. (They have a HOWTO here.) Now, Apple is proposing to cut back on the good stuff that goes into them, so they’d be dependent on streaming content from the cloud (although there will be an option to use their Time Capsule backup drive as a local media server).

    The $1bn questions, of course, are “whose cloud?” and “what content?” Part of the answer is probably a huge data centre project Apple is building; the other part, your keen and agile minds will not have missed, will be “your network”. Presumably, Apple will be looking to extend the existing deals with major rights holders that keep iTunes filled up with content.

    Early iPad shipments, meanwhile, aren’t quite as great as the iPhone 3G (arguably the tipping point for iPhone) but more than the first iPhone. The Guardian, true to its commitment to data-driven journalism, collected statistics on the queue in Regent Street.

    But Interface Lab has hard, hard words for both the iPad and Wired - “it’s like a CD-ROM”. Ouch.

    This is, of course, just a warm-up for this week’s big Apple story: Apple is now bigger than Microsoft. Who’s the daddy now? In fact, the telling detail in this Wired piece is in the stock chart that heads it up - it’s not so much that Apple stock took off after the iPhone launch, but rather that Microsoft shares have gone nowhere at all in the last ten years. On a ten year scale, in fact, they’ve barely moved at all. We wonder whether investors will now be clamouring at the doors of Redmond for special dividends, share buybacks, and in general for the return of capital?

    There’s a round-up of Microsoft’s mobile OS projects here. There is something intriguing about a company that invents a radically new operating system, names it Singularity (!), and then just leaves it in the lab for the next four years.

    There’s a gallery of notable moments here; we think the key one was number 7. Hint: it’s some sort of mobile phone. How we all regret being snarky about it.

    Nokia, meanwhile, was not idle this week - the first production version of MeeGo was launched to N900 users, after the Maemo and Moblin distributions were successfully merged. The new Nokia software development strategy we described after this year’s MWC is being put into effect - MeeGo’s primary development environment is indeed Qt 4.6, which should permit write-once development for MeeGo, Symbian S60, or Maemo devices (it’s a question of setting the Qt Creator IDE to compile your code with MeeGo or Symbian as the target). Or Maemo? Yes - they’re going to keep supporting it, and indeed they pushed out software updates for it this week.

    (Note that LiMo wasn’t idle, either; the Samsung Wave is coming.)

    Nokia also deepened their cooperation with Yahoo!, with the announcement that the Ovi Mail and Ovi Chat services will be provided by Yahoo, while Yahoo! outsources its maps service to Nokia (well, Navteq really). This makes a lot of sense - there’s not much money in consumer e-mail, and Nokia has no relevant expertise, while Nokia now has a ton of geographical data assets and software. Yahoo! is already a customer of Novarra, the mobile content-munging firm which Nokia acquired not so long ago. So customer behaviour data for Y! applications is being captured on Novarra machines, and used in Yahoo advertising - how interesting!

    Nokia is mad keen to promote its mapping and navigation products - you would be if you’d paid $8bn for Navteq - and here’s an example. Hail the Nokia-branded cab and get a free ride, during which you can play with an X6. Someone should really hack together a version of Cabulous to find them.

    At the same time, it’s now quite likely that Yahoo’s expertise in managing a worldwide data centre infrastructure will be brought to bear on keeping Ovi running. There’s a post on Forum Nokia at the moment that says a lot about exactly this question, app stores, and the economy of data - not that it’s a long read, but rather the fact that it exists says a lot. It seems that Ovi has been under-reporting downloads since May 17th - this, of course, directly impacts revenue share payments to developers and content providers.

    “True” Skype for the iPhone is here, but then, what is “true” Skype? The company announced that Skype-to-Skype calls on the iPhone will only be free until August, and after that, charges will be made. To put it another way, they are progressively turning into a telco of sorts. Speculation: does this reflect negotiating concessions to AT&T in order to get it onto the App Store? Has Skype had to offer the operator a share of revenue, which of course it has to raise? And is the new app actually a Skype node, or is it a SIP client talking to Skype’s SIP peering infrastructure, an increasingly important element of the company?

    News from the other big mobile platform: Orange is planning to roll out very low cost Android devices into its African markets, starting with the LG Boston, a $120 smartphone with a 5 megapixel camera, GPS, a full web browser, and WLAN. However, Telco 2.0 recently took delivery of an Android device which isn’t a low-cost phone, but just feels cheap.

    Skype is also planning to ship an Android app, possibly with video calling later this year. If Skype-to-Skype calls aren’t chargeable for the ‘droids, we’ll know there was a deal with AT&T.

    There seems to be increasing interest in videoconferencing and telepresence - will it do telcos any good?

    Speaking of voice-over-IP and AT&T, their own, carrier-grade, IMS-enabled VoIP service fell down this week and left millions of subscribers without dialtone service; it didn’t matter, as they could always use Skype…

    Of course, if you really want a cool voice-related Android app, nothing beats the one that stops the NSA wiretapping your calls. A few years ago, security guru and PGP inventor Phil Zimmerman designed a protocol to provide strong public-key encryption and authentication for telephony - Zfone. Now there’s an implementation for Android; you might be advised to use a VoIP client and maybe an anonymous proxy, though, as it won’t defeat the traffic analysis they’re running against the telco CDR piles.

    More on hybridity as SiriusXM launches a “streaming radio” app for Android. The interesting point here is that SiriusXM is a satellite radio operator. We’ve been waiting so long for mobile TV/radio support to make it into a) significant numbers of handsets and b) handsets that anyone actually wants, that now a company that distributes content using the most efficient means known to man (i.e. satellite broadcast) is going to start using the least efficient form of media distribution - unicast Internet streaming.

    Dell gives the Android world its iPad-equivalent.

    Latest AdMob data: there are 2 iPhones in the US for each Android.

    And Google has stopped letting new hires use Microsoft Windows, on security grounds after the Chinese hacker attack. PowerPoint divas now need CIO-level approval to keep Clippy hopping around their desktops while everyone else is offered a Mac or a Linux distribution of their choice.

    Poor Clippy.

    We had some examples of Telco 2.0 ideas in practice above. Here’s a Telco 2.0 idea that sadly, still isn’t getting through to operators very well: Bittorrent, Inc has released the code for its new uTorrent protocol, as open-source software. The point of uTorrent is that it’s designed to make way for other applications under conditions of network congestion, thus solving the problem that BitTorrent fills up the network.

    Daring Fireball, meanwhile, quotes the Mick Jagger who went to LSE, as opposed to the one who dropped out, saying that the era from 1970 to 1997 was a historical anomaly in terms of the share of music revenue that came from recording and the share that went to artists.

    Telco 2.0 ally Alan Patrick has a fascinating systems dynamics take on the privacy crash at Facebook. The inevitable contrarian view is here.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in their satin tights, fighting for your digital rights, has a HOWTO video on asserting your privacy with the new Facebook controls. The EFF also brings us news of a YouTube users’ group intervening in the Viacom/YouTube litigation, claiming that the last people being represented are actual creators rather than rightsholders. And they are not pleased by yet another attempt to sue BitTorrent users.

    The tax and spectrum elements of the Digital Economy Act may have failed, but OFCOM staggers on with the three-strikes provisions, which Telco 2.0 delegates voted entirely useless by an 80 percent majority.

    Is your business dominated by Easily Replicated Processes or Barely Replicable Processes, and how can you help your customers move things from the second category into the first?

    Management shakeup at China Mobile: China Mobile Group, which owns the Hong Kong-listed China Mobile, has set up a board of directors and appointed Wang Jianzhou as CEO. The decision was apparently taken by the Central Organisation Department of the Communist Party of China. Li Yue becomes general manager, while Wang will also hold the post of Communist Party Secretary for China Mobile Group.

    In other communist news: Viettel takes over Teleco Haiti, promises to build 5,000 route kilometres of a national fibre backbone in 12 months, deploy WiMAX Internet service. And that was quick: after a wave of concern about suicides at Foxconn, and a wave of strikes, the iProduct assembler has increased wages by 20%.

    To share this article easily, please click:

    Telco 2.0 Strategy Report Out Now: Telco Strategy in the Cloud

    Subscribe to this blog

    To get blog posts delivered to your inbox, enter your email address:

    How we respect your privacy

    Subscribe via RSS

    Telco 2.0™ Email Newsletter

    The free Telco 2.0™ newsletter is published every second week. To subscribe, enter your email address:

    Telco 2.0™ is produced by: