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July 26, 2010

Telco 2.0 News Review

Telco 2.0 Top Stories

[Reminder from the Telco 2.0 Team: don’t forget to check out the 40 leading-edge online video presentations on ‘Best Practice’ Telco 2.0 strategies, case studies and use cases now available on demand, including:

- CEO BT Wholesale, CEO Ericsson, and CTO Deutsche Telekom on Strategy;
- MIT, Invention Arts, World Economic Forum on the Data Economy;
- Telecom Italia on Augmented Reality and Entertainment Futures;
- AT&T and Oracle on Cloud Services;
- Telenor and Aricent on M2M;
- Nokia Siemens Networks and Buoungiorno on Customer Management;
- O2, Ericsson and Admob on Mobile Advertising;
- plus more on Mobile Money, Voice and Messaging 2.0, Amazon, and Shareholder Value.

NB To watch these videos you will need to register via the embedded links above.]

They call it the cloud, but it’s a very physical, hardware-heavy business. Amazon.com and Google both announced great dollops of capital investment this week, in Amazon’s case enough to spook the Street. The giant platform business is building infrastructure again, and a large fraction of that is in the form of buildings, 13 of them, both warehouses and data centres. They’re also adding another 2,200 jobs. CFO Tom Szkutak specifically referred to their Filled by Amazon operation, which delivers packages on behalf of other e-commerce firms, and to Amazon Web Services as lines of business that were in need of more space. Google, for their part, spent $476m in the last quarter on capital goods, essentially all on data centres. As we pointed out in the Google executive briefing, not only does Google spend much more on capital investment than its closest rivals, it gets dramatically better returns.

No surprise, really, then that the market for servers is looking up. IBM says its sales of servers were up 30% this quarter, 36% the one before that, Intel’s server products are up 42% q-o-q, and the Wall Street Journal notes a string of cloud/hosting companies (e.g Rackspace) expanding.

On the other hand, there were rumours all week of an effort to depose Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo as CEO of Nokia. The Q2 results weren’t of a sort likely to help his case, with profits and average selling prices falling steeply. NAVTEQ is shipping a lot of product, but is a lossmaker, as is NSN. And they expect to sell 50 million N8s, although it will be the only Symbian ^3 device ever. OK…

Amid this sense of crisis, a former Nokia exec publishes a manifesto for change. Among other things, he says, Nokia shouldn’t be so proud of having invented the world’s best approval process, and he has hard words for the Soho-based design team.

“It’s a trend office - they’re sniffing trends. They look at what T-shirts people are wearing and design phones according to the trend. They’ve had their time….Since 2006, Nokia brand development has been a playground for marketing people and some fashion designers based in Soho, London. At the same time external marketing offices from London have been creating campaigns and Web visuals for Nokia basically without no relevant definition or guidance from Nokia’s side. Nokia brand directors, under SVPs and VPs, are from Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Disney and Nike, from companies without any connection to technology, gadgets, functional products or ‘rocket science’ visions - without competence, visions and customer understanding.”

He suggests the company should create a role for a co-CEO for innovations - which makes the whole thing sound rather like a manifesto for Anssi Vanjöki’s next job application. He also makes the point that Nokia, if anything, does rather too much data capture, evaluation, and research. Given that two of the top five posts on Forum Nokia today are about just that, he may well have a point.

In better news, MeeGo got the nod from a car industry standardisation MLA, GENIVI, as their platform for “connected car” applications. NSN, meanwhile, landed the contract to supply 40,000 Node Bs for Harbinger Capital’s proposed US wholesale-only LTE network, which has since been named LightSquared. (Because < a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teledesic">Teledesic 2.0 wouldn’t have sounded as good.)

Symbian^3 is still coming along Real Soon Now. Similarly, WebOS 2.0 is planned for “later this year”, a target window closing at the rate of 24 hours per day.

Juicy gossip from within Microsoft after the failure of the Kin smartphone; allegedly they sold a total of 503 devices.

Qualcomm, meanwhile, had profits up 4% on shipments up 10%, although they confirmed that the FLO TV wholesale network is on the way out.

The Linux kernel developers and Google are working towards a solution that would let Android code get back into the main source tree of Linux. The current issue is whether it’s acceptable for the shutdown process to be interrupted if a phone call comes in - fairly important for a phone, you might think. Google also has said that future contributions to Android will go into the main Linux codebase, rather than staying inside Google, although they won’t appear until devices have shipped.

There’s some, heavily caveated, data on different Android versions’ share here.

Google has an update for Google Voice out. It looks like GVoice used to work as a callback service, a bit like Jajah, but now it uses a temporarily-assigned DID number and your carrier’s SS7 network, and then presumably maps the DID to the real phone number you want to call. Seriously worse voice and messaging; AdMob (that’s a Google division, remember) has been serving up an advert to iPhone users (and perhaps others) that contains a link that initiates a phone call to a premium rate number. Apparently the ad in question is “The Talking Cat”.

Skype updated its iPhone client to make use of multitasking in iOS 4, thus making it a proper telephony application (as in: can receive calls without being permanently in foreground). They’ve also, quietly, reversed the decision to charge for Skype-Skype calls on the iPhone - this may reflect some ultra-profound, tectonic shift in the triangle of forces between mobile VoIP developers, Apple, and AT&T, or then again they may just have been trying it on.

Wired asks why AT&T doesn’t do busy-hour pricing rather than data caps, a perfectly good question and one that reminds us that ISP people do actually know quite a lot about data pricing (busy hour, 95th percentile, burst, etc), contrary to the telco-establishment view that it’s all free on the interwebs and will end in tears.

DTAG, it seems, is still pushing the Google tax. In that light, it’s probably worth linking to the list of the top 10 tech spenders on lobbying; the top three are all telcos, and Verizon alone spends four times Google’s bill for spin and schmooze and six times IBM’s.

If you’ve ever wondered where telco lobbyists come from, meanwhile, wonder no more. The Sunlight Foundation has a useful chart. The short answer is “Congress”, with 201 of 274 registered telco lobbyists having that on their CVs.

Except trouble tomorrow. The Ontario Teachers’ pension fund, which speaks for 0.42% of Vodafone, is planning to vote for Sir John Bond’s dismissal as chairman at the EGM. They apparently would like the sale of some of the minority shareholdings, like Verizon Wireless.

Vodafone’s 360 product is increasingly looking like a way of using the Android Market to get access to the world Android user base. Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, is competing with RIM’s BlackBerry App World, pushing its own app store as an app to the top RIM devices on its network.

A T-Mobile UK employee has confessed to being behind a massive theft of customer data. With an accomplice, whose trial is coming up soon, he sold the details of subscribers whose contracts were coming up for renewal to resellers who were paid commission for winning new business. It’s a good reminder that the security of customer data is frequently threatened by fairly crude attacks.

TalkTalk is doing something unusual, in the name of fighting malware - it’s following every link its subscribers click on, and searching the servers for dodgy code. Nice of them…had they asked first. Especially as the system involves “Huawei servers” - does that mean servers made by Huawei, or servers they own? (Meanwhile, Motorola alleges that some employees who left Moto took trade secrets with them - although, as Huawei’s lawyers point out, the company they joined is nothing more than a reseller.)

Bizarre tale at Facebook: the man who paid Mark Zuckerberg to build “The Face Book” claims he has a contract that shows he should really own the company. Zuckerberg denounces it as a forgery. Popcorn?

Brough Turner’s notes from the WISPA conference are here. Incidentally, he also found out what became of xG Technology.

Richard Branson to launch an iPad-only mag, while Barnes & Noble has an e-book reader for Android.

DEFCON attendees will be delighted to know that the EFF will be teaching them how to get their FBI files, and what commands to type into your lawyer if the Feds seize your laptop.

A novel view of the hype cycle. All Windows shortcuts are potential threats. A look back at the best of the Apple Newtons.

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July 19, 2010

Telco 2.0 News Review

Telco 2.0 Top Stories

Reflecting the intensive competition in the mobile devices and OS world, as analysed by Telco 2.0 partners Arete Research in their Telco 2.0 ‘Best Practice Live!’ presentation here (you’ll need to register), a strong theme of this week’s news is that many of the main players in the arena are experiencing their own ‘worlds of pain’.

Starting with Microsoft, Infoworld got a preview of the latest Windows Phone 7 gadget, and reported a number of concerns, including a number of regressions from Windows Mobile 6.5 and a very strange user interface indeed. In the light of the idea of sudden extinction events, you might wonder whether Microsoft is going to stay in the mobile game.

On the software side of the company, they’re striving for relevance by getting close to Facebook - as well as LinkedIn, you can now get your Facebook updates integrated in MS Outlook. It’s a sign of the scale of the change in the order of the industry when MS are now the ones hoping to link up with the ‘Big Platform’.

Perhaps fortuitously for Microsoft at least, it was the week when the leaders in the smartphone space seemed to be doing their best to let everyone else catch up. Apple addressed the iPhone 4 radio problems with a press conference at which Steve Jobs offered everyone a free plastic bumper, or perhaps a refund if they’d already bought a case. Apple also admitted that an elementary software bug had been discovered in iOS 4 that caused the signal strength indicator to display inaccurately - a bug fix has been rushed out.

This was arguably the least Apple could have done, but Jobs then pushed his luck by claiming that RIM, Samsung, and Nokia devices were as bad. This gave everyone a chance to mock the iPhone 4 all over again, and then Bloomberg got a scoop.

Apparently, Apple’s chief RF engineer Ruben Caballero predicted that the external antenna wouldn’t work early in the design process - as did engineers at an “unnamed” mobile operator customer. Although Jonathan Ive’s industrial design team came up with several alternative options, Jobs insisted on the external strip antenna. Bloomberg also quotes various sources who suggest that the problem is interaction between the cellular and the WLAN/Bluetooth radios. An actual antenna designer comments here, where you can also read Mike Lazaridis’ rather stinging reaction to Jobs’ remarks.

You’ll also read the very good point that, perhaps, AT&T’s network isn’t helping either. Wired reports that last week’s problems with their data network are still going on, if anything worse. Not only isn’t the network providing the “HS” in HSPA, it’s not really doing basic WCDMA speeds. There seems to have been some sort of inflection point in the first week of July - perhaps a dodgy update. All eyes are on Alcatel-Lucent, which is promising to fix the problem in software…

Even Apple’s creepily-named Global Loyalty Team was having an off week. A judge in San Mateo threw out the warrant they’d applied for to seize the famous lost iPhone from the editors of Gizmodo.

While all the fuss was going on, Google quietly killed off the Nexus One.

TelecomTV wants to know what on earth Nokia is thinking in releasing a flagship device using an operating system they plan to end-of-life immediately after it launches.

It turns out that Apple, Google, and RIM all chucked in a bid for Palm. It also turns out that people expect the future of tablets/iPads/etc to be Linux-based.

So, surely, this would be the moment for a shuddering challenge from Android? Gizmodo reviews the Motorola Droid X, and finds it marred by annoying vendor and carrier impositions. They don’t like the user interface much, and they find the idea of yet another single social network client to be annoying. (Infoworld has a less opinionated take.) Verizon will be shipping them and offering a $50 discount towards a 32GB microSD card, so you can stash a whole local copy of Wikipedia and still have 28GB left for cat pictures.

Android users, it turns out, can get access to any AT&T customer’s voicemail using one of two caller-ID spoofing apps - worryingly, AT&T is relying on the CLI field to control access to voicemail, despite the fact that it often isn’t verified in any way.

And Sprint and HTC are struggling to keep the Evo in stock. Apparently, the Samsung-made touchscreen is a significant bottleneck in the supply chain, and some might wonder if Samsung’s own ‘droids are getting first pick.

Rumours swirl that Sprint’s renewed interest in LTE (it’s not just them - Intel suddenly likes the TDD flavour of it too) is pointing towards another attempt to merge the operator with T-Mobile USA. Whatever radio air interface they use, though, it seems they’re confident they have enough spectrum. Sprint is promising no data caps on the WiMAX network, at least unless the users get up to around 20GB/month. Which is rather like a 20GB/month cap…

Intel had their best quarter ever, as speculation swirled that they might buy Infineon. Sony Ericsson also had a good week. And Alvarion, of all vendors, announced that they were thinking about doing some LTE. Are the standards wars truly over?

Motorola is reportedly considering the sale of its networks division, all except the iDEN unit, to Nokia Siemens Networks.

In other connectivity news, AT&T improves its ideas about femtocells - it’s been writing to selected customers offering free Cisco Microcells, apparently on the basis of loyalty or spending. So far it’s just a trial, but it’s a better idea than asking them to pay for the privilege of hosting critical telecoms infrastructure.

And the World Cup equated to a 24% spike in data traffic.

The FCC has announced its plans to change the rules of the so-called Mobile Satellite Service spectrum in order to release an additional 90MHz of the 2GHz band for generic wireless-broadband use. They’re also trying to fix a problem - although $400m a year from the Universal Service Fund is allocated for rural telemedicine, so far very little of the money has been spent.

Telefonica announced a “global e-health initiative”, to cover all its main markets. Not much in the way of specifics yet, but they seem to be keen on a major Telco 2.0 target vertical.

The UK government has put off its target date for universal broadband from 2012 to 2015 and confirmed that it wants to use money from the BBC licence fee. A company called Clear Mobitel announced that it was beginning trials of LTE in the 800MHz ex-TV band in Cornwall with a view to partaking of the lolly.

OFCOM wants to get mobile number porting down to hours 2, although they might perhaps do better addressing this rant from our new favourite ISP.

EU regulators have found that the implementation of the controversial data retention directive is usually illegal for a variety of reasons, mostly to do with privacy and that old friend, proportionality. The New York Times, meanwhile, wants Google regulating - Wired isn’t so sure.

Cloudy! SFR is partnering with Hewlett-Packard to get into the private-cloud business, offering infrastructure-as-a-service and similar trendy abbreviations to its enterprise customers. Rackspace, NASA, and a huge cast of other partners, are preparing to launch an open-source cloud based on Python and Red Hat Linux, building on work they already did creating a cloud for the space agency and the US Federal government more broadly.

A good Voice 2.0 question; if hosted IVR is good, and hosted PBXs are good, why not integrate the two?

Telefonica does something with Jajah - discount international calls. Ho hum.

Half a successful South African MVNO up for grabs. More on new business models in the music industry. HOWTO use jQuery in Nokia Web Runtime. Working out how good the Apple Time Capsule really is, with basic stats.

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July 12, 2010

Telco 2.0 News Review

Telco 2.0 Top Stories

[Reminder from the Telco 2.0 Team: don’t forget to check out the 40 leading-edge online video presentations on ‘Best Practice’ Telco 2.0 strategies, case studies and use cases now available on demand, including:

- CEO BT Wholesale, CEO Ericsson, and CTO Deutsche Telekom on Strategy;
- MIT, Invention Arts, World Economic Forum on the Data Economy;
- Telecom Italia on Augmented Reality and Entertainment Futures;
- AT&T and Oracle on Cloud Services;
- Telenor and Aricent on M2M;
- Nokia Siemens Networks and Buoungiorno on Customer Management;
- O2, Ericsson and Admob on Mobile Advertising;
- plus more on Mobile Money, Voice and Messaging 2.0, Amazon, and Shareholder Value.

NB To watch these videos you will need to register via the embedded links above.]

News: HTC is prospering as never before from its commitment to Android, with net income up 33 per cent on outstanding sales of G1s, Magics, and Evos.

In other good news for Android, Ars Technica tested Android 2.2 against typical JavaScript rendering benchmarks and found it fast, considerably faster than iPhone OS 4 and its Safari browser. ComScore’s quarterly numbers show Android gaining market share fast, up from 9% to 13%, and both Apple and RIM losing ground.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, meanwhile, attempted to cool down the tension between Google and other major tech companies. He said that Facebook users tended to make significantly more Google search requests, and denied that the relationship between Google and others was a zero sum game. However, he also picked a further row with Apple, accusing them of “rewriting history” about the development of the iPhone and Android. So the net impact of his comments is conflicted to say the least. One of the interviews, we note, confirmed the end of Google’s adventure into phone-making - there will be no Nexus Two.

Google has also attained a compromise with the Chinese government. Rather than automatically redirecting searches to the Hong Kong version of Google, Google will now ask users to explicitly choose the Hong Kong version. This was apparently enough for the Chinese government to renew Google’s license.

Google has launched a version of YouTube for your TV as a beta, as well as a new version of YouTube’s mobile site using HTML-5 rather than Flash. (Yahoo! agrees.)

And Google is suggesting there will be more than one winner of its Fibre Cities contest.

On the subject of fibre, Australian Minister for Broadband Stephen Conroy says that the NBN project is going to come in significantly cheaper than expected - no surprise, in the light of the agreement with Telstra to swap duct access and PSTN decommissioning for wholesale service. He refused to put a number on it yet.

And Computer Weekly’s Philip Virgo responds to a Government consultation, asking what if what we needed was the British Broadband Corporation?

Brough Turner points to a word-frequency analysis of the US National Broadband Plan. The take-home message appears to be that the Plan is surprisingly mobile- and wireless-centric - “spectrum” is the second most used word after “FCC”, appearing 79 times more frequently than “dark fibre”.

On the other hand, the Plan foresees an end to Universal Service Fund subsidies for cellular operators, with the money being channelled into broadband infrastructure projects. Tellingly, however, the bulk of the USF is currently going to Verizon and AT&T, two integrated fixed/mobile operators with little interest in the rural markets the USF is intended to help.

T-Mobile USA is sticking to its plans for incremental HSPA upgrades; the TMoBlog catches a presentation referring to “42Mbps HSPA in 2011”. That implies the use of dual-carrier HSPA, which will obviously need some of that lovely spectrum the FCC is planning to dole out. In comments, it’s pointed out that the rate-limiting factor for T-Mobile’s current HSPA rollout is the time it takes to blow fibre to the Node Bs - once that’s done, the next lot of upgrades will be much faster.

On the other hand, AT&T users might not think this is such a good idea, after a software bug in Alcatel-Lucent HSUPA gear knocked the “U” for Uplink out of the HSUPA. And, come to think of it, the “HS” for High Speed as well, as uplink speeds dropped well below 100Kbps. We feel a disturbance in the Force, as if a thousand ill-advised Flickr uploads cried out and were silenced.

West Africa gets a new submarine cable this week. And the Renesys blog reports that the number of Internet prefixes carried by Sprint is falling sharply.

Here comes Apple’s customer-data play. The plan is that the new iAd service is going to match ads to customers based on their iTunes preferences and a bank of other indicators drawn from iPhone apps. They’ve also taken out a patent on a variety of location-based marketing applications. It looks a lot like a very vague, lawyer-driven exercise that would seem to cover a lot of things that have already been done in boring old Europe, but it does seem to suggest the next lot of iProducts will have NFC.

NFC and video calls? Perhaps Apple’s Xserve server division will launch an IMS product next.

In the light of iAds, this excellent piece on fiddling social networks for advertising purposes is recommended. Also, the European Court of Justice considers it illegal to buy your competitors’ trademarks as Google AdWords, unless it’s obvious to the reader that you’re behind them.

A survey shows that 52% of Brits with GPS-equipped handsets are “very or extremely concerned” about their devices oversharing their location. Veteran tech journalist Jack Schofield of The Guardian has joined the campaign to make cloud computing services let you take all your data with you.

Of course, you don’t need to be Google to place millions of users’ privacy at risk - you just need to omit to validate user input properly and always parameterise your SQL queries. Argentine hackers discovered an SQL injection exploit against The Pirate Bay that allowed them to download details of 4 million users.

A student who was fined $675,000 for sharing MP3 files has had the penalty reduced by 90%. There’s an interesting interview with the founder of Tommy Boy Records on new business models for music here.

There’s not been a mobile malware story in a while. Now there is - NetQin will try to recruit your Symbian S60 device into a mobile botnet.

One notable feature of the Nokia/Symbian world was always the sheer volume of stuff they published - Forum Nokia, Forum Nokia Blogs, S60.com, developer.symbian.com, etc, etc. This week sees the arrival of NokiaDevs.com, which adds yet another website to the fleet and seems to be aimed at publicising their platforms. The current lead story is about an independent app store.

Nokia, meanwhile, got out of the wireless-modem business and promised a “laser focus” on smartphones.

Here’s an innovative Voice 2.0 application if ever there was one: a honeypot for telemarketers, using 4 million DID numbers delivered over VoIP to British business-focused ISP Andrews & Arnold. Spammers’ auto-dialler programs call them, and stay there for ages, chasing a succession of automated messages and IVR prompts and hopefully running up enormous bills. At the very least, while they’re talking to the honeypot, they can’t call anyone else.

Their CEO’s blog has recordings of spammers arguing with the automated messages, and an outbreak of spontaneous creativity in the comments. The latest idea is to have their Asterisk PBX server sense when there is more than one spammer online, and bridge them into a conference call with each other….and post the recordings on the Web for general amusement.

You could have done this with e-mail 5 years ago, and people have been mocking unsolicited callers for years, but automating it and making the callers talk to each other? That needs the full power of Voice 2.0.

(The same operator has hard words about capacity issues with BT’s 21CN upgrade.)

In more serious Voice 2.0 news, Asterisk developer Nir Simionovich sets out to bring you “Google Analytics for telephony”. Pre-registration for the beta is open now.

India is the latest country to complain that they can’t decrypt Skype calls, and demand that not only Skype, but also RIM and Google Mail, should give them a backdoor. Hackers, meanwhile, reverse-engineer one of the crypto algorithms they use.

Huawei and the Feds are making nice, apparently with a view to Sprint buying Huawei gear. Connected Planet points out that actually, quite a lot of US operators use their stuff, and suggests that the real story might be growing interest at Sprint in LTE.

France Telecom announces a five-year expansion plan. Fring piggybacks on the FaceTime hype to offer SIP-based video calls to devices other than iPhones.

And Microsoft reorganises in an effort to make something of the Azure cloud.

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July 5, 2010

Telco 2.0 News Review

Telco 2.0 News Review

[Note from the Telco 2.0 Team: 40 new leading-edge online video presentations on ‘Best Practice’ Telco 2.0 strategies, case studies and use cases are now available on demand, including:

- CEO BT Wholesale, CEO Ericsson, and CTO Deutsche Telekom on Strategy;
- MIT, Invention Arts, World Economic Forum on the Data Economy;
- Telecom Italia on Augmented Reality and Entertainment Futures;
- AT&T and Oracle on Cloud Services;
- Telenor and Aricent on M2M;
- Nokia Siemens Networks and Buoungiorno on Customer Management;
- O2, Ericsson and Admob on Mobile Advertising;
- plus more on Mobile Money, Voice and Messaging 2.0, Amazon, and Shareholder Value.

NB To watch these videos you will need to register via the embedded links above.]

News: Via Rich Karpinski, some numbers are filtering through about 3UK’s peace treaty with Skype. 80% of Skypephone users are new customers, and they show ARPU 20% higher and churn 14% lower than 3’s typical subscriber. Karpinski points out that it’s quite possible that the user base for Skype and like services are “hyper-communicators” who are likely to be heavy users of all your products. There you have it - a strategy to deal with the VoIP wave.

Juniper Research predicts that mobile VoIP traffic will double every year from here to 2015. They point out that some operators are beginning to re-assess their strategy and adjust to this, and that the real threat is shifting voice traffic to WLAN. On the other hand, a minute carried over a £40 Wi-Fi box, the open Internet, and your GAN interface is one that doesn’t need carrying over your transmission network, radio network controllers, and the like.

Apple’s unexpected embrace of video calls has given other vendors a spur to look again at video for communications rather than content. Cisco has announced an interesting new Android-based device - the Cius is a vaguely iPad-like tablet optimised for high-quality videoteleconferences. It should provide 8 hours of battery life, connecting over the full range of WLAN specifications, with cellular capability coming later. If you can sit through 8 hours of video conferencing, you probably deserve a shiny that will be priced “below $1,000”, but presumably the great majority of them will be sold to enterprise IT departments. The device comes with the full set of Cisco’s telepresence/conferencing/collaboration/unicomms applications built in, so no video calls for you, Mr. Telco.

Telepresence has always suffered from the need for fancy hardware to achieve a reasonable user experience - multiple, large, high definition screens, hi-fi surround speakers, high end microphones and multiple, high resolution cameras. This makes it expensive and very, very fixed. Cisco may be onto something by wrapping those capabilities into an integrated high-end mobile device.

At the same time, they’re pushing out more consumer products, notably home-automation devices, and it is rumoured that having acquired the Flip line of video cameras they’re going to add some sort of network capability. Conferencing/video calling? Instant streaming to the Web? Connected Planet speculates that there might even be some sort of Amazon Kindle-like embedded cellular element on the cards - so perhaps an opportunity for a lucky operator there.

How do you go about serving video to the BBC’s user base? Simon Frost, the iPlayer’s technical architect, explains how in an excellent post at the BBC Internet blog. It’s well worth reading, if nothing else, for the point that adding social, recommendation, and other features can be a big increase in complexity and a major challenge for your infrastructure quite apart from the job of pushing out the video streams.

Hulu has announced three more networks’ content in its Hulu Plus service, and Google won its case against Viacom.

In other online video news, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs says the company wants to get out of the business of operating their MediaFLO TV network. Qualcomm originally positioned MediaFLO as a wholesale-only operator, whose roll-out would be part financed by its partners in the content business. More recently, it’s started offering a direct-to-consumer mobile TV service. It now looks like Qualcomm would rather just be selling FLO equipment to operators than being one itself. This shouldn’t be surprising - revenues from the operation are falling and the costs of building it out have been stubbornly high. They are also looking at using the infrastructure as a supplementary data network for heavy Internet content, but so far, there are no takers.

Speaking of home automation and energy, here’s a piece on work at Intel Research into the user anthropology involved. Interestingly, one strategy they are looking at is integrating energy monitoring into communications devices (answering machines), because people use them.

Ars Technica notes that according to the FCC, 13% of US fixed telephone lines are now carrier-VoIP services like Vonage or similar. We note that by definition that takes no account of Skype, Fring, Gizmo, Google Voice and friends…although you might think Cisco have an opportunity there.

Microsoft has terminated its Kin “social phone” two months after launch. New industry hyperblog Voyces (regulars will probably recognise some of the names) says they think there’s an opening for a low-cost social networking device, but surely 3 already did that with INQ?

Engadget has inside-Microsoft gossip about the Kin story - apparently the original plan was to do a low-cost, super-featurephone independent of Windows, using the old Sidekick OS they acquired some time ago, but MS top management insisted on porting it over to Windows CE (which is in any case on the way out).

So far, many operators who have deployed femtocells have asked their subscribers to pay for the privilege of hosting a piece of telco infrastructure. This is not perhaps the most attractive proposition ever dangled afore the public - it’s reminiscent of BT’s Fusion FMC product, which offered the user cheaper outbound calls on Wi-Fi, but charged all incoming calls at mobile rates, so that your friends essentially subsidised your cheaper calls. Softbank is taking a drastically different approach - put a femto in your house, and Softbank will pay for the DSL line. As they’re paying for the connectivity, there won’t be any effort to restrict which Softbank subscribers use your femtocell, so it’s a cunning way of thickening up their coverage.

The Advertising Standards Authority has told off Orange for claiming to have more coverage than they do have, by fiddling with the definitions. As is pointed out here, the real problem is that for some strange reason, there are no publicly accessible maps of UK mobile coverage at useful scale.

As pre-announced, the White House has announced the beginning of National Broadband Plan implementation with the release of 500MHz of new spectrum. There’s also money. Another $800 million for 66 projects has been announced as part of the economic recovery plan.

Having cranked prices on its heaviest data users up, 3UK is now balancing that by slashing prices for lower users. A new tariff offers 1GB of data, plus a truly huge quantity of voice traffic (2,000 minutes), for £25 SIM-only. CEO Kevin Russell has some thoughts about “unlimited”; as he was also in this weekend’s Guardian bashing the other operators over termination rates, we presume there’s some sort of PR drive on. Check out the comments for the tale of the acceptable-use policy that forbade subscribers to make more than 24 hours of calls in any 24 hour period.

Everyone’s having fun with the Apple iPhone 4 radio problems. Nokia explains how to hold one of their phones for best results (i.e. any way you like), Motorola takes out full-page ads. Apple is advertising for antenna designers. Lenovo taunts the beast.

Anssi Vanjöki declares the beginning of Nokia’s fightback on the company blog. Points of note include that it’s official that the N8 will be the last N-series to use Symbian^3 (presumably the only one), but there might well be at least one N-series device on Symbian^4, and there won’t be a Nokia Android. And he’s determined to persuade Symbian Guru back into the fold.

As if to provide ironic contrast, there’s an urgent bug fix out for the Qt SDK. And some N900 users are annoyed about default opt-in to MyNokia, although to be fair they could just turn it off.

Verizon Wireless is refreshing its App Catalog for Qualcomm BREW-based feature phones. AT&T, meanwhile, is also pushing BREW as an apps platform for non-smartphones. There’s going to be an open app store, a suite of network APIs, and a developer sandbox.

Google can remotely install applications to your Android as well as remove them. Eric Schmidt offers a different view of the Nexus One.

Like Android? Like Python? You’ll like this. Google is preparing a new feature that will let you distribute Python apps for Android as the standard .apk package for one-click install.

Least expected acquisition of the year: Alcatel-Lucent buys mashup hub ProgrammableWeb. Check out the interview with PW founders about telco APIs.

Telefonica integrates its Latin America developer communities into O2 Litmus.

Undesirable mobile innovation; 50 people are arrested in Romania for distributing stalkerware applications that let you spy on other people’s phones. The F-Secure blog points out that you still need physical access to the gadget to install it.

After Spotify: MSpot lets you upload your music collection into the cloud and pull it down to a mobile device, shared PC, whatever. It’s basically a streamer application using a cloud storage service as the back-end. You pay a small fee, and they don’t worry about licensing fees as it’s assumed it’s your music.

So how’s that Brazilian Phorm deployment coming on? Not so well. The company lost another $29.7 million this year, and although it charged its sole customer Oi 1.6 million Brazilian reals, none of that was earned by the much-loved DPI system. And the Brazilian Ministry of Justice is after them

The Spanish-Portuguese tussle over Brazilian operator Vivo took another twist. Although a majority of shareholders voted to sell the stake to Telefonica, the Portuguese government invoked its golden share in PT to block the deal. With that, everyone’s off to the European Court of Justice.

Qualcomm says it bought BWA spectrum in India to keep it all from going WiMAX, and to reserve a spot for LTE. Time was, Qualcomm might have done that for one of its own radio technologies, but the standards wars are over. There’s also an interesting chat about augmented reality and Qualcomm here.

Brough Turner is starting up a startup, and it looks like it’s an operator of some sort.

A fine example of Worse Enterprise Voice & Messaging. A ton of data on Spanish mobile Web users and Vodafone. A neat mobile banking app - deposit a cheque in your mobile phone by photographing it. US Government CIO Vivek Kundra on the cloud.

Everyone needs a robot squid.

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

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