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Telco 2.0 News Review

Telco 2.0 Top Stories

[Ed - We’ll be blogging / tweeting from the Telco 2.0 EMEA Brainstorm in London for the next two days. Hope to see you there - if not you can still get Distance Participation Packages.]

It’s not looking good for Clearwire: the WiMAX operator has stopped all new shops opening, delayed the launch of its smartphones, suspended its deployments to Denver and Miami, and sacked 15% of its employees. The reason is simple - the company is running out of cash. Although it achieved $147m in third quarter revenues, more than double what it did last year (when it hadn’t deployed very many networks), it urgently needs new financing to make it to 2011. There are one million retail and 1.8 million wholesale subscribers, but the wholesale subs are contributing monthly ARPU of $4.46. This quote doesn’t sound good:

Wholesale revenue in the third quarter was $16.5 million and is based upon minimal wholesale ARPU and usage assumptions due to unresolved issues around wholesale pricing. The issues relate to the application of existing wholesale pricing provisions to certain types of 4G devices. Once these issues are resolved, the Company expects to receive up to approximately $17 million in potential additional wholesale revenue from these 4G devices for the three month period ending September 30, 2010.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile USA announced 700,000 smartphone net adds for the quarter and started advertising its HSPA+ service as “4G”. Matt Carter of Sprint may have told them to “stop dressing up as their favourite superhero”, but then again T-Mobile isn’t the company whose major 4G network partner just hocked the piano. Connected Planet Online has some interesting points about the Clearwire/Sprint relationship and who’s profiting from who.

More positively, Sprint stealth-launched a transcription feature in its visual voicemail application for the HTC ‘droids.

Qwest has reported a steady migration from copper to fibre.

Verizon Wireless throws out a major contract to build more LTE networks. And the lucky winner is Alcatel-Lucent, which gets an additional $4bn in orders for kit including radio networks, optical Ethernet backhaul, and IMS core equipment. They already had a $2bn deal to build the first phase of the network. The new contract runs for 4 years, but it’s likely that the work will be front loaded as VZW has a deadline to launch in the next two months.

A somewhat less enviable contract win, perhaps, for Nokia Siemens Networks: network expansion for Afghan Wireless.

ALU has been catching pigeons lately - they’ve also signed a billion euros’ worth of orders from China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom for essentially every sort of network infrastructure you can imagine (GSM, CDMA, TD-SCDMA radios, optical components, DSLAMs, IP routers, IPTV systems, switches, IMS, all sorts of stuff).

NTT has named the day: in Japan, the PSTN will die in 2025, by which time all services will be IP-based and on fibre to the home.

Elsewhere, Facebook announced its new mobile offering, which allows you to log in to mobile applications with your Facebook credentials, and then allows the applications to serve you personalised ads. It also provides an interesting opportunity for upstream businesses to offer you discounts based on your location or other criteria. This being Facebook, however, we’re just waiting for the privacy complications.

So is Google - they’ve suspended the export of GMail contact data into Facebook. More broadly, they have decided that applications can only slurp your GMail contacts and use them to pre-populate their contacts if they let Google (or any other) applications do likewise. Expect much squealing from all parties, and a certain satisfaction among the geeks.

That said, Viviane Reding is planning to pass a new European privacy law after the discovery that the Google Street View cars were not just mapping the locations of WLAN networks, but also sniffing traffic from the ones that weren’t encrypted.

Yet further data points on Android growth. Developers love it. Security experts quake in their boots. Is it a blessing or a curse for vendors?

There’s an even bigger customer data spat in China. Qihoo 360 and QQ owners Tencent are entangled in a knife fight about who’s spreading malware and who’s snooping on whose customers. It defies summary - just read the whole thing.

We’ve been reporting regularly on the clammy snog between Skype and Facebook - here’s some comment from Skype’s old girlfriend, it seems. Disruptive Telephony has a walkthrough of Skype 5.0 for Mac. Skype Journal lists the features, and discovers that parts of the UI can be customised through a browser-like API. They also have thoughts on Skype Enterprise.

Skype is giving away free WLAN in the UK next week as part of Internet Week Europe. Telco 2.0 delegates will no doubt be delighted, as the BT Openzone network in the hotel is covered.

And here’s some advice from Niklas Zennström about start-ups.

The latest of the proliferating reports on Internet traffic, firewall vendor Sandvine’s, claims that Netflix streamers are peaking at 20% of North American residential traffic. A question - Arbor Networks’ instrumented study reckoned that 54% of total traffic was either web or web-video, so that would imply Netflix is a bit less than half of it all by itself. Google is the second biggest network by traffic globally, with 6.4% of Internet traffic or up to 12% if its CDN intradomain traffic is counted using generous assumptions. Someone must be wrong.

OFCOM has a report out on the UK’s notspots, which is mostly useful as a data resource on cellular build costs.

Are you a spook? There’s an app for that, specifically viewing and working with US satellite imagery on the Apple iPad. OnStar cars can now be started up from an iOS or Android device. Surely nothing can go wrong with this.

It looks like check-in web sites aren’t used by very many people.

More seriously, Vodafone announced a new product, which allows enterprises to manage a complete fleet of smartphones. Dell is going to withdraw its fleet of 25,000 BlackBerries in favour of its own, Windows Phone 7-based gadgets. Amusingly, Microsoft officially doesn’t think enterprises should use the new OS - they recently told developers that they should stick with 6.5 for enterprise applications. Apparently, Dell’s move is intended to save money by chucking out the BlackBerry Enterprise Servers.

Jasper Wireless has signed up another carrier as a connectivity provider for its M2M customers - Telefonica.

Is Boku really worth $450 million? Apple and Google both want the mobile payments firm, but TelecomTV points out that being owned by either would render it considerably less interesting to carriers and other partners.

Details of the EU’s investment in Symbian - the new project is concentrating on embedded systems, apparently.

Singapore’s NBN heads for 60% completion, and already boasts five competing service providers.

Kenya Data Networks’ fibre-optic backbone project is a go.

Skyara is a two-sided business that wants to help you do something new this weekend.

Voice 2.0 acquisition watch. Filesharing case collapses after BT zaps its logs. Damages in the same copyright case vary by $1.7m between hearings. Monitoring Twitter. Giving up on security. Understand beamforming technologies with Brough Turner. High Scalability and Data Center Knowledge on how Facebook works. David Cameron hearts Telco 2.0…apparently.

Where Foxconn workers sleep.

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