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Telco 2.0 News Review

Telco 2.0 Top Stories

[Ed: new Mobile Internet business models and Apple’s strategy are two of the major topics at our Spring 2011 Brainstorms and our free Best Practice Live! online event on 2-3 Feb 2011 - more on all of the agendas here.]

It was CES week, but we’re trying not to go overboard on the gadget blogging. Instead, AT&T gave some detail on its plans to roll out LTE, with the rollout beginning this summer with a target completion date of 2013. They also announced the completion of the HSPA+ upgrade. T-Mobile USA took the opportunity to upstage them by announcing the availability of “42Mbps” service (that’ll be a very theoretical theoretical maximum) with dual-carrier HSPA.

AT&T also showed off some apps intended to link its U-Verse TV (IPTV on its FTTC network) service with Apple devices, the App Store, and its mobile network. The basic idea seems to be that you’d be able to control your TV from your mobile or tablet - there’s an interview with Michael Adams of Ericsson on this trend from the last Telco 2.0 Americas brainstorm.

In other “duelling theoretical maxima” news, NEC claimed that the LTE net NTT DoCoMo switched on over Christmas will do 75Mbps.

Verizon Wireless showed 10 LTE devices at CES and paraded two key partners - Skype and Electronic Arts. Not bad going. The flagship device will be Motorola’s Xoom, a superduper tablet based on Android whose name does remind us a little of Sprint’s original WiMAX branding. Skype chucked in video calling for the thin client its partnership with VZW uses, while EA demonstrated a “networked jam session” inside its Rock Band game.

Cisco, for its part, announced that the Cius enterprise tablet would get LTE from this summer. On the other hand, Dan York doubts that either the Cius or HP’s WebOS-based devices will get any traction in the light of a possible second generation iPad.

It’s being heavily rumoured that Verizon might announce that the iPhone is coming to its network - the usual confusion brought about when mainstream “tech journalists” cover anything telecoms is heavy here, but the obvious explanation would be that the next lot of iPhones will have an LTE radio. Would anyone really bother doing a “CDMA iPhone” when the only possible launch customer is getting away from CDMA as fast as Alcatel-Lucent can deliver the new base stations?

A major Apple shareholder is pressing the company to reveal details of its plan for the succession to Steve Jobs. Apple doesn’t like it and has asked shareholders to vote against the measure.

Google, meanwhile, released some details of Android 3.0, which will make its first official appearance on the Motorola tab mentioned above. In the meantime, hackers succeeded in getting Android 2.3 running on an iPhone.

Computer Weekly has the “ooh! shiny” video of the Moto device.

Apple also turned on the first releases through the new Mac App Store during CES, with hilarious results. Whitelabel app store GetJar has some interesting predictions for 2011. Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows Phone 7 is going to get a revolutionary new feature: cut and paste. The Guardian Online blog has a good CES roundup - note the lack of interest in WP7 and also the lack of products or really any activity at all for MeeGo.

Wired covers Towerstream, the company that deploys high-capacity point-to-point WLAN links between office blocks. They also note that even with the special deal with Goldman Sachs, Facebook is going to have to file audited numbers with the SEC some time next year.

The mystery: what happened to all the spam? Brian Krebs has a detailed review - it seems that a number of major Russian botnets have stopped spamming, partly because an affiliate network that they used to collect cash for pushing pharma ads was shut down and possibly also because they are finding click-fraud more interesting.

TeleGeography reports that international voice traffic grew 4% in 2011, and that Skype added more traffic than all the world’s telcos added together, 45 billion minutes of it. They also debunk the story that Chinese telcos want to ban VoIP.

Fascinatingly, Skype just acquired Qik. Qik is one of several startups that let you send streaming video from a mobile device to a pre-defined URI on the Web. Of course, Skype already has video-telephony and is building up video-teleconferencing with its beta group video chat product. But this adds a number of interesting possibilities (and also Qik’s own adaptive streaming technology). You could record the teleconference for future reference, publish it to the Web both as a live broadcast and as a recorded talk, and perhaps link content from the Web into the teleconference.

There’s another “unlimited…sort of…Internet access…sort of” row blowing up: Skype Journal complains that MetroPCS is blocking Skype calls on its open slather data tariff.

Python hackers can get the Tropo.com API library through the Python Package Index with “python easy_install tropo-webapi-python”.

Worse voice & messaging, US airlines edition:

Cali Archon of Portsmouth, N.H., tried calling JetBlue Airways for four hours yesterday morning to rebook her 15-year-old daughter’s flight to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. But each time, after about five minutes of recorded messages, the system told her: “Please try back at a later time. We are doing the best we can to manage our call volumes at this time. This call will end now.”

And then it did.

Here’s your chance to contribute to open source telephony: the Asterisk community is looking for proof readers to check out the text of the latest O’Reilly handbook for the swiss army knife of VoIP software.

The FCC has a competition on for the best app for monitoring telcos’ and ISPs’ treatment of your Internet service. OFCOM has altered the UK mobile licences to permit UMTS running in refarmed GSM900 spectrum. And the Aussies lose enthusiasm for their planned national porn filter.

The EFF has published a series of blog posts checking up on its trends for 2010. This one covers online video. A survey for JP Morgan suggests that 47% of Netflix users would consider cutting the cord - but Dan Rayburn thinks the survey is worthless.

Meanwhile, Atari fails to prosecute RapidShare for publishing pirated games, which is a little like failing to prosecute Julian Assange for leaking secret documents. But they did that, didn’t they?

Cloudmeister-general Werner Vogels speaks on the origins of Amazon Web Services and says that, actually, spare capacity never came into it and AWS was always intended to become a major line of business.

Rackspace, meanwhile, is seeing a surge in its revenues per floor space driven by its cloud services rather than traditional hosting and colocation. No surprise, then, that they’re behind OpenStack.

The GSMA has a new paper out on how operators and banks can cooperate for mobile money transfer. Unfortunately, after last week’s 27C3 disclosures, suddenly our infrastructure doesn’t look so secure any more. After all, the SMS of Death attack doesn’t just let you crash phones remotely - although that’s plenty of fun - it also gives you the full power of SIMToolkit. Whoops.

Martin Geddes is sceptical about grandiose claims for the future of mobile. North Korea’s Twitter feed, hacked.

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