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Telco 2.0 News Review


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Dan York thinks that the arrival of the iPhone at Verizon will be worse news for Google than for carrier rivals like AT&T - Verizon Wireless will no longer be the marketing champion for Android devices. The big question is how the expense of doing an iPhone that lives on CDMA2000 is justified when VZW is well on the way to deploying LTE. Informa has a stab at the numbers, and reckons that VZW will be forking over at least $3bn in handset subsidies. However, in return for that, they can expect to boost their population of high-spending subscribers, while Apple gets to ship more units. However, if you’re a rural Verizon affiliate, not so much.

Amid a heavily speculative piece at Engadget, the probable explanation - Apple is going to be using one of Qualcomm’s new radio chips which can handle HSPA, EV-DO, and some other air interfaces too in software. Connected Planet notes that Verizon is keeping the restriction that FaceTime video only works over WLAN in place, and is probably right in thinking that the real issue is latency rather than data rate.

T-Mobile USA responds with a knocking campaign against Verizon’s network.

As relief from all the iStuff, Phone Scoop has a thoughtful piece on the most overhyped phone features and wonders why nobody boasts about voice call quality. That done, back to the hype.

Millenial Media reports that Android devices are now pulling more adverts from its servers than the iOS fleet (46%). Is this the first non-touchscreen ‘droid?

LG expressed disappointment with Windows Phone 7, but plans to crack on with it in order to have some non-Android devices in the lineup. Meanwhile, Intel CEO Paul Otellini reckons that the new version of Windows for ARM chips might actually end up displacing Windows Phone. Yet another mobile ad company reckons that it serves more adverts to Windows 98 users than WP7 ones. This is after it was caught mysteriously sending and receiving cellular data on its own.

In fairness, the Chinese government is starting a crackdown on fraud involving dialler trojans on Android devices. RIM launched a new SDK offering more features and cross-platform development for BlackBerries and PlayBooks. And Rebtel’s VoIP app is now available for BlackBerry.

The Register has another instalment of its series of interviews with Symbian veterans - this time it’s the CTO, Charles Davies. Saddest detail: Cisco wanted to use Symbian in a line of enterprise gadgets, until they discovered there were multiple flavours to worry about.

Is app store carrier billing a fundamentally flawed idea?

BT Openreach has announced its prices for regulated access to ducts, poles (no sniggering at the back, there), and trenches. One metre of duct space costs 95 pence per annum and each pole attachment £21. The launch is planned for this summer. The details are still a draft proposal so far, awaiting the opinion of OFCOM - always a jolly opinion to have.

The EFF has its official response to the FCC’s call for apps and research papers into the extent of net non-neutrality. More seriously, the Open Internet Order issued on the 21st of December goes into force on the 18th of next month, and the big question is whether Level(3) will serve a complaint against Comcast as part of their epic traffic dispute.

Google says that it’s now serving 200 million videos a day to mobile devices, as it prepares to release a lot more music as part of a deal with VEVO. Hardly surprising that Tata Comms just bought Bitgravity, a CDN operator.

Or that SK Telecom needs a 4G network. It may be more surprising that they’re going to do LTE, plus a hell of a lot of WLAN access points - these are the people who brought you WiMAX, remember. Relatedly, there may be problems with LTE interfering with cable TV, which looks like a serious issue for femtocells especially or media centre devices that have a cellular radio.

LightSquared, Phil Falcone’s wholesale-only LTE operator, has coughed that it expects to send about 0.005% of its data traffic via the satellite element of the system. The NTIA is not pleased and the project is looking a lot like a transparent attempt to get round the spectrum rules. Also, there’s a possibility of interference with GPS, and you know who owns the GPS satellites…

Renesys’s annual IP transit scoreboard is out, and the big winners in 2010 were Level(3), Global Crossing, and NTT, with IPv6 specialists Hurricane Electric doing well further down the scale. On the other hand, Sprint is sinking steadily down the rankings. Also, France Telecom, DTAG, and Telecom Italia all became transit-free during the year.

An important moment in Google’s history: the Department of Justice opens an antitrust inquiry. Into what? Their acquisition of ITA, an airline data company. Is collecting too much data anticompetitive? At the same time, a Spanish court wants to make Google hide any links that could be libellous. Good luck with that.

Elsewhere, Google is going to drop support for H.264 video encoding and rely instead on the open-source codecs WebM or Ogg. Lots of analysis at the link.

High Scalability has a fascinating post on how the data store in Google App Engine works on a deep technical level. And one blog sent Mark Pilgrim’s Dive into Mark more traffic in 2010 than Bing.

Having turned down a $5bn offer from Google, Groupon is now looking at an IPO with a valuation as high as $15 billion. This has to be a bubbly valuation, but it does show the opportunities there are in the SMB world.

A survey of SMBs shows that sales and marketing applications are the key ones that drive them to make use of the cloud. Connected Planet’s Susana Schwarz says:

While companies like Amazon and Google (as well as IBM, VMware, and Microsoft) are the first to come to mind, telcos might be up and coming in the race to attract SMBs if they can offer greater ease-of-deployment and better management by business people possessing less than optimal technology skills.

We’ll drink to that. Verizon, meanwhile, is building a truly gigantic data centre or six.

Benoit Felten tries out a suite of SMB cloud services and reports he’s satisfied. Why’s he doing that? Because he’s having a start-up, that’s why.

If you used Facebook Connect to log in to Gawker websites, you don’t have to worry about the massive disclosure a couple of weeks back. You only have to worry about Facebook.

Financial blogger Felix Salmon is trying to work out the business model of partner site Seeking Alpha. And Apple is trying to prevent newspapers from offering free iPad apps to their print subscribers, apparently in an effort to help out News Corp’s coming iMag project.

Back in core telco news, as Queensland floods, Telstra categorises 262 local exchanges as no-go areas, but so far all data centres except AAPT’s were still online. Bharti Airtel outsources all its African IT to IBM. Vimpelcom/Wind is a done deal.

T-Mobile tries to explain why you can’t see the YouTube video in the Facebook page after their new data cap comes in - hilarity ensues. Read the whole interview and the original statement. But you wait until they have to explain it to the advertisers.

RIM vs. India - it’s a mess. KPN shuts down the payphones. CS fallback is tested. RevK has strong feelings about DHCPv6. Cyberwar is overhyped.

Johannesburg’s traffic lights are an M2M application - some of them contain a GSM/GPRS module so the transport department can remotely control the phasing. Unfortunately, thieves discovered this, lifted the SIM cards, and started running up some seriously large phone bills. Hint: disallow voice calls and set a private APN.

Innovative two-sided business model: Chatroulette has come up with an elegant solution to its funding problems, and a few other problems besides. The Web site, which provides users with instant video chat with other randomly selected users, is notorious for the large percentage of users who are naked men and who usually do something obscene as soon as they are connected. It is estimated that about 10% of the site’s daily 500,000 average unique users are nude and that something pornographic occurs in one in eight chats. An analysis of their statistics is here, with the worrying conclusion that British users are more than twice as likely to be described as perverts than the general user population.

Now, once a user has been the subject of five complaints, they get redirected to one of several porn or adult-dating websites. These upstream customers pay Chatroulette for the traffic.The revenue from this is significant - $100,000 a month for a three-man startup is a lot of money. This also gets rid of a problem - the perverts tend to be looking for other perverts, so they rapidly reject anyone who isn’t and therefore cause heavy load on the database server. Presumably, the non-perverts also tend to hit the “next!” button pretty quickly as well. So sending them on their way is a saving, too.

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