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July 29, 2011

Great response to Telco 2.0 ‘smart pipes’ survey



Thank you to the 66 people that have completed the survey we launched yesterday.

A few others have kindly completed their mailing details but not answered any questions! Remember: the full ‘Value of smart’ report will only be sent to those that complete the survey and it only take 15 minutes.

To prevent influencing those that have yet to complete it, we can’t share early results to questions but we are pleased with the mix of respondents - lots of operators and vendors as well as analysts and consultants (in the ‘Other’ category). It would be great to get more internet players. Also, would like to see input from those outside western europe!

Click here to take survey

Survey  - first 66 respondents.png

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July 28, 2011

Take the Telco 2.0 survey on the value of ‘smart pipes’



We are publishing a report on the value of operators being ‘smart’ in early September. It is being produced 100% independently and kindly sponsored by Tellabs. It will be freely available.

As part of the research process, we are conducting a short survey. Click here to participate

The survey covers:


  1. The definition of a smart network and smart services strategy

  2. The value (or otherwise) of being ‘smart’ for an operator

  3. The challenges involved in becoming smart

The survey takes only 15 minutes to complete and, better still, all participants will automatically be sent the report. The link again.

It closes on the 5th August - so hurry!

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July 21, 2011

Strategy 2.0: The Six Key Telco 2.0 Opportunities


Our latest report summarises the six Telco 2.0 opportunities to transform telcos’ business models for success in an IP-based, post PSTN world. The summary chart is below and 10 overview pages are reproduced here.

The Six Key Telco 2.0 Opportunities

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This report also includes an extract from the latest Telco 2.0 Strategy Report The Roadmap to New Telco 2.0 Business Models, updates on latest developments, and feedback from over 500 senior TMT industry execs. (July 2011)

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July 19, 2011

Technology 2.0: The future of networks in 6 steps


By 2015 there will be one intelligent open network platform. It will also be ‘green’ and 50% cheaper. A guest article by Marcus Weldon, Alcatel-Lucent’s CTO.

This is an exciting time in telecommunications, where a confluence of factors is driving a period of change and innovation unlike any we have witnessed in the last few decades. If broadband and the internet were the phenomena of the 1990s and wireless broadband and smart devices the hot trend in the 2000s, the 2010-2020 decade will be the decade of the network, but a very different kind of network.

By 2015, I think there will 6 fundamental changes or shifts occurring:

1. There will be one network: Wireless and Wireline networks will have converged to form a single, high performance, cost-optimized aggregation and core IP network, with either wireless or wired edges. In fact, even the distinction between the wireless and wired edge connectivity will be blurred as devices embed Ethernet ports, Wifi and LTE modems.

So you will no longer even think about connectivity; the device and network will connect you to whatever network best suits your application and mobility needs at each instant in time. In many ways, the new wireless network architecture, best characterized by the recent lightRadio™ innovation (see this Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! video - you’ll need to register), is a prime example of this trend: the ‘wired’ IP, optical and access networks are used to connect small wireless radios.

Furthermore, increasingly the network will connect the radios to a central pool of control and processing elements situated back in the operator switching and data centers, allowing optimal sharing and re-use between wireless cells and access points, thereby achieving up to a 50% Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) savings over today’s architectures.

2. The network will be intelligent: As Moore’s law continues its seemingly inexorable progression, the cost of processing and the associated memory and storage will have decreased to the point where the economics of embedding application-level functionality in the network makes sense. This will allow much more efficient use of network resources, and a concomitant improvement in the user Quality of Experience (QoE). We are already seeing this trend with the move towards sophisticated application-aware traffic management for optimized applications delivery and with embedded caching functionality in network elements for optimized video delivery anywhere, anytime to any device.

3. The network will be open and sustainable: The days of ‘walled garden’ versus ‘over the top’ applications are over. The traditional service provider applications (voice, data and TV/video) are opening up to allow third-party and ‘web’ application developers to leverage these capabilities and ‘mash them up’ with other web services to create previously unimaginable new applications.

Furthermore, around this paradigm shift new business models are emerging that will allow sustainable network growth and a ‘win-win-win’ scenario - better economics for the network providers, superior application-level functionality and a compelling new experience for the end user. We are already seeing this trend with the emergence of applications such as gaming and on-line video delivery leveraging the quality of service (QoS) parameters in the network to deliver the desired user experience. Moreover, the momentum building around the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) - an alliance of service providers and equipment and device vendors aimed at defining a common set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to allow developers access to network capabilities in a consistent, unified way - is further evidence of this new trend.

4. The network will be a platform: Increasingly, applications will run in the network not over it. Think of a PC today: there is a processor, some memory and storage (a hard drive), and Ethernet ports, all connected by an internal communications network (e.g. the PCI and memory busses). Applications run ‘in’ the PC (on the processor) and they leverage the other elements over the local communications busses.

Now, if we consider that with the emergence of Cloud computing, processing and storage are separated into pools of resources connected together by Ethernet ports on local area networks in data centers, which in turn are connected together over the wider telecommunications network, the parallels are clear and we can think of the applications increasingly running in the network. If we then look to the embedded processing trend discussed earlier, then the interdependence of the two - application and network - cannot be disputed.

5. The end device(s) will be unified: With the remarkable evolution - or perhaps more accurately ‘revolution’ - in devices that has occurred over the past few years starting from feature phones, to keypad-based smartphones to touchscreen smartphones, to tablets to gaming consoles like the new WiiU and the Kinect extension to the Xbox, it has begun to seem as if the device ecosystem was going to be infinitely diverse, making the reality of true app and service ubiquity - anywhere, anytime, on any device - forever a distant dream.

However, there are clear trends that are emerging that suggest that this process is beginning to reverse, with a convergence of mobile device OS’s (iOS and Android becoming the ‘big two’), and with mounting evidence that tablets will replace many of the devices that were posited to be important (home control, gaming and media control consoles, video players, GPS devices, netbooks, and even PC’s and laptops), so that the only essential devices in the future will be the phone (for portability), the TV (for communal and big screen viewing) and the tablet (for everything else).

Moreover, with the emergence of HTML5 and webkits as the basis of a powerful new client framework with sophisticated graphics capabilities that will run on any ‘web-enabled’ device in the future, there is a very real possibility that we are actually merging from the complex, divergent device ‘morass’ into a unified device future of relative simplicity. This will fuel another significant new wave of application development and usage, as the same look and feel will be attainable on all devices and, with the Cloud supporting synching of the apps and content between devices, the user experience will be continuous and consistent wherever, and on ‘whatever’.

6. The network will be green: If we look to the more than 30x growth in capacity that is predicted to occur as smart devices and tablets proliferate over the coming years, and person-to-person communications are usurped (in volume) by Machine-to-Machine communications, we must optimize the energy cost per bit in order that the environmental impact of building these networks is minimized and the operational cost of running them does not become prohibitive.

As a reference point, based on published data, the two largest telecom operators in the US accounted for 0.6% of the national energy consumption in 2008, which is significant in itself, but becomes even more so when a 30x increase in network capacity is required to meet user demand. As a result, we are seeing a real focus on the energy costs of networks. Importantly, this is a problem that transcends a single vendor or a single operator and is the reason that we founded the GreenTouch™ consortium to tackle this massive problem via an open collaboration across the telecommunications industry.

So, all in all, I hope you will agree that this is a time of unprecedented challenges and opportunities in telecommunications and that by 2015 the seismic shift should be well underway. It is going to be quite a ride!

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July 18, 2011

Apple’s No.s, RIM’s Strategy, & Netflix’s Online Aspirations - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed. On the Telco 2.0 front we’ve just published M2M 2.0: Market, Business Models, and Telcos’ Role(s), plus don’t forget to check out the Best Practice Live! online videos now available on demand - you’ll need to register.]

If only everything in life was as reliable as iPhone sales. Apple’s results are out tomorrow and the consensus forecast is for a £3.5bn boost to profits as another round of new products approaches. Given the continued importance of the Macintosh as a hero product for Apple, it’s possibly significant that Amazon is offering discounts on MacBook Airs.

Meanwhile, Horace Dediu reckons that total app downloads from iTunes have overtaken total music downloads. On the other hand, as he points out here with some truly awesome visualisation, the only major platform in industry history to outrun iOS is…Android.

In the iOS 5 beta, it looks like you can forward FaceTime video to a networked TV, thus doing something to deal with the form factor problems of mobile device video calls. Of course, you’ve still got to stare at the phone because that’s where the camera is.

Is someone thinking about how to attack RIM in the enterprise? Apple is going to introduce a new version of the App Store for business customers, which allows multiple devices to be associated with the same iTunes account. To put it another way, that account can manage software (and content) deployed on a whole fleet of iDevices centrally. Sounds more fun when you say it the Apple way, though. There might even been a bulk discount on some apps.

On the other hand, Apple settles the first location-snooping lawsuit for a rather measly sum. Will the A5 chip work in an iPhone case without overheating?

And app developers are pulling software from the App Store for fear of patent-trolls. The latest one appears to cover SMS, e-mail, all instant messaging systems, RSS, and Internet Relay Chat. Surely the courts must see sense about this.

Here’s an interesting insider look into RIM. Among other things, RIM executives were apparently so proud of their users’ low data usage that they didn’t think the Web browser would be important - but this is odd. As the piece points out, RIM benefits from data usage via fees for its BIS and BES services. And there’s nothing wrong with being efficient with network resources.

Also, this bit doesn’t reflect very well on telcos.

I remember going to sit with the CMO of one of the largest wireless carriers, and we would deliver features like “increase battery life by 40%” in the next model, and we would get a blank look on the other side of the conference room. The executives would think, ‘so you’re telling me with this device I am going to sell 40% less car chargers’, there was a blank stare.

Neither does this, from the NSN Blog. Apparently a carrier had a problem with spikes of signalling traffic. The reason was that they’d pushed BlackBerries heavily but without provisioning data service for them. So when the devices tried to do their pre-configured BlackBerry thing, they hammered on the doors of the SGSNs endlessly without ever getting a response.

Meanwhile, a stock analyst wonders if RIM could disappear. He then goes on to say it won’t, thanks to the enterprise products, BBM, etc. But he got the headline he was after. He also says RIM needs to “crack the code in the consumer market”. A majority of RIM’s sales are now outside North America, where the company is much more consumer-centric…and how many other smartphone platforms have their own hip-hop track?

However, as Horace points out, RIM has had several quarters of lost market share in the US. While Apple’s share is steady, Android’s is rising, so it’s the others that have to make room. [NB For our latest take on on RIM see RIM: R.I.P. or ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’?.]

Kantar’s latest smartphone market readout has Symbian’s market share falling from 32% to 10% in the UK.

Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson reported good sales of Androids and serious earthquake disruption.

Androids aren’t necessarily cheap. ISuppli has dismantled the latest HTC Thunderbolt and costed out the BoM, and concludes that it costs as much as a typical tablet to make. Specifically, the LTE radio is expensive. Qualcomm is making $29 on each of the devices from its MDM9600 chip. Still, MTN is piloting LTE in South Africa.

Some interesting analysis of Microsoft sales data suggests that although Windows 7 is shipping reasonably well, the PC market is heading into a downturn. We noted a couple of weeks ago that semiconductor companies are building up stocks again, which implies that demand from the downstream industry is weak.

Netbook sales have tanked, and just look at the difference between HP and Apple’s numbers. Get a Mac…and they did.

Microsoft doesn’t want Windows Phone 7 on tablets. They should get Windows Windows, as it were. And the Windows division is still trying to sneak onto the handsets via a Windows-on-ARM solution.

Bing has achieved almost as much market share as Yahoo!, with the distinction that Yahoo! is profitable.

Cisco CEO John Chambers said that the company will continue to “reinvent itself”, although oddly he didn’t mention the 14,000 layoffs. The networking specialists’ priorities are going to be IP core networking, data centres, video, and collaboration. They also boasted of having seized 10% of the server market from a standing start.

Also, their Cius communications-focused enterprise tablet has got LTE…in a sense. Rather, VZW will ship a MiFi 4G hotspot device with each one.

In data centre news, DCN has details of Facebook’s future plans. They intend to move out of their leased colo facilities over the next five years as they build their own data centres, which should get rid of $70m a year in OPEX payments to three major datacentre developers.

AT&T is installing fuelcells as back-up power in some of its datacenters. Massive Seattle carrier hotel is on sale, and dammit, it’s ugly.

Verizon Business’s chief electrical power engineer reckons that data centres will develop in two directions - the super-giants built near sources of cheap power, and smaller highly-efficient localised facilities built near cities.

A lot of the stuff being served out of data centres is of course streaming video, and the biggest video streamer is Netflix. This week, Netflix announced it was hiking the price of its traditional DVD-by-post business, compared to the streaming element. Your network will love that! Felix Salmon asks if this has finished the long tail model at Netflix. Dan Rayburn argues that Netflix wants rid of DVDs, although this means killing a lot of content.

Adam Knight argues that it’s all about a contract with Sony Pictures, and that the point is to force a distinction between DVD and streaming subscribers rather than bundling the two.

Telco CMOs expect mobile data demand to rise at a 40-50% annual clip from here to 2015. However, 94% of them have no plans to partner with the OTT content or apps players who are driving the demand for data. [Ed. We strongly suggest they read The Roadmap to New Telco 2.0 Business Models.]

Michigan Telephone has an interesting piece on E-911 and outbound VoIP…but that’s not going to be this week’s top Voice 2.0 story, is it. As well as the editor of the Sun, the UK Prime Minister’s press chief, the executive chairman of the Wall Street Journal, and the CEO of News International, the head of the London police force has been forced to resign in the great voicemail-hacking scandal.

We’ve long said that voicemail is the worst application ever devised. In this case, the problem was that all the UK carriers handled PIN resets the same, broken, way - the PIN was reset to a default value that anyone who had ever reset theirs knew. As practically all voicemail was provided by the same outsourcer, this was a class-break of the whole system. Most of the world’s Web sites that have a password reset form have enough sense to implement it by setting the password to a random string.

On the other hand, there are reports that the paper was paying police for GSM location data, which suggests that they had access to the lawful-intercept systems. Security legend Ross Anderson has some interesting thoughts.

Can Vodafone’s Sure Signal femtos be exploited to intercept your calls? Vodafone denies it. This refers.

This is interesting: Vodafone in India is doing some EV-DO mobile broadband.

AT&T is planning to deliver locally-targeted adverts into in-app advert networks, using its Yellow Pages brand and presumably its base of advertisers.

In a related idea, O2 UK is launching a location-based loyalty scheme, “Priority Moments”. You’ll note that some of the partners are also involved in the sponsored WiFi product they presented at our last event.

Kineto Wireless obviously has an interest in this, but it’s a good point - WiFi is a great way for MVNOs to get deeper into the value chain without buying a network.

Ericsson Money has a launch customer, or rather two - pioneer operators Globe and Smart from the Philippines are using it to deliver an international MMT service in seven countries. Here’s a good summary of the payments aspects of the Parlay-X API.

How did Google build Google +? A great rundown on the open-source tools that underlie it. Using Redis in a big social network.

RevK comes out for user-owned fibre.

Metaswitch announces an RCS-e server. Better caller ID. The Taliban’s own mobile network. And for lovers of big visualisation feats this is beyond awesome.

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July 13, 2011

CSG International and STL Partners Join Forces to Bring First Ever ‘New Digital Economics’ Executive Brainstorm to Asia Pacific

We’re proud to announce details of our first invitation only APAC Executive Brainstorm in Singapore, in December 2011. Copied below is a press release from our partners, CSG International.

Kuala Lumpur - July 2011 - CSG Systems International, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGS), a global provider of software- and services-based business support solutions that help clients generate revenue and maximize customer relationships, today announced the company has partnered with STL Partners, founders of the Telco 2.0 Initiative and Digital Entertainment 2.0 Initiative, to bring the New Digital Economics Executive Brainstorm Series to the Asia Pacific region for the very first time.

Combining the success of the CSG’s (formerly Intec) APAC Executive Forum with the ‘executive brainstorming format’ that has become the hallmark of STL Partners events, the newly formed New Digital Economics & CSG APAC Executive Forum 2011 event will focus on the Telecommunications, Media and Technology sectors. This invitation only event will take place in Singapore at the end of 2011. To learn more please visit: newdigitaleconomics.com/events.

“The merged New Digital Economics & CSG APAC Exec Forum 2011 will give attendees the opportunity to not only hear about strategic content that matters to their business, particularly strategies that accelerate new growth opportunities, but the event will also allow attendees to brainstorm new approaches and ideas with their peers. Our unique collaboration with STL Partners ensures our audience of invitation only executives can walk away with actionable content to help accelerate business opportunities,” said Ian Watterson, Vice President and Managing Director (Asia Pacific) of CSG International. “By bringing together thought leaders from the telecommunications, media and technology sectors this event is sure to serve as a launch pad for the industry.”

“We’re delighted to be working with CSG International on this important event in this vibrant market region. Our Telco 2.0 research is proving increasingly popular in the APAC and we’re being asked more and more to help local operators embed its principles into their strategic planning. We’d been planning to launch our events programme in the region and so when CSG suggested we partner with their well-established and respected Exec Forum it made complete sense”, said Simon Torrance, CEO, STL Partners.

The two day event focuses on new growth opportunities and business model innovation and uses STL Partners unique ‘Mindshare’ interactive format. This combines cutting edge market analysis, case studies and use cases, round table discussions and interactive voting technology. It includes an Innovators Showcase to bring to life some of the concepts under discussion. CSG International will also host select thought leadership, operator, partner and analysts sessions. Telecom Asia is a key strategic partner to the event.


About CSG International

CSG Systems International, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGS) is a market-leading business support solutions and services company serving the majority of the top 100 global communications service providers, including leaders in fixed, mobile and next-generation networks such as AT&T, Comcast, DISH Network, France Telecom, MasterCard, Orange, T-Mobile, Telefonica, Time Warner Cable, Vodafone, Vivo and Verizon. With over 25 years of experience and expertise in voice, video, data and content services, CSG International offers a broad portfolio of licensed and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based products and solutions that help clients compete more effectively, improve business operations and deliver a more impactful customer experience across a variety of touch points. For more information, visit our website at www.csgi.com.

About STL Partners

STL Partners is an international analyst and consulting firm focused on business model innovation at the intersection of the Telecoms, Media and Technology sectors. Based out of London, it manages the influential ‘Telco 2.0 Initiative’ which publishes research, and runs senior management events under the ‘New Digital Economics’ brand. Its clients are most of the major players in the market, and it collaborates with the World Economic Forum on macro industry issues.

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July 11, 2011

FCC & the end of PSTN, NFC wars, Facebook’s Skype phone: Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed. There are a few things to update you on this week. First, we’ve just published an introduction to our updated research agenda ‘M-Commerce 2.0: How Personal Data will Revolutionize Customer Engagement’, including more details of our next Brainstorms in in New York (5th-6th October) and London (9th-10th November) run in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. There’s more excellent background in this guest post from Professor John Clippinger of Harvard The Privacy Bomb - How to Tame and Feed ‘Big Data’. Last but not least, don’t forget to check out the Best Practice Live! online videos now available on demand.]

The FCC is holding consultations on the possible shutdown date of the PSTN. Michigan Telephone raises the awkward questions of what happens to the open access and common carrier provisions that are attached to the copper wires. Famously, “broadband” isn’t considered a telecommunications service in the meaning of the 1934 Act. There’s more at DSLReports.

The “Operator Carrier Exchange” is an initiative, currently in stealth mode, which hopes to provide a single interface for multiple CDNs run by telcos. This would permit requests for video content to be routed to the right CDN nodes in each network (there’s an interesting Cisco presentation here, served out of Brightcove’s CDN). You can see why Akamai is keen to license its software these days.

It won’t be easy, though - one of the biggest accounts, Facebook, just went to independent CDN Ooyala.

Netflix users were reporting problems with Apple TVs and their service this week. See also improving the mobile cloud experience, plus we’ll be publishing more on Mobile CDN strategies over the summer.

Another operator opportunity is discussed in detail here, as NFC Times reports on the emerging competition between Google and the telcos for NFC-based mobile wallets. This is also a topic we’ll be researching and covering at our upcoming M-Commerce 2.0 brainstorms.

Facebook promised to announce “something awesome” this week and it turned out to be a video chat function, provided under their alliance with Skype. Phil Wolff at Skype Journal issues a highly detailed list of open questions about the project. It seems to be a purely browser-based experience, which makes us wonder if there’s an unannounced Skype Web API or whether they’re using an in-browser SIP client like Phono. But Facebook IM is based on XMPP, and there’s no known use of that protocol in Skype. It may be time to fire up Wireshark and dump the packets.

XConnect, meanwhile, is a company that provides an interconnect hub for video-conferencing services.

ComScore estimates that LinkedIn is now the second biggest social network in the US, tearing past the sinking hulk of MySpace.

Better voicemail startup Youmail reports that it’s handled its billionth message.

Apple wapped GetJar this week with a cease and desist order, demanding that the indie app store stop distributing iPhone apps. They refuse and issue a rant about Twisted Sister (among other things). And it’s off to the courthouse everyone goes.

On the other hand, HTC has given some details of its plans to unlock the bootloader on its smartphones, permitting users to run a different operating system on them as you can on a PC. The first ones will be the global (i.e. UMTS) edition of the Sensation, the US Sensation 4G, and the Evo 3D. More detail is here. This essentially opens the door to projects like Maemo/MeeGo and Openmoko being more widely deployed and also to the possibility of “ForkDroid” - a version of Android stripped of Google-owned intellectual property, something that carriers, vendors, and hackers alike would be delighted by.

Motorola, however, has shipped the Droid 3 without the open bootloader it was expected to have. Is the Google pushing back? Meanwhile, will Samsung accept Microsoft’s demand for a patent fee on Androids?

Best security story ever: there’s a zero day vulnerability in Apple iOS, and it’s the one the amazingly ill-advised jailbreakme.com is using. The only problem is that you can’t patch the bug unless you first jailbreak the phone to give yourself root privileges, in a mind-jarring bout of circular logic.

Orange announced another ultra-cheap Android device, codenamed Stockholm, which will retail for £80. No doubt there’s a canny bit of subsidy in there, but it’s getting remarkably close to the old GSMA Emerging Market Handset price points.

Horace Dediu notes that the current rate of smartphone adoption in the US suggests that a majority of users will be smartphone users by August, 2012. Fortunately, he also reckons that the smartphone market will continue to support multiple platforms.

RIM updated the WebWorks SDK, and we published our thoughts on RIM’s current performance and options in RIM: R.I.P. or ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’?

Without giving away the answer to our own question on RIM, we’d like to point out that it’s traditional in some parts of the media that if a headline ends with a question mark, the answer is usually “no”. For example, the Register asks Is Facebook worth more than Google? More seriously, Eric Schmidt agreed to testify before the US Senate’s anti-trust subcommittee.

This is a must-read analysis of the legalities of services like Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music. Highly recommended.

Google Maps gets a feature that only Nokia Ovi Maps had for years - you can now pre-load and store mapping, so as to use it off the radio network or avoid roaming charges.

And here’s the least likely tale of the week. Google+ claims it ran out of disk space, leading to a storm of duplicate notifications. Disk space? At the company where your other computer is a data centre?

Here’s a nice HOWTO make use of the Redis caching/datastore/messaging library in high performance web applications. The Hacker News discussion is pretty good as well. Here’s an example of using it with voice, from Tropo.

Data Center Knowledge has a presentation from Yahoo! on their lessons learned from World IPv6 Day. Power-saving innovations for your WiFi.

Customers want network quality, not fancy pricing schemes. No wonder. VHA discovers that its volume pricing was only counting port 80 (i.e. non-encrypted web) traffic, and that its users had already worked this out. Whoops.

Verizon Wireless announces the end of its unlimited data plans.

The Register reports Wall Street Journal claims that Cisco Systems and ‘other ‘western companies’ are providing the networking kit for “Peaceful Chongqing”. A name like that invites further investigation, and it appears that the project is a truly epic CCTV network (500,000 cameras) for Chongqing city. The possible complication in this story is that since the Tiananmen Square massacre, it’s been illegal for American companies to sell crime-control equipment to China. So does networking equipment count? Cisco’s General Counsel Mark Chandler expresses Cisco’s case and values on their blog.

If the Prime Minister had had this iPhone app, he wouldn’t be in this fix. BeenVerified lets you run an automated background check on anyone you bump into. Not creepy at all!

An effort to come up with something like HADOPI in the US. The GSMA’s annual report on mobile money is out. Felten in Tehran - what’s the betting Tehran gets FTTH before we do? Amazon Web Services’ new sneakernet interface is powered by big red vans.

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July 8, 2011

Quick Links to Mobile Broadband 2.0 Videos Online


Mobile Broadband 2.0 videos are now available on-demand of Deutsche Telekom on value drivers, Ericsson on putting customers in control, Alcatel-Lucent on its smart new small cellular radio, and Telco 2.0 analysts on operators’ key challeges and public wifi. You’ll need to register to watch these videos - there’s summaries of all five below, starting with DTAG’s presentation.

Deutsche Telekom’s ‘6 Value Levers’

Rainer Deutschmann, SVP Mobile Products, Deutsche Telekom, describes 6 mobile broadband value creation levers for operators and how these can be used to extend their reach with customers and generate increased revenues. Video here.

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Implementing Personalised, Interactive Data Pricing

Pricing mobile data effectively is a key current challenge for many telcos. Ericsson’s Stefan Hedelius presents a set of innovative real-world examples showing personalised and dynamic mobile data pricing, including case studies for online gaming and street vending machines. Video here.

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Radio + Cloud Innovations = Better Coverage + Costs?

Several operators are trialling Alcatel-Lucent’s new small, intelligent cellular radio unit called lightRadio. Valerie Layan, VP EMEA Wireless Solutions, presents how it uses cloud-like architecture, and says it can achieve significant power, cost and coverage benefits. Video here.

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The Key Challenges for Operators

Telco 2.0’s analysis of feedback from the recent Telco 2.0 Executive brainstorms in Palo Alto and London shows a ‘ground-shift’ in key mobile broadband challenges facing operators. Video here.

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Public WiFI - Destroying Mobile Value?

Following Telco 2.0’s analysis Public Wifi: Destroying LTE/Mobile Value?, senior Telco 2.0 Analyst Keith McMachon discusses alternative Public WiFi strategies, their application, and impact on ‘4G’/LTE business models. Video here.

Keith McMahon public wifi bpl july 2011.png

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July 7, 2011

RIM: R.I.P. or ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’?


RIM’s shares have plummeted in value over the last four months, prompting an eruption of finger-pointing in the media and speculation of its demise or acquisition. In new analysis on our research portal RIM: R.I.P. or ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’? we examine whether the doom-mongers are right and what RIM’s recovery strategy might be.

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July 6, 2011

‘M-Commerce 2.0’: How Personal Data will Revolutionize Payments, Advertising & Customer Experiences

ANNOUNCEMENT: Telco 2.0 joins forces with the World Economic Forum to launch special ‘Executive Brainstorms’ in New York and London for senior execs from the comms, media, banking, advertising, retail and tech sectors on ‘M-Commerce 2.0: how personal data will revolutionize payments, advertising and customer experiences’. More details below:

‘Social, Local and Mobile’ (SoLoMo) Internet services are ‘the next big thing’ say leading analysts. The secret sauce is the exploitation of the huge volumes of rich personal data that these services both use…and also generate.

In parallel, there is a growing and potentially countervailing political consensus that says that individuals should be more fully in control of their digital identities and data, partly to protect their privacy and partly because the data should be seen as a new class of economic asset and thus should be treated as private property which can’t be exploited by 3rd parties without the knowledge and/or consent of consumers, subscribers and users.

These forces are creating new business opportunities and potential threats for telcos, cablecos mediacos, banks, brands and retailers, particularly in the fields of payments, advertising and ‘customer experience’.

To explore and clarify these opportunities Telco 2.0, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF), has created a new research and events programme called ‘M-Commerce 2.0’. The programme kicks off with a special event in New York (on the 5th-6th October) co-located with the WEF’s international Strategists Meeting, and swiftly moves to London (on the 9th-10th November).

Below is an introduction to the research and events agenda. If you’d like to participate or have more details, please contact us.

M-commerce (commerce enabled by mobile connectivity) now amounts to far more than purchasing ringtones and other digital content using a handset.

So-called SoLoMo (Social, Local and Mobile) Internet services are using the huge volumes of personal data being captured by smartphones and mobile networks to engage with consumers in innovative ways, creating new business opportunities across a wide range of industries from media to advertising to retail.

At the same time, a flowering of new intermediaries, such as Personal.com, Atigeo and Reputation.com, are looking to give consumers greater control of their digital identities and personal data to help them realize the economic (and social) value of these latent assets. Moreover, new legal frameworks are beginning to emerge that aim to safeguard trust and security by giving consumers control over how their personal data can be collected and used.

Additionally, emerging standards, such as HTML5, NFC, XRI and UltraViolet, together with the concept of a federated social identity, promise to make it easier for content and services to work across different technology platforms and on multiple screens.

These trends, and the technological and commercial innovation associated with them, open up many new - and potentially disruptive - opportunities and threats across multiple sectors (retail, advertising, banking, telecoms, media and technology) and have significant policy implications for government, regulators and ‘civil society’ in general.

Our research and event agenda over the next 4 months - involving commercial and academic leaders from telecoms, media, advertising, retail, banking, government and technology sectors - will cover:

1. M-commerce 2.0 - The new wave: how the mobile Internet is changing consumer behaviour, the emergence of new types of services, the evolving political, legal and regulatory climate for ‘personal data’ and digital identities, the importance of user-centric solutions and the potential of new enabling technologies.

2. Innovators’ Showcase - quick fire presentations from leading start-ups in personal data and ID management, location-based marketing, vendor relationship management, social commerce and augmented reality, reviewed by leading investors and analysts.

3. Advertising 2.0 - using personal data to drive highly-relevant, timely and interactive consumer engagement. From ‘push’ to ‘pull’.

4. Customer Experience 2.0 - giving customers and users compelling experiences, while preserving trust and confidence.

5. M-Payments 2.0 - the next generation of authentication and payment mechanisms and the value of transactional data.

6. Making ‘M-commerce 2.0’ happen - identifying the next steps for individual companies and the broader ecosystem.

Watch this space for details: www.newdigitaleconomics.com or contact us at contact@telco2.net or call +44 (0) 207 247 5003.

(NB: see also The Privacy Bomb - How to Tame and Feed ‘Big Data’ - a guest post by Dr. John Clippinger, Co-Director of the Law Lab, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University).

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The Privacy Bomb - How to Tame and Feed ‘Big Data’ (Guest Post)

Ed: A guest post below from Dr. John Clippinger, Co-Director of the Law Lab, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University describing the importance of the Obama administration’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace policy and the US Dept of Commerce’s Privacy Paper. Telco 2.0 has been working with John for the last 18 months as part of the World Economic Forum’s ‘Re-thinking Personal Data’ project. John will also be a ‘stimulus speaker’ at our ‘M-Commerce 2.0’ event in New York on 5-6 October.

Many hope that the “privacy problem” will simply go away. There is just too much money to be made keeping the status quo. But that won’t happen. The “privacy bomb” is about to go off leveling business models and ambitions with a “big bang” to be heard around the globe.

The last major privacy legislation in the U.S. was 37 years ago. In computer years, that is the Stone Age. Back then, there were no PCs, mobile phones, video cameras, sensors, satellite cameras, or Internet. Regulation was about protecting comparatively small bits of personal information from governments and corporations. Now there is the Internet, boundless and mobile computing resources, and unfathomable quantities of data being processed in milliseconds. We are at the dawn of the “Big Data” Era.

Indeed data are the oil of the 21st century. Yet the unbridled use of data poses significant risks to all free societies.

Some pundits have framed this as a Hobson’s choice between privacy and economic growth. Others have proclaimed that “privacy is dead” and “we should get over it”.

In one sense, the “get over it” pundits are correct. Data are being collected and mined about us every minute of every day. Hence, any expectation of privacy as an absence of data collection is unrealistic. It is impossible to hide from “Big Data”. It cannot be eliminated. But it can be tamed and rendered trustworthy.

Trust not privacy is the operative term here. Trust in knowing that data are what they purport to be; trust in knowing that they will be used and shared as they are supposed to be; trust in knowing that they will not be used to control, manipulate, or deceive. Trust in knowing that policies and contracts will be effectively and transparently enforced within a legal and technological framework. Such frameworks have come to be known as Trust Frameworks within the Obama Administration privacy initiatives.

This is not something that governments can do alone. Trust Frameworks offer a combination of contractual, policy, technology and governance mechanisms whereby a baseline criterion of privacy and sharing can be transparently and independently monitored and enforced. The role of governments is to set baseline performance metrics, and then have independent entities audit and enforce those criteria. Trust Frameworks will need to be internationally “interoperable” with respect to both technology and policy.

The Obama Privacy Policy advocates a bill of privacy rights for individuals. By giving the consumer the right to control their personal data, not only does this policy affirm fundamental democratic principles, it is also unlocks data tied up in database silos. By making the individual the locus of control, there is the unexpected benefit to individuals and corporations alike to increase the flow and the economic value of data.

Yet why should consumers care? What is in it for them? The short answer is convenience, empowerment, money and services tailored just for them. Consumers can be paid for their data. Passwords go away. So does spam and suspicions about who has my data or who might be playing online games with my kids. My mobile phone becomes a trusted platform for vital services - health, financial, educational, professional, entertainment and personal. It knows an enormous amount about me: where I am, whom I talk to, text, and email; what I buy, my friends, colleagues, my unique interaction patterns. It can be a trove of valuable, even life saving data. Or it can be an instrument of Orwellian control. Trust Frameworks can make such mobile platforms useful, safe and democratic.

That perspective is reflected in both the Obama Administration’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) policy and in the Department of Commerce Green Privacy Paper. There is the recognition that policy evolves and that rules should not inhibit market innovation. Hence, a real prospect for a “win win” solution that could trigger enormous economic growth not just for developed but developing countries as well.

Dr. John Henry Clippinger is Co-Director, The Law Lab, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University; Visiting Research Scientist, MIT Media Lab; a member of the World Economic Forum Telco Leadership Council; member of the G8 Forum; author of, A Crowd of One, The Future of Individual Identity, Perseus, Public Affairs, 2007

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July 4, 2011

Telco 2.0 News Review: US Smartphone growth, Google + review round-up

Telco 2.0 Top Stories

[Ed. All the Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! videos are now available on demand, including Orange on initial lessons from NFC launches, and Telefonica on how it’s used VOIP acquisition Jajah to build a ‘Facebook phone’.]

A majority of new phones in the US are now smartphones, according to Nielsen. Interestingly, they also reckon that Android market share has plateaued since Christmas, sticking around 27% (which makes it the market leader). Further growth has come from, you guessed it, Apple, especially since the first non-AT&T iPhones arrived in February. Windows Phone 7 was under 1% and RIM on 6%.

Taiwanese government forecasters expect that HTC will pass RIM into fourth place among world mobile vendors next year. They’re also predicting a 17% global market share for Windows Phone 7, which may please folks at Microsoft, where they are pushing out early builds of Windows Phone 7 “Mango” to registered developers.

Dissidents at RIM: a senior executive sent Boy Genius Report an open letter criticising RIM’s strategy, products, management and indeed the odd twin CEO structure. This shook out more internal dissent - more letters showed up, including one which blamed too many former telco executives for the company’s problems. Ouch. More discussion at Hacker News.

HP, meanwhile, confirmed that it’s going to licence WebOS.

Bad economic news is coming. Semiconductor makers report that inventory is rising rapidly in the supply chain and demand from ODMs falling, especially for netbook chips.

And, in a rewind to 2006, Michael Mace on tech market numbers:

“You don’t actually use these things to make business decisions, do you?”—A horrified industry analyst, when she realized why we had requested the latest forecast

T-Mobile’s IBM Netezza data warehouse processes 17 billion transactions a day. A day. They also drew back from data capping, deciding to offer anyone who spent at least £25.34 a month on a two year contract “truly unlimited” data service.

Roaming price caps are coming down today: European roamers may not be charged more than 32p a minute for outbound and 10p a minute for inbound.

The Australian NBN’s satellite element has gone live.

And mobile phones don’t give you cancer apparently.

Big news this week - Google’s second dig at building a social network is out. Google + includes link-sharing, content recommendations, and video chat while introducing the concept of “circles”, letting you organise your contacts so as to avoid letting the wrong people see the wrong stuff.

Here’s Wired’s first impression, an interesting run down of lessons learned from the Buzz and Wave failures, and how Facebook flattens your social network into an undifferentiated blob - and Google + is better.

ReadWriteWeb loves it. Everyone seems to like the circles concept - we remember the Hoofnagel et al. paper on targeted advertising and how the subjects seemed to maintain a number of mental “privacy contexts” and react angrily if information shared in one was used in another. Perhaps it got a few close readers in Mountain View.

The Next Web is a bit more circumspect, but still enthusiastic. As someone said, it’s like 2004 all over again, when people fought over GMail and Orkut invites.

GigaOm thinks it’s more of a threat to Skype, because of the video features. However, as Tim Panton points out in comments at TNW, Skype is likely to counter by using Skype 5.0’s embedded browser to let you do Google + inside the Skype client.

Interestingly, so far it looks like the most requested feature is a script to scrape all your data out of Facebook and slurp it into Google+, which will probably get done about five minutes after the developer API for + opens for business. The Facebook dev world has already struck back - Circlehack is a skinned version of Facebook that implements something similar to Circles, in so far as that’s possible. And there’s another round of Skypebook chatter going on.

The final word is from XKCD - “it’s like Facebook but it’s not Facebook. Hmm, that’s just what I wanted…” indeed.

In other Google news, Android activations have passed 500,000 a day, but they drew a blank in the firesale of Nortel’s patents. In all, the creditors cleared $4.5bn from buyers including Apple, Microsoft, and RIM.

As we heard earlier, some RIM people are concerned that telco culture has infiltrated their company. (Diagnostic tip: the specific strain can be determined by whether the Kansas City or Chicago cable tie knot is used.) Horace Dediu discusses whether the same problem is behind Nokia’s crisis - specifically, did Nokia product engineers believe the hype about the glorious, IMS-based, carrier-led future and therefore fail to spot the importance of mobile applications?

More new Nokias were announced this week. Again, they’re impressive in themselves but you have to wonder about their relevance, especially as they’re running Symbian. The E6 and X7 are both running a new version - ! - of the doomed platform, codenamed Symbian Anna. This is going to be followed up with another iteration, Symbian Belle. And then come four more Symbian devices, all named after women for some reason. The list is here.

Actually, checking, only three are named after women - the other is codenamed Zeta, which usually refers to a terrifyingly brutal Mexican cocaine gang made up of twitchy ex-special forces gunmen given to skinning suspected informers alive, driving around in home-made armoured personnel carriers dripping with machine guns, and rolling the severed heads of policemen onto dance floors. Sounds like the Symbian group might not be taking the whole thing very well.

More detail is at Engadget.

Up in the cloud, Werner Vogels of Amazon announced a major cut in prices for AWS customers. Outbound bandwidth will be significantly cheaper, while inward data transfer is now free. Prices at their CloudFront CDN are also coming down.

The AWS Official Blog further announced some new management features - you can now save and clone the configuration of your app in the Elastic Beanstalk autoprovisioning tool, and also dynamically swap URIs between systems, for example to deploy a new version or to bring a hot standby on line.

Robert X. Cringely caused a stir last week by claiming that the Apple iDatacenter is mostly unusued or at least underutilised. Data Center Knowledge alleges that his, ah, data centre knowledge is lacking, with reference to Apple’s planning application.

It’s worth noting, though, that when Apple iCloud went online, some people noticed that it seems to be using Microsoft Azure - not what you’d expect from a company that had just built a giant datacentre at fearsome expense (we blogged). Perhaps Cringely was on to something?

Meanwhile, Apple MobileMe had a major outage.

DCN reports on a fascinating conference session on future server architectures, notably using Atom netbook cores - lots of them! Packet Pushers’ Podcast discusses a data centre where all the network traffic is broadcast.

And here’s an interesting British startup - Romonet, whose software accepts data centre designs and produces estimates of their key performance indicators.

Moving up a level in the stack, a fascinating piece on how Braintree’s payments processing software works, As well as an interesting scalability study, it has quite a bit to say about upstream developer customers. TripAdvisor has no specialists - just “T-shaped skills”, deep in one area but capable of working on anything in the company.

Tropo has a nice HOWTO on building real-time Voice 2.0 apps with their product, Node.js, and the Redis key-value database. DjangoCon videos are now up. ZDNet compares 7 major clouds’ terms of services.

It’s been eComm time again. For a quick crib, try Brough Turner’s Twitter feed, in use as a live notebook. Dan York is concerned about IPv6 and telecoms. Wireless Cowboys shares some pictures of their 802.11 network. Horses pull fibre.

Missed calls as a telco API product! They are in India.

The standard API for the world’s CRM and helpdesk systems.

Groupon privacy fail: 300,000 passwords indexed by Google. BT engineer saves RevK’s home from fire trying to fix the DSL. Ad.ly - you give them money, they pay celebrities to mention you on Twitter. It’s a business model…

Spam is down from 90% of e-mail to 75%: Brian Krebs inquires and finds out that some key spammers are in jail, but on the other hand, some botnets have moved from spamming to running DDOS attacks for blackmail. A really awful virus - TDL4 turns your machine into (among other things) an anonymous, encrypted proxy for criminals to browse the Internet. For $100 a month, you can do anything you like on the ‘net secure in the knowledge that someone else will be held responsible.

How the tech industry really works.

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

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