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Disrupting Cloud; privacy gaffes; UK M-payments collaboration, M-termination rates; & LightScrewed? - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: We’ll be at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week - see our article on Seven Good Reasons to Go to MWC. After that, the New Digital Economics Brainstorm in Silicon Valley is on the 27th-28th of March, and our spring EMEA event is in London on the 12th-13th of June. Last but not least, apply here to view vdieos now available from the free, invitation only New Digital Econmics Online virtual event. Email contact@stlpartners.com or call +44 (0) 20 7247 5003 for more on any of the above.]

Four UK mobile operators have filed for regulatory clearance from the European Commission for their joint mobile payments initiative. They plan to create a company to manage the technical platform and act as the point of contact with merchants and banks, on the model of Zoompass/Enstream in Canada and ISIS in the United States. 3UK has not been invited which may spawn a regulatory complaint.

Elsewhere, Vodacom Tanzania reported that its user base has grown by a third, and that the main driver of subscriber growth was the M-PESA mobile payments platform. Managing director Rene Meza said that their next strategic priority was to expand data services, with Internet penetration in Tanzania being much lower than in Kenya.

Orange, meanwhile, selected Myriad’s USSD-based platform to deliver Facebook and other social networks in Africa.

Opera Software is continuing its efforts to build more services around its mobile Web browser and its associated infrastructure of accelerator proxies. The company has acquired two mobile advertising networks.

And Faultline points out that, if Google Wallet has been a decided flash in the pan, Apple’s iAds venture into Google’s online advertising territory has been a big disappointment too.

Information Week reports back on telcos’ increasing involvement with the cloud and argues that they have a major opportunity to disrupt the enterprise market for cloud computing. We think Cloud is important too - in case you missed our recent content on this, see Cloud 2.0: winning the next phase, and why ‘PaaS’ / ‘NaaS’ are important, and Cloud 2.0: what is it, why it matters, and what’s next.

KT apparently saw a major reduction in churn after launching a range of cloud services. They also note that CDNs are in some ways a special case of cloud computing, and one that’s likely to get very important. Brightcove floated on the stock market this week and saw an immediate 32% run-up, valuing the video platform at $382 million. Meanwhile, Cedexis is a French web optimisation company that specialises in CDNs and the cloud, and owns a dynamic load balancer solution.

Here’s another new CDN. Yottaa (not to be confused with YoTa) provides a Web application acceleration solution for SMBs.

Some context about just how much data Twitter users generate and Google has to index.

Red Hat has been building an Apache server that interfaces with basically all the clouds you can think of, to provide a unified management API over them.

Who moves massive amounts of video and user data? YouPorn.com, and via High Scalability, here’s some details of how they manage it. In other video news, Dan Rayburn at Streaming Media discusses Barry Diller’s Aereo OTT TV play and isn’t convinced.

Is Amazon going to build a TV?

On the frontier between the cloud and privacy, the Cambridge Computer Lab’s Light Blue Touch Paper blog notes an interesting approach to protecting user data in social network applications. What if you could tell the platform to put data into named fields in your application without showing you? Until quite recently, that’s precisely how Facebook’s FBML worked - and it was originally engineered to provide high performance rather than privacy as such.

It turns out that Google deliberately defeated security precautions in certain Web browsers (notably Safari), by adding an invisible Web form input that reloaded any DoubleClick.net display ads on the page and therefore letting the ads set a tracking cookie. The EFF explains, and demands that Google apologises.

Here’s a fascinating story about the use and abuse of personal data - US retailer Target discovered they knew which of their customers were pregnant, but they had to add random items to their special offers to conceal the fact they knew, which tended to scare the customers. And they accidentally informed one girl’s father. It goes to show that yes, normal people do care.

We think it all goes to show that the guidelines we’ve been working on with the World Economic Forum and others really matter.

Groupon buys a ton of data.

In the UK, the voice market is heading for a disruption as OFCOM imposes a dramatic cut in mobile termination rates. MTRs are going to fall from 4.18p a minute to 0.65p a minute by April 2015, after the competition appeals tribunal decided that the original cut wasn’t enough.

Rogers Wireless brings One Number, its integrated mobile-softphone VoIP product, out of beta. Rogers is partnering with Counterpath, an OTT developer specialising in HD voice, and offering a web-based version of the service.

Interesting technology from NEC - they’ve patented a smartphone app that works out from context which would be the best way to handle an incoming call between telephony, videotelephony, messaging, voicemail, etc. Synchronica, meanwhile, plans to demonstrate a hosted RCSe server at Mobile World Congress, to permit operators to use RCSe without deploying an IMS core network.

And RevK at Andrews & Arnold is integrating a SIP server into his homebrewed Firebrick CPE router, in order to get rid of the pain of SIP NAT traversal.

US lobbies fight over whether to keep sending out phone books. And it only gets easier to hack GSM voice.

In broadband news, Ars Technica reports that LightSquared’s GPS problem is likely to be fatal, with the FCC convinced that their operations will essentially jam chunks of the service after NTIA carried out tests. LightSquared retorts that the GPS manufacturers could put in better filters, but then there are enormous numbers of GPS receivers out there and some of them (indeed many) are in safety-critical applications.

Inmarsat, meanwhile, announced that LightSquared had failed to make a $56m payment to them, and investors in Philip Falcone’s fund are suing him. What a mess.

NSN thinks deploying fixed-wireless TD LTE in Brazil would be a dramatically cheaper option than VDSL. Look for more of this in any market where FTTH or modern cable plant isn’t available.

Patents: Apple won a lawsuit in Germany regarding “slide to unlock”, but it looks like Google might have published earlier. But it’s not that amazing a feature, and of course touchscreens existed before the iPhone. Android Central has video of a Windows CE device from 2005 with the feature.

A study shows that 55 per cent of the most important mobile patents belong to Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm, and LG.

And new HP boss Meg Whitman is surprisingly bullish about now-open-source WebOS.

Apple’s latest results included quarterly figures for app payouts, which permits Horace to conclude that on average, each iOS device brings $12 in revenue to the developer community, and that Apple is selling about $1bn a year of apps.

Apple’s contractor, Foxconn is going to raise wages by as much as 25% after the combination of a wave of outrage among customers and the continuing wave of labour militancy in China put pressure on them. Meanwhile, ZTE ordered $5bn worth of chips from Qualcomm and Broadcom.

Microsoft’s decisions about Windows 8 and WinRT are controversial thanks to this diagram, our Chart of the Week. Is Microsoft really trying to take Windows development back to 1999, before .NET and Java? Or is something else going on? Detailed discussion at the link.

whatiswinrt.png

Some details about the forthcoming PlayBook OS 2.0. Crackberry’s ideas for RIM.

Sony embeds 3G connectivity in its new PlayStation mobile gadget.

How i-Mode and Flash failed. And O2 will buy your pizza and beer for 36 hours in Silicon Roundabout if you’re willing to develop an NFC app

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