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Samsung passes Nokia; YouView struggles; Telenor out of India? - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: Just 6 weeks now to the EMEA Executive Brainstorm, 12-13 June 2012 in London. There’s a great agenda in a smart new venue. Register here, call +44 (0) 207 247 5003, or email contact@stlpartners.com for more.]

Nokia was downgraded to junk status by two different credit rating agencies this week. As a result they’ve decided to sell the slightly embarrassing, but no doubt profitable, Vertu diamonds-on-old-featurephones business in order to bring in some cash. PE fund Permira is the buyer.

iSuppli and Strategy Analytics agree that Samsung is now the biggest mobile phone vendor, with 25.4% of the world market in Q1. It seems a long time since Nokia’s target was 40% of the market. Nokia also won a patent lawsuit this week. Tomi Ahonen, as always, is speechless with rage and demanding N9s all round. He surely has a point that everyone who’s met the gadget seems to love it and Nokia is strangely reluctant to sell it.

That brings us to our Chart of the Week, via the 3G & 4G Wireless Blog. A major issue for operators in the smartphone era is the volume of signalling messages generated by the new devices, often more of a problem than the headline data volumes. This slide, from Telefonica.cz, puts some data on the problem.


That’s rather more N9s (i.e. Harmattan) than you might think, and the presenter blames a minority of misconfigured devices for the Android share of the pie, but Windows Phone scoops the signalling hogs’ pot.

Someone should tell Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who was quoted this week calling WP “intuitive and beautiful”. Meanwhile, the New York Times discusses a great new Apple innovation, the “Double Irish with a Dutch sandwich” - an accounting manoeuvre that permits it to pay much less tax than you might expect.

Horace Dediu scores his forecasting for the past quarter.

It looks like the UK’s increasingly disappointing smart-TV initiative is sliding right again. YouView’s directors now think it’s going to miss the World CDN, Peering, and Video Streaming Championships…sorry…the Olympics, which casts a certain smell of irrelevance over the project. Not so long ago, TalkTalk was promising a pre-Olympics launch.

Connected Vision points out that the DTT Freeview service has quietly gained many of the features YouView was meant to provide, implying that the BBC is already making plans for a future without it. So, this blog post of ours from last June may have its answer: it’s looking like another Domesday Project. The Science Museum can measure up the space. Or should that be an Amstrad Em@ailer in honour of Lord Sugar’s involvement?

Quite possibly, none of the Smart TV initiatives are going to work, though. A survey of British consumers suggests that they don’t know what it’s meant to do or why they’d want it.

Meanwhile, SES, BSkyB, and Craftwork get on with something useful and invent a way of streaming satellite TV direct from the satellite receiver onto a LAN. It supports a lot of useful stuff (like an API to select satellites and transponders over IP, multicast, and Apple style HTTP-streaming on the air).

And Ovum has a handy discussion of Telkomsel’s new mobile CDN product.

Telenor is threatening to pull out of India if the re-auction of the 2G spectrum goes ahead in its current form, as they expect that its cost will go over their self-imposed investment limit. In token of their earnest, they have written down the assets to zero. India’s Telecom Commission, not to be confused with the TRAI regulator, is trying to patch up the crisis.

Meanwhile, America Movil announced that its profits were up 37.5% in Brazil. Revenue is dominated by mobile voice, but it was the additional margin from their new cable TV business that pushed them over the top.

Sprint Nextel had surprisingly good net adds in Q1, with over a million new users. That was the biggest net win in the industry that quarter. Of course, the iPhone helped. Interestingly, they are using surprising amounts (3MHz) of their 800MHz spectrum to transition voice over from iDEN to CDMA2000. Still.

LightSquared’s bankers agreed not to declare the company in default quite yet, in exchange for the head of Philip Falcone, who will therefore be leaving his third satellite-related mobile fiasco in due course.

In the UK, the latest round in the spectrum wars is on. EverythingEverywhere has just about scraped together the spectrum to make a start on LTE before the auction, and every other operator hates the thought. Hence 4GBritain.org, EE’s new lobbying campaign to get OFCOM to let them turn the key.

And here’s a report on volunteers building their own fibre network. (Benoit Felten has a small but crucial correction.)

Naked DSL in Australia. Cable cuts happen.

The people that brought you the Packet Pushers’ Podcast remark that whatever the cloud may be, it’s not necessarily cheap, swinging off this tweet in which the founder of Instapaper discovered that implementing Amazon CloudSearch might be nice to have, but would cost him $10,000 a month in OPEX. Also, it turns out that Google Docs doesn’t keep images in storage, it lazy-loads them, resulting in a giant AWS bill for one user. More cloudoscepticism from Blekko’s CTO.

Perhaps it had something to do with a satisfyingly thick Q1 at Amazon. You can now create a Virtual Private Cloud programmatically through Amazon’s CloudFormation, and you could even put Cluster Compute high-performance computing instances in it. Or, of course, you could use Microsoft Azure.

A report from the Google vs. Oracle IP trenches. Perhaps more importantly, the litigation resulted in an internal Google presentation on Android becoming public, and it’s crammed with chewy data. We especially like the point that Google’s ad revenue forecast model for Android is “based on the iPhone”. Android ads not great for developers, but that’s the users’ fault. Barnes & Noble makes nice with Microsoft, probably not good news for Android.

How Google Search searches, by a Search Googler.

Steve Jobs apparently considered making Mac OS 9 ad-supported. Is this the bubbliest story yet? Why would anyone use Instagram rather than Flickr? ReadWriteWeb asks some photographers.

Bewildering world of Windows tablets. The differences between Asterisk and Freeswitch. Chrome’s roadmap for WebRTC features. Interview with mobile money implementers - note that O2 is going with an MPESA-like model.

Yahoo! social network expert escapes. Hideous SCADA M2M security exploit.

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