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May 28, 2012

Vodafone ‘not bad’; Telefonica Digital ‘gambles’; Mobile Money ‘explodes’ - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: Two weeks to the EMEA Executive Brainstorm, 12-13 June 2012 in London. There’s top speakers from Amazon, Google, Barclays, Ofcom and the top EMEA telcos, a great agenda covering the latest on Telco 2.0 strategies, telcos in the cloud, M-Commerce, and M2M, and it’s in a smart new venue. Register here, call +44 (0) 207 247 5003, or email contact@stlpartners.com for more.]

It was Vodafone results week, and the results could be summed up as “not bad, seeing as they’re in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, and Ireland”. Revenues across the carrier were up a tad, helped by Verizon Wireless dividends and strong performances in India and Turkey. Operationally, Vodafone seems to have done an outstanding job managing the broadband incentive problem, as data revenues are rising strongly, and smartphones are drawing more and more subscribers onto contracts.

A major theme in the results presentation was that Vodafone is increasingly moving its IT and some of its value-added services into an internal, private cloud infrastructure. As a result, they’ve also been investing in submarine cable capacity to link up their five strategic data centres. The “Vodafone nobody knows” is a substantial fixed ISP and global carrier services operation.

Vodafone’s OneNet business-focused Voice 2.0 product has been a major success, and it’s telling that it’s grown very strongly in Italy despite the terrible macro-economy and falling telecoms spending. Service revenue in Italy was down 4.1% (1.9% excluding termination), but enterprise revenue (a quarter of the total) was up 5.8% with OneNet itself growing at 70%. In Germany, service revenue is growing at 1.2%, while enterprise is growing at 5.6%. It’s now reaching 2 million users, having added 650,000 year on year.

Although OneNet is implemented as an IMS application server, it’s being deployed from Vodafone’s IT cloud, which helps managing the costs and deploying quickly. Watch this space: a Telco 2.0 analyst note on OneNet is coming this week.

Elsewhere, Deutsche Telekom CEO Réne Obermann has said that they aren’t ruling out any options on the future of T-Mobile USA, but they are leaning towards keeping it. However, they are looking at selling the towers, which would be one of the biggest ever such deals.

Meanwhile, Reliance Communications is looking at selling or sharing its towers, EverythingEverywhere has completed its integration of the Orange and T-Mobile RANs. And Orange Spain’s CTO thinks European operators should do much more network sharing.

Mind you, a few years back nobody believed the market would ever stand for 4 LTE networks per country, and the US is well on its way to getting just that plus a WiMAX network for people who insist on being special.

The FCC has taken steps to crank the “specialness” down a tad, issuing an order opening up the 800MHz band for LTE operations. Sprint-Nextel has substantial 800MHz spectrum, formerly the iDEN band, and it would very much like to deploy LTE into it.

The human cost of 4 4G networks per country: did you know that working on AT&T’s cell towers is the most dangerous job in the United States?

France Telecom acquires Mobinil. TalkTalk becomes a wholesale provider - snagging the contract, with Fujitsu, to run the Post Office’s ISP product.

Sponsor a metre of rural fibre duct. You do wonder why one of the sponsors wanted BT CEO Ian Livingston and OFCOM director Ed Richards’ names on it in place of their own.

BSkyB is interested in the EverythingEverywhere 1800MHz block, the one they’re threatening to deploy LTE unilaterally in.

Femtocells on warships. The 3G & 4G Wireless Blog covers the signalling sessions at LTE World Summit.

Will the EU impose a tariff on Huawei and ZTE?

As well as OneNet, there’s been quite a bit of news on key Telco 2.0 themes this week. Here’s an interview with Matthew Key, who’s heading Telefonica Digital. Leading the organisation is described as Key’s third big gamble after re-branding London’s Millenium dome as the O2 Arena and the iPhone.

Telenor is usually a pioneer operator on these issues, and here’s Telenor Connexion’s mobile app for managing M2M device fleets.

Meet Yottaa, new site acceleration/CDN startup.

Two good howtos from the Tropo blog.

The political economy of M-PESA. On that theme, the GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked Blog interviews the people behind MTN Rwanda’s mobile money platform. They also note that these projects fall into two groups - the ones that grow explosively like M-PESA did, and like MTN Rwanda’s is doing, and the ones that…don’t. As a result, here’s this week’s Chart of the Week.

Thumbnail image for MTNMMRwanda.png

Worryingly, the common factor in the fast growth group was that six out of eight of them were from East Africa.

Elsewhere in payments, Google is changing course to de-emphasise NFC.

Up in the cloud, you can now export an EC2 virtual machine out of Amazon Web Services to run it on a local machine. And how Rackspace benefits from the Open Compute Project.

After the Facebook IPO, the hangover. Felix Salmon names the guilty men, including half Wall Street. The Wall Street Journal blames Facebook’s CFO. Others blame NASDAQ’s computer failure, but it wasn’t their computers who decided to shuffle off the additional 25% whack of shares on small investors after the horrible Q2 numbers were not made public….

There are details of the system failure here. Here’s a detailed timeline of the pre-IPO process, and here’s our own bear case from February.

In other Silicon Valley news, Hewlett-Packard is going to cut 27,000 jobs. And the first to go is Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy, the British startup legend HP bought for $10bn five minutes ago. Well, seven months ago. Wired tells of employees rating it the worst company you could work for (apparently they didn’t ask AT&T’s steeplejacks - very few people have ever fallen off software and died), while the Daily Telegraph interviews Lynch, who blames HP management for turning away from Leo Apotheker’s software-first strategy and HP bureaucracy for stifling Autonomy.

Meanwhile, The Verge reports that the key programmers on HP’s highly rated Enyo HTML5 apps framework, a core element of WebOS, are off to Google.

Google has released some photos of its data centres, and also provided data about demands from copyright holders for the takedown of links pointing at their content. Apparently, the Google removes about a million links a month, and half of those requests come from one company: Microsoft! The next biggest source of takedowns is the British recording industry via the BPI, and the biggest target is filestube.com (with the Pirate Bay in 13th place).

Google is also changing how it serves ads in GMail. They now look like the profile information that appears next to your e-mail, and you can save them and forward them, like e-mails. If you’re weird enough to do that, you will of course also be informing the advertiser of your interest, so you can expect plenty more ads.

Yahoo! has launched a new Web browser, Axis.

Microsoft is going to kill the “Windows Live” brand, and concentrate its online activities around identity. Rather than Live being a separate project, a “Microsoft account” will be built into Windows 8 and a suite of cloud services. There’s an excellent blog post from the VP of Live at the Building Windows 8 Blog.

Their developer tool, Visual Studio, is changing to emphasise the Metro touchscreen-centric UX, although the changes can be overstated, as this compendious explanation points out.

60% of smartphone sales in Q1 were Androids, and another 23% were iPhones. Meanwhile, RIM cuts 2,000 jobs including its head of sales.

However, Baidu’s server stats turn out to show that Nokia is still the leading brand in China, for a while at least. 22% of phones accessing their Web site are Symbian-powered Nokias. 16% are shanzhai products, and 10% are Samsung.

Those shanzhai devices are increasingly likely to run a localised “forkdroid” version of Android, IDC reckons. Meanwhile, a jury rules that Google didn’t infringe Oracle’s patents - so we can’t call Android “Shanzhai Java” after all.

Here’s a detailed review of the Nokia 808 super-cameraphone.

Cisco has cancelled its business-focused, Android-based tablet, the Cius.

Horace notes that Apple’s CAPEX is spiking again. As Apple famously owns the machine tools in its subcontractors’ factories, this indicates that they are retooling for either a new product or a big expansion in production of the existing ones. Alternatively, it could be going into new data centres in support of a service product rather than hardware.Typically, this indicator leads sales by about a quarter, so watch out this autumn!

And here’s an unexpectedly fascinating teardown of the iPhone charger.

The best Kinect hack ever - Surrey Satellite Technologies wants to use it to make nanosats dock in orbit. The science of guessing passwords. African tech hubs.

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May 24, 2012

New Research - HTML5: market impact and telco strategies

We’ve just published a new report titled HTML5: market impact and telco strategies over on our research portal.

HTML5 will have a profound impact on consumers’ and businesses’ interaction with the web in coming years. In particular, HTML5-compliant smartphones may lead to a reduction in the power of closed app platforms such as Apple iOS and Google Android. While this seems broadly positive for telcos, there may also be negative side-effects of the increasing capability of standardised (and often free) Internet capabilities. For more, please see here.

html5 image may 2012.png

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May 23, 2012

Are Your Customers Hostages, Victims, or Participants?

In this guest post, identity services provider UnBoundID makes the challenging analogy that many telcos treat their customers and their personal identity data like ‘hostages’, and need to move to treating them as ‘participants’. UnBoundID will be speaking at the New Digital Economics EMEA Brainstorm in London on 12-13 June.

Everyone recognizes customers as the lifeblood of their business - every interaction with a customer can lead to sales, which can fund new products and services - this is the premise on which companies are founded. But the relationship between company and customer can be complex. Are your customers treated as participants, victims, or hostages?

unbound id image 2 may 2012.png

A customer who is a hostage is one who must submit personal data in order to gain basic services. Above and beyond the initial data like phone number and billing address, these customers are compelled to provide additional information in order to secure the relationship with the company. They are generally given one chance to opt-out (at best) and never truly asked if they want to opt-in again. These customers are unlikely to feel much loyalty to the business, and they have no control over how the business uses their data - it can be bought or sold without their approval or knowledge. This model is typically used by the telecommunications and financial services industries. They both have services we need to do well in modern society and thus can ask us for lots of personal data to provide those services.

A victim customer is one who gives up their personal data in order to get “free” applications. These users want to participate in social networking, or they make use of search engines, never really aware of the amount of data and information they’re giving away to the hosts of these sites. The hosts go on to use this data, providing it to advertisers for more targeted ads, or using it as demographic data for sponsors. These customers may not necessarily feel exploited, but their information is being bought and sold whether they are aware of it or not, with little benefit to them. This is the model used by both Facebook and Google, and judging from their market capitalizations it is obviously lucrative. In this model the user is the product; the customer of the host is the advertiser. As users we can leave these services but does our identity data truly leave with us?

In contrast to this, a participant customer is one who is aware of the value of their identity data, and who has the power to provide their data to the vendors and businesses they prefer. These customers recognize that their data is the currency of an Identity Economy, and they can trade that currency for products and services that truly meet their needs. A participant who trusts a business will share identity details willingly, because the business has proven that the resulting exchange will benefit the user. This model values trust, transparency, openness, and the ability for the consumer to choose and participate.

unbound id image 3 may 2012.png

As customers become more aware of how business uses their data, many will demand more control over how their information is used, and greater transparency into what data companies gather about them. Some customers may never rise up against the businesses that are treating them like hostages or victims, but they are unlikely to enter into a deeper, more trusting relationship with that business. Companies that take an extra step and begin to treat customers like participants will engender greater trust, and ultimately greater loyalty from those customers. This customer-centric model will be the engine of the Identity Economy that allows all parties to receive value in a virtuous circle.

This post was written by Steve Shoaff, CEO and Founder, UnboundID, who describes it as “a leading platform provider for identity services, enabling companies to dynamically manage, protect, and share customer data in real-time across cloud, mobile and social applications. UnboundID solutions help companies increase average revenue per customer while significantly lowering their costs for service and application delivery. It is a privately held company based in Austin, Texas, and is funded by Silverton Partners and OpenView Venture Partners.”

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May 22, 2012

Customer Experience Management: like running shoes, a good fit is essential

In this guest post, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) argue that customer insight and personalisation are the keys to delivering a great customer experience, supported by two real-world case studies. They draw the analogy that it makes no more sense to offer every customer the same package than to offer every runner the same shoes.

Mobile internet quality used to play only a minor role in customer retention, but this is no longer the case. Network coverage and voice quality were rated as the most important criteria in 2010 and continue to be among the top criteria to retain customers in 2011. The importance of Messaging and Internet Quality increased even for the average user. Customers who are classified as ‘high value customers’ now rank mobile broadband quality alongside voice quality and network coverage in determining to leave or stay with their mobile operator.


In particular, heavy users of advanced services, a customer group that has grown by 34% between 2010 and 2011, care about Messaging and Internet quality. These customers are typically young and the majority of them are high spenders. But are they loyal to their operators? The answer doesn’t look promising. These customers have already switched operators far more often than average, and nearly 40% of them will change their provider within the next year. Even worse, overall satisfaction with the mobile Internet has hit rock bottom. Together with unfavourable contract conditions and the high cost of devices and voice services, poor mobile Internet quality received the lowest satisfaction ratings globally.


Would you accept a one-size-fits-all shoe?

So what can operators do about it? Providing services that fit individual needs is an important first step. Personalization is a clear megatrend across the entire market. People are used to adapting all kinds of user interfaces according to their personal preferences. Many products come in a huge variety to serve even the smallest segment.

Take running shoes. You can buy ultralight marathon running shoes, sport shoes with built-in electronics, or even trainers you can custom design on online portals. This range of choice is just one example of how customer preferences vary from individual to individual. Does it make any sense to offer every customer the same package and the same data rate?

For operators, the capability to personalize their service packages translates into an opportunity to both create new offers and earn incremental revenue. Only a select few customers need hiking books to trek 20 miles a day. Only a select few mobile users want to download five full-HD videos a day.


Nokia Siemens Networks’ A&R study shows that traditional services such as sending/receiving emails, browsing/searching the web, instant messaging and chat and picture messaging are on top of the customer priority list right now. In the future, GPS and security packages will become increasingly important. In practice, these changing needs underline the importance of targeting precious bandwidth to customers who really need it, and are willing to pay for it. Hardly anyone needs a giant pipe all the time, and operators need tools to enable them to personalize and move away from “one-size-fits-all.”

Insight & action provide a personal communication experience that fits

How to personalize their services is the next question that operators need to answer. Insight is crucial here, based on data collected from multiple sources-the network, the service, the device, the usage, the subscriber and the customer experience. By analyzing this insight and creating a feedback loop on a flexible network, they can support their customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle rather than stepping in too late to salvage the customer relationship. In fact, many operators are already taking this approach to improve the overall experience with new personalized offerings, with Telkomsel Indonesia and Bharti Airtel India providing two good examples.

Telkomsel implements right now the recently launched CEM on Demand portal which will provide one single entry point to view real-time experience metrics. This will allow Telkomsel to have a unified view of customer data, along with continuous reporting of customer insights that help it to improve its customers’ experience and generate new revenue streams. Bharti Airtel chose us for a pan-India deployment of our CEM platform which will maintain and store real-time experience metrics for every subscriber in the network enabling Bharti Airtel to proactively cater to customer needs.

To successfully personalize service offerings requires the capability to share insight across different operator departments and organizations. For example, operations may already know that there is a problem with a cell in a crowded shopping mall, but this information has yet to be shared with service desk agents.

To bridge these silos, operators need not only real-time insight, but also the capability to take proactive and automated action in response. In short, they need a holistic Customer Experience Management solution.


With insight about why a connection has failed or a specific service is unavailable, for example, they can inform their customer that they need to upgrade the operating system of their device to support the service they have requested.

Insight about customer preferences makes it possible to offer single sign on to various web services or an even easier sign on process using just a mobile number. Device and security settings can be updated or corrected automatically. Special rates or offers can be promoted to heavy users of specific services. Real-time information can be provided to help-desk agents to help them resolve problems in an instant. Customers can manage and create their own service packages and interact with friends about their service preferences on self service portals.

Taken together, Customer Experience Management solutions enable operators to deliver a highly personalized communication experience that provides the best possible fit with subscriber needs, expectations and preferences. Not unlike those specialized running shoes tailored for speed, performance and satisfaction.

This post was written by Iris Heinonen, Head of CEM Marketing, Nokia Siemens Networks.

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May 21, 2012

Facebook IPO round-up; video in the Cloud; backhaul for Telefonica’s LTE trial - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: Just 3 weeks now to the EMEA Executive Brainstorm, 12-13 June 2012 in London. There’s top speakers from Amazon, Google, Barclays, Ofcom and the top EMEA telcos, a great agenda covering the latest on Telco 2.0 strategies, telcos in the cloud, M-Commerce, and M2M, and it’s in a smart new venue. Register here, call +44 (0) 207 247 5003, or email contact@stlpartners.com for more.]

It was the week Facebook floated. Dealbook has a neat roundup, making the critical points: Facebook finished the day on $38 a share for a market capitalisation of $105bn, or to put it another way, a price-earnings ratio of 108 compared to Google’s 18 or Apple’s 13, or to put it another way, a valuation per user of $130. It was toppy, to say the least, and the response from the market was no day-one bounce, and heavy intervention by the banks underwriting the IPO to keep it from going under the offer price. Joe Wiesenthal notes the existence of a huge and consistent bid at 38. And eventually, when the market opened today, the IPO floor gave way.

More than 566 million shares changed hands, a record, in a somewhat fraught day on the NASDAQ as the market’s computer systems struggled to keep up, leaving some investors guessing whether their trades had in fact been executed.

Zynga, meanwhile, fell 13 per cent before the circuit breaker kicked in. General Motors (whose return to Wall Street in November 2010 was the previous volume record), for their part, chose IPO week to pull their Facebook advertising account, on the grounds that the conversion rate was pathetic. The story includes feedback from more disappointed advertisers.

So what is Facebook going to do with the IPO money? Well first up, it’s decided it wants its own European fibre network linking its main data centre in Sweden with other nodes around the continent, and it’s apparently gone to TeliaSonera’s carrier services division for it.

What the Internet was like the year Facebook launched.

RJMetrics, meanwhile, reports that Facebook may not have much to fear from Google +, as their measurements of user engagement for Google’s social network are uniformly horrible, probably because so many users were roped in by GMail rather than actively seeking it out.

Google, meanwhile, launched a major enhancement to Google Search. Knowledge Graph builds on their acquisition of Freebase, the semantic-web database, and is meant to understand your query and pull in results directly into the search page. Like every Semantic Web project we’ve ever seen, this is easier to demonstrate than explain, but the big question is whether, unlike every other Semantic Web project we’ve seen, it works.

Interestingly, ReadWriteWeb points out, the official demo has the “Search plus Your World” personalisation set to OFF.

Microsoft has a new social network product, So.cl, which seems to be “Google + for academics”. Some of us thought that was Google +.

Yahoo! has agreed to sell half its stake in Alibaba.com back to Jack Ma, ending a long-running dispute, raising a substantial amount of cash, and permitting Ma to plan for an IPO of the huge B2B marketplace in Hong Kong. This certainly suits Ma, but it’s less clear how it serves Yahoo!’s purposes as Alibaba was one of the few obviously great businesses there.

Tencent, owners of QQ, are reorganising.

In other advertising news, Comcast has filed a patent on displaying a different advert when a viewer hits “fast forward” on their DVR to skip the ads. DISH, meanwhile, has added a feature to its DVR that automatically hops over the ads, to the TV networks’ litigious horror. And O2 is tweaking Priority Moments to be a little more like Groupon.

Speaking of DISH, they also have some interesting plans for the future. One of those is the integrated fixed-wireless/satellite TV “cantenna” product with Verizon Wireless. Another is their plan for their own LTE-Advanced network in the 40MHz of 2GHz spectrum they own. The Verge reports that they are arguing with the FCC over the exact terms of refarming the spectrum from satellite to land-mobile use, with DISH offering population coverage of 60 million in four years and the FCC wanting 90 million in three. Anyway, it’s no move before 2013 as the 3GPP hasn’t finished the LTE-A specification yet.

IntoMobile points out that other operators are lobbying for the spectrum to be taken away from DISH, and that delay will only help their cause.

Teresa Cottam has something like a manifesto for operators and the small business market, containing the winner of this week’s Chart of the Week (a tough challenge this time out). We heartily agree.


In other Teresa-related news, Teresa Mastrangelo at The Voice of Broadband has the Q1 North American broadband subscriber update.

Verizon Wireless clarified its position regarding the end of unlimited data plans. It looks like users will face a choice between handset subsidy and open-slather data, so if you’re willing to provide your own gadget you get to keep your uncapped data plan.

TIM Brasil is about to roll out VDSL to the mass market, having decided to steer away from FTTH on grounds of cost relative to typical Brazilian ARPU of $35/month. They’ve also decided to partner with Sky Brasil rather than build an IPTV service. RevK points out that FTTC/VDSL can be pretty good, really.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian ICT sector grew 11% last year, and the biggest single chunk is telecoms.

Since pressing the button in mid-January, Free Mobile has gone from zero to 2.6 million subscribers or 3.7% of the French mobile market. Cross-selling drove 191,000 net adds to their fixed ISP operation in Q1, the company’s record and 50% of the industry’s total. Revenues in the first quarter were up 29% at $834m, with the mobile operation making up $124 million of that.

Vodacom’s Q1s are out, with earnings up 8%, weighed down by a large tax bill and heavy CAPEX, while data revenues were up 23.7%. The big story, however, was a dispute over its operation in the Congo, where Vodacom wants to sell its interest. A local partner is trying to seize part of Vodacom’s stake, claiming it hasn’t been paid a $21m “consultancy fee”.

Elsewhere, TeliaSonera is being criticised after its far-flung opcos in the former Soviet Union were spotted helping various dictators spy on the citizenry.

The Register reviews UK mobile operators’ data services.

Business model of the week: meet Todd, who helps schools recoup money overcharged by AT&T and takes a cut.

Vodafone-Hutchison Australia shares its experience of supporting two major video streaming events. First up, they streamed the Aussie version of Big Brother to a mobile app. The popularity took them by surprise and hammered the network, but most of all, the web servers. When they came to stream live cricket, they had the further challenge of coping with a massive and spiking video wave over the five days of a Test match, and then nothing for a couple of weeks until the next. The solution: move it into the cloud and use Amazon Web Services.

Netflix’s director of engineering says their API handled 42 billion requests in January, growing 70-fold in two years. Interestingly, a big change has been that connected devices have hugely overtaken the Web API as drivers of traffic. As usual with Netflix people, there’s a great presentation.

High Scalability reports on Amazon’s new SSD-based cloud database, DynamoDB, and remarks that it’s not very “cloudy”.

Microsoft Azure is becoming more “infrastructure-as-a-service” and less “platform-as-a-service”. OpenStack is “growing faster than Linux”.

And in a candidate for Chart of the Week that didn’t quite get in, Oracle-Google lawsuit has taken some steps forward. Specifically, Oracle has agreed to drop some of its claims, making the key issue whether or not the judge holds that APIs can be subject to copyright at all. If he does, Oracle has a case, if he doesn’t, it’s over, or at least the maximum damages will be about $3m. Interestingly enough, the judge disclosed that he’s been learning Java in order to be better informed about the issues.

Another federal judge has summoned Apple CEO Tim Cook and Choi Gee-sung of Samsung to meet him at the courthouse for a session of mediation, in an effort to settle the patent disputes. Nobody is optimistic.

The ITC has banned imports of Motorola phones into the US for 60 days over a Microsoft patent which appears to claim rights over any online calendaring app at all.

Giving some context to all this, Horace reckons Google TAC payments account for 3% of Apple’s operating margins. Windows Phone 7 is ahead of iOS in China, not surprisingly as even the Nokia Lumia 900 appears dramatically cheaper.

Will Nokia burn €2.5bn this year? Nokia’s latest cheap devices come with 5 SIM card slots and a web browser that talks to an optimising proxy in the cloud.

Baidu’s latest forkdroid, with 100GB of cloud storage. Intel thinks it understands telcos.

Interesting experience providing backhaul for Telefonica’s London LTE trial. From the same source, Qualcomm on voice futures.

Softbank is experimenting with base stations mounted on a blimp. Virgin Atlantic wants a femto or two in its aircraft.

IPv6 and better customer premises routers. Renesys analysis of a major DDOS and routing incident affecting the Pirate Bay. Blocking BitTorrent traffic. Bandwidth trading is back!

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May 16, 2012

World Economic Forum’s ‘Rethinking Personal Data: strengthening trust’ report

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has published today a new report entitled ‘Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust’ to which STL Partners and the Telco 2.0 Initiative have contributed through our own research, our participation as part of the WEF’s Global ICT Council, and our role leading a ‘Tiger Team’ expert group for the project. We’ll be looking at the role of personal data in new business models at the EMEA Brainstorm, June 12-13, London, and holding another private ‘tiger team’ meeting the day after.

The WEF says “the new report examines how the appropriate use of personal data can create enormous value for governments, organizations and individuals and provides a multistakeholder perspective on how the potential value of personal data can be unlocked to achieve new efficiencies in business, tailor and personalize new products, help respond to global challenges and empower individuals to engage in social, commercial and political activities more effectively.”

WEF strengthening trust paper image may 2012.png

You can download it here, and see also this video from our CEO Simon Torrance covering the core principles here, and this from Doc Searls on “Big Data: How Personal Clouds and ‘VRM’ will revolutionise Customer Relationships”. There’s more below from the WEF on the report’s contents.

The report is structured to foster dialogue around some of the following issues:

  • Who owns personal data?
  • How do we protect individual privacy?
  • How should rules for usage be formed and what is the role of context in establishing permissions?
  • How should organizations that use personal data be held accountable, both for securing data and for adhering to the agreed-upon rules?
  • What is the role of regulators given the global flow of personal data?
The report highlights that a declining sense of trust throughout the personal data ecosystem is jeopardizing the long-term potential to deliver socioeconomic value. High-profile data security breaches, rampant identity theft, a general lack of transparency in how personal data is monetized, and an absence of globally harmonized policies for privacy and the use of data all compound to create an unstable ecosystem. Companies are unclear about what they can and cannot do with personal data and are either standing on the sidelines or forging ahead with an unclear understanding of liabilities and the potential for negative impact on their reputations and brands. Governments are proposing various laws and regulations to protect privacy while also aiming to encourage innovation and growth.

To ensure the value of personal data can be unlocked, the report suggests three areas of focus:

  • Upgrade Protection and Security: Focus on how to protect privacy and secure personal data against intentional and unintentional security breaches and misuse
  • Agree on Rights and Responsibilities for Using Data: Establish consensus on rights, responsibilities and permissions for using personal data in ways that recognize the importance of context and the need to balance the interests of all relevant stakeholders
  • Strengthen Accountability and Enforcement: Hold organizations accountable for protecting and securing personal data and using it in accordance with the rights and established permissions for the trusted flow of data

The recommendations are based on an extensive set of global discussions by a community of experts and practitioners within the private sector, academia, governments and multilateral institutions. The research included numerous interviews and interactive sessions to discuss the opportunities for collaborative action. The insights highlighted significant differences in views not only from different stakeholders, but also from different geographies.

This report is part of the World Economic Forum’s Rethinking Personal Data initiative. Launched in 2010, its intent is to bring together private companies, public sector representatives, end-user privacy and rights groups, academics and topic experts to deepen the collective understanding of how a principled, collaborative and balanced personal-data ecosystem can evolve.

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May 15, 2012

Telco 2.0 Strategy: building new business models to tap shifting profit pools

2012 has seen increased commitment to new business model opportunities from many operators globally. At the EMEA Brainstorm in London, June 12-13, we’ll be previewing our new research on the latest Telco 2.0 strategies including: products and services, organisation structures and processes, partnering and collaboration, and how to overcome the real barriers to implementation.

We’ll also be presenting a new methodology for thinking about and structuring customer experience design, and have a top line up of telco strategists and decision maker stimulus speakers (see below) who’ll be sharing their experiences and leading thinking.

Building on the Roadmap to New Telco 2.0 Business Models, in our recently published free report Telco 2.0: how to accelerate the implementation of new business models we described telco and ‘upstream customer’ views on market opportunities, four key barriers to new telco business models and a segmented strategy to succeed in market implementation.

From the chart below, it would appear that Telcos and upstream customers are relatively well aligned. But averages can be deceptive, and in the detailed report (download here) we explore variations by market segment, player and geography.

telco 2 emea 2012 chart openet.png

Analysis of the detail reveals critical differences in attitude to the credibility and barriers to implementation between various players. We’ll explore these findings further at the EMEA event, and share other findings on the status of the market and our actions.

New Telco 2.0 Analysis
Chris Barraclough, Chief Strategist of the Telco 2.0 Initiative and STL Partners, will present our latest analysis of the latest global status of ‘Telco 2.0 Strategies’ and leading-edge case studies, and what the Telco 2.0 Initiative will be doing to accelerate implementation of new business models. He’ll cover:

• What are the real barriers to Telco 2.0?
• How are operators and their partners overcoming these barriers?
• What are the key Telco 2.0 trends and case studies (including organisation structures and processes, partnering and collaboration, products and services)?

Philip Laidler, Consulting Director, Telco 2.0, will present a new methodology for thinking about and structuring customer experience, building on the Telco 2.0 Customer Engagement and Monetisation ‘Flywheel’ with the Telco 2.0 Customer Participation Framework to develop innovative and valuable new customer experience designs.

Senior Telecoms’ executives joining us to share their experiences and thinking through short stimulus presentations, our ‘mindshare’ brainstorm techniques and technology, and panel discussions include:

• Rainer Deutschmann, SVP Core Telco Products, Deutsche Telekom
• Steve Unger, Group Director - Strategy, Chief Economist & Technology, Ofcom
• Jamie Finn, Director of Communication Product Design, Telefonica Digital
• Simon Griffiths, Group Head of Business Intelligence, Vodafone
• Subhra Das, EVP Customer Experience & Marketing, Du

12 June, the day looking at Telco 2.0 strategies, is a plenary day with no parallel ‘streams’ on the same day, and the agenda is as follows:

Session 1: The Market 2.0
• Shifting Profit Pools in the digital economy.
• Understanding & navigating the ‘great game’ between Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Telco?
• Developing a new telco ‘social and economic contract’ with stakeholders.

Session 2: Digital Consumer 2.0: Voice, Messaging and Content
• Responding to new consumer behaviour and rates of OTT technology adoption.
• Tipping points in the way people communicate and access content.
• New opportunities to ‘change the game’.

Session 3: Customer Experience (part 1): Loyalty and Monetisation
• Enhancing existing products to remain relevant.
• Sweating assets to improve profitability.
• Learning from best practice and next practice.

Session 4: Customer Experience (part 2): Big Data meets Personal Data
• Personal data as a new class of economic asset.
• Leveraging ‘Digital Confidence’ as a new B2B2C value proposition.
• Exploiting advanced analytics.
• Practicalities of persona/privacy management.

We look forward to seeing you there, or if you’d like to contribute or participate but can’t join at this point, drop us an email at contact@stlpartners.com and let us know how you’d like to get involved.

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Digital Things 2.0: M2M Value Innovation for Telcos

As part of our ongoing Telco 2.0 research agenda we have been defining and sizing the strategic opportunities for telcos from M2M. This was a key area of focus at our recent New Digital Economics Silicon Valley event (report here for subscribers) and will be explored in detail at our upcoming Digital Things 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in London on June 13th.

Recent analysis conducted by our partner Beecham Research highlights how value is migrating from the basic connectivity element of M2M towards differing forms of service enablement. In response to this, business models based on managed connectivity are becoming increasingly common.


Business are also exploring “stewardship services” which entail the supply of consumables - such as energy or electrical content - and also services - such as energy-management or home security based on trust and a degree of devolved decision making on the part of the end-user. A parallel development is also apparent in terms of “platform innovator” strategies that allow telcos to provide businesses with the platform tools to launch new, connected services. While many of these developments are at an embryonic stage they are a crucial manifestation of innovative and commercially promising value propositions.

At the London event we will be considering the necessary next steps for telcos to become genuine platform innovators capable of supporting multiple customers in a multi-sided business model. See below for details of the speakers and topics at the London event - email us at contact@stlpartners.com to find out more or register for the event here.

Supporting the ‘Connected Business’

The evolution of new platforms and the development of the ‘Internet of Things’ will provide an array of new opportunities for telcos (see slide below). We see Connected Businesses, in particular the energy, transport and healthcare sectors, as offering some of the most significant new value areas for telcos:


At the EMEA brainstorm we will be joined by representatives from these sectors to outline their specific connectivity requirements and assess the potential opportunities for cross-sector solutions using our unique ‘Mindshare’ interactive participation format.

Stimulus speakers/panellists include:

  • Emanuel Routier, Head of M2M Competence Centre, Orange Group
  • Gilli Coston, Head of M2M, Telefonica UK
  • Marc Overton, VP Wholesale & M2M, Everything Everywhere
  • Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO, Beecham Research
  • Kim Byberg, Head of M2M Europe, Vodafone
  • Andrew Parker, Project Marketing Director, GSMA
  • Juergen Hase, VP M2M Competence Center, Deutsche Telekom
  • Karl-Michael Henneking, CM & CSO, Mobily
  • Jon Howes, Senior Consultant, Beecham Research
  • Paul Green, Marketing Director, Arkessa

Our agenda for the session covers:

  • How are new business models for enterprise and consumer applications impacting the M2M market?
  • What is the potential role of telcos and telco assets in addressing new M2M business opportunities?
  • What are the big opportunities and challenges of vertical vs horizontal market approaches?
  • What networks and platforms will be needed to support the Internet of Things?
  • What gateways and hubs are required and what is the potential role for aggregators?
  • What could the future ecosystem look like and what industry collaboration and interoperability is required?
  • What connectivity and applications are required by the healthcare, automotive and smart grid sectors?
  • How can the telecoms industry support each vertical?
  • What is the role of service delivery platforms in supporting connected businesses?

We look forward to seeing you there, or if you’d like to contribute or participate but can’t join at this point, drop us an email at contact@stlpartners.com and let us know how you’d like to get involved.

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May 14, 2012

What if they threw a net neutrality party and nobody came?

We’ve recently linked to several presentations from Informa’s 3G & LTE Optimisation conference, via the 3G & 4G Wireless Blog. But this one, from DTAG’s Kim Kyllesbech Larsen, is really outstanding on the practicalities of working with the mobile data explosion, what works, and what doesn’t. Notably, fair-use policy enforcement doesn’t help, but small cells and WLAN offload do. We’ll be publishing more on this in the coming months.

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Data Roaming Caps; Akamai CDN/Cloud; Telefonica’s Voice 2.0 TUMe - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: It’s 4 weeks to the EMEA Executive Brainstorm, 12-13 June 2012 in London. There’s top speakers from Amazon, Google, Barclays, Ofcom and the top EMEA telcos, a great agenda covering the latest on Telco 2.0 strategies, telcos in the cloud, M-Commerce, and M2M, and it’s in a smart new venue. Register here, call +44 (0) 207 247 5003, or email contact@stlpartners.com for more.]

Starting at the end of next month, European Union roaming price caps go into force. For the first time, they cover data, capping the price at 70 cents a megabyte and sliding down to 16 by 2014. And subscribers must be informed by SMS when their bill passes €50. But the most disruptive element is probably that, starting in 2014, users will be able to pick their roaming provider. We note that Starhome pushed out a press release today about their local roaming number product, which sounds relevant.

In other regulatory news, 3UK’s CFO told analysts that the cuts to mobile termination rates had made it possible for them to offer an unlimited data package. Meanwhile, their new CEO David Dyson suggested that their network-sharing agreement with EverythingEverywhere might be extended to cover LTE, in which case 3UK might be able to take part in the early LTE1800 deployment EE keeps threatening.

BT proudly announced it had “passed 10 million homes” with fibre, although that of course doesn’t mean quite what it does to a FTTH operator. BT’s EBITDA was unexpectedly up, 3 per cent, on the basis of better-than-expected broadband net adds. A survey suggests that the UK consumer is not necessarily convinced.

Deutsche Telekom saw its net profits fall sharply, but still thought things were going reasonably well on the basis of their KPIs. The best news was that the deployment of LTE at T-Mobile USA was making progress, thanks to the cash and spectrum paid out as the break fee from the AT&T deal. The roll-out, costed at $4bn for 37,000 cells, will go to Ericsson for the radios and NSN for the backhaul and core network.

T-Mo, Sprint, and a group of RLECs are starting a campaign against Verizon’s acquisition of the cable companies’ spectrum blocks.

The 3G & 4G Wireless Blog, Dean Bubley, and many others have a long discussion about data growth rates, WiFi, and device classes. To what extent is the “data tsunami” a lobbying construct? This involves an interesting chart, from Telefonica’s Q1s, showing the opposite of the infamous scissors diagram:


NSN, meanwhile, signs an agreement to resell Ruckus Wireless’s long-range WiFi equipment (you may remember they aced a Tom’s Hardware test we blogged). Telefonica, for their part, have pushed the job of running their UK network to Huawei.

Telecom Egypt has a somewhat less awful few months. Kabel Deutschland buys Telecolumbus.

RevK on why more communications data retention is bad. Holland passes net neutrality. ORG lists some Web sites British mobile operators are blocking - they aren’t the ones you might think.

The Voice of Broadband deep-dives AT&T’s new home security product, pointing out that Cingular tried it in 2006 and pulled out, and that there’s a $3.5bn pool of revenue up for grabs. However, delivering the service will be an operational challenge. And strangely, it looks like they trust their cellular network more than their fixed network.

We mentioned Telefonica, and they will be presenting on their CDN at Dan Rayburn’s event today.

Akamai has a new product, Terra Cloud Catalyst, that permits cloud computing vendors to integrate their CDN services more easily. We’ve said in the past that the cloud and CDNs go naturally together. Interestingly, Rackspace is using it as part of an OpenStack deployment.

Amazon’s CloudFront CDN has had a feature refresh, giving it more capability to deal with dynamic content and multiple back-end servers.

HP’s public cloud, based on OpenStack, stops being free and starts being public-beta this week. There’s a detailed discussion here. Interestingly, they are partnering with telcos around the world as local service partners as well as sellers of dark fibre and rackspace.

And Ars Technica has a great discussion of why Zynga moved into the cloud in the first place (scalability), and then why it moved out of Amazon Web Services and into its own private cloud (costs). Note the importance of admin tools and API compatibility.

Telefonica Digital has a new Voice 2.0 app out, TU Me. It gives you free calls and messaging between TU Me users, although it doesn’t have any PSTN interworking, and the unique selling point seems to be that it keeps an integrated history of your conversations across channels for at least a year (which seems a bit stingy compared to GMail storage, and that was in 2004).

TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher has joined the cult of Voice 2.0. (We’re your family now, Mike.)

Conversion narratives are always interesting, and the way he saw the light is especially so. Apparently a major advertiser in the UK bought several million pounds’ worth of Google AdWords, linking to their phone numbers. They paid a “major continental European operator” for a hosted PBX product to handle the incoming calls. But somehow, several of the phone trunks didn’t actually work (or possibly the PBX was misconfigured) and 80% of the calls were dropped, something that wasn’t realised for weeks. Both the customer and Google were furious.

As a result, Mike has had his come-to-Jesus moment about the integration of Voice 2.0 and online advertising.

Sprint, for their part, are the latest operator to offer HD voice, on the HTC One X.

Speaking of which, an epic struggle between the chip vendors is coming next year. Despite all the shiny at MWC, NVIDIA has had to put off the full-fat LTE version of the Tegra 3 quad-core chip to 2013. Round about then, Intel’s 22nm chip, codename Merrifield hits the market, while Intel also pushes cheaper Atom chips further down the market. It seems that Intel is something like 100% committed to Android.

Horace, meanwhile, runs the numbers and concludes what everyone else has - Android’s spectacular growth isn’t hitting Google’s bottom line.

Ask Siri for the best smartphone, and she will tell you to get a Nokia Lumia 900. This is because search partner Wolfram Alpha scrapes Best Buy product reviews in order to answer questions like that, and they are spammable.

Wired has an extensive interview with Nokia’s new chief of design (who also co-founded Blyk). It is suggested that the gadgets are selling rather well.

Dell is readying a Ubuntu Linux ultrabook aimed at developers. And here’s the rumour about what Apple might do when it stops using Google Maps: rather like Nokia Maps, to be honest.

Buongiorno sells, to NTT Docomo, for $300m.

Yahoo!’s new CEO isn’t any more, after he was exposed as having lied about having a computer science degree. New boss Ross Levinsohn is profiled, plus some of his plans. Fixing the ad sales operation is crucial. More here - note that the new team is keen to expand Alibaba.com, the China-focused B2B market.

Is ad spending on YouTube rising?

Here’s a very bubbly take on Facebook, which this week launched an app store. If you delete a Facebook app, that doesn’t mean they get rid of your data. The rise and fall of a social media fad.

Why isn’t Mozilla complaining about Apple platform restrictions when it does about Windows?

The app that finds out which apps are spying on you.

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May 10, 2012

Cloud 2.0: Strategic Opportunity for Telcos

We’re currently hard at work on a major new strategy research report Cloud 2.0: Strategic Opportunity for Telcos, and will be sharing some of the initial findings at the EMEA event in London on 12-13 June.

We’ll also be joined by some of the top practitioners in the field including Vodafone, Verizon, Orange, Amazon, and Telefonica, and will be exploring and discussing the cloud value chain in depth, reviewing the strategies of key players from all sides of the market, and putting forward options for telcos of different kinds getting into the cloud business. There’s more on who’s coming and what we’ll be covering below - please email us at contact@stlpartners.com to find out more about joining the event or participating in the research.

Background to the new research

A key hypothesis emerging from our cloud research (including Cloud 2.0: don’t blow it, telcos and Cloud 2.0: Telcos to grow Revenues 900% by 2014) and analysis from the Silicon Valley and London brainstorms, is that the cloud computing market is heading for a second wave of disruption.

Very large numbers of enterprises are still to take their first steps in cloud computing. For example, at the Silicon Valley event, Bain Consulting argued that two key groups of customers - essentially, the mass adoption phase in the classic diffusion model - are still to come, and that the size of these groups implies a very high growth rate for the sector still to come, in “Round Two”.


In parallel, key technology developments, such as OpenStack, CloudStack, and the Open Data Centre and Open Compute initiatives, are all heading in the direction of greater compatibility between providers (a round-up of links is here), a trend which is likely to reduce the apparent first-mover advantage enjoyed by Amazon Web Services, Google, et al and make it far easier to migrate between platforms.

Does ‘first mover’ advantage matter?

History suggests that first mover advantage is more often illusory than it is real.

We do not all use personal computers made by IBM, or mobile devices from Psion. However, if first movers don’t necessarily succeed in commercial terms or even survive, they do very often define technologies, standards, practices, and expectations that outlive them. You may not be using an IBM PC, but statistically speaking you probably are using a machine that conforms to the IBM PC architecture.

In this case, Amazon Web Services’ EC2 has been the default standards setter. CloudStack differs from (see comment) OpenStack specifically in that it is intended to provide API-compatibility with EC2, but the OpenStack project itself is now promising that it will implement the same APIs. Either way, the technology is settling on an analogue of POSIX, the UNIX interoperability standard from the 1980s that still defines UNIX and Linux systems now. And that’s going to be the AWS API.

At the same time, there are signs that Infrastructure-as-a-Service systems (like EC2) are currently winning over Platform-as-a-Service ones (like Google’s App Engine). As an example, Salesforce has both a developer platform (Force.com) that is closely coupled with the Salesforce CRM application, and a full IaaS product, Heroku, which it acquired as a recent startup. Heroku now supports 105,000 businesses.

PaaS solutions also have some unique advantages that may play out over time, and overall, there are plenty of potential twists and turns ahead for the cloud market.

So what’s next?

At the EMEA brainstorm, in addition to sharing a preview of our analysis of the Cloud space and telcos’ incursions into it, we’ll be joined by an excellent group of stimulus presenters who’ll also be joining in with our unique ‘Mindshare’ interactive participation format:

  • Robert Brace, Head of Cloud Services, Vodafone Group
  • Iain Gavin, Head of EMEA Web Services, Amazon
  • Alex Jinivizian, Managing Director, Cloud Strategy, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
  • Moisés Navarro Marín, Director, Strategy Global Cloud Services, Telefonica Digital
  • Peter Martin, Head of Strategy, Cloud Computing, Orange Group

Our agenda for the session covers:

  • Which customer and service segments are growing fastest (Iaas, PaaS, SaaS)?
  • What are the critical success factors to market adoption?
  • Who will be the leading players, and how will it impact sectors (provider, user, enabler)?
  • Who are the most advanced telcos today?
  • Which aspects should telcos pursue?
  • Co-opetition with IT companies
  • How much time do have telcos have?
We look forward to seeing you there, or if you’d like to contribute or participate but can’t join at this point, drop us an email at contact@stlpartners.com and let us know how you’d like to get involved. To share this article easily, please click:

Digital Commerce 2.0: Show me the (Mobile) Money

At our forthcoming Digital Commerce 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in London, 12-13 June, we will be presenting new research exploring the business case for mobile money services from both a telco’s perspective and a bank’s perspective. We will consider whether the business case is strong enough to justify the roll out of new hardware, as advocates of NFC maintain, or whether mobile money services should primarily be implemented in software. To find out more about our research services, to join the event, or find out how else you can participate, please email us on contact@stlpartners.com.

Background to the research

Mobile money services are gaining momentum across the world. In fact, some experts believe we are on the cusp of a mobile money revolution. At the recent Digital Commerce 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in Silicon Valley (report here for subscribers), Antonio Benjamin, Managing Director, CTO, Global Transaction Services at Citi, forecast that in 2014 there will be $1.13 trillion in global mobile transactions, up from $60 billion in 2010 (see slide below). That represents a head-turning compound annual growth rate of more than 100% per annum.


These bullish forecasts are being fuelled by the proliferation of mobile money transfer services across the developing world, in the wake of the success of M-Pesa in Kenya, and the expanding pipeline of handsets equipped with Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, which can be used to enable mobile payments at point of sale.

But how much value will mobile money transactions actually create and for whom? Will consumers be the primary beneficiaries or will the entire mobile money value chain prosper?

How will value be created?

In theory, at least, mobile money services will create value in many different ways - faster transactions, higher security, less fraud, less cash-handling, the creation of digital receipts and a digital data trail, automatic redemption of coupons and the digitisation of loyalty schemes. These latter three factors, in particular, may be enough to justify the expense of deploying mobile money services.

At the Executive Brainstorm in Silicon Valley, Baris Cetinok, SVP at American Express, presented the slide below, suggesting that mobile wallets could take digital marketing to a new level by enabling the smooth delivery of targerted advertising and the straightforward issuance and redemption of loyalty points and coupons. Cetinok described the cost of payments as “a negligible conversation, compared with marketing costs”, adding that “the prize is all about the marketing dollars that merchants spend today”.


Making the benefits outweigh the costs

Of course, the potential benefits of mobile money services have to be balanced with the potential costs. In the case of hardware-based solutions, such as NFC, these include the cost of adding NFC chips to handsets and deploying NFC terminals in merchant outlets, as well as the cost of developing the necessary software and services to support a mobile wallets. Someone will also have to pay to educate consumers and merchants on both the benefits of mobile money and how to use it. Moreover, there are major differences in the mobile money business case between developed markets, where debit cards are well established, and developing markets, where cash is still king.

Liberating the (Mobile) Wallet

Our new research will be presented during a session on how to stimulate mass-adoption of mobile wallets, which will be followed by a session on how to scale a new approach to merchant-consumer interaction. Speakers will include Cenk Bayrakdar, Chief New Technology Business Officer at Turkcell, which is rolling out NFC-based mobile money services, and Shaygan Kheradpir, Chief Operating Officer at Barclays Global Retail Bank.

These highly-interactive sessions will look to establish the best way to educate consumers on the capabilities and benefits of mobile payments, the kinds of partnerships and collaboration in the ecosystem that will help drive adoption, and which products will best bridge the online and offline worlds.

Soon after the EMEA Brainstorm, we will publish its research into the business case for mobile money as an Executive Briefing - one of a series of reports on M-Commerce 2.0 that we will produce over the next 12 months. This research stream will explore key aspects of mobile commerce, such as the effectiveness of personalised advertising, the data that can be captured by smartphones, and the roles of different players in the value chain.

To find out more about our research services, to join the event, or find out how else you can participate, please email us on contact@stlpartners.com.

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May 9, 2012

NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibition 2012

We are delighted to be partnering with this year’s NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibition taking place in San Francisco, June 13th - 15th, and we’ll be represented by Dean Bubley, one of our Senior Associates, who’d leading a session on Day Two of the event on Global Mobile Broadband Devices. Do catch up with Dean if you go.


Further details: The NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibition is taking place at City View at Metreon Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, USA.

This year’s conference will be a platform to explore the latest status of LTE network deployment and operation, to review the upcoming network and device trends and to embrace technology and service innovations. NGMN Partners and key players of the industry will share insights while start-up companies and research organisations present innovations and visions.

For group discounts & more information about the event contact ice2012@ngmn.org or visit the Web site. Let them know we sent you!

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May 8, 2012

America Movil makes European move; new smartphones reaction; Faceboredom - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: It’s 5 weeks to the EMEA Executive Brainstorm, 12-13 June 2012 in London. There’s top speakers from Amazon, Google, Barclays, Ofcom and the top EMEA telcos, a great agenda covering the latest on Telco 2.0 strategies, telcos in the cloud, M-Commerce, and M2M, and it’s in a smart new venue. Register here, call +44 (0) 207 247 5003, or email contact@stlpartners.com for more.]

Despite the 2G licence crisis, Telenor’s operation in India, Uninor Wireless remains a strong business from an operational point of view. Over the last year, it doubled its revenues, added three million subscribers, and substantially narrowed its losses. But there’s still no answer as to exactly what happens with those licences. Bharti Airtel, meanwhile, reported revenues up 15% but profits down 29% as its 3G rollout cost more than expected.

Elsewhere, Carlos Slim’s America Movil has made an offer for another 23% of KPN, where they already have 4.8% of the company. They’re paying €8 a share, a premium of 23.5% over the market price, in what would be their first acquisition in Europe.

Vodafone’s European CEO Michel Combes, former CFO of France Telecom, is on the move, joining SFR as CEO.

In Q1, Everything Everywhere reported a 2.5% drop in service revenues, which it blames on the regulatory cut to termination rates. They also pressed on with their campaign to deploy LTE early in the 1800MHz band that became spare when T-Mobile and Orange merged, flipping on a trial network in Cumbria. (This is politically significant, as it covers influential MP and rural broadband advocate Rory Stewart’s constituency.)

TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding attacks BT’s pricing for FTTC unbundling this week, claiming that the FTTC network may end up substantially underutilised at the current rate of £21.46 a month. She wants an OFCOM consultation on this as soon as the network rollout is complete. BT, obviously, disagrees.

Verizon Wireless gave details this week of how its LTE fixed-wireless product will roll out nationally, and what the prices will be. T-Mobile USA, meanwhile, is in the process of refarming some of its 1900MHz GSM spectrum for HSPA, so that the million or so iPhone users on the network can finally get 3G and the carrier can start offering iPhones.

$60 gets you a month’s unlimited WiMAX in the US.

Here’s an interview with Glenn Lurie of AT&T on the carrier’s new home security product.

TIM Brasil’s CEO has resigned after being accused of having at least 37,000 SIM cards activated in the names of deceased users in order to boost the net-adds numbers.

Spot the small cell. And here’s a good summary of IEEE802’s latest release of WLAN standards, including this week’s Chart of the Week. Onwards to 60GHz!


Elsewhere, Sprint joins Tizen. IntoMobile is far from convinced.

In smartphone news this week, Mobile Industry Review reviews the Samsung Galaxy S III, and finds it good. Android Police compares it to the highly specific strictures of Apple’s design lawsuit and concludes it was designed by the lawyers. Anandtech runs a battery of tests and concludes it’s “insanely fast”.

Here’s the video preview of BlackBerry OS 10, from BlackBerry World this week. Our Twitter feed lit up like a Christmas tree with enthusiasm as Thorsten Heins demonstrated the system running on a developer-preview gadget, with their new virtual keyboard technology attracting a great deal of favourable comment. At the same time, RIM launched the new developer SDK.

Elsewhere, the Monday Note argues that Apple needs to worry about commoditisation about as much as BMW worries about it, that is to say not at all, and rewinds past predictions of disaster for mockery. Dalton Caldwell discusses Apple’s “segmentation by Moore’s law”, keeping the older iPhones going at lower price points.

Horace reviews the state of the market for phones and concludes that Apple didn’t just seize the profit pool from the others, it hugely expanded it. Unfortunately, if you’re an operator, that additional profit is basically coming from you. Meanwhile, Samsung’s share of the profit pool has started to expand sharply. And the lower end of the market is being eaten by no-name products.

All of this is bad news for Nokians hoping to cling to the featurephone world. IntoMobile excerpts an interview with former Nokia CEO Jorma Olilla in which he says that they knew software was going to be the next battle as early as 2000 (in which case, why did they kill Hildon?) but that the featurephone marketers were simply too powerful inside Nokia to change course.

In a positive chartfest, Horace also argues that Apple is beating the hell out of Microsoft and Google into the bargain. And here comes a cheaper MacBook Air.

Nokia shareholders are suing the management for not selling N9s, to Tomi Ahonen’s predictable delight.

And Motorola Mobility aka Google Hardware is losing more money.

The verdict is in between Google and Oracle, and the jury says…..”perhaps”. Specifically, the jurors concluded Google did violate Oracle’s patents when they implemented the Dalvik virtual machine in Android, but they couldn’t decide whether or not Google was covered by fair use when they did it. Google argues that this amounts to a mistrial, and that the court should start all over from the beginning.

Interestingly, the jury held that the Android API is so similar to that of Java it amounted to a copyright violation, but the judge has yet to rule on whether it is even legally possible to assert intellectual property in an API. He told the jury to assume it was for the purposes of the trial, but also suggested that he wasn’t convinced. EFF points out that copyrighted APIs would be a huge pain for software developers everywhere.

Meanwhile, a forkdroid developer has ported Android to C# in an effort to escape from the whole mess. And Nokia has sued HTC, RIM, and Viewsonic all at once.

Fascinating data points on TV usage, from Nielsen. Despite the hype, people still watch a lot of TV.

Besides “work” or “school,” there is no other non-involuntary activity that humans devote themselves to so thoroughly on a daily basis in these United States.

On the other hand, 2011 was the first year in 20 in which viewing fell. And DVRs are by far the most used and fastest growing new source of video.

Hulu wants its users to have a cable TV subscription, and they’re not happy.

The merger between NBC and Comcast is still causing trouble about net neutrality, and Senator Al Franken has written to the FCC seeking more stringent enforcement of the undertakings given at the time. Comcast is apparently arguing that if there is anything non-neutral happening, it happens within their “private IP network, not the Internet”, which is cheeky.

Dan Rayburn has technical details. Comcast is using DiffServ quality-of-service tags, putting its own IPTV in class five (originally intended for voice signalling, oddly enough) and everything else in class one, even if it’s coming from a CDN.

Speaking of CDNs, Limelight Networks has started a peering war, ending its peering with the downstream ISPs and suggesting that they might like to pay for the privilege of carrying the traffic (!). Telecom Ramblings argues that they have over-extended their footprint, and thinks they are tidying up ahead of trying to sell the company.

Rayburn also says that he knows that “tens of Gbps” are being exchanged via federated CDN.

Jim Gettys’ blog announces that Van Jacobson and Kathie Nichols have a major new paper on bufferbloat and queue management, the key technical problems in dealing with conflicting flows of video, out in ACM Queue.

Another cloud club, the Open Data Center Alliance.

Mark Zuckerberg is off on a swing to promote the Facebook IPO next week. Interestingly, the company put up its ad prices in advance. Ad legend Rory Sutherland thinks it’s overrated and Twitter will be more valuable in the long run.

Business of Fashion agrees with him, arguing that Facebook advertising doesn’t really drive sales, and that in terms of brand-building, the really influential people are either on Pinterest or in the blogosphere.

Bizarre use case: bouncers make people load their Facebook pages to check their age. Martin Geddes on why he’s not on Facebook.

For their part, Twitter has redesigned their mobile web site, optimising for basic phones. SingTel buys another mobile ad company.

Is the VC industry broken, and if so, does it have something to do with its obsession with ad-funded business models? Felix Salmon argues that VC star Marc Andreessen, for all his legendary career with Netscape, has probably lost his clients money. And here’s Vungle, a start-up consisting of two 23-year olds right here in Shoreditch. It helps app developers make promo videos for their stuff and place them as in-app ads, and it’s just raised £2m in funding.

But how many apps does anyone buy on the strength of video showreels, and who on earth wants to put up with video ads inside apps?

Technology Review reviews its own failure with iPad apps and draws some painful conclusions for publishers and also for Apple.

In Voice 2.0 news, Alan Quayle has a good rundown of what WebRTC means for telcos.

RevK has a “is the phone call dead?” moment.

Google moves Hangouts on Air out of beta and into production. The feature lets you publish a Hangout video conference onto the web so people who aren’t participating can watch.

Michigan Telephone reviews the new FreeSWITCH Cookbook. Verdict: useful but contains filler.

Syria’s gaming industry. Testing the urban operating system. Really awful PHP security hole.

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

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