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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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