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Sprint ‘Nextel a mistake’; DTAG’s €30bn spree; Facebook advertising strategy - Telco 2.0 News Review

Meanwhile, Softbank has cleared Sprint to bid up to $2.1bn for the rest of Clearwire, in an effort to secure the 2.5GHz spectrum blocks it holds. A small group of shareholders is holding out for more money. This is important, because the spectrum is controlled by a special committee within Clearwire, and Sprint will need to get enough votes to force it to sell. As we were writing this, they did just that.

T-Mobile, for its part, turned up more HSPA+ in the 1900MHz band, and ended its handset subsidy. Instead, subscribers who want an iPhone will pay in instalments, taking a trick from Softbank’s book.

Elsewhere, Netflix measures average streaming bandwidth and concludes that (unsurprisingly) Google Fibre is the fastest ISP in the west, with Verizon FiOS a creditable second. AT&T’s FTTC solution, Uverse, is well down the list and not even that much better than their bog standard DSL.

The FCC is looking at cracking open the 3.5GHz band for a “citizens’ broadband service”, which seems to mean something with small cells, possibly unlicensed.

And Dan Rayburn takes apart AT&T’s deal with Akamai. For a while at least, it means that AT&T will have three different CDN products and won’t even be rid of the original one that’s never made them a penny. From Akamai’s point of view, though, it means they get to deploy on AT&T’s network, and they’re willing to pay for that.

Two stories the UK’s 4G auction is finally on its way, with deposits required last week. The usual four suspects were on the start line, plus another: BT. Meanwhile, DTAG has announced a €30bn investment plan for the next three years, with €6bn for additional FTTC in Germany and €4bn for LTE at T-Mobile USA. As a result, they’re cutting their dividend, and the German government is looking at ways to boost its financing. One option would be a rights issue, with the government and its KfW public investment bank subscribing for shares. Another would be for the government and KfW to forgo a dividend on their stakes.

The Netherlands had a spectrum auction this week, and it was rather more expensive than expected, at €3.8bn. The 3G & 4G Wireless Blog has a useful chart detailing the spectrum position. For the first time, Tele2 acquired its own spectrum, with 2x10MHz blocks in the 800s and 2600s.

KPN announced it was cutting its dividend after spending €1.35bn on spectrum and facing a new competitor. They also sold a Spanish MVNO to Orange.

Bouygues says it will launch LTE in the new year, if only the government would let it refarm its 1800MHz block. The application has been with ARCEP since July, and by law, the regulator must answer within 8 months, so deadline day is the 1st of April. Although France Telecom has done the same in the UK with EE, they may not be so keen at home, as Free wants any spectrum released by refarming to be divvied up afresh.

Vodafone invests in a RCS app developer.

Here’s a comprehensive study of broadband in Europe, and a study on how to deploy more of it.

Bharti’s towerco is valued at $7.6bn. Will Aussie operators snub the 700 and 2500 bands?

Here’s a closely reported piece on a major Facebook advertising campaign, for Wal-Mart over Black Friday. If this is anything to go by, their strategy is to concentrate on big projects for big brands, with Facebook providing a lot of consulting, data, and technical assistance. This will use a lot of Facebook resources for each deal, and suggests that the company is turning into an ad agency.

They’d better do something though - because dead people are liking things on Facebook. No-one seems to know exactly how, but fake likes are popping up all over the place and both users and advertisers aren’t best pleased.

Google, for its part, has noticed that touchscreens make it easy to accidentally click on an ad. As a result, rather than just collecting the extra clicks, they have introduced a pop-up that asks if you really wanted to click on the ad.

They also published the top 10 Google + hash tags so far, compared with the top 10 trending memes on Facebook. Google’s are, predictably, rather serious, although perhaps the interesting story here is that both Google and Facebook have borrowed ideas from Twitter, hashtags and trending respectively.

Here comes the new Facebook app for Android, which drops the HTML5 and goes native. At the same time, the Google + app gets an update. Compare and contrast.

Speaking of Google, they’re getting rid of Motorola’s factories in China and Brazil, sold to Flextronics, and closing one in Chennai. Overall, it looks like Google is trying to exit device manufacturing as fast as possible.

Interestingly, Horace points out that Samsung has pursued the opposite strategy. Rather than doing a prototype, then a pilot, and then handing the project off to a contract manufacturer, Samsung tends to let the first movers jump, monitor the results, and then pour its own capital into pursuing the opportunity, on the principle that capital-intensive products are hardest to replicate. (Mind you, this didn’t stop a hideous bug emerging in some phones.)

He also looks at capital investment across the industry more broadly. Interestingly, perhaps the simplest explanation of this chart is that Apple is becoming a component company, like Samsung:

Screen-Shot-2012-12-11-at-12-11-2.13.02-PM.png

Meanwhile, 2 million iPhones sold in the first few days in China.

Here’s a picture of one of the new iPhones. Shock: it has a large, black touchscreen. More interestingly, beneath the radar, RIM has turned on VoIP in BlackBerry Messenger.

Did Nokia’s Bochum plant make €137m in the year it was closed? ReadWriteWeb dislikes the Lumia 920 because it was the wrong colour.

A bag of patents? Yours for $100m, as Imagination Tech buys MIPS. Meanwhile, the French government is not happy about Alcatel-Lucent staking a portfolio of them as collateral for a loan.

Amazon’s video streaming app has been ported to iOS and to the Roku media player.

Wired jointly reviews Google Maps for iOS and for Android, and unsurprisingly finds the Android version better. It’s more surprising that they found it prettier.

BBC Research has invented an interface for the iPlayer that classifies TV content by mood, on the axes of “fast-paced/slow-paced” and “serious/humorous”. No wonder the UK watches more TV on the Internet than any other country.

Here’s a nice graphic about Mozilla in 2012:

mozilla_infographic.jpg

An interesting and industrial-focused AR system. Is authentication becoming a fuzzy-logic problem? And the importance of turning things off.

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