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China Mobile’s LTE Tenders; ‘high margin M2M’; Joyn in Spain; Cloud price war - Telco 2.0 News Review

Telefonica is moving the HQ of its Latin American operations to Brazil. In part this is preparation for the listing of 10-15% of the division on the US stock market, a move motivated by the need to pay off debts in the European (and especially, Spanish) operation. In part, it’s also a vote of confidence in their strategy of deploying technologies and organisations from Europe into Latin America and then diffusing innovations from Latin America back to the O2 Europe mother ship.

Elsewhere, Bharti is planning to spin off the company that owns Airtel’s towers, in an IPO expected to raise $830m, while Airtel keeps a large stake in the company. At the same time, they completed a major network upgrade in their African markets.

And is a Bharti acquisition in South Africa back on the agenda? Either Cell C, the smaller of the three MNOs, or else Telkom’s MVNO, are in the frame.

Here’s Emerginov, a software toolkit developed by Orange for voice and SMS-controlled applications. The first use case is to support teachers in Madagascar.

China Mobile, meanwhile, is preparing its first LTE device tenders. So far, it’s looking like a dongles-only kick off, even if there are rumours about the iPhone.

US telcos are still being beaten by the cablecos in the fight for broadband subscribers, but paradoxically, while the cablecos saw a slight decline in pay-TV subscribers, the telcos saw an impressive uplift.

The FCC doesn’t like the proposed DISH spectrum deal one bit. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless’s sales of 700MHz spectrum continue.

Syria turned off the Internet, and also the cellular networks, on Friday, as rebels besieged the international airport. Renesys reviews which countries are most at risk.

NSN sells its optical network unit. C&W Comms sells its island networks to Batelco.

Here’s a data-point about Virgin Media’s quiet rollout of public WLAN - a service is due to start in central Leeds by the end of the year, but it will be dependent on demand for “3G and 4G”, so their “small cells as a service” concept is evidently coming.

SFR rolled out France’s first LTE network this week. Actually, they deployed little more than a test network around Lyon, and even their publicity is making more noise about Dual Carrier HSPA than about LTE. But the footprint will of course grow. Details are here.

But the big LTE story this week was a scoop for the Informer: if you’re wondering why your iPhone won’t do LTE on an LTE network, the answer is “because Apple did their own radio survey and decided the network wasn’t good enough to warrant enabling the LTE radio on the iPhones”.

3UK is another operator hoping to get more capacity out of Dual Carrier HSPA before going to LTE. In fact they don’t have much choice after EE bounced the whole industry, at least until the 1800MHz block EE has to hand over to them finally arrives. The evidence from the US is that this will work for a while, as T-Mobile showed, but in the context of an LTE-enabled competitor it will only buy time.

More interestingly, 3UK is getting into M2M, having licensed Ericsson’s M2M platform. Unusually, they consider M2M a high margin sector - this is not a reflection on their retail pricing strategy, but rather a reflection on the M2M applications they are targeting. While a lot of M2M is characterised by low bandwidth, low volume SCADA, they are hoping to specialise in applications like CCTV monitoring that are heavier on the bandwidth.

Vodafone is re-organising its enterprise side, putting the current head of C&WW in charge of four lines of business for “Global Enterprise”, Carrier Services, Hosting & Cloud, and M2M.

Sprint has a history with wholesale, and here’s the latest project. Sprint Velocity is a platform for connected-car applications, including both the connectivity and a variety of APIs and service enablers.

Here’s a good piece on an emerging OS war in connected cars. On one hand, Microsoft and QNX. On the other, a new embedded Linux partnership supported by car makers.

Some more read-out from BBC Research’s recent workshop on M2M/Internet of Things for media and content.

And here’s Tim O’Reilly’s recent presentation on the “industrial Internet”:

In voice & messaging news, this week, 3 Spanish operators jointly deployed Joyn, the RCS-based communications client championed by the GSMA.

Skype 4.2.1 for iOS dropped this week and Dan York notes that it’s all about integration with Microsoft Live Messenger, Microsoft accounts, and the like. But where is the integration with Microsoft applications?

How least-cost routing on inbound voice is killing the RLECs.

A howto from IfByPhone on making call-routing work for your business. James Parton on engaging customers with Twilio.

Why I tolerate Facebook and love Twitter. Will Facebook buy Whatsapp? TechCrunch rumour, not much underpinning.

Novelist and futurist Charlie Stross thinks it’s spam that will finish off telephony as we know it. Watch his comments thread.

Best spoof social network app ever.

Horace has at Samsung, and concludes that all the growth is coming from mobile devices, both in revenue and in profits, in today’s Chart of the Week.


Interestingly, a key factor seems to be that Samsung spends an absolute fortune on marketing and advertising.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs analysts joined the increasing wave of optimism about RIM’s BB OS 10 gadgets. Starting on the 7th of December, developers who use the Titanium cross-platform IDE will get a shiny gadget as soon as their app passes review.

Dismantling a new iMac. Mozilla abandons the crusade against H.264 video. Ars Technica reviews the latest Chromebook and recommends you run Linux on it.

How Motorola failed with software in the 2000s.

Amazon Web Services declared the cloud price war this week, slashing its S3 storage prices by between 24 and 28%. Google was forced to follow suit. Expect more of this, which is why our Cloud 2.0 Strategy Report warns telcos to avoid challenging AWS and their rivals on generic, super-scale enterprise cloud infrastructure.

AWS has also been busy in the secret labs. CTO Werner Vogels’ blog this week announced Redshift, a massive distributed data warehousing service based on a column-store model. Column stores look likely to be the Cool New Thing in databases for the next few years - Google’s Spanner is another. We blogged the technical whitepaper a while ago, here’s the Wired mag writeup.

Another product - AWS Pipeline, a tool for big data workflows.

Amazon has also begun building its own servers, like Google. GigaOm discusses the coopetition between AWS and the companies that both rival it and use its products.

The US federal government has so far managed to shut down 64 data centres as it tries to move systems into its private cloud. The big problem is that only three agencies have provided a complete list of their data centres.

Here’s an interview with Facebook’s top engineer about their Open Graph API. Meanwhile, Google’s Bradley Horowitz is quite crushing about Facebook, although G+ has a hell of a lot of ground to make up.

Spotify founder interviewed on the future of the music industry. He thinks it will be more like private equity than venture capital. ReadWriteWeb has 5 recommended Spotify apps.

Verizon FiOS TV’s apps catalogue. How many downloads, do you think?

The BBC iPlayer’s KPIs for October.

And are we heading for a tech crash, as travel-related startups die?

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