We’re recruiting: Marketing Communications and Communities Manager
STL Partners is seeking to recruit a Marketing Communications and Communities Manager as a key part of our plan to help take the business to the next stage of growth. Responsibilities will include producing marketing and customer communications (e.g. newsletters, websites, brochures), digital marketing (e.g. SEO, social media, and email marketing), and the management of our database.
A key measure of success will be to achieve a significant increase in inbound sales leads within the next year as a result of this appointment. This is a full time role and will be based in Shoreditch / Liverpool Street, London. Please see full description and application details here.
At MWC this year Telco 2.0 will be hosting a private roundtable lunch with Cordys, on Wednesday 27th February 12:30-14:00. The topic for discussion will be ‘Opportunities for Telcos in the Cloud’. The debate will be facilitated by Telco 2.0 Senior Analyst, Bob Brace (formerly Global Head of Cloud Services, Vodafone Group). Bob will present highlights from the Telco 2.0 Cloud research covering: market growth, size and service development; key players and their strategies; telco activity in the cloud market and key opportunities for telcos in the cloud market.
Bob will also be joined by former Head of Cloud Strategy, Orange Business Services, Peter Martin, who will draw on his recent experience as Head of Cloud Strategy for Orange Business Services focusing on the services and applications of tomorrow, future infrastructure, and how telcos might offer unique value to their customers.
If you would like to join this session please email: email@example.com and someone will be in touch to reserve your place.
[Ed. Five weeks to the brainstorm in Silicon Valley, 19-20 March 2013, and then on to our European Brainstorm, 5-6 June 2013. We’ll also be at the Mobile World Congress next week for which we can offer discounted passes - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.]
Randall Stephenson of AT&T has been known to say aggressive things about the OTT players who use his network “without paying” and so on and so forth. Here he is, though, on a very different tune.
“If the world moves to the OTT video model, that doesn’t keep me awake at night,” he said, adding that AT&T has approximately 4.5 million U-Verse IPTV video customers but the company’s real driver is its broadband customers. “Our money is made off the broadband product … The consumer who acquires video off our broadband is not a bad model for us.”
In related broadband and video news, some results are in from the French three-strikes experiment. Traffic to P2P sites is down. Hurray. Traffic to digital-locker sites is down. Perhaps half a hurray. But so are record industry sales. No hurray. The lurking-variable is probably the shift from P2P systems to streaming services.
Free are involved in a new row; their Freebox Replay video on demand service has been suffering for a while from bandwidth issues, and now they’re suggesting that customers affected might want to pay a fee for “priority access”. Existing customers suspect that the problem is being deliberately left unsolved to bring in the money.
Dan Rayburn reviews Amazon Web Services’ CDN activities, and specifically their increasing support for dynamic content. Over time, the offering has gained many more features incrementally, and AWS seems to be following a Google Ads-like strategy of trying to expand the addressable market by drawing in customers who otherwise wouldn’t have used CDN at all.
In India, the holders of BWA (Broadband Wireless Access) spectrum have been told they can start providing voice if they pay a relatively small fee. With this, plus the price-war conditions, and a regulator increasingly keen to soak the carriers, it gets difficult to see how many of the Indian operators can be profitable.
Truphone has been through a couple of evolutionary stages, from mobile VoIP client, to roaming MVNO, and now to hybrid WLAN/MVNO. Their new app takes over the dialler, checks quality metrics on the cellular network and nearby WLANs, and decides whether to route calls over the cellular channel or SIP over the WLAN. If the WLAN is good enough, it will offer HD voice.
AcmePacket argues that WebRTC standardisation will go faster than expected, and at the very least, much faster than SIP (although that says more about the development of SIP).
Is fax finally dead? And EU has a budget “for European growth”, says Neelie Kroes’s blog. In a manner of speaking. The outcome of the budget negotiations was an overall cut to the union’s budget that mostly came from investment, and the Information Society DG is no different.
As Neelie’s blog points out later on, this means that EU funds for broadband infrastructure under the Connecting Europe Facility have been zeroed out. Apparently there’s still some money for “digital services”, and the European Investment Bank might have some, but projects like this B4RN community fibre build shouldn’t expect much.
Horace reports on Tim Cook’s comments about Apple retail, and includes a chart that shows that the pattern of being heavy on the staff goes on. While the ratio of profits to employees in retail is very gradually rising, the head count is going up faster and therefore the business is only expanding.
Elsewhere, there’s a map of Apple suppliers, and Ars Technica tracks down a weird rumour about Apple engineers being assigned to “fake projects” and finds it baseless, and Cult of Mac reviews one analyst’s predictions about Apple.
Data-centre landlord DuPont Fabros is looking at building more, smaller data centres to appeal to enterprise customers rather than Facebook-sized Web monsters. They’re now planning to invest in units of 4.5 megawatts, compared to increments of 18 MW and 400,000 square feet in the recent past.
AWS’s Redshift data warehouse product is now broadly available, which isn’t quite generally available in Amazonspeak.
And here’s this week’s cloudfail. RapGenius, your No.1 source for hip-hop lyrics, runs on Heroku, and is spending $20,000 a month with them, making them one of Heroku’s biggest customers.
They observed that measurements of latency from their own analytics and Heroku’s could be dramatically divergent, and eventually discovered that Heroku’s load balancing algorithm had changed dramatically, from a fair-queueing approach to a random distribution approach. They simulated the difference and concluded that they were being overcharged by a factor of 50.
[Ed. Six weeks to the brainstorm in Silicon Valley, 19-20 March 2013, and then on to our European Brainstorm, 5-6 June 2013. We’ll also be at the Mobile World Congress for which we can offer discounted passes - email us at email@example.com to find out more.]
Cisco’s VNI report is out and there are basically three stories in it. First up, and no surprise, traffic on mobile networks is dominated by video, just like the fixed kind. Secondly, overall traffic growth has been revised down by 30% since this time last year. And thirdly, almost a third of smartphone traffic is being offloaded via WLAN. Between that and better cellular networks, the average smartphone is enjoying a download speed of just over 2Mbps. Interestingly, the distribution of traffic is flattening out - in 2010, the top 1% of users accounted for 52% of the total, but now, this is down to 16%.
A massive debate on that subject took place last week on NANOG, and the upshot is a succession of threads rich in information and experiences. Start here and move on here, here, here, here, and here. It was also time for the NANOG meeting itself, and as usual the notes - available here - are fascinating.
Muni-fibre isn’t the only way to get to universal high-speed connectivity. The DOCSIS cable route has worked pretty well too. Virgin Media is up for sale, with a £15bn price tag, to John Malone’s Liberty Global.
Vodafone numbers are out, and they’re not good. Revenues are down groupwide by 2%. Southern Europe is dreadful, of course, but things weren’t good enough in the relatively healthy economies of Northern Europe to compensate. The UK, for example, wasn’t particularly healthy economically and was hit by fierce competition from EverythingEverywhere.
Also, there are signs of customer behaviour changing, rather as there are in southern Europe. Out-of-bundle usage is down sharply, as customers counteroptimise their usage to save money. In the South, meanwhile, they’re having to up the bundle sizes to defend market share. Fortunately Germany and Turkey were better.
EE, for its part, might be the subject of a mammoth private-equity bid. The proposed deal would involve about £3bn of the buyers’ own capital plus £7bn of borrowing from the banks, so a classic leveraged buyout. Don’t expect them to be in a hurry to roll out more 4G.
In France, ARCEP is marking up the score from the first year since Free Mobile launched. The impact has slashed the three historic operators’ revenue by 10% while adding an additional 4.5 million subscribers and close to doubling the number of subscribers who are free of contract.
Meanwhile, Xavier Niel has gone on the record to say that the Google Ads-blocking episode was deliberately intended as a bargaining chip in their peering war.
While Alcatel-Lucent was struggling, Ericsson signed a €1bn contract to run Reliance Comms’ network, and then hooked up Gemalto as a partner for M2M technology.
A huge milestone in WebRTC, says Dan York. Mozilla and Google have demonstrated voice interoperability between Firefox and Chrome without using any plugins.
Meanwhile, Voxeo’s browser telephony lib, Phono, gets WebRTC support. Here’s a walkthrough of how to get a WebRTC test rig going, which does tend to make clear just how new the technology is. (Hint - if you already have an Asterisk server, you can skip most of it.)
Oracle has acquired Acme Packet, maker of session border controllers, SIP servers, and things Voice 2.0, adding more telco-like capability to its products and its cloud.
Here’s a good sceptical blog on telephony APIs, arguing that Twilio and Voxeo are probably category killers as far as this niche goes. We might not agree with that, but we can certainly relate to this post:
All too often what is a declining business for some is in fact a growth business for others. I sit daily with what we would refer to as “telephone companies” who bemoan to me that their voice business revenues are declining. I offer various suggestions and provide viable companies actually growing in this space. “But that would mean we would have to invest and take risk”, is the normal reply. Well yes.
Reuters has a detailed piece on the Apple-Samsung relationship, arguing that Tim Cook and the supply chain/manufacturing side of Apple was opposed to suing Samsung and fighting the Android patent wars in general but Steve Jobs insisted.
Wired reports on the turnaround of Flickr, driven by Instagram’s terms-of-service fiasco, Facebook privacy dread, Flickr’s new mobile app, and perhaps just the rediscovery that it was a pretty good product to begin with.
Quite apart from the privacy issues, loading your website up with third party widgets has risks - a succession of super-high traffic websites were downed this week when Facebook widgets stopped working. Similarly, advertising during the Super Bowl has its challenges.
[Ed. Seven weeks and counting to the brainstorm in Silicon Valley, 19-20 March 2013, and then on to our European Brainstorm, 5-6 June 2013. We’ll also be at the Mobile World Congress for which we can offer discounted passes - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.]
It was BlackBerry Week, with the new OS and the first gadgets at last dropping. ReadWriteWeb’s review of the Z10 is positive, but warns that the initial learning curve may be steep as the user interaction paradigm is radically different to older BlackBerries, Android, or iOS. The design is heavily oriented towards productivity, and tries to integrate data from apps rather than foregrounding the apps themselves. For example, you can consult a notifications feed without having to quit the app you’re using.
Speaking of apps, all the shiny RIM scattered among the developers seems to have worked, as the new OS launches with 70,000 titles, of which 40% are ported from Android.
EverythingEverywhere may be about to float on the stock market, says Reuters, who believe that it has appointed bankers to advise on carrying out an IPO. Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and Barclays were said to be involved.
TeliaSonera’s CEO has resigned after an inquiry into their acquisition of radio spectrum in Uzbekistan. The CEO couldn’t adequately prove that there had been no bribery or corruption in the transaction, something which could be said of almost any transaction in Uzbekistan, especially one involving the business interests of the president’s daughter like this one.
On the other hand, MTN says it’s been cleared over that whole business of whether they helped Iran’s nuclear programme in return for a GSM licence. More precisely, it’s been cleared by a committee it set up itself; the US Supreme Court will rule later this year. Meanwhile, QTel’s investment in Iraq had a good first day on the stock market.
BT, meanwhile, is feeling aggressive. New tariffs, just announced, offer 16Mbps for £16/mo and “up to” 76Mbps on FTTC for £26/mo, with 50GB of online storage and six months’ introductory free service.
They’re also getting rid of their usage caps. TelecomTV quotes John Petter, MD of BT Consumer, promising that their network “can stand up to the extra bandwidth demands from totally unlimited products everywhere across the UK”. Wot no exaflood of OTT video taking our jobs?
What’s going on here is a sort of political business cycle applied to telecoms. Technology improves, operators invest, and then the temptation to rip out the cap and price to go kicks in. The pipes fill up, and soon the squealing begins, and we start to hear about taxing the OTTers, etc, until the next upgrade cycle kicks off and suddenly all is love again.
One thing that will certainly fill up the tubes is streaming high-definition TV, especially if it’s from a live event that can’t be cached and everyone wants to watch it. Like football. BT has started promoting the YouView set-top boxes heavily, to go with its new portfolio of sport, and as a result we have some first data points on the platform. So far, it’s insignificant.
Sky, for their part, added 50,000 customers in the UK in the quarter, and half of them took their IPTV service. So far, 4.5 million of their 10.3 million customers have the Sky+ box, but only 1.7 million have plugged the network cable into the back of it. That’s still about 1.6 million more than YouView.
Google has also, it turns out, been talking to the French government. The row between French publishers and Google has been going on for years - remember when AFP sued them for indexing their Web site? Now, Google has agreed to put €60m in what sounds like investments in digital publishing startups and to offer French content firms advice about how best to use Google Analytics and other products. In a sense, rather than set a precedent, Google has voluntarily pulled out some money to hush the problem.
Up in the cloud, Amazon’s results were a little disappointing, although their usual weak point, margin, was up. That might explain why the shares soared on the news. Wired argues that they are growing like WalMart in the 1990s, but you have to wonder about a company with sales of $21bn and net profit of $97m.
That said, here’s Jim Young of ESRI, makers of the world-standard ArcGIS mapping server, talking about running mapping and geographical information systems in the AWS cloud:
Bad news for the GSMA’s Voice 2.0 project, Joyn aka RCSe. Deutsche Telekom has put off deployment until further notice, citing serious technical problems, notably to do with Android fragmentation and also with interoperability.