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AT&T ‘loves’ OTT; India gets even more competitive; Cloud comms grow - Telco 2.0 News Review

[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 contact@telco2.net 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.

He also reviews another media-streaming gadget.

And the BBC is supporting an effort to add DRM features to HTML5.

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.

SK Telecom’s Joyn implementation has a million subscribers.

No Jitter makes a case that Cisco CEO John Chambers is wrong in saying that “video is the new voice”. Instead, they argue, “text is the new voice”, for reasons rooted in the user anthropology of telephony.

That said, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), things like Vodafone OneNet, is forecast to be worth $7.62bn by 2018, growing at 24% CAGR.

Skype is getting a video-messaging feature, which is coming first to non-Windows platforms.

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).

The Fonolo blog links to five key posts on WebRTC. This argues that applications come two to three years after protocol stacks. This one argues that WebRTC doesn’t matter, at least not in the enterprise context, because the real problem is the call centre.

Using WebRTC to adjust the fonts on your website, by tracking the user’s head in their webcam. You may find this a little creepy.

CEBP specialist Voicesage’s revenues are up 32% on the first half of its year.

BigMarker is a web-based conferencing service aimed at teachers that provides for record, transcribe, and replay.

A nice video from Phono:

OpenBTS is coming to MWC.

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.

You’ve got to do something, so the EU Commission is taking an interest in duct-sharing.

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.

More seriously, weak PC sales are a thing for Apple as well, and they responded by cutting prices as much as 15%, especially on the MacBook Pro line.

Samsung’s new low-cost Windows 8 phone, reviewed. More on iOS 6.1 problems. The developer preview of Ubuntu Phone will drop on Thursday, nicely ahead of MWC.

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.

There’s much more discussion at Hacker News, and Heroku apologises here.

Gemalto and Ericsson are working on an embedded, soft-SIM M2M product. A buyer for Telecom Italia’s TV operation? Fearsome Chinese hacker also sells Facebook likes. Marissa Mayer kills 60 Yahoo! apps and buys a couple. INQ ventures into content recommendation. Renesys tracks the impact of a Black Sea cable cut. Sinister mystery with Singapore, Huawei, and advanced semiconductors.

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