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Data = 45% of revenue, net neutrality wars again, Huawei to be “higher than Apple”:Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed. We’re just analysing and writing up the output from the excellent New Digital Economics Brainstorm in London last week, and will be publishing reports and highlights shortly. Next in the Brainstorm series is Digital Arabia, November 11-12 in Dubai - the agenda is now up here. Please email contact@telco2.net for more on how to participate.]

US market approaches 50% data by revenue

The US mobile market is approaching the cross-over point between voice and data revenues. With mobile data revenue at $21bn in Q1, 45% of the industry’s sales are now data, and 50% should be reached later this year. This is being driven by three factors - smartphone adoption, which tends to add more data users, the erosion of messaging revenues, which reduces the traditional revenue base, and interestingly, a steady drift upwards in spending on data by existing smartphone customers.

In this context, Masayoshi Son told a meeting of Softbank shareholders that he thinks Sprint will be easier to turn around than Vodafone Japan, and said that he hopes Softbank will become the world’s biggest company. He said this as the end of the soap opera hove in sight - although Clearwire’s board recommended the Dish offer, Softbank outbid Dish, upping the offer to $5 a share or a 14% premium, and signed up 45% of the shareholders, forcing Clearwire to sign a $155m break clause. Sprint shareholders vote tomorrow.

Elsewhere, Vodafone and Kabel Deutschland agreed on a price of €7.7bn. Interestingly, Vittorio Colao said that the deal was “consistent with our strategy of providing unified communications services”, suggesting he sees quad-play and cable as part of UC. There may yet be a referral to the German anti-trust agency, but a rival bid would be more likely to cause trouble than regulatory action as there is so little overlap.

There’s a writeup here of Reliance Industries’ TD-LTE wireless broadband deployment in India, although not much detail. Industries’ Mukesh Ambani will be renting towers and fibre from his brother Anil’s Reliance Communications; clearly, nothing can go wrong with this arrangement. Virgin Mobile will be one of Saudi Arabia’s first MVNOs. It’s a deal: O2 Ireland is sold to Hutchison for €780m. BT once bought that network for €2.8bn back in 2001.

Turkcell failed to hold its AGM after the long-running dispute between shareholders Cukurova and Altimo broke out again.

Vodafone’s Open Femtocell programme aims to deploy rural small cells into “notspots”, perhaps as a community-led project. EverythingEverywhere is deploying a 4G-backed WLAN hotspot on a tractor at the Glastonbury festival, and is adding more LTE over Telco 2.0 HQ in Silicon Roundabout. Libya is having another go at issuing new telecoms licences. And Ian Livingston leaves BT to join the House of Lords.

German net neutrality; peering wars; Alcatel

There’s been another bout of skirmishes in the net neutrality wars. Last week, DTAG threatened to cap data usage on its fixed ISP connections, but to let some content providers off if they paid up. Cue the storm. Tim Höttgens, who is expected to be the next CEO, says he was taken by surprise by the outrage and political involvement, and tries to calm the troubled waters by pouring on a bit more bandwidth. Specifically, the new rules won’t kick in until 2016, premium users will still be able to pay for flatrate, the volumes will be reviewed in 2016 (sensibly enough), and the throttling will be down to 2Mbps not 384Kbps.

It’s not enough, though - the government minister responsible is determined to impose net neutrality via a regulation he plans to issue before the elections this autumn. Meanwhile, the E5 carriers send their dreadnoughts steaming out again to do battle with Brussels.

The Wall Street Journal has a detailed report on peering rows, in many ways the flip side of net neutrality arguments. It’s worth reading, as is the NANOG thread discussing the issue, especially as one of the WSJ writers took the trouble to attend NANOG.

Verizon, for its part, has gone public and blamed another backbone carrier for poor quality of service on Netflix. Long-standing readers may not be very surprised to find out it’s Cogent.

The point is made that even the Cisco VNI has dramatically revised down its traffic-growth forecasts.

A trip to the DRC, where the landing of a new submarine cable has inspired the government minister to announce that “the country of Joseph Kabila has therefore made its entry into the club of major world powers as having the powerful tool, internet broadband”. He didn’t mention that an official with the incumbent operator had been jailed for stealing the funds for the landing station. Or that there may be a fibre from the landing to Kinshasa but there is no road. Or that the incumbent doesn’t seem to actually operate a network at all.

That said, unlike Angela Merkel, he didn’t say that the Internet was new territory for all of us.

Michel Combes announces his plans for Alcatel, which involve paring quite a few things back and concentrating on the sort of thing you associate with Alcatel. The day Network Solutions lost control of its DNS database. Australia drops data retention.

Move over PRISM, here’s TEMPORA; Facebook data breach; open-source surveillance in the cloud

Yet more surveillance revelations - this time it’s the British. So many submarine cables land in the UK that it would be astonishing if the intelligence services didn’t take an interest, as they did ever since the telegraph era, but perhaps we didn’t quite expect them to try to tap everything, as Project TEMPORA seems to have tried to do.

Facebook, meanwhile, confessed that its “Download Your Information” tool could have been better described as “Download Their Information”, as it accidentally exposed 6 million users’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses over a year.

In the light of this, it is no surprise whatsoever that Google’s acquisition of Waze is subject to regulatory scrutiny, on this occasion from the US Federal Trade Commission. So far, the FTC is mostly interested in competition, but you’d be amazed if the privacy issues didn’t come into it.

DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn’t keep any logs of your searches, has experienced a spike in demand lately.

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However, Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand argues, this is growth from such a low base relative to Google that it is more like evidence that the public don’t care about private search. (Note: one Telco 2.0 analyst is already a DDG user.)

Meanwhile, Barclays Bank is going to start selling anonymised data on its customers.

IEEE Internet Computing is putting out a special open-access edition on the Internet as an arena of competition between systems of control, which is likely to be worth reading. Telex is an original approach to avoiding censorship.

And when the NSA set out to analyse all the data they dug out of Google & Co, where did they go for the technology? Hadoop, the open-source map-reduce system, it turns out.

GE’s “Industrial Internet” launches, in AWS

In cloud news, General Electric launched its cloud-based platform for M2M (sorry, “Industrial Internet”) applications this week. It’s based on Hadoop and technology GE acquired with a startup called Pivotal earlier this year. And like the CIA’s systems last week, it’s running in Amazon Web Services.

DTAG has added a M2M kit to its dev platform. It consists of an Arduino board with a GSM modem, access to the API, and a SIM good for six months’ usage.

The 3G & 4G Wireless Blog is looking for input to its presentation on “Economical M2M with LTE”.

Microsoft is building another huge data centre in Iowa. Here’s an interview on how Mailbox scaled up.

Huawei to be “higher than Apple”; “No progress” for Android vs. iOS? Major carriers back Ubuntu Phone

Huawei has launched its Ascend P6, which it claims is the thinnest smartphone in the world. There’s a detailed interview here with the CEO of devices, who describes the Samsung Galaxy S IV as “a so-so smartphone” and promises to be “higher than Apple”.

Apple is very pleased with this chart, comparing the breakdown of users across the versions of iOS and Android.

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Obviously, fragmentation is far more of an issue with Android, as as discussed here. Radio Free Mobile argues that there has been “no progress for Android vs. iOS”.

The WSJ reports on HTC struggling to survive, and says that the CEO is staying…for now. BlackBerry shares fell as an analyst predicted disappointing results.

Canonical has formed a “carrier advisory group” to support Ubuntu Phone. It includes SKT, KT, Deutsche Telekom, EE, Telecom Italia, and Portugal Telecom among others. And its chairman is none other than Psion/Symbian veteran and chairman of singularitarian network Humanity+ UK, David Wood.

Foxconn plans to hire 3,000 engineers to work on Firefox OS apps.

Joyn starts up in France, Skype starts video messaging

Orange turns up Joyn in France. The story is interesting for the point made by a SAP executive that only the biggest global carriers will want to run their own infrastructure for the technology, and the others will be interested in a hosted solution. Admittedly, SAP Mobile Services would probably add “like ours”, but the point is a sensible one.

Skype has introduced a video-messaging feature, which is free. Chris Kranky points out that mobile networks like to assume one SIM = one device = one user = one phone number, but WebRTC and to a lesser extent other VoIP technologies don’t.

Cisco distinguished engineer Cullen “Fluffy” Jennings played a key role in the standardisation of SIP, and the last time we met him he said he wished he hadn’t. Here’s a detailed howto presentation of his on working with WebRTC.

iTunes users - still buying mostly apps

Horace has another crack at estimating the iTunes video business. The upshot is that it’s growing, it’s mostly movies rather than TV, but it’s still a relatively small chunk of iUsers’ spending, compared to music, apps, or books. Even if Apple says users download more TV episodes than movies, they’re not spending money on them.

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Facebook may be working on the much-sought replacement for Google Reader, a “newspaper for mobile devices”. Digg is working on something similar. The secret of Tumblr’s UX design: sketches on paper.

And it’s both 65 years since Manchester University started up Baby, the first stored-program computer, and therefore, the beginning of software and also, Alan Turing’s 101st birthday.

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