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Nokia vs. Ericsson; Akamai in China; BRIC special - Telco 2.0 News Review

‘Digital Asia 2014’ Executive Brainstorm and Innovation Forum, run by STL Partners in collaboration with Telkom Indonesia, is designed to equip 250 specially-invited business leaders from across the region’s telecoms, enterprise and technology sectors with new, breakthrough ideas, methods and tools on how to grow significant new revenues in the next 12-18 months leveraging Mobile, Cloud and Big Data.

Google’s first billion in India; Xiaomi hires Googler; spectrum rush; Reliance on your children

Google says it expects to make $1bn of revenue in India in FY 2015. This money is coming basically entirely from advertising and e-commerce services, where Google seems to have broken through really well. It’s probably no accident that India is the priority for their Android One low-cost stock-Android devices.

Chinese ODM Xiaomi has, meanwhile, poached an ex-Googler to run its Indian business. Jai Mani worked on Google Play and Analytics before being recruited by Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra, himself an old Googler.

Vodafone India, having bought a boatload of spectrum earlier this year, has asked the Department of Telecoms to release it quicker, and now so has Airtel.

And Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance and India’s richest man, has found the ideal candidates to join the boards of Reliance Jio Infocomm, their mobile operator, and Reliance Retail Ventures, their retailing holding company - two of his children.

Ericsson vs. Nokia Broadband Fight!!; LTE R13; O2 SON; Gigabit Cable

Between Ericsson, Qualcomm, and SingTel, they reckon they’ve demonstrated the first LTE carrier aggregation between FDD (frequency-division duplex) and TDD (time-division duplex) spectrum, making it possible to use cheap unpaired or even free unlicensed spectrum in parallel with the licensed sort. Specifically, they’re keen on using low-band FDD uplink spectrum in tandem with a big block of TDD. The trial, which used a Snapdragon 810, is claimed to have achieved 260Mbps of throughput.

But wait. First, you say?

Nokia Networks’ official blog denies it, claiming that Nokia demonstrated the technology first, in September, during a trial with China Telecom. Fight! Fight! Anyway, Nokia has a €760 million contract with China Mobile this time, for TD-LTE and GSM radios, applications, OSS, and Enhanced Packet Core kit.

China Mobile will also be cooperating with DTAG on connected cars. Specifically, it looks like China Mobile will provide service to DTAG’s connected car platform and also distribute it in China.

Qualcomm seems to be increasingly keen on the device-to-device functionality in recent LTE releases, known as LTE Direct, as a localised ads/beacon solution. They seem to have brought Facebook on board, too.

Speaking of LTE standards, 3GPP has published the working group roadmap for Release 13, and they are adding a lot of new features, notably M2M enhancements and WiFi-like LAN integration, as well as more device-to-device and public-safety functionality. The 3G & 4G Wireless Blog has a cautionary note, though: more antennas may not always improve your signal-to-noise ratio.


In the UK, the government wanted a “quick fix” for rural coverage after the prime minister had a dropped call. So far, the £150m budget has bought exactly two new cell sites. And a survey shows that surprisingly few (8.1%) British consumers take fixed and mobile service from the same provider.

Meanwhile, O2 UK is deploying Cellwize, a centralised self-organising network (SON) solution, to help it manage its Cornerstone infrastructure-sharing project with Vodafone. A big issue here is backhaul, which as it happens is also what Telenor’s CTO says is the biggest problem they face in deploying small cells, in the following video.

In the fixed domain, BT and Huawei claim to have achieved a record level of spectral efficiency on a fibre-optic link, operating at speeds of 3Tbps. More practically, Cox Communications has started rolling out gigabit connectivity for $69.99/mo, making it the first gigabit cableco. To begin with, they are pulling fibre from their distribution network until DOCSIS 3.1 becomes available later this year.

Telia is planning to spend $1.25bn on FTTH in Sweden over the next three years, pushing population coverage to 42% and also providing much more mobile backhaul.

This is critical, because our latest Telco 2.0 Executive Briefing note identified Telia as a carrier that has fallen behind its main competitor, Telenor, after Telenor invested heavily in fibre-optic backhaul.

Screenshot from 2014-10-13 13:21:27.png

Elsewhere, giga-ISP Hyperoptic has added Newcastle, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Sheffield to its deployment plans, and started offering its service as an upgrade in some London hotels, perhaps a smart way to sign up new customers.

And Belkin home routers stopped working, after a server they contact to check if they’re online failed. Without it, the devices automatically route all Internet connections to their configuration page so the user can “fix” it.

Akamai deploying with China Telecom; AWS supports containers; Ubuntu for Telcos

China Telecom’s cloud division, CT Cloud, has announced a strategic partnership with Akamai, to deploy Akamai’s CDN and Edge Computing into their data centres within China (and therefore inside the great firewall).

Everyone loves containers these days, since Docker broke through as the leading DevOps solution for managing servers. Amazon Web Services is unsurprisingly keen to point out that EC2 supports containers and Docker quite deeply.

Meanwhile, here’s an explainer about CoreOS, the Linux distribution specifically designed to be the substrate for Docker containers.

HP (or rather, Hewlett Packard, because HP is now officially the printer company) experts talk about their NFV strategy.

Canonical has a whitepaper out on OpenStack and Ubuntu for carrier NFV projects.

And German SIP provider Sipgate has a rather impressive cloud-MVNO offering with strong Voice 2.0 features.

Oi! You! Resign! Bava out; TI doubles down on Brazil; Slim to sell more in Mexico as Huawei piles in

Oi’s CEO Zeinal Bava has resigned as the merger with Portugal Telecom becomes increasingly entangled with Europe’s economic crisis on one hand, and the coming realignment of Latin American telecoms on the other. First there was the one where PTel lost almost a billion euros of the companies’ joint treasury in the failure of Banco Espirito Santo. Then, the Brazilian market got stirred up and Oi looks like either a consolidator or perhaps a target back home. Now, Altice Group is sniffing around with a bid for PTel alone, valued at about €7bn. There’s even a rumour about Vodafone getting involved, probably for PTel’s extensive fibre network.

In Brazil, last week, TIM hired bankers to prepare a bid for Oi. Now, Telecom Italia has announced that it’s going to invest an additional $950m in TIM. It will be interesting to see whether this really does get spent on CAPEX or whether they are putting financing in place for something.

Last week we learned that Mexico’s new regulator is forcing Carlos Slim to sell his mobile assets on Mexico’s east coast. This week, Slim told Bloomberg that he might go further and sell much more.

Three different operators - Nextel, Telefonica’s opco, and Slim’s Telcel - are all hiring Huawei to deploy LTE around Guadalajara and Merida, a total of 10,000 sites.

Orange may be considering floating its African operations on the stock market and re-investing the money in its European networks. However, it also says it won’t go higher than €3.4bn for Jazztel.

FCC - back to PSTN transition; a heavy docket ahead; no more Euregulation on PSTN; virtual LLU OKd

The FCC is pivoting back to the issue of how the US PSTN is going to transition to an alll-IP system. Harold Feld writes that Chairman Wheeler seems keen to write the principles in the so-called network compact into regulation, although the remaining ILECs want to be exempted from essentially all of it even before the transition happens.

Sprint and T-Mobile, meanwhile, want the FCC to look into AT&T’s string of small 700MHz spectrum purchases, and to say how much spectrum at a time is enough to trigger an FCC review. Here’s a rundown of open issues on the FCC docket before the 600MHz auction can go ahead, and a summary of the most recent FCC roundtable.

And AT&T has been fined $105m for letting dodgy third party ringtone services bill its customers.

AT&T also announced it was doubling the data allowances for business users, which pushes some of the bundles up to 400GB of shared data. Sprint matched it up to 200GB.

The European Commission has withdrawn from regulating fixed telephony on the grounds that volumes are dropping and it’s not that important any more. They also announced that virtual unbundling is considered as good as the real thing. ThinkBroadband discusses this, pointing out that independent ISPs invested heavily in hardware for local loop unbundling, which has now lost much of its value.

ARCEP has published details of its pricing consultation on access to FTTH in the so-called very high density zones.

OFCOM, meanwhile, provides details of UK whitespace trials. We especially like the one that streams meerkats. They also fined 3UK £250,000 for failing to handle complaints.

Apple’s $578m sapphire investment goes nowhere; iPhones and WebRTC; HTC selfiephone; Samsung stock, dross or gold?

So remember when Apple pre-funded a huge factory in Arizona that was going to make artificial sapphire screens for its smartphones, with $578m of its cash? Sure you do. GT Advanced Technologies filed for bankruptcy this week, after the sapphire was nowhere to be seen in the new iPhones. In the filings, they want to void the contract with Apple and shut down the factory.

Apple is saying nothing, but it seems that the GT plant could produce enough for 100 million phones a year plus 20-30 million watches, but for some reason Apple backed out of the deal, perhaps because of problems machining the sapphire to shape further along the line or perhaps because of quality issues at GT, and withheld the last tranche of the payment. It also looks like the GT CEO sold a block of shares in the company the day before the announcement.

Meanwhile, the new iPhone is going to give another twist to the debate about audio codecs in WebRTC, as it ships with H.265 installed for FaceTime, just when Google-championed VP9 looked to be winning. And here’s a look at Apple’s engagement with the fashion industry ahead of the watch launch.

HTC has a new smartphone with the main camera pointing at the user. They also have a rather nice action camera with an ultra-wide lens.

Samsung’s Q3 guidance was pretty lacklustre. This has triggered an interesting debate. Asymco Horace reckons there are a lot of small companies that used to be big companies and this is the beginning. Barrons points out that Samsung’s cash and investments alone make up 40% of the company’s market value and the memory chip business on its own might make $10bn in profits next year, and therefore Samsung shares are a huge recovery play.

EE free-hee tee-vee; Netflix slaps a premium rate on 4K video; iPad mag publisher gives up

EE is offering a TV product free if you take their broadband, like they do in France. The device is from French manufacturer Netgem, and includes four broadcast tuners and 1TB of storage. You get 70 TV channels and a range of video-on-demand services pre-installed.

Netflix is offering 4K ultra-high definition versions of some of its content, but only if you pay a premium price. So far there isn’t much.

Money transfer, by tweet.

And a top iPad publisher quits and explains why.

T-Mobile UK’s lawful-intercept tool is called Police Liaison Onscreen Database or PLOD. Was the rash of “stingray” IMSI catcher stories mostly publicity for a hardened phone maker? Cyanogenmod uses buggy sample code from Oracle. Analysing networks data to monitor Ebola.

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