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November 27, 2014

Five Principles for Disruptive Strategy


We’ve just published a new research paper ‘Five Principles for Disruptive Strategy’. What is disruption, when is it a good idea, and what do you do when it happens to you? We illustrate five principles of disruptive strategy based on our analysis of the telecoms and adjacent markets over the past eight years. The analysis covers both principles of creating and defending against disruption.

You can read an excerpt of the report here

For more on any of these services, please email contact@telco2.net or call +44 207 247 5003.


Figure 4  KPNs SMS volumes have continued to decline since 2010.jpg

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November 24, 2014

America-T-Movil, BT Cellnet 2.0, PSTN transition, Free’s cloud - 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.

America T-Movil? AT&T after Nextel.mx, TI after Oi, Oi wants to sell PTel to Altice

Will America Movil make a bid for T-Mobile USA? Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges mentioned them in a list of hypothetical buyers that also included DISH and also Comcast, but denied being in any talks or indeed really wanting to sell any time soon. America Movil, of course, faces the arrival of real competition in Mexico and is keen to diversify. It also owns pre-pay MVNO Tracfone, which is under heavy pressure from T-Mobile’s price cuts.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, meanwhile, has denied any interest in the assets America Movil has to sell in Mexico, while confirming that the carrier is very interested indeed in Mexico. Rather than the America Movil assets, AT&T is keen on buying up Nextel Mexico, whose 800MHz spectrum has become more valuable in the context of LTE.

In Brazil, meanwhile, Telecom Italia’s CEO, Marco Patuano, has come down in favour of a bid for Oi. He envisages combining Oi and TIM Brasil, with TI holding a controlling stake, and argues that giving Oi a fixed network and cutting out duplication would amount to savings of $7.8 billion to $11.7 billion. TI, he thought, might have to raise $2.5bn in new capital to fund the deal, although it also sounds like TIM is about to sell its towers, kicking in $1.1bn from that transaction alone. TI denies that it might need to raise any capital.

Oi, meanwhile, is supporting the bid for Portugal Telecom by French cableco Altice. They are much less keen on the bid for a different PTel holding company by Isabel dos Santos’s company Terra Pelengrin, which they say would:

overcomplicate its ongoing restructuring process

To put it another way, Oi has clearly tired of the whole mess and wants to get PTel off its hands as quickly as possible, in order to deal with the Brazilian situation.

Altice has quietly become seriously acquisitive. Having bought SFR and chucked in a bid for PTel, it’s now making noises about bidding for Bouygues and taking France back to three MNOs. What would the regulator make of that?

Meanwhile, Telefonica launched its Tuenti sub-brand/social network in Argentina, having already rolled it out in Spain, Mexico, and Peru. It’s a sign of the times that although Tuenti started as a Facebook-clone social networking app, one of its main selling points is now that it offers unlimited WhatsApp.

The former head of Chile’s regulator says that if his former colleagues don’t get their skates on and licence the 700MHz band, the mobile networks will “collapse” in the first half of 2016.

Ecuador has a new submarine cable.

Surf the Net. Surf the BT Cellnet; UK operators challenge BT infrastructure access; Airwave 2.0 up for grabs

Telefonica may be about to sell O2 UK, right back to its original parent, BT. This time, thanks to technological progress, you really will be able to “Surf the Net. Surf the BT Cellnet”. Snark aside, the back story here is that Telefonica has fallen behind schedule on its plans to reduce its enormous debts. O2 UK is an attractive asset, BT is both shy a mobile network and relatively unleveraged, so there’s your deal. In the event it happens, Telefonica wants to keep 20% of the combined company and sign a “strategic alliance” with BT.

That would probably put the kibosh on BT’s plans for a Free-like, small-cells and WiFi centric, mobile operator in the chunk of 2.6GHz spectrum it acquired last year. Faultline argues that the UK is heading for a French-style quad-play disruption, but they were writing before the Telefonica-BT deal broke. The suggestion that TalkTalk might pull something disruptive is interesting, though, as is the idea that Vodafone is moving towards a major commitment to fibre. It’s not just that Vodafone could sell retail broadband and TV down it - it’s also that Vodafone is in need of more fibre to the cell to compete with 3UK’s 90%+ coverage with fibre backhaul, as this chart from our Differentiated Mobile Data Executive Briefing shows.

Screenshot from 2014-11-24 13:02:35.png

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao is distinctly cool about buying content, as he might well be after that chart, although he’s clearly worried that BT football spending will drag them in.

Last week, BT announced that it wanted to fold BT Wholesale into Openreach. This week, a who’s who of UK altnets, ISPs, and mobile operators wrote to OFCOM protesting what they call a BT monopoly and demanding that OFCOM force BT to let them install cable in BT passive infrastructure (ducts, poles etc) and unbundle links to businesses (in context, Gigabit Ethernet backhaul links) as well as retail ones.

Network Rail, the state entity that manages the UK’s railway infrastructure, owns an extensive fibre-optic network, and also a variety of mobile and voice systems. They have just applied to start offering dark fibre to customers outside the railways, notably rural broadband projects.

OFCOM, meanwhile, has announced that it expects to get the 700MHz band available by 2022 or perhaps 2020.

The Home Office, meanwhile, is looking at contracts for the emergency services’ future radio network. The £2.9bn contract for the existing Airwave service, a TETRA network originally built by O2, runs out in 2016. It’s fair to say it’s been one of those procurement fiascos - the 2G network came into service in 2005-2006, just in time to be hopelessly obsolete, after years of wrangling between the different services about their requirements, and it fell behind the demand for bandwidth very quickly. Unfortunately, the lucky bidder will have to deal with both the government and the new Police ICT company, although nobody’s quite sure how this organisation will work.

Meanwhile, the Police 101 and NHS 111 not-quite-emergency phone numbers were down this weekend after something went wrong at Vodafone UK. BT’s outsourced Yahoo! e-mail was also outaged, after a submarine cable cut.

Are the towercos the new monopolists? FCC takes up PSTN transition; AWS-3 explodes; against “competition vs investment”

We mentioned the importance of fibre-to-the-cell. Here’s Adtran CEO Ronan Kelly discussing how operators with FTTH assets can make it part of their business as well as using it themselves.

Ironically, as more and more operators sell off their towers, the differentiation between mobile operators may end up being more about their fixed fibre networks than their radio networks. TalkingPointz points out that Verizon Wireless is the latest US operator to look at selling its towers, and like the others, the buyer is Crown Castle. From the operator’s point of view, this is just a financial choice - towers can be financed with equity or with debt, or the problem can be given to someone else in exchange for rent.

For the rest of us, though, doesn’t this increasing consolidation of infrastructure ownership start to look like an unregulated monopoly, or alternatively, an unregulated infrastructure-sharing alliance? How long before the regulators get involved?

The regulators have quite a bit of business on their plate at the moment. This week, the FCC voted to take up two proposals regulating the transition of the PSTN to all-IP and the future of the 911 service. Chairman Wheeler asserted some principles in this blog post. Harold Feld explains here, and argues that AT&T ought to be pleased.

Meanwhile, the AWS-3 spectrum auction has turned into a bidding war, pushing up to a record $34bn in bids. Of course, we’ll all pay for that in our phone bills.

The UK government may be moving towards supporting net neutrality, while the European legislation seems to be getting watered down.

Benoit Felten takes issue with the idea, floated by Commissioner Oettinger, that operators should be allowed to have a monopoly in under-served areas. He argues instead for stronger structural separation, going all the way to the New Zealand model, and points out that there is no evidence that there is a trade-off between competition and investment. We found something similar in Differentiated Mobile Data - all the three breakaway mobile operators (3UK, Telenor Sweden, and Free Mobile) are challengers rather than incumbents. And in the US, independent telephone companies are much more likely to invest in gigabit fibre.

French regulator ARCEP has published a major study on usage of the access network. Update your CAGR estimates: ARCEP puts annual data traffic growth at 20% on wireline and 60% on wireless.

WhatsApp encrypts all traffic; new drive to secure the whole web; naughty telco, meet naughty cops

WhatsApp is now encrypted from end to end with perfect-forward secrecy. Specifically, the new client is a wrapper around WhisperSystems’ open-source TextSecure client, already popular among the security-conscious, and which provides encryption all the way from user to user. This of course means that Facebook can’t read the traffic or insert ads into it, although as the system is client-server, they do know that the communication occurred. Exactly how this fits their business model is unclear, but it suffices to note that this is almost certainly the biggest single crypto deployment ever.

Cisco, Akamai, Mozilla, the EFF, and Michigan University are starting a new SSL certificate authority, intended to be a model for others and also to provide an extremely simple and free way of getting more websites to deploy HTTPS. They hope to launch in summer 2015 and to eventually make it possible to get rid of unencrypted HTTP completely.

A group of New Mexico cops have been caught sending fake court orders to telcos demanding subscriber data, having never gone to court to get a warrant. The following operators complied with the phony documents: Verizon
AT&T, T-Mobile, Commnet, Cricket (since acquired by AT&T), Level 3 Communications, MetroPCS, Sprint.

Project Nigella was the codename for GCHQ’s cooperation with Cable & Wireless, then with Vodafone, to tap a major submarine cable. The figure of “trillions of gigabytes” seems to be wrong.

Carnage in the Sprint boardroom; China Mobile 4G network plans; Vodafone partners with new African 4G builder

Heads roll at Sprint. The CMO who invented “Framily” plans, Jeff Hallock, is out. So is the president of enterprise solutions, Matt Carter, and the head of corporate communications, Bill White. White is replaced by former AT&T PR, Doug Michelman, and a new post of Chief Experience Officer is created for Bob Johnson, until now president of retail and CIO. They’re also hiring a chief procurement officer, IT consultant Frank Boyer.

China Mobile EVP Li Zhengmao says that the carrier hopes to achieve gigabit speeds in 4G, rather than waiting for 5G to materialise. He pointed out that since 4G deployment began, they had already pushed the peak throughput from 14Mbps to 110. Fortunately, the cost per bit is estimated at being one-third what it was on 2G and one-fourth what it was on 3G, interestingly suggesting that progress went into reverse on 3G. (You’ve heard of that difficult second album - it was that difficult third world-wide mobile network standard.)

Axiata reported Q3 net profits down 11.3%, although it blamed this on exchange rates.

Afrimax, which is planning to launch TD-LTE networks around southern Africa, is going to be a Vodafone network partner.

MTN Uganda has 7 million financial services users and 50,000 agents, and it’s using Ericsson’s Converged Wallet solution.

Tele2’s own network is going live in January in the Netherlands.

Huawei 4G plans oddly like China Mobile’s; Alcatel’s LTE in the sky; Qualcomm guidance

Huawei’s Ryan Ding, president of products and solutions, said that they would be rolling out more technology enhancements to their 4G products in 2016, but wouldn’t call it 5G. Perhaps 4.5G, or 4GX, or whatever - as he quite rightly says, it’s a marketing term. He’s targeting a gigabit, just like China Mobile. It’s as if there was some sort of plan.

Meanwhile, Marcus Weldon, Alcatel-Lucent’s CTO, argues that small cells are the only solution, basing this on the well-known fact that most capacity comes from subdivision.

Alcatel is working with Inmarsat on a hybrid terrestrial-satellite network it hopes will provide 4G connectivity on aircraft over Europe. It consists of ground stations and a new satellite, all working in the S-band between 2 and 2.2GHz.

Qualcomm expects “only” 8 to 10% revenue growth for the next few years, what with the Chinese anti-trust and the topping-out of smartphone shipments in the US.

And a sheep farmer in South Africa has caught a Google Loon balloon.

Disappointment at Samsung; revival at BlackBerry; M2M; WebRTC; Free’s cloud

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is proving a disappointment: 12 million have sold in the time it took to house 16 million S4s, and there is much angst at Samsung as a result. The company is considering re-organising, but in truth a lot of things are on hold until the hospitalised boss returns.

Perhaps the problem is that the S5 isn’t a product so much as a thousand features flying in close formation. The concept was basically “like the S4, but with more of everything”, after all. Compare this strongly positive review of the BlackBerry Passport, which has a very strong product identity and user profile, and which BlackBerry is struggling to keep in stock because they sell as they come in.

If your needs are even more niche than the Passport, you might try supporting the Jolla tablet, which is being crowdfunded.

AT&T has signed up Rockwell Automation to use its global SIM and M2M apps platform. ABI Research thinks M2M platforms are growing 28% year-on-year, but that will only get them to $1.4bn by 2020.

Jasper Wireless may be preparing to IPO, targeting an $150m valuation. There’s an interview with the founder here.

The great debate about WebRTC video codecs is now over, at least for a while. The IETF working group has reached agreement, roughly on the lines that anything a human is likely to interact with has to support both VP8 and H.264, while anything that doesn’t rise to the level of a full user agent can pick one. This gives Google and Mozilla most of what they wanted, Cisco and Microsoft some of what they wanted, and makes things fairly simple for apps developers. Smaller browsers have lost out in that they might not be able to use the Cisco-offered free H.264 licence.

Tropo’s Adam Kalsey presented at the recent TADS conference on voice and the cloud:

Here’s a rundown of some recent WebRTC platform startups. It’s interesting how many of them started off as original Voice 2.0 companies (Fring, Rebtel, and Digium are all in there).

If Xavier Niel’s merry men at Iliad built a cloud, you just know it would be awesome. Their hosting arm has done, and it’s interesting - based on a lot of low-power ARM chips and entirely bare-metal, sans hypervisors. In some ways, it’s managed hosting that looks like a cloud.

A really high performance distributed messaging system.

And it’s over - after 10 years, Yahoo! takes over as Firefox’s default search engine and as a result, major revenue source.

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November 20, 2014

Cloud: What is the role of telcos in cloud services in 2015?


We’ve just published a new research paper ‘Cloud: What is the role of telcos in cloud services in 2015?’. Service providers need to grow new revenues. The cloud market looks potentially attractive, and is growing at about 30% CAGR, but it is dominated in many areas by Amazon, Google and Microsoft. So is Cloud part of the answer for telcos, and if so how? This report looks at the role of the service provider in the cloud market and products that service providers might offer in 2015.

You can read an excerpt of the report here

We’ll also be exploring the topic of Cloud and Enterprise ICT further at Digital Asia (2-4 December, Bali), and are initiating coverage of a new research programme on Cloud and Enterprise ICT . For more on any of these services, please email contact@telco2.net or call +44 207 247 5003.
Cloud article.jpg

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November 17, 2014

Title II, Fibre-to-the-Cell, Skype for Browsers, HD WiFi, AWS: 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.

Obama’s Title II speech uncorks lobby-fest; AT&T “pauses” fibre build they’d already stopped

Fight! Fight! So last week, President Obama said he wanted the FCC to reclassify broadband under Title II. This week, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler put off a vote on the issue, asking for more time to “consult” the industry.

AT&T, meanwhile, responded by “pausing” its gigabit fibre rollout, a threat that would be more convincing if they hadn’t announced that their broadband rollout under Project VIP was over in their Q3 results a week earlier, with a $3bn cut in their CAPEX guidance (see News Review for the 10th November).

The FCC hit back, demanding to know exactly what they were “pausing” and how that relates to the commitment they made to the FCC over the DirecTV merger.

The lobbying storm picked up, with the GSMA wanting a carve-out for mobile, and Republicans denouncing the whole idea.

Netflix, meanwhile, says the money it pays Comcast is 60% of the total cost of serving one of their customers. This discussion at 10pm UK time tonight sounds interesting. Is being a utility the highest compliment a business can get?

If carriers are worried about “uncertainty” due to the Title II announcement, they didn’t show it in the AWS-3 spectrum auction; Fierce reports that they pushed the first round of bidding to $1.77bn. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising as there’s a 2x10MHz block over New York City in there.

And the FTC wants answers from Apple about what it will do with HealthKit data.

[NB For our part, the answers we’re after are on ‘The Future of the Network’ - a new research programme into. If you’re thinking about network strategies, regulation, spectrum, fibre-t-t-x, 5G, IoT nets, etc., we’d appreciate your input via this short online survey.]

T-Mobile USA’s secret: fibre; US data usage over 2GB/mo; Vodafone, Telefonica suffer; putting BTw in Openreach

How has T-Mobile USA coped with the massive swing to growth its price war has unleashed? CFO Braxton Carter mentions something interesting - T-Mo has been pulling fibre to its cell sites for the last five years and now has fibre at 50,000 out of 60,000 Node-Bs.

We also pointed out that fibre to the cell is a key differentiator in our recent Differentiated Mobile Data Executive Briefing. Of course we’ll be keeping an eye on this in our continuing Future of the Network research stream. For the moment, let’s just point out that Centurylink, Virgin Media, and Zayo (ex-Abovenet) seem to be emerging as specialist fibre-to-the-cell providers.

Chetan Sharma puts some numbers on why you might need gigabit and quite possibly 10 gigabit to the tower. US average mobile data consumption is now over 2GB/mo, a year after it passed 1GB. It took 20 years to reach 1GB. Pricing, meanwhile, has collapsed, with the marginal price falling 77% year-to-date as the price war rages on.

Vodafone’s H1s reflect this in as much as the operator is becoming increasingly fixed broadband-centric. Fixed service revenue is now 18.7% of the total, and is expected to reach 25% by the end of 2015. That said, as we point out in Differentiated Mobile Data, even the Project Spring investments will only get them to 30% fibre-to-the-cell, and the core mobile business is still shrinking in Europe, with service revenue down 6.5% year-on-year. After a strong performance in emerging markets was counted in, that left the groupwide top line down 3%.

Telefonica’s Latin American operations are singing a happy tune, but the best news in Europe is that the “rate of decline is declining”. Also, data traffic and the smartphone ration are way up, but that’s no good if you can’t carry it profitably. Net income was down 13%.

SingTel, meanwhile, is seeing an 11% ARPU uplift when it converts an ADSL household to fibre. Iliad Q3s are in, and they scored 480k net adds and 30% revenue growth in mobile, plus 70k net adds in the all-important fibre ISP business. Remember, each one of those is another base station for the mobile operator.

In the UK, TalkTalk has decided to trim its subscriber base where its own network doesn’t reach, selling the customers who are on BT bitstream products. As their ARPU is 25% higher for an unbundled customer than a wholesale line rental customer, you can see why they might do that. Ironically, Virgin Media is doing something similar, selling off its ADSL business to concentrate on the cable network, and the buyer is TalkTalk! The point is that TalkTalk probably thinks it can port the Virgin customers onto its own unbundled wires quickly. TalkTalk has also renewed its MVNO agreement with Telefonica UK, adding 4G.

TT is one of the three partners in the joint FTTH build in York. This week, the project’s operating company was registered and it applied for permission to dig. It’s needed: via an Advertising Standards Authority complaint, it turns out that BT has covered 0.7% of the UK with FTTH as against its original commitment to 25%.

Another of those partners, CityFibre Holdings, has signed an agreement with EE and 3UK to provide them with dark fibre to the cell in Hull. In Differentiated Mobile Data we pointed out that 3UK’s success is built on its 90%+ coverage of fibre to the cell; this is both very important to the mobile operators, and a potential launch-customer for CityFibre.

BT, meanwhile, wants to move BT Wholesale into Openreach, seeing as Openreach’s dark fibre and Ethernet products are taking over from BTw’s traditional carrier-services operation. At face value, this would be a case of BT volunteering to move a sizeable business into a more restrictive regulatory regime, so watch out for them trying to get concessions out of OFCOM.

EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger is leaning towards the telcos again, suggesting they might get a let-off on long contracts.

Here’s the final reckoning on Phones4U; its bondholders will get back 10 pence in the pound, the taxpayer will get back nothing from £168m it owed the revenue, while its banks will recover the whole lot of a £19m overdraft and owners BC Partners get to keep the 30% return they made on the deal.

Nick Hunn points out that if we start decommissioning 2G networks, the cost of an M2M module will jump dramatically just at the moment it needs to be falling fast. Fortunately, SK Telecom has an idea: an overlay 2G network backhauled by the LTE network. SKT is thinking of it in terms of failover, but it might also be a neat way to provide continuing 2G service for M2M applications cheaply. Which is exactly the kind of thing we want to look at in our Future of the Network survey

Skype moves onto the Web; Matrix.org, novel signalling framework; Cisco’s HD VoWiFi

Microsoft has just brought the whole WebRTC/Object-RTC issue to a head, by launching Skype in the browser. On Internet Explorer 10 and beyond, it will be native because ORTC is present, but it will need a plugin in Firefox, Chrome, and other WebRTC-supporting browsers.

MS is giving Skype some attention at the moment - they’ve also rebranded the Lync client as Skype for Business, re-launching an old brand in the process, and integrated a lot of Skype look-and-feel, while on the consumer side they’ve relaunched Qik, the vlogger app Skype acquired years ago. We wrote back in 2011 in our What Skype/Microsoft means for telcos Executive Briefing that what Skype really needed was better integration with the Web - perhaps they’re getting there? Tsahi Levent-Levi says something similar.

Matrix.org is an encrypted, distributed HTTPS-based signalling network for WebRTC call setup, messaging, M2M, or what you like. Here’s a really interesting interview with its inventor, plus extra discussion of its similarities and differences with XMPP in the comments.

Cisco has a new carrier-WiFi product optimised for high-definition voice. It seems to be targeted at cable operators.

After last week’s stinker review of Verizon’s Advanced Calling VoLTE product, here’s a favourable review of T-Mobile’s VoWiFi app.

AWS: 3 million servers; will new data centre starts slow down? Ericsson, Nokia Networks cloud news

Amazon Web Services is up to 3 million servers, according to talks at their re:Invent conference, with between 50k and 80k physical machines in each data centre.

AWS announced that several of their products have started to emit event notifications when things happen, which you can use in the new AWS Lambda service. This lets you write node.js code and upload it, and executes it when a specified event comes in, as a zero-administration computing platform.

IDC reckons that the rate of new data centre construction will peak in 2017, although actual square footage or power density will keep climbing. To put it another way they expect existing sites to keep growing.

Facebook’s latest data centre uses smaller clusters so that it can have a flat network architecture, which might help to scale out within the facility.

Ericsson is going to cut jobs, while it also tries to increase its non-telco revenue from 10% to 25% by 2020.

Nokia Networks, meanwhile, is going to ship its NFV products on top of HP’s version of OpenStack.

Streaming video alliance; Amazon-Hachette settlement; iCloud numbers; Rocket plans 10 IPOs next year

The Streaming Video Alliance includes content owners, vendors, and some telcos, notably TI, Telstra, and KT, as well as L(3) from the core Internet and Charter and Comcast from cable.

Amazon and Hachette have settled their dispute, and Amazon has accepted an agency business model, although it seems Hachette made some concessions on pricing.

Horace tries to estimate the size of iCloud. As with most Apple analysis, the stand-out ends up being just how huge the iPhone hardware and the apps business are.

Rocket Internet is going to float another 10 startups this coming year.

Google has withdrawn the Google Wallet Digital Goods API.

Uber. And Spotify. Together. More Silly Valley it doesn’t get.

MasterCard and Visa want to shut down Verified by Visa/MasterCard SecureCode and replace it first with mobile two-factor authentication and then biometrics at some point in the future.

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November 15, 2014

What is the Future of the Network?


We’re launching a new Research Stream on the Future of the Network to look at the key strategic issues in the design, development and delivery of the network, and we’d like your input on the key issues through a short online survey here. We want to understand the specific issues and questions you need to address, and to get your steer on our current draft agenda.

The Stream will cover fixed and mobile networks, and issues including: the impact and direction of regulation and technologies, new network business models, the ‘spectrum crunch’, 3G/4G/5G, net neutrality and beyond, the future of WiFi, IoT networks, the extent of fibre, convergence of fixed and mobile networks, backhaul strategies, the true network impact of SDN and NFV, and more.
Future of the Networks Stream Nob 2014.png
So whether you’re from a telecoms company, network or systems vendor, regulator, or anyone else interested in driving the direction of the network of the future, we’d really value your input here. If you’d like to get involved in any other way, please email contact@telco2.net.

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November 13, 2014

Introducing our new research streams: Cloud & Enterprise ICT, Dealing with Disruption, The Future of the Network and Telco 2.0 Transformation.


We’re excited to announce the launch of four new in-depth research streams that address key areas of strategy and implementation:

  • Dealing with Disruption: This stream helps executives identify threats and opportunities arising from disruption in communications, commerce and content, and the actions required to deal with it.
  • Cloud & Enterprise ICT: Ongoing analysis of the progress of and prospects for telcos addressing or seeking to address $Multi-Billion advanced ICT opportunities such as enterprise mobility, cloud, and vertical industry solutions (e.g. eHealth) in the enterprise market.
  • Telco 2.0 Transformation: This stream is a new service to helps executives identify opportunities, counter threats and manage the change required to enable the growth of $350+Bn of new revenue in the telecoms industry by 2020.
  • Coming soon - New Generation Networks: New business models and strategies for Next Generation Networks and how they can help deliver improved business performance. In the meantime we’d like your input into the programme here
Each research stream is available as a subscription service and will provide:
  • A stream of c.10 new briefing reports a year
  • A searchable existing database of our existing research categorised to each research programme
  • Sessions at our executive brainstorms, plus networking and information sharing activities.

    The research streams build upon our nine years of unique research and are complimentary to our existing Executive Briefing Service: a comprehensive premium service for strategists and decision makers designing and leading strategy, innovation, and business model change.

    We’ll also be exploring the topics above at Digital Asia 2014 (2-4 December, Bali). For more on any of these services, please email contact@telco2.net or call +44 207 247 5003.

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  • November 12, 2014

    Netflix: Threat or Opportunity?


    We’ve just published a new research paper ‘Netflix: Threat or Opportunity?’. Netflix’s success in the US and in Western Europe has demonstrated that consumers are willing to change how they watch and pay for TV and movies. As a result Netflix’s OTT proposition is challenging traditional pay TV models and changing how new broadband services are looking at content. For some players Netflix is a threat and for others an opportunity. So, how should content owners, channels, pay platforms and broadband providers respond?

    You can read an excerpt of the report here. We’ll also be exploring the topic of disruption further at Digital Asia (2-4 December, Bali), and are initiating coverage of a new research programme on Dealing with Disruption, and we’d really appreciate your input here. For more on any of these services, please email contact@telco2.net or call +44 207 247 5003.


    Netflix_Threat_or_Opportunity

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    November 10, 2014

    LatAm, Title II, Voice 2.0, Internet of Things: 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.

    Oi-Portugal Telecom - things become more serious; AT&T buys into Iusacell

    So Altice, aka the holding company for Numericable and now SFR, went ahead and put down a bid of €7bn for Portugal Telecom. Technically, PTel is part of the way through merging with Brazilian operator Oi, and Oi is not happy about it.

    Oi has had to put up with a lot since it decided to get involved with PTel - first there was the whole sorry business where PTel lost almost a billion euros of the joint treasury in the wreck of Banco Espiritu Santo, then the CEO had to resign, and then there was this. In case you’re wondering, the Altice bid specifically excludes any of the investments in one of Espiritu Santo’s special purpose vehicles PTel sunk its cash into.

    Now, as if it wasn’t enough, here comes Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, also leaping in with a bid for the carrier. (Don’t think of some sort of bottom-of-the-pyramid entrepreneur here, by the way - she’s the daughter of oil-rich Angola’s dictator.) Oi is now even less happy.

    “Having been informed about the launched takeover bid … Oi’s board considers inopportune any change in the previously agreed terms of definitive contracts signed with Portugal Telecom SGPS on Sept. 8 2014,”

    There’s also a bid from at least one private-equity fund lurking out there. This Reuters story details some of the financials. Trading in PTel is suspended.

    Elsewhere, Argentina auctioned $2bn worth of LTE spectrum in four bands and may be getting a new MNO as a result, and TIM Brasil, the MNO everybody wants to buy, saw its EBITDA rise 6% in Q3 on strong data revenues, up 23% year on year.

    We also note that although there are now more mobile broadband than fixed broadband users in Mexico, the number is still growing - although perhaps that’s not quite as surprising as all that, seeeing as total mobile broadband revenues have overtaken fixed broadband revenues in Spain.

    In Mexico, AT&T has acquired Iusacell, spending $2.5bn to take control of a 3G network with 8.6m subscribers, 70% population coverage, and 25MHz of 800MHz spectrum. Interestingly, seeing how TV-focused they’ve been in the US, they’re going to sell the company’s pay-TV assets back to its existing shareholders, perhaps not wanting to compete with anything DirecTV might do south of the border.

    World wireless CapEx; UK national roaming; Ericsson Radio Dot; spaceships

    At the end of the press release on Iusacell, AT&T quietly points out that it has done all the 4G and FTTH roll-out it wants to, and the CapEx associated with “Project VIP” is now going to taper off. It’s no surprise, then, that another report thinks wireless CapEx is slowing down. ABI Research puts a number of 5.9% annual growth on 2014, a considerable slowdown over 2013, although at least it’s growth. This spending will be concentrated on Latin America, Asia, and Africa, as the North American 4G rollouts complete.

    Interestingly, they suggest that small-cells have quite a bit of room to grow. $37bn of world CapEx will go into traditional macro-cell RANs this year and $2.1bn into small cells. However, there are signs that networks might be adding quite a lot of them - microwave backhaul spending is up 40%. At the levels of capacity we see today, macrosites really need fibre, so this may be a signal that operators are getting the infrastructure in place to deploy more small cells that need to be reached by radio links.

    Speaking of small cells, The Mobile Network has an interesting article on how it took Ericsson so long to get its Radio Dot technology into a real product, and why they went with something closer to a distributed antenna system rather than an integrated small cell.

    Ericsson’s Johan Wibergh, EVP Networks, argues that they needed time to convince the market that the Dot could work, which is hardly a recommendation. Their case for the Dot is that it has all the features of their RBS macrocells, because it’s really a macrocell baseband chip, but it doesn’t cost as much as a small cell set-up, because the dots contain only radios rather than a whole computer. They’re also against edge computing, and Wibergh argues Intel Atom chips are too expensive.

    The UK government has a consultation out which goes beyond national roaming to involve quite a lot of new ideas, including permitting MVNOs to do on-the-fly provisioning, something like the so-called Dutch solution where customers can get their own Mobile Network Code and have roaming agreements with as many operators as they like.

    At the same time, it’s releasing another big chunk of ex-defence spectrum, in the 2.3 and 3.4GHz bands. The target date is late 2015 or early 2016. Strangely, given the new concern about “notspots”, there is no population coverage requirement.

    Here’s an interview with Dana Pressman Tobak, CEO of Hyperoptic, about their further deployment plans. The most interesting points are probably that the rule-of-thumb minimum scale for one of their builds is now down to 50 homes, and in fact there’s one with only 18, and further that broadband is the “driver and enabler” of the business and TV is a secondary concern. Also, they are using precisely no BT ducts.

    “Fibre to the press release”, a useful phrase and one we’ll probably hear more of.

    This was predicted at the time, notably by Xavier Niel: Numericable is pulling out of SFR’s planned FTTH builds, on the principle that it’s happy with its own cable infrastructure and doesn’t see the need for fibre.

    And here goes another of those plans for a big network of low-earth orbit satellites. This one has backing from Greg Wyler, formerly of O3b Networks and Google, and Elon Musk, the PayPal billionaire and SpaceX founder. Musk’s got a rocket and Wyler’s got a satellite - what could possibly go wrong? The answer may lurk in the fact Wyler is now an ex-Googler, having brought his satellite-ISP idea to Google in the first place.

    AT&T’s Stephenson vs. Title II…Title II wins; Inside the Netflix/Verizon dispute

    So AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson appealed directly to the FCC chairman not to reclassify broadband under Title II. Then President Obama did the opposite.

    Well, if anything’s a first-class regulatory event this must be it.

    Is it anything to do with this scoop at Ars Technica? It turns out that during the Netflix/Comcast (or Netflix/Verizon) dispute, transit provider Cogent was applying preferential quality of service to its retail customers (in context, businesses that used it as their ISP) at the expense of its wholesale transit customers (i.e other carriers and content providers). To put it another way, when so many people thought Netflix should pay to deliver its packets, it was actually the carrier Netflix was paying to deliver packets that wasn’t delivering them.

    Then, when Netflix and Comcast came to an agreement, Cogent put speed-test measurement traffic into the preferential group, giving the impression of an immediate and dramatic improvement. None of this is even close to complying with the Open Internet Order.

    US price wars grind on, Sprint suffers; DTAG, Zain Q3s, Free coverage plans

    Xavier Niel has let slip some data points about Free’s mobile roll-out. He claims that they have already passed their target of 75% population coverage on 3G, required by January 2015, and that the new target is 95% by end-2016, whereas the regulatory requirement is 90% by 2018. Further, he claims that they already have 50% population coverage on 4G.

    If this is true, the end of the national roaming agreement with Orange is in sight - the obligation to provide national roaming runs out once Free reaches the regulatory coverage target. Niel says he won’t miss it, as it is “plagued by saturation problems”. He also says that he doesn’t believe any further consolidation will be allowed by the regulator. Interestingly, it also turns out that France has more public WiFi per capita than any other country.

    Deutsche Telekom’s Q3s are out, and “all strategy-related trends are clearly on an upward trajectory”. Well, except for net profit, which was down 2.8% year-on-year. Zain’s Q3 and YTD numbers were similarly down a tad, although an EBITDA margin of 42% is nothing to complain about.

    Sprint announced Q3s, they weren’t good. In fact they were bad enough to drag down Softbank’s groupwide results. Perhaps the worst detail was that monthly churn in postpaid is now over 2%. As a result the Softbank EVP and CTO, Junichi Miyakawa is going to be Sprint’s Technical COO.

    Bharti Airtel’s data revenues were up 73% in Q3. Fascinatingly, they’ve dusted off WAP, in order to set up a basic, introductory Internet offering for featurephone users.

    And MTN’s CEO would like regulators to let him buy out some other MNOs, as Uganda probably doesn’t need six of them.

    VoLTE moves into deployment; Tropo in the cloud; Microsoft, Android, and WebRTC

    The iPhone 6 is driving a surge in the uptake of VoLTE, and a plunge in 3G circuit-switched voice calls, says RAN analytics company Newfield Wireless. In fact you could make something similar out around the news.

    Verizon Wireless and AT&T announced in a joint statement that they expect to turn up VoLTE interoperability some time next year. T-Mobile USA’s John Legere was typically sarcastic about the fact they weren’t invited.

    That said, this blogger has tried VZW’s VoLTE product and has nothing good to say about it, complaining of dropped calls and problems with 3G/4G interworking. Notably, it can’t fall back to 3G voice, and the media gateway used for interworking with the PSTN and PLMN is introducing noise. They compare it unfavourably with both T-Mobile’s VoWLAN and over-the-top mobile SIP.

    Last week Microsoft announced that Skype would henceforth support Object-RTC, their flavour of WebRTC. Chris Kranky argues that quite soon, Internet Explorer may actually be ahead of Chrome for WebRTC implementation as a result.

    Tsahi Levent-Levi points out that the vendors who have rushed to announce “ORTC support” after this are considerably less keen to say that ORTC is even less finished as a standard than WebRTC 1.0, which isn’t.

    Meanwhile, here’s a post comparing the Google and Ericsson implementations of WebRTC.

    201411-WebRTCorg-vs-OpenWebRTCio.png

    Android 5.0, codename Lollipop, is out now and reviewed here. The highlight? WebRTC is now supported in the Webview embedded browser.

    KPN has deployed the first cloud-based PTT service in Europe, using Kodiak’s solution. Apple now lets you explicitly pull your phone number out of iMessage. Chris Kranky is joining &yet, a real-time Web-focused startup.

    And you can now launch a private instance of Tropo’s platform in your Amdocs cloud.

    MNOs swing to the cloud; Google containers are here

    Here’s a good Wireless Watch piece on the way mobile infrastructure vendors are facing up to the cloud and the completion of North American 4G roll-outs. Both Nokia Networks and Ericsson are thinking in terms of software, whether for SDN or applications, but Nokia is betting on distributing processing power right down to the cellsite whereas Ericsson expects it to be centralised in huge data centres.

    Google has refreshed its Compute Engine offering. The biggest story is that their Kubernetes container-deployment system is now generally available under the name Google Container Engine as a cloud-based API.

    They also moved Managed VMs in App Engine into beta status, cut prices on most services, and pushed a lot of new features. The full blog is here. Note that a lot of the changes involve interconnection and peering - you can now set up direct peering with Google cloud services, hook up a VPN, or use one of a group of telcos to reach Google over a dedicated link.

    Lenovo mobile sales disappoint; Amazon Echo; Deploying Nest

    Lenovo announced results for its Q2, and despite their impressively shiny shiny gadgets (anyone remember the big statue at MWC?) sales have been disappointing in mobile. Although shipments were up 38%, making them 4th in the world before the Moto acquisition closed, sales were down 6% year-on-year by value.

    BlackBerry’s CEO, John Chen, says the company will be concentrating on a small portfolio of phones in future.

    Filings in the lawsuit between GT Advanced and Apple suggest that being a supplier to Apple is a hard dollar.

    IDC reckons the Internet of Things market will be worth $3.04 trillion by 2020, from $1.3tn in 2013.

    If anything like that is going to happen, we’ll need more deals like this. Utility provider Electric Ireland is offering Google’s Nest smart-home kit to its customers on a two-year plan, with no up-front charge, presumably so that power savings over the contract life will pay for them.

    Here’s the Amazon Echo, a device that responds to voice queries. And a group of computer scientists told the US Supreme Court that copyright on APIs is evil.

    Beware hotel Wi-Fi; gov.uk’s disruptive ID plans

    Kaspersky has identified a pattern of hacker attacks on travelling executives who log on to hotel WiFi, and get hit with trojans masquerading as software updates.

    Nikka is a hardware crypto device that plugs into any server.

    And four years after the UK’s hugely controversial national identity register was scrapped, the government is rolling out a very different, disruptive, federated, privacy-respecting single sign-on system.

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    November 3, 2014

    BT, Alcatel, KPN, Numericable, Oi, Bharti: 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.

    BT Q2s focus on football; FiOS and U-Verse net-adds; Amazon stick; a look back at Netflix/Comcast

    BT’s Q2 results are out, and all the football seems to be working, up to a point. Although revenues are down 2%, EBITDA was up 1% and pre-tax profits up 13%. ThinkBroadband points out that the key metric here is that out of all the premises passed by BT’s FTTC rollout, 73.5% have taken BT services. Interestingly, they’re also going to start bundling Netflix, so it certainly looks like BT is deeply committed to video as its lead product.

    Elsewhere, both Verizon’s FiOS and AT&T’s U-Verse added substantial numbers of IPTV subscribers, with 214k net adds for AT&T and 114k for Verizon in Q3, while Comcast reported a net-loss of 89k video subscribers. That sounds rosy, but the problem is that broadband net-adds were probably the reverse of this picture. Cable operators have been steadily gaining broadband subscribers, and faster than they shed video ones. And once you get the main broadband connection, it’s easier to get the rest of the household comms spend.

    Amazon, meanwhile, has launched a Chromecast-like streaming device priced at $39, discounted to $19 to begin with, that has the Fire TV software and substantially more powerful hardware than the parallel Google and Roku products. Dan Rayburn points out that the price erosion doesn’t have far to go before these devices are given away for free, which would be very bad indeed for Roku.

    The BBC is withdrawing its RSS feeds of iPlayer content in favour of a new API, apparently in an effort to stop unofficial clients that download and stash their content.

    Sky, meanwhile, looks closer and closer to the long-rumoured launch of an MVNO, after it contacted 200,000 customers to sound them out, enough to count as a soft launch in itself.

    Polish T-Mobile has signed up with a broadcaster to offer its own TV service.

    A study argues that the supposed congestion between Netflix and downstream ISPs only seems to have affected those carriers that didn’t sign up for Netflix Open Connect.

    US CapEx slowdown, Alcatel suffers; Bouygues hits the gigabit; KPN, Numericable have to open up NGA networks

    Here’s a summary of US carrier CapEx data for Q3. It increasingly looks like Sprint’s numbers, expected later today, will tell us if we really have finished this investment cycle; they are expected to announce that the complete rebuild of their network under Sprint Spark is finished, in which case only T-Mobile is still increasing its CapEx spend among the US operators.

    It does look like network spending is slowing down. Alcatel-Lucent reported its revenues were down 3.8% year-on-year. The only good news was that IP routers were up 2.2% and margins were rather better. An example would be CenturyLink deploying their 7950 MPLS routers.

    Telenor, meanwhile, signed up for five years of Ericsson consulting and RBS6k base stations.

    Bouygues has announced an upgrade to its FTTH speeds, pushing the downlink up to 1Gbps at no extra cost.

    KPN will have to keep providing wholesale access to the infrastructure, but on the other hand, it will be allowed to buy another 9% of independent FTTH deployer Reggefiber, giving it a 60% stake. Once the deal closes, the Netherlands will have two shared public broadband networks, the “telco” KPN-Reggefiber one and the “cableco” UPC-Ziggo one.

    OFCOM has published its strategy to ensure all UK citizens benefit fully from communications technology, and they seem to think that everything’s all right, roughly speaking.

    Which is a pity if you believe the Engineering Employers’ Federation, which has just surveyed its members. 40% of the firms they asked thought the UK’s broadband infrastructure was “poor” or “very poor”, and a majority would put it in their top three infrastructure spending priorities, with 16% putting it in first place.

    Spain’s regulator rules that Jazztel (and by extension, other operators) have to provide wholesale access to their “vertical” fibre, i.e. in-building, on the same terms they offer it to their partners.

    Numericable’s acquisition of SFR closed this week, and it has interesting consequences in fixed broadband. As a regulatory concession, Numericable has to dispose of its DSL assets, but much more importantly, it also has to offer wholesale access to its cable network both on reseller and on bitstream-style terms. This is a first, and we can see Free jumping right on the opportunity to add a lot more Freeboxes on fast broadband links.

    Oi, and Telefonica, and America Movil buying TIM Brasil; Numericable, private funds after PTel; huge Q3 for Bharti Airtel

    A very detailed rumour says that Oi, Telefonica, and America Movil are going to bid jointly for TIM Brasil, offering about $13bn and splitting the company up 28%, 32%, and 40% respectively, using Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual’s services. All parties deny all knowledge. Of course. Telefonica, Telefonica Brasil, America Movil, and Telecom Italia all saw their shares rise on the story.

    Meanwhile, Numericable has made its €7bn bid for Portugal Telecom, sort-of merged with Oi, official. This has tempted two private equity funds, Bain Capital and Apax, out of the woodwork.

    While America Movil is trying to add more assets in Brazil, it’s trying to get rid of them in Mexico. Softbank is reportedly interested in bidding $10bn for them and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has been tasked with initial talks.

    In the US, both AT&T and Verizon have added even more data to their bundles, while Sprint is offering a lease option on Samsung Galaxy S5s. T-Mobile announced another massive quarter for net-adds, 2.3m, of which 1.4m are postpaid, and lost money again to the tune of $94m. As T-Mobile supplies smartphones on a hire-purchase basis, it’s progressively building up a mountain of receivables from its customers - this quarter, the total reached $4bn worth.

    That took T-Mobile to 52.9m subscribers, just over a million behind Sprint. If Sprint announces a bad quarter today, T-Mo might be the third-biggest carrier in the US. John Legere was uncharacteristically trying to play down the hype, saying that his real competitors were AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

    Interestingly, T-Mo has also added a lot of M2M customers, with 222k net-adds in that sector in Q3 compared to 7k a year ago - or to put it another way, a couple of major contracts have landed.

    US Cellular, meanwhile, struggles on. In Q3, it gained subscribers for the first time in years, a net gain of 50k. However, it’s still losing money. That said, service ARPU was over $60 - how long before someone buys the company?

    Elsewhere, Bharti Airtel’s Q3 profits were up 170 per cent, $229m, as revenue from data rose 74% in India and 57% in Africa, and the Indian price war let up somewhat. Transactions on their mobile-money platform reached $3.3bn, and they added 11,500 node-Bs in India - no slowdown in CapEx there.

    Telenor, meanwhile, wants to use its re-acquired 1800MHz spectrum in India for 4G. Globally, 2G/4G working in the 1800 has been one of the best options, and if they get permission from the regulator they could potentially skip paying for more spectrum. Of course, the regulator would probably want to make sure they did.

    Telkom has cut its half-year outlook by 70 per cent. Safaricom is going to spend $335m on more 3G capacity and also on some 2G coverage expansion. And Mobily has had to restate its results for the last 18 months, resulting in a 71% drop in their Q3 revenue, after it treated non-recurring promotional revenue as recurring.

    Oettinger’s warm words for telcos; FCC’s Wheeler on PSTN shutdown; 600MHz slides right; UK national roaming is back

    The new European commissioner, Günther Oettinger, has started his term with some telco-friendly rhetoric, suggesting that regulation has been too consumer-led and needs to be easier on the industry’s profits. TelecomTV points out that Neelie Kroes started off like that, too.

    FCC Chairman Wheeler took to the official blog this week to raise several issues around the PSTN shutdown. He’s suggesting that the FCC needs to make sure that, post-PSTN, guarantees for things like emergency service are maintained, that the shutdown doesn’t result in reduced competition, and that voice services don’t disappear.

    In another FCC blog post, he argues that the regulations on multi-channel TV, that are intended to make sure cable and satellite providers can all get access to content whether or not it’s owned by a competitor in the broadcasting business, should be extended to cover Internet video services.

    The 600MHz auction is sliding right and won’t be until 2016 at the earliest.

    AT&T Mobility is in trouble with the FTC about throttling remaining unlimited data plans.

    Verizon has denied any interest in paid prioritisation, in a letter to the chair of the Senate judiciary committee.

    And the UK national roaming proposal is back.

    Q3 mobile shipments; tough quarter for Samsung, new gadgets

    Q3 shipments of mobile devices show that growth is slowing down. 459.5m gadgets were shipped in the quarter, up 7.6% year-on-year, compared to 9.4% in Q3 2013. Samsung is still the market leader by volume, but its share is down to 22.1% from 28% a year ago. 70% of mobile shipments, or 320m devices, were smartphones.

    That translated into a poor Q3 for Samsung itself. Revenue in the IT & Mobile Communications division was down 32.8% and operating profit 73.9%. The big problem appears to be the mix of smartphones, with the average selling price disappointing again.

    Not that they’re giving up or anything - here come two new mid-market phones, the A5 and A3, which get ultra-thin, all-metal form factors and strong specs for their prices.

    Sony, meanwhile, had a decent quarter in everything but mobile, after it sold enough PlayStation 4s to lift its gaming revenue 83 per cent. The mobile division, though, dragged the company into a loss, even though sales of mobile device components were up 187%.

    ZTE says its revenue from mobile devices was up 40% and average selling price was up 8% but doesn’t say what either number actually was.

    Amazon confesses: the Fire was too pricey and disappointing to boot.

    Microsoft has launched a fitness/health band device.

    Amazon cloud revenues “30x Microsoft’s”; Telstra’s $5bn Asian strategy; IBM cloud in China

    Who’s got the biggest cloud? Network World reckons Amazon Web Services is 30 times as big by revenue as Microsoft Azure, if you define “cloud” as publicly-available Infrastructure-as-a-Service.

    Amazon is going to spend $1.1bn on a huge data centre in Ohio.

    Telstra has $5bn to spend and is looking for more assets in Asia. They’ve recently signed up AppDirect to run their cloud app store for Aussie SMBs, so perhaps there’s a clue there.

    IBM is co-operating with Tencent to deploy its public IaaS solutions in China, adding OpenStack to its offerings, and building a new SoftLayer data centre in Mumbai.

    Here’s an Aussie company deploying modular data centres.

    Alibaba’s first full earnings call is scheduled for tomorrow.

    Facebook’s Q3 results have it making net profits of $806m, up 90%, although WhatsApp lost $232m, largely paying out on share options that vested after the merger. You can now reach Facebook via the Tor network, where it has the first hidden service (like a web site, within Tor) to get an SSL certificate.

    Google’s advertising unit acts like an internal VC unit, distributing cash to cool projects. This FT interview with Larry Page sounds that way, too:

    “One thing we’re doing is providing long-term, patient capital.”

    Here’s a useful overview of who supports which codecs in WebRTC. It’s a bit of a mess.

    And so many people are dialling 911 when they sit on their phones it’s a major problem, according to the FCC no less.

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    Telco 2.0 Strategy Report Out Now: Telco Strategy in the Cloud

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