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April 29, 2015

NokALU, Apple, Google, AT&T, Verizon, Facebook: Special Extra Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: We’ve just published a new report on Amazon Web Services: Colossal, but Invincible? analysing Amazon’s recently released results and their implications.]

Nokia-ALU; OFCOM spills 5G spectrum beans; Ericsson Q1; Chinese graft crackdown threatens vendors

Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent are getting together. The deal includes the whole of ALU except for its submarine cable operation, which may be spun off or sold in a trade sale. (Did you know they still make some parts on the Enderby Wharf site in east London where the very first Atlantic cable was manufactured in the 1840s?) Nokia was apparently originally interested in the wireless infrastructure business alone, but ALU CEO Michel Combes persuaded them to take the whole thing on the grounds that the rump business wouldn’t work.

This German-language piece points out that, unusually, the French government was enthusiastically in favour of the takeover.

Nokia has undertaken to keep the remaining 6,000 jobs in France and two R&D centres, and move enough engineering jobs there to compensate for the shutdown of Alcatel’s head office functions. Beyond that, the French see it as a strategic move to create a heavily French-influenced European 5G infrastructure giant.

Here’s a useful rundown of their product lines, which points to the fact that Nokia may have done well to take Combes’ advice - Alcatel has crept up to No.2 in the IP router market, where Nokia doesn’t have any products of its own. Of course, Alcatel comes with the enormous Bell Labs patent portfolio, which might make the deal worthwhile on its own. This interesting Inside 5G post discusses the issue and the potential for a 5G patent pool like the one for GSM.

Speaking of 5G, OFCOM has put down a marker for the spectrum position, issuing a report in which it pencils in six bands as potential 5G candidates and rules out the 28GHz Ka-band to keep it for the satellite industry.

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Turkey, meanwhile, is considering dropping the 4G auction it announced less than a month ago in order to go straight for 5G “within two years”. Really? Well, HKT and Huawei demonstrated inter-cell carrier aggregation recently, with speeds of 440Mbps.

Ericsson announced Q1 results. Revenue was down 6%, but the company claims they were up 13% before adjusting for the devaluation of the krona against the dollar. That said, they also admit that their North American business has been rather disappointing and most of the action has been in China. This is a real problem because they tend to sell software and consulting projects in the US and hardware in China, and the first is higher-margin.

That might not be the only problem for vendors in China. President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption may be about to bring the 4G investment boom to a sudden stop.

And Nokia HERE may be up for sale again and all sorts of companies are being rumoured as buyers.

Comcast-TWC OFF; Comcast 2Gbps very much ON. AT&T suddenly wants FTTH. 10-Q watch: AT&T, Verizon

The Comcast-TWC deal is officially dead. Both the US Justice Department and the FCC had made it known they wanted to call in an administrative judge, and that they doubted that applying conditions to the deal would make it acceptable. In the face of this, the parties to the deal seem to have decided that it’s not worth the candle any more and backed out of it. “Analysts” (them!) apparently expect Comcast will acquire another asset, like Time Warner itself for the programming. Harold Feld discusses the FCC politics of this here.

This one expects they will acquire assets, but by building out more gigabit broadband, because that’s precisely what they are doing. 2Gbps Comcast is coming to 1.3 million homes in Florida, and another huge rollout is coming to 12 Californian cities including the Bay Area. As Fierce points out, Comcast has been providing fibre-optic metro-Ethernet services to businesses in these areas since 2011 by extending its distribution network.

Deploying into Florida and Northern California means parking your trenching tractor right on AT&T’s lawn. With the gigabit cable menace upon it, AT&T filed papers with the FCC saying it needs to invest in FTTH, urgently. So can we please buy DirecTV now? The document doesn’t actually promise any more fibre over the 2 million homes they already promised, though - and 2 million is substantially less than Comcast is doing independently. However, AT&T is planning to deploy fibre in Chicago, one of Comcast’s biggest markets, evidently stung by the invasion of California. The filing comes with the following table making it clear just how bad the situation might get:

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AT&T has just sold $17.5bn of bonds to finance the DirecTV deal - now, how much fibre would that buy? Well, at the end of the rollout, Verizon was spending about $700 per home passed with FiOS, so that bond sale would pay for 25 million homes. AT&T Home Solutions has about 18.5 million homes in service…

Meanwhile, out west, Centurylink is rolling out 1Gbps FTTH where it’s been hit by Charter’s 100Mbps cable.

Slightly weirdly, AT&T’s John Stephens is touting the fact 80% of their wireline broadband subscribers are “on IP”. Isn’t broadband, you know, Internet service? Presumably what he means is that they’ve swapped out the old ATM backhaul links BellSouth put in for something more modern like gigabit Ethernet. AT&T, Verizon, and Windstream recently joined the MetroEthernet Forum, apparently because they’re having trouble with interconnection.

As usual, AT&T’s wireline quarter was a very mixed bag. Although they added 440k gross broadband subscribers (hurray!), they only net-added 69k as others deserted to cable. TV adds were down quite sharply, from 201k to 50k. Although U-Verse now accounts for 69% of Home Solutions revenue, it’s not enough - overall wireline revenues were off 3.1%. That’s got a lot to do with the fact that although strategic business services had another great quarter, up 14.8%, the rest of business solutions is suffering and the segment was down 4.4% overall.

Stand by for an Executive Briefing on AT&T and Verizon’s enterprise segment

In wireless, meanwhile, AT&T’s M2M business is crushing it with 945k connected-device net adds of which 684k were high-value connected cars. Elsewhere, they had a very decent 440k net adds for humans, although wholesale lost 266k reseller customers as the price war bit into the low-end. ARPU in postpaid is off 9.6% through the combination of the price war and the shift towards equipment sales revenue - as those of you who read our Executive Briefings will know, the catch here is the equipment pricing. Wireless operating-level income was off 12% year-on-year “due to the success of Mobile Share Value plans”, which is a funny way to put it. We can therefore say that their service pricing is falling, and so is their equipment pricing.

Here’s an interesting rundown of AT&T open-source projects.

Over at Verizon, FiOS revenue was up 10% in Q1 and wireless revenue was up 3.1%, for an overall 4% revenue gain. Even here, the price war can be felt - VZW service revenue was flat or even falling, but the instalment plan payments on devices pushed it into positive territory. Wireless had 565k net adds in Q1, plus 820k tablets, a strong showing. Fran Shammo also named a number for M2M revenue in the quarter: $150m, or $600m/year.

62% of FiOS customers are taking one of the top-speed Quantum plans, with the largest group, 20%, on the 75/75Mbps plan. VZ’s challenge is now to drive adoption within the footprint, and they reported 47k migrations from copper to fibre for the quarter. (We noticed recently that New York is just crawling with Verizon installers at the moment - there seems to be a van on every street corner.) However, the bad news was in the enterprise, where revenues fell 6% as AT&T’s Network on Demand, the cablecos’ SMB triple play, and Level(3)’s push into SMB ganged up on them.

VZ also settled a peering dispute with Level(3).

Massive Apple Q2; iPhone 6 trounces GS6 on gaming metrics; cheap smartphones surge in MENA; $750m worth of Blackphones

Apple’s Q2 was out this week. Revenue was $58bn, up from $45.6bn year-on-year, and net profit was $13.6bn, up from $10.2bn. Gross margin was 40.8%, up from 39.6%. And this was meant to be the boring, post-Christmas slump! The key to all this was the iPhone 6, with revenue from iPhones up 55% year-on-year, and China, where revenue was up 71% year-on-year, at $16.8bn. Horace sums up the impact thus:

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It’s perhaps not surprising when you realise that the iPhone 6 beats the Samsung Galaxy S6 on basically all of a whole battery of performance tests even though unlike the S6, it’s got to use two CPU cores rather than eight, and the Galaxy S6 Edge costs almost $50 more to manufacture.

Will the arrival of the Apple Watch cause an iPhone 6 Mini? And it looks like Apple Pay, having torpedoed ISIS/Softcard, might do in the merchants’ MCX/CurrentC payments alliance too - Best Buy just defected to their side.

At the other end of the market, IDC reckons smartphone shipments to the Middle East and Africa were up 83% in 2014 as really cheap handsets arrived on the market. 20% of smartphones sold in the region are < $100, and another 33% are $100-200, the segment that grew the most. Smartphone growth is over 100% annually in Kenya, Pakistan, and Nigeria. and 57% of working-class Nigerians are on the mobile web.

A lot of that is down to Mediatek’s ultra-cheap chips. Here’s an interview about their effort to get into M2M and wearables.

Silent Circle, meanwhile, has shifted $750m worth of Blackphones, software, and advice since they launched the security-focused device last year. Customers apparently include “30 or 40 per cent of the Fortune 500”, so does that make Blackphone the new BlackBerry?

And Nokia denies it’s planning a return to the gadget business.

Qualcomm hurts in Q1; Imagination releases MIPS technology; “no” to Applied Materials/TE

So the Galaxy S6 is expensive to manufacture and despite everything, it’s not outperforming the iPhone 6. This can’t be good news for Qualcomm. Qualcomm had to mark down its Q1 numbers substantially, having lost the GS6 order to Samsung’s in-house chipmakers and their Exynos SoC. As Telecoms.com points out, that was presumably because the Exy was better than the best Snapdragon SoC Qualcomm could offer, and we remember stories that the prototype GS6 with a Snapdragon kept overheating. If the Exynos is dramatically better than the best Snapdragon, but still far behind Apple’s product, what does that say about Qualcomm’s? Nothing good.

The graphics core in the Apple A-series chip is designed by Imagination Technologies, and this week they’ve taken the interesting step of releasing a complete chip based on the MIPS architecture as open-source hardware. MIPS is similar in some ways to the RISC systems ARM is famous for, and it sounds like Imagination is hoping to drum up more research interest in the system. Interestingly, Google is also keen.

The DoJ antitrust division has been busy this week. The proposed $30bn merger of Tokyo Electron and Applied Materials has been banned in order to prevent a monopoly of the machine tools that make chips - together, Applied Materials (the market leader essentially forever) and Tokyo Electron would have had a market share of 50%.

Interesting product: a bare-metal switch designed for Cumulus Linux. HP is emphasising SDN features in its next lot of switches.

Meet the new leader of Debian Linux. Apple buys a 3D imaging startup.

AWS financials; Facebook, Google Q1s; Microsoft cloud; Telstra rolls out SDN to Asia

For the first time ever, Amazon Web Services financials are being published, and it turns out that they make about $5bn in revenue annually, and what is more, their operating margin is around 20 per cent, way higher than anyone expected. In fact, it turns out that without AWS, Amazon.com would usually lose money. Amazon’s North American retail sales were $13.4bn in Q1, and they earned $517m in operating income from that; AWS’s sales were $1.6bn, and they earned $265m in operating income, about half as much on a tenth the turnover.

Click here for our new Telco 2.0 Executive Briefing on AWS

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Elsewhere, Facebook’s Q1 revenue was up “only” 42%, missing expectations. This was somewhat more serious because its costs rose 83%, as R&D spending doubled and the workforce grew 48%. The good news was that the average price of an ad was up 285%, while the volume served was down 63%. That’s the premium ad strategy we discussed in this Briefing, with a vengeance.

Mark Zuckerberg has had to defend Internet.org against increasing criticism in India that it’s a violation of net neutrality. You can certainly see why Indian developers, content creators, and e-commerce vendors would be annoyed about mobile operators subsidising a number of big international brands (and Wikipedia) - and why it’s important, as Indians buy stuff on the mobile web.

Meanwhile, Google saw its ad pricing fall 7% in Q1. CFO Patrick Pichette said that this didn’t reflect any difficulty monetising mobile, but rather the fact people skipping ads on YouTube were still counted as clicks. Why that should be a good thing wasn’t explained.

Another $1bn in CAPEX, meanwhile, is heading for Google’s Council Bluffs, Iowa data centre, while Yahoo! has opened a second, entirely naturally cooled, centre in upstate New York.

Ben Evans has an interesting post on Google and why just pouring more data into the machine hasn’t caused it to create a second business anything like AdSense.

Microsoft, meanwhile, says its cloud revenues have doubled year-on-year, although they count a lot of software products in with the Microsoft Azure line of business so this is a slightly odd definition.

A Windows update has unintentionally let slip the details of how Microsoft plans to roll out the upgrade to Windows 10, which will involve delivering a 2GB patch to essentially all the world’s PCs, sometime in July.

Telstra, having bought PacNet, is planning to deploy their SDN platform across Asia.

The French government is preparing a startlingly illiberal set of demands on web hosting companies.

Google’s Project Fi. Is the real story here Hutchison HUE? Facebook’s dialler; new dev-focused UK MVNO

So, Google’s ad pricing is sliding again and they’re spending too much money on free pizza. What to do? Well, the Google MVNO has landed. Project Fi, as it is called, gets connectivity from both Sprint and T-Mobile, only on the Nexus 6 and on an invite basis like the early days of GMail. The $20/mo basic price plan includes voice with a Google Voice-like cloud number and interface, unlimited texts, and free 2G roaming. You then pay $10/GB upfront, but any unused data is refunded at the end of the month. Given that additional data on a T-Mobile plan costs $5/GB, that’s not as cheap as it sounds. Several of the features there - like the rollover data and the free 2G roaming - sound distinctly T-Mobile-inspired.

We may be heading for a wave of roaming disruption - here’s Carphone Warehouse’s new MVNO iD, for example. That offers you a 12-month 4G plan, with free roaming to 20 markets plus Australia and the US and a Samsung Galaxy A3 phone, for £19.50/mo. That gives you 300 minutes of voice, 5000 texts, and 1GB of data. The bundle sizes sound like 3UK, which is no accident as they’re the network partner.

The explanation of all this is Hutchison’s new HUE product, which seems to be a roaming- or global-SIM focused MVNO platform. This is also widely rumoured to be the roaming partner for Project Fi. Now 3UK pre-Hue offered free roaming to other Hutch markets, which doesn’t include the US. The new MVNO does. It’s therefore a good guess that Hutch’s roaming partner for the US is T-Mobile, and after all they’ve been cooperating in the UK for years.

Meanwhile, Simwood, the UK VoIP specialist, is starting up a developer-focused MVNO that’s also running on the 3UK radio network. So perhaps, rather than “Google MVNO”, the real story is “Hutchison begins global wholesale disruption”? They also announced the deployment of VoLTE and 800MHz spectrum later this year.

We noted that Facebook has been spending a lot of money on R&D lately. Messenger can now make video calls, and Facebook Hello is a replacement dialler app for Android.

Google is spending money trying to get WebRTC call setup down under VoLTE’s setup times, but its enterprise strategy can’t compare with the integration between Microsoft Lync and basically everything else.

Here’s a US cableco, pushing hosted VoIP to its SMB customers.

A good “why we need better enterprise voice” story.

Weird “new entrant” in the UK; Orange aims at 100% fibre; Digital Single Market plans; EE Q1

Who ordered this? “Angie Communications” apparently intends to build out FTTH to 3 million homes in the UK and top that off with 90% population coverage in 5G. It claims to have €300m in financing, i.e. not very much in the light of its enormous ambitions. ISP Review has been investigating. As the company doesn’t have code powers to dig up the road, nor a spectrum licence, it sounds tricky! The CEO’s LinkedIn page is not much more illuminating.

Perhaps more seriously, Orange is planning to build out to 100% FTTH in 9 French cities by the end of 2016. Stéphane Richard says more price cuts would be insanity, but we all know what Xavier Niel would say to that. “Here’s 10% off. Wibble.”

The European Commission intends to publish its Digital Single Market plan on May 6th, which will apparently “restore Europe as a world leader in information and communications technology” as well as a variety of other wonderful things. They will do this by making cross-border online shopping easier, and remove barriers to where you can keep data. Hold on, isn’t everyone meant to be worrying about that these days? They’re also talking vaguely about “regulating OTT”.

EE’s Q1 revenue and ARPU was basically flat and all the 4G subscriber growth is coming from internal contract rollovers, not net gains.

Telecom Italia will be distributing Sky content over its fibre network. Vodafone might buy Altice’s old Portuguese cable network.

IoT forecasts; Sigfox vs LoRa; debunking power by the hour; DMCA on tractors

The Internet of Things is going to be worth $4.3 trillion by 2024, says a report. The idea is apparently that it will eventually subsume the entire IT industry. (Why not include the customers, too?)

IDC, meanwhile, argues that the IoT will need a 750% increase in the data centre space it uses. A lot of that will have to be located at the network edge in smaller units, although some (mostly analytics/data warehousing) will be “hyperscale”.

Here’s an interesting piece comparing Sigfox, LoRa, and some other LPWAN technologies.

Is all that “Rolls-Royce power by the hour” stuff really all that? Aapo Markkanen from ABI investigates and finds out that although product-service systems do seem to be somewhat more efficient, most of it goes away due to an adverse-selection problem - customers who need a lot of maintenance tend to pick the option where someone else does the maintenance, driving up the costs.

And John Deere wants to licence you a tractor, not sell it, because it’s got software in.

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April 14, 2015

The ‘Agile Operator’

New Research: 5 Key Ways to Meet the Agility Challenge

We’ve just published a new research paper ‘The ‘Agile Operator’: 5 Key Ways to Meet the Agility Challenge’. The report asks: What is ‘agility’, and what makes it meaningful to operators? We explored the concept and characteristics of ‘operator agility’ through 29 interviews with telco senior executives, found three main barriers and five key opportunity areas, and identified some surprising and important conclusions about both what it means and the key steps needed to achieve it.

The report is part of the Executive Briefing Service and you can read an excerpt of the report here. For more on any of our services, please email contact@telco2.net or call +44 207 247 5003.

Extract chart from the report:


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Request for Input: The Agility Challenge - Find out how agile you are

STL Partners are also initiating the Telco 2.0 Agility Challenge, a survey which enables operators to gauge how agile they are. It takes about 10 minutes and we think that just completing it gives a good sense of the key areas of focus - though we’re also open to feedback on how to improve it (email contact@stlpartners.com).

Operators are invited to self-score across the 5 domains of agility highlighted above. Scores will remain confidential and operators will receive an anonymised benchmark of how they compare against the other Challenge participants.

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April 13, 2015

Chinese Forks, Indian OTT, 2Gbps cable, HP out of public cloud: Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: In case you haven’t seen it yet we’ve just published a new report on Google’s MVNO: What’s Behind it and What are the Implications? as part of our Executive Briefing Service.]

Apple pre-orders; 80% of Chinese users play with ROMs; Google pools 4G patents

Apple may have as many as a million pre-orders for watches in the US, after they went on sale on Friday. Two-thirds were the cheaper ones below $349. Horace makes the interesting point that iPhone sales might be the easiest way to quantify its results, as you can’t really use one without having an iPhone, but that still won’t be very easy as you’d need to disaggregate sales to existing users from platform net gains. Larry Dignan points out that once you’ve added at least one extra-cost option to the watch, you’re spending as much as you would on a new MacBook, which would probably be much better value.

Very shiny. Here’s another interesting statistic. A survey of Chinese Internet users, carried out by Tencent, shows 80% claimed to have installed an unofficial Android ROM at least once. Not only does this make you wonder about their sampling methodology, if it’s even close to the truth it suggests Android in China has wandered much further from Google having anything like “control” over the OS than we thought (read more about the problem and how Google might fix it in our new Google Executive Briefing). It also suggests a lot of software creativity going on in the interstices of the Chinese mobile market. The drivers were basically either curiosity - trying new stuff and getting new features quicker - or dissatisfaction - getting rid of carrier- or vendor-imposed cruft, fixing bugs, and trying to improve battery life.

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Xiaomi, meanwhile, claims that it sold 2 million devices in 12 hours during its latest “fan festival”, the first one they did in countries outside China, including Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.

In Brazil, sales of smartphones grew 55% year-on-year last year, making it the 4th biggest market in the world. IDC reckons this will slow down to 16% this year although the fraction that have LTE will double. That might suggest ASP is rising, but maybe not given how cheap some LTE chipsets are getting.

For example, here’s a very positive review of the second-generation Motorola Moto G, selling at £150 in the UK. Google, meanwhile, has poured its Motorola LTE patents into the pool run by Dolby, which should help keep the IPR tax down. At the other end of the market, here’s a review of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, which raves over the hardware, complains bitterly that the device is stuffed with unremovable cruft, and points out that if you need to use Samsung Easy Mode you probably shouldn’t spend all that money on an Edge. Some things don’t change.

Nokia is apparently considering selling the HERE maps business. Apparently the price might be around €2bn, which would be pretty poor considering how much they paid for it when it was Navteq. Microsoft has rolled out the technical preview of Windows 10 to more Lumias, and this version is meant to work. Altera has walked out of talks with Intel, on the grounds that it’s just not enough money. And here’s a really detailed survey of developers from programming questions site Stack Overflow.

Jio starts with the OTT app; Europe’s one lone VoLTE net; OTT video “better than carrier grade”; WhatsApp & Facebook voice, rated

Indian carrier Reliance Jio is preparing for its 4G launch by developing an OTT voice and messaging app, because after all, who expects to make money in 4G from SMS?

The GSA, meanwhile, says it knows of 16 operational VoLTE networks so far out of 393 LTE networks. 11 of those 16 are in Singapore, with M1 launching this week, South Korea, Japan, or Hong Kong. LG U+ and KDDI even have roaming. Another 3 are in the United States. One is in South Africa, as Vodacom launched this week. And precisely one is in Europe.

That’s Vodafone Germany, and it seems they went with a virtualised VoLTE core supplied by Mavenir Systems.

Mavenir’s product includes an IMS MMTel application server…but looky here. Spirent ran a test campaign on “a network in North America” and found that Skype and Apple FaceTime both offered significantly better video call quality than IR.94, the video calling standard in IMS. That said, they did find some improvement in IR.92, aka VoLTE, over their respective voice-only services. Oddly, the best combination of all was Skype on an iPhone 6 Plus, so it may not be that important that iOS 8.3 now has support for native voice over WiFi.

FreedomPop, the ultra-low cost US MVNO, has now got soft handoff between Sprint’s cellular network and its WiFi.

Here’s a review of WhatsApp voice, noting that audio quality is great except for the nagging echo. Facebook’s own Messenger, meanwhile, has gained pure WebRTC voice.

Altocloud is a WebRTC-based customer contact platform.

And this terrible story of jealousy and violence is why you should care about messaging internationalisation.

Sprint hand-delivers shiny in battle of 3rd place; Free hits 75% target; MTN after Visafone

The latest gimmick in the US price wars: Sprint is going to start delivering new smartphones by hand. At the same time, they’re planning to hire nearly 3,500 more retail staff as they take over the former Radio Shack shops they acquired out of bankruptcy. The meta-story here is that Q1 numbers are coming and we’re going to find out if T-Mobile has in fact clambered over Sprint into third place. Everyone expected this to happen in Q4 but Sprint just squeaked it, possibly because they don’t take ex-customers in wholesale off the books until the MVNO asks.

Here’s an interesting story: a company called Janus Spectrum is accused of defrauding investors who chipped in $12m so it could buy 800MHz spectrum it said it would resell to the major carriers. The 800MHz block in question is allocated to low-power push-to-talk systems and therefore worthless to cellular operators. The Roman god Janus, of course, had two faces.

Andrus Ansip, the EU’s vice president for the digital single market, is worried that there will be a brain drain out of Europe if…his preferred policy is not implemented. Meanwhile, the EU opens a full investigation into whether TeliaSonera and Telenor can merge their Danish opcos.

Free Mobile has successfully complied with the 75% 3G population coverage target set in its licence, says ARCEP having done 40,000 drive tests. The next target is 90% by 2018.

Vodafone UK will no longer make any distinction between 2G/3G and 4G for its postpaid products.

Ooredoo thinks the 9 million or so businesses in its footprint are underserved and this is a major opportunity.

MTN is looking at buying Nigerian MNO Visafone, and also to getting its hands on the $1bn or so of cash its Iranian opco hasn’t been able to transfer out of the country due to international sanctions.

Comcast fires 2Gbps gun; US cable sneaks ahead in enterprise; 10Gbps 5G trial; Zimbabwean FTTH

Comcast announced that it’s rolling out 2Gbps broadband to 1.5 million homes around Atlanta this summer, the beginning of a wider national rollout. This sounds like the beginning of the great gigabit cable wave, although if this is right they’re actually deploying fibre to the home and that’s 2Gbps symmetrical.

Meanwhile, here’s a good piece on how cable operators are strengthening their wholesale and enterprise products. Fibre to the cell is a big piece of this, as is dark fibre, but increasingly they’re also picking up SMBs who want more modern products, and more speed, but don’t need to go that far, and also small cell deployments. Some of them have started offering Ethernet services over their cable access networks to address this, so-called EoD for Ethernet over DOCSIS.

The challenges of the enterprise market are a key topic for our latest project. Click here to find out more

AT&T has a lot to lose in this market, and their response is to add another 100 markets to the software-defined Network on Demand Ethernet platform. They also called in the lobbyists to stop a small town in Kansas issuing bonds to build a muni-fibre network.

Nokia Networks demonstrated 10Gbps over millimetre-wave, specifically the 73GHz band, at a joint 5G event with National Instruments and NYU. Their CTO, Hossan Moiim, says not to expect 5G before 2020, while Inside 5G makes the interesting point that despite their vigorous lobbying of EU officials, Nokia Networks tends to hold 5G events in the US.

LG U+, meanwhile, is getting a new head office, which will somehow drive it to “leadership in 5G”.

The 3G, 4G, and 5G Wireless Blog looks at LTE-WiFi Link Aggregation, an alternative to LTE-LAA that’s supposedly less of a risk to WiFi users and is being pushed by Qualcomm, Ruckus Wireless, and ALU.

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La Réunion is getting FTTH, or at least 70% of it is, from SFR. So is Harare, Zimbabwe. But you can’t get it in London yet.

You can, however, get it in Hull. Sky Broadband is trialling IPv6. Some Virgin Media customers are reporting unusually high speeds, suggesting that the jump to 300Mbps is under test.

HP quits public cloud; AWS Machine Learning; Microsoft Nano Server; Telkomsel & Hadoop

HP has given up on the public cloud. As recently as September, they dropped a variety of other partnerships to focus on OpenStack as the basis for their Helion cloud services. Now they’re going to shut it down. They will still be offering private and hybrid solutions, making servers to go into other people’s clouds, and selling a ready-to-go private cloud setup. But their AWS-equivalent public cloud is no more.

At the same time, Amazon Web Services hit us with a wave of major announcements. AWS Lambda, the API that just executes code you throw at it, is going into production status, focusing on being a back-end for mobile apps made with their SDK. Support for Docker containers in EC2 has reached general availability and gained more features, like support for long-lived servers. The biggy, however, is AWS Machine Learning, which makes Amazon’s formidable recommendations and data analytics engine available to anyone with a major credit card. Look out for a whole lot of apps second-guessing you.

Google has finished a $600m data centre in Oregon.

Microsoft has a new server, Nano Server. This is a radically cut-down version of Windows Server optimised for running containers, acting as the host OS for a private cloud based on Microsoft technology, and operating in a DevOps setup. MS claims there are 92% fewer critical security bulletins for the new OS because they pruned so much code. They also announced a new document-based database in MS Azure.

Telkomsel is deploying Cloudera’s Hadoop platform to crunch through its CDRs.

Etsy needed to serve 20 times more API calls and succeeded in doing so by using Facebook’s open-source virtual machine, HHVM. One of the problems they encountered in doing so was that lots and lots of small API requests are inefficient and expose users to the variance of latency in the system - a systems architecture, rather than network, version of this blog post. Here’s a High Scalability blog post on how to reduce it.

Cloudsters invested in security, rather than flee the US; Cogent files net neutrality complaint

Forrester Research finds something interesting. Rather than cut their ties with US technology companies after the Ed Snowden disclosures, customers chose to invest in encrypting their data and improving their security precautions.

Why? Well, this joint statement by the French hosting industry might explain. The French government wants to install compulsory surveillance devices in their data centres, and they are far from happy at the thought of something on their network they have no control over or insight into.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the huge CDR-mining projects of the war on terrorism weren’t the first. The DEA has been bulk-collecting phone bills for 20 years and analysing them in much the same way, until the operation was put on hold in the wake of the Snowden event.

Here’s a rundown of all the known CDR-mining projects.

AT&T has been fined $25m after outsourced call centre staff sold their customers’ personal data to a fraudster known only by a Spanish psuedonym.

A campaign for net neutrality has begun in India, responding to Airtel Zero’s zero-rating platform.

It looks like Cogent, the wholesale ISP famous for being at the heart of a string of peering disputes, may be the first party to actually file a complaint under net neutrality in the US.

TV5Monde, the French TV station that was taken off the air (not to mention offline) by ISIS hackers, accidentally broadcast some of its passwords on TV and one of them, for the YouTube account, was “lemotdepasseyoutube”. Here’s an effort to work out how they got so badly broken.

And Barcelona has offered to host MWC until 2023.

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April 9, 2015

Consistency Counts: Why 3UK Did So Well in OFCOM’s Tests and EE is Not Impressed

In this week’s news, we noted the row between EE and OFCOM over the regulator’s recent Mobile Broadband Performance Report, an exercise to benchmark the data rates, latencies, and Web page load times on the UK MNOs’ 3G and 4G networks. EE doesn’t agree with OFCOM’s results, and is angry enough that it threatened legal action. But what are lawyers doing in this conversation? This ought to be a technical problem that we can solve with data!

The results are interesting. EE is the fastest operator, by a distance, on the straightforward large-file speed tests, and 3UK is the slowest. Which may seem surprising if you’ve read this Telco 2.0 Executive Briefing. However, 3UK won by an impressive margin on the Web page test (Figure 22 below) and by a lesser margin on the ping test. EE did quite poorly on the Web page test.

Screenshot from 2015-04-09 14:39:36.png

But what really got EE’s goat was this chart:

Screenshot from 2015-04-09 14:44:06.png

EE had a startlingly high rate of time-outs. And you might wonder how 3UK could possibly have won the Web page test given that they are well behind everyone else on the pure speed test.

Screenshot from 2015-04-09 14:42:02.png

Here’s the problem, though. The pure speed test is actually quite an artificial measure - how often do you want to download, or upload, 2GB of digits pulled from your machine’s pseudo-random number generator as fast as you possibly can? One of the most artificial things about it is that it assumes that the data you want is a single file and that it’s a lump download, rather than streaming media or something with interactivity, so peak speed dominates and latency doesn’t matter much. Essentially, it measures the performance of a single long running TCP connection.

But Web pages, or apps’ interactions with servers, or VoIP calls, aren’t much like that. This blog post makes the point with vigour. Modern Web pages consist of a large number of requests for server resources, often from several different servers. As the post makes clear, this means that averages are of only limited use.

If there are more than 69 GETs in the page, it is statistically more likely than not that any given user will encounter the 99th percentile of performance, i.e. an actual majority of page loads will encounter at least one GET that falls in the worst 1%. Further, Murphy’s law suggests that the request that takes forever to respond will be something important, like a JavaScript library that’s required for the page to work.

ETSI has developed a standard page to test this sort of thing, called Kepler, that contains a typical mix of text files (like JavaScript libraries, or just…text), CSS styles, images of various sizes, and uncompressible binary data (like a Flash object or HTML5 video). It doesn’t do anything clever other than provide a representative target for requests once extracted into a public directory on a web server. You can get it here. The ETSI Kepler page includes…75 requests, and the lighter Mobile Web mKepler includes 22.

This isn’t some weird caprice on ETSI’s part. The Google homepage includes 31 requests. Facebook is 178. Amazon.com is 190. It is what it is. If anything, this suggests mKepler is probably too light these days and needs to be closer to the mainline Kepler.

And it’s not only latency that is affected, but also speed. OFCOM’s speed data reports that the differences between operators are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. In other words, only the slowest 1 in 20 requests on EE overlapped the fastest 1 in 20 on Vodafone. But if there are 75 requests in a page, then 3.75 (i.e. 75/20, but say four) of them will be no faster, and possibly slower, than the competition, and an actual majority of users won’t perceive any effective speed boost - that is, unless they take it into their heads to stop everything else and download 2GB of random numbers in a single file.

The way TCP works also means that it only reaches maximum performance after some time. This is why pure speed tests use large files. With small data transfers, it’s unlikely that the peak data rate will be reached before the transfer is complete. As a result, with lots of small requests, latency accounts for a bigger proportion of the total load time, and jitter - the variation in latency - becomes very important, as we have just seen. 3UK had lower latency on 3G than any other carrier and was only just pipped by EE on 4G. But where it really shone was in the consistency of its performance. In fact, it looks like 3UK tuned its network deliberately to achieve consistent performance rather than trying to beat the speed-gun.

Screenshot from 2015-04-09 15:19:49.png

EE’s response is apparently, according to Total Telecom, as follows:

According to our EE insider, this suggests that the anomalies were caused by either an issue with Ofcom’s test software, the server hosting the mKepler Website, or the interoperability between that server and EE’s network.

So, let’s look at the methodology OFCOM used. They used identical Samsung Galaxy Note 3 devices, running the stock firmware and operating system, with uncapped data allowances (this was surprisingly difficult to achieve), and a test-and-measurement tool from Anite, called Datum.

The test sites were selected to generate 50 observations for each metric, distributed pseudorandomly in an area of 4km radius from the centre of various British cities. If either 3G or 4G coverage for the carrier in question wasn’t available at the selected test site, the test engineer would pick another. This all seems fair enough. The test tool was programmed to carry out download and upload speed tests using HTTP GET and POST requests over 2GB of random data, standard ICMP pings, and requests for the Kepler page.

So this strikes us as fair. All the tests would be targeting the same server, the random data would not be systematically different by definition, the hardware and software involved was no different, the site placement was designed to be fair, and the Web page was identical for everyone. Also, the server hosting the Kepler page was the same for everyone. Tests on different networks were carried out at the same time, so we can rule out the possibility that some sort of event hit the server while EE was being tested.

What does EE mean by “interoperability” between the server and their network? One thing that might explain high latency and high variation in latency would be if there are problems in the Internet between EE’s Gi interface and the OFCOM web server. For example, a link might be congested, routing might be sub-optimal, or there might be unstable routing. But this isn’t just something you can shrug off like the weather. ISP engineers’ business is to fix these issues.

In our Differentiated Mobile Data Executive Briefing, we identified 3UK’s investment in fibre-to-the-cell backhaul as a major reason for its commercial success. We also identified that 3UK, and other highly successful mobile data operators, had a small but noticeable lead in some core Internet metrics. In the following chart, 3UK, Telenor Sweden, and Free are all in our highly successful group, and they seem to be between 1 and 2 networks closer to the Internet core, measuring by AS_PATH length.

Screenshot from 2015-04-09 15:53:02.png

We didn’t think this was a very strong result at the time, but the OFCOM report makes us wonder. However, most EE address space is in Orange’s AS12576, for which we get an average path length of 3.9, just like 3UK. EE gets most of its upstream connectivity from either Orange (France Telecom Opentransit) or DTAG, but it also has a presence at the LINX. We’d therefore tend to rule out an Internet routing issue.

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Google’s MVNO: What’s Behind It And What Are The Implications?


How will getting into the MVNO business help Google shore up its business model? In our latest research ‘Google’s MVNO: What’s Behind it and What are the Implications?’, we examine Google’s objectives, how it could price the service, and the implications for telcos and other players.

One key driver is that despite ongoing growth in its core business, Google’s margins are starting come under increasing pressure as the following chart shows. The key to understanding why Google wants to become a mobile operator of sorts lies in how it thinks that action will improve its strategic position and reduce this downward pressure. There’s more background over on our research portal.

google mvno fig 1.png

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April 8, 2015

How to grow Enterprise / B2B2C Revenues by 50%?

Selling to and through enterprise and business customers is one of the key strategic opportunity areas for telcos, with growth potential of 50% over the next 5 years. The opportunity is much wider than pure communications - and the growth will be strongest in the more advanced services.

Whereas most telecoms operators have traditionally focused on the core communications component which is relatively static in terms of total value, the ICT Market is three to four times larger, and so-called ‘B2B2C’ (Business to Business to Consumer services e.g. Digital Advertising, Mobile Payments and Multi-factor authentication) will grow at 10%-50% to 2020 depending on sector (see forecast below for Western Europe).

Enterprise ICT forecasts in Europe April 2015.png
It’s not easy to achieve success in any part of the market and telcos worldwide have taken very different approaches, some with more success than others.

We’ll be exploring market forecasts, leading case studies, common features among the challenges and the successes, and expanding on our framework for strategic success in this area at a discussion and dinner in London for senior telco execs on the evening of Thursday 23rd April.

B2B2C and Ent ICT Framework April 2015.png
The focus for this discussion will be Western European markets. We already have commitment from senior executives from several operators, and we can accommodate about five more people. So if you’d like to know more please email Senior Consultant Albane Coeurquetin ASAP.

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April 7, 2015

Telco 2.0 News Review: IoT, UK Upheaval, GigaCable, and More

[Ed: Also, we’ve just published a new report on Digital Services: What is Your Digital Business Worth? as part of our Executive Briefing Service.]

IBM opens $3bn IoT unit; GM hopes to make $350m from 4G; AT&T winning the connected car

IBM is opening a new business unit dedicated to the Internet-of-Things and investing at least $3bn in the project. This is going to roll up other projects like their heavily hyped Smarter Cities and Smarter Planet initiatives, create a new IoT space within their Bluemix developer platform, and not least, train 2,000 of their consultants on their IoT product lineup. They’re also developing a relationship with Freescale and ARM for IoT device hardware.

General Motors CFO, Chuck Stevens, reckons that the company will earn an additional $350m in profits from the deployment of 4G in its connected-car products between now and 2018. More than 30 of the 2015 models have it and the whole 2016 model year will.

OnStar, the GM connected car system, is of course the anchor customer for AT&T’s M2M business after they beat out Verizon Wireless to get the job. AT&T announced that it’s signed up Autonet, a connected-car platform used by Chrysler/Fiat, Subaru, GM, and Maserati, and that it’s deploying more features in the product it offers with Voxx Electronics, notably the slightly disturbing “crash notification” and “geo-fencing”. This is largely of interest to insurance companies who might want to offer usage-based or behavioural products. AT&T Mobility is on something of a roll in M2M - they signed up Audi last month, too, while as RCR Wireless points out, since GM took its business elsewhere, we’ve not heard very much from VZW’s “4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars”.

Improbably, WebOS, the pioneering smartphone operating system developed at Palm, sold to HP, and basically abandoned by them, is having an afterlife in the IoT space. LG and Panasonic are using it for smart TVs, and now Fujitsu has given it the ability to dynamically load hardware drivers as apps, which should facilitate using it with IoT gadgets quite a bit.

The Wireless IoT Forum launches, in case you needed another IoT standardisation group. Interestingly, this one seems to be an extension of the Cambridge tech cluster, as its leadership come from Ubiquisys, CSR, and OFCOM via a couple of startups in that part of the world.

Amazon has launched a button that you stick on something or other, such as a washing machine, and press to re-order a product. It works by talking to an app on your phone using Bluetooth Low Energy, and the idea is that manufacturers will eventually start embedding the functionality into appliances. This does sound a bit like an e-mail fridge.

And BT gives an award to a “comprehensive mobile health service”.

Don’t expect huge savings from BT-EE; lobbying wars rage; EE furious with OFCOM

BT has issued a document recommending the EE acquisition to its shareholders. In it they warn that increased competition is driving down mobile prices and that the process of closing the Orange and T-Mobile brands and integrating EE might lose them customers, but they don’t include regulatory action as one of the possible risks.

Possible cost savings come out at about £3bn NPV over four years - in the BT-EE - Huge Regulatory Headache Executive Briefing, we noted that Vodafone estimated the synergies in its acquisition of KDG at a four-year NPV of about two-thirds annual revenue, but BT-EE would miss the £5bn this implied by a distance, because BT doesn’t bring anything like the broadband capacity to the table a cable operator does.

We also said in that note that the key to whatever happened in the UK post-merger would be the ownership of fixed broadband assets and especially mobile backhaul. BT’s biggest competitor, Virgin Media, has signed a joint letter with BT pleading with OFCOM to let BT keep Openreach on something like the current terms. Fairly obviously, if BT had to divest Openreach or make a dramatic change in its terms of business, it would be very hard to argue that VMED shouldn’t at least have to provide wholesale access to its network.

BT and Virgin claim that letting other operators fiddle with the network would cause “service faults” - you wonder what RevK thinks about that after his latest struggle to get BT to fix something.

Meanwhile, OFCOM ran some tests over all four UK networks and found that although EE had the highest peak data rate, they had the worst showing in terms of the average web page load time. EE is furious and is threatening to sue the regulator, which used ETSI’s mKepler measurement tool. The explanation might be really simple, of course - although the average is good, the distribution might be skewed. EE has also deployed a voice-over-WiFi app.

In Hull, CityFibre has signed up one of several local fixed-wireless providers for its metro-fibre network.

Google turns to Hutch; Comcast launches 2Gbps cable; Charter buying BrightHouse; “priority” mobile data

Will Google’s MVNO do something exciting around roaming? It is being widely reported that they are in talks with Hutchison about a roaming deal. This is mostly interesting because Hutchison opcos offer roaming at no extra cost on-network, i.e. among each other, and have done for many years, so Google would be able to offer “free roaming”…as long as you’re going to a country where Hutchison operates.

The gigabit cable iceberg is getting closer. Comcast launches 2Gbps service around Atlanta next month, where they pass about 1.5 million homes. This would beat both Google Fiber and AT&T’s GigaPower, both for speed and for scale. A national rollout is then expected to begin. Clench your stomach muscles now, telcos.

Charter Communications, meanwhile, announced a $10.4bn bid for Bright House, combining the 4th and 6th biggest US cablecos and adding about 2 million customers and 45,000 WiFi access points to Charter’s fleet.

charter-BH.jpg

Which reminds us that the Comcast-TWC and AT&T-DirecTV mergers are still hanging fire. Elsewhere in the US, the mid-band spectrum AT&T handed over to T-Mobile as part of the break fee from their failed merger has dramatically increased in value. This is, however, basically fictional unless T-Mo was to sell it, and how likely is that?

America Movil is planning to spin off its towers. Oi is making some layoffs, while something interesting has happened in the saga of its deal with PTel. Apparently, PT SGPS, the holding company, has transferred a huge quantity of Oi preference shares to something called PT International Finance BV, a company in the Netherlands, which turns out to be controlled by Oi.

On a similar theme, the long-running dispute between the owners of Turkcell has broken out again. Cukurova Group, the Turkish shareholder in the company, has invoked arbitration in an effort to force Alfa Group, the Russian company best known as the owner of Vimpelcom, to sell its stake. Alfa is eventually controlled by Russian zillionaire Mikhail Fridman, whose business partner Alexei Reznikovich told the Financial Times this week that the Turkish government had “quasi-nationalised” the company. Let us just note that the author of this post first covered Alfa Group ownership disputes and Turkcell for Mobile Communications International in 2005.

Tele2’s CEO doesn’t believe in quadplay. KPN’s Belgian opco may be on sale. The EU scrutiny of Jazztel resumes with a deadline of 1st June.

And SFR is offering a “priority” mobile tariff for its biggest spenders. The fine print suggests this is less exciting than it sounds. First of all, it only applies to 3G, not 4G. Second, the priority is not applied if the radio network is actually struggling, for fear of affecting emergency calls. Naturally, priority quality-of-service is only useful if the network is congested, so you’re paying for the right to go to the front of the queue, but only if there isn’t a very big queue, and only on 3G.

Huawei profits; ALU builds Chinese 4G; LG U+ cuts back on tri-band LTE; 2.3GHz; 5G news

Huawei announced its highest ever net profit for FY 2014, seeing strong growth in carrier, enterprise, and most of all, in smartphones. The key products were mobile broadband, data centre, and emerging market devices. Deputy chairman Ken Hu finishes his term as rotating CEO and is replaced by Eric Xu for the next six months.

Alcatel-Lucent, however, is going to deploy FDD-LTE, i.e. the world standard kind in 40 Chinese cities for China Telecom, using its 9926 eNodeB and starting in H1 2015.

Although the Korean operators have been very aggressive about the drive towards 5G, promising a deployment for the 2018 Winter Olympics, LG U+ is walking back its plans, a bit. In January 2014 it acquired 40MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum, and it promised to deploy LTE-A with tri-band carrier aggregation. It’s now decided to cut back its investment in the roll-out:

LG Uplus earlier planned to build up the tri-band LTE-A across the country. However, this will heavily cost us. We believe very few customers could feel a difference between LTE-A and tri-band LTE-A. Uplus will try hard to provide more enhancements to our existing clients by saving costs.

AT&T is planning to start deploying 4G into its 2.3GHz spectrum in the summer, targeting the major cities. The FCC, meanwhile, has moved the proposed Citizens’ Mobile Broadband scheme in the 3.5GHz on, issuing a draft Report & Order, the next step after an NPRM. ARCEP hopes to start the 700MHz auction process in France in July.

The 3.5GHz plan is all about WiFi and small cells, and ABI Research reckons that the market for small cell hardware will grow at a 43% annual clip from here to 2020, even though they will be competing with WiFi and newer distributed antenna systems.

Ruckus Wireless claims it has the first WiFi access point that supports Wave 2 of 802.11ac, including multiple-user MIMO and four different spatial beams. If it’s even close to true, the WiFi vendors are quite a long way down the road towards 5G already.

Here’s a good blog post answering questions about 5G, even if it does say that 5G is “a destination to be defined by the journey”, when it’s already a special generation, a behaviour, and the last of the Gs according to Mischa Dohler, who heads the Ericsson-sponsored 5G lab at King’s College London. Stanford University, meanwhile, is working with DTAG on its SoftRAN project, which seems to be more like a distributed data centre integrated with the base station.

NBN Co is going to build out to 550k more homes. And more and more sales of IPv4 addresses are happening, and weirdly, most of them seem to involve Romanian companies selling them to Iranian ones. (Remember this Executive Briefing?)

count.dat2-3.png

CoreOS brings Google infrastructure to enterprises; OpenMANO; mobile CDN startups

CoreOS, the container-based Linux distro, has raised $12m in VC funding to deploy its new enterprise version, which uses the Kubernetes cloud manager developed at Google to keep track of all your stuff. The idea is to “build and deliver Google’s infrastructure to everyone else”, as CEO Alex Polvi says.

The equivalent in telcoland is the MANO (Management and Organisation) element of ETSI NFV, and Telefonica has just released its OpenMANO implementation on Github so anyone who wants can grab the code, send in a pull request, etc.

There’s been a little wave of mobile CDN startups. Twin Prime is an app-accelerator solution that’s meant to use existing CDN deployments and pick the best option based on network conditions. It’s just hopped out of stealth mode with $9.5m in VC funding. Kwicr claims to do something similar at the protocol level for mobile video.

Good old Limelight Networks has added much improved support for a surprisingly important element of CDN - getting rid of content you want to stop serving. Cache invalidation is a famously difficult problem in computer science, and it’s increasingly important from a regulatory/legal/political point of view that content you want deleted gets deleted, now.

Meerkat is a highly fashionable livestreaming app, and High Scalability tries to work out how it works. HTTP Live Streaming is important, and it turns out it’s easier to serve the video than it is to provide the instant messaging/chat/social element. They could probably do with a mobile CDN, though.

Samsung Q1s beat low expectations; Apple brings A9 chip back to Samsung; Watch pricing

Samsung’s estimated results for Q1 beat the consensus expectation. That’s one way of putting it. Another way of putting it is that operating profit is thought to be down 30.5% and revenue 12.4%, implying that pricing has suffered even more than volume. But at least it’s the least bad result in the last three quarters.

Apparently some Galaxy S6 phones are getting switched on in transit, with the result that they arrive with a flat battery. The solution is just to charge them.

Some good news: it looks like Apple will be going back to Samsung for the next lot of iPhones’ A9 chips. We knew, meanwhile, that the S6 uses the in-house Exynos processor, but we didn’t know until know that it also uses a Samsung-made radio modem, the Shannon 333, replacing the Qualcomm Gobi. In fact, the S6’s internals seem to be approaching 100% Samsung content.

Apple’s device pricing, famously, is all about selling extra storage really dear. Horace points out that the Apple Watch is all about selling dearer materials, but fortunately for Apple, nobody needs convincing that gold is expensive.

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In the UK, Apple’s not interested in selling the Watch through Dixons or Carphone Warehouse.

Why is Apple taking so long to implement WebRTC that Ericsson is having to do the job? Possibly because a lot of older iDevices don’t have the mandatory VP8 codec in hardware, and Apple would rather wait for them to be flushed out of the installed base than give them a battery-thrashing software encoder.

And meet the Galaxy Blade Edge Chef’s Edition, our favourite April fool.

Skype for Business lands April 14th, enterprise voice watch out!

On the 14th of April, Microsoft rolls out Skype for Business, replacing the Lync app in Office 2013. This brings with it a new UX, plus a lot more hardware support and enterprise voice features, especially for Office 365 users and those who run a Skype for Business server.

Microsoft is doing some interesting things at the moment. Here’s Office Lens, their take on one of the many, many apps that uses your phone camera as a scanner. That’s nothing new, but Lens can identify things you sketch on a whiteboard and cut them out as graphical sprites you can then use in a PowerPoint presentation, or generate a Word file from a photo of a printed document while preserving its structure, and file them in a OneNote notebook.

OneNote is getting important as a way of integrating MS apps these days - see this blog post on using it with Dynamics CRM.

They’re also being reasonable about support for Open Document formats in Office 365, after the British government, a major ODF backer and a Microsoft mega-customer, leant on them.

Sprint denies Tidal investment; Airtel zero-rating; Vivendi buys Dailymotion; creepy? there’s an app for that now

Sprint and Softbank deny that they are investors in Jay-Z’s Spotify-clone streaming service, Tidal, but confirm that they are discussing bundling the service, which is meant to offer artists a bigger payout and fans higher-quality audio (and therefore, network engineers a bigger headache).

Bharti Airtel is opening a platform that lets marketers or developers pay to zero-rate their apps.

Vivendi is buying Dailymotion off France Telecom for some €250m, after the French government growled at PCCW’s rival offer.

British artists Blast Theory introduce Karen, a life-coaching app that gets…overfamiliar, and increasingly creepy the more it knows about you.

Here’s an interview with Pavel Durov, founder of VKontakte and Telegram.

41% of Millennials use Adblock Plus or something similar. This one is only surprised it’s so few.

And RIP, John Simopoulos, original UK phone phreaker (and professor of philosophy at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford).

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April 1, 2015

Presentation & Dinner in London, 23 April: Beyond Enterprise Communications



Beyond Enterprise Communications, into Enterprise ICT & B2B2C Enablement


STL Partners will be presenting 3 strategic options for operators in the Enterprise Communications market and then hold discussion over dinner in London on Thursday April 23rd.


The objective will be to explore how operators can grow business customer revenues by over 50% in the next 5 years by improving core communications services and developing new Enterprise ICT and B2B platform services.


Oracle, a leader in enterprise ICT, will also be joining us will also be joining us and present real cases studies of best-practice enterprise ICT solutions from leading operators.


For more information on this please contact Albane Coeurquetin.

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

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