Ring! Ring! Hot News, 16th June 2008

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In Today's Issue: Mobile spam horror looms; Gyahoo will eat your ad business anyway; Nokia starts its own ad platform; open-source unicomms for prison warders shames telco engineers; roaming in Africa; Reding on the rampage again; Swedish military intervention; MTN-Reliance sporked by brothers' brawl; Clearwire's world domination plan; Nortel ducks for LTE; Sprint-powered jukebox; the end of WAP; Carphone in trouble; AT&T caps hogs; BT fibre - not all it's cracked up to be; when number portability works too well

Computerworld asks - are we on the edge of a mobile advertising disaster comparable to the spam phenomenon? A close reading of the story would suggest that their definition of a disaster might be quite close to a mobile advertiser's definition of success - however, Telco 2.0 would point out that in telco terms, advertising alone is just not that big a deal and operators need to look to facilitating a far wider set of interactions between users and enterprises.

Rich Karpinski of Telephony Online says the Google-Yahoo cooperation means that Google will end up dominating the entire field of online advertising, and telcos had better look to an agreement with Google. He also wonders how telcos might work with Microsoft's efforts in this field - regular readers probably know we think they'd be better off working with Microsoft's core enterprise applications to provide better voice and messaging and communication-enabled business processes.

Meanwhile, Nokia starts its own ad platform, which along with the Nokia Maps 2.0 features they showed at Mobile World Congress this year could be a major challenge to Google's efforts at location-based advertising.

Speaking of enterprise voice and messaging, there are reasons to think Microsoft's unified comms efforts aren't the last word. Here's a specialist appliance for the open-source IP-PBX, Asterisk, so clueful enterprise IT departments can roll their own. Its makers say that quite a lot of customers wanted to replace their expensive NEP-made boxes with something running on a commodity PC-based server, but struggled to achieve reliability -- so only ones with very special requirements found it worthwhile to date. Oddly enough, the examples given were prisons.

This quote about it should scare you though:
Kerravala said that the open-source and development aspects of the product could be a bit daunting for a telco operative within the company. He suggests that, for the product to work best, IT and the telco expert should work together to make it work best, as an IT manager would be better-versed in open source and would be able to craft the code necessary.
Isn't there some kind of hate speech anti-discrimination law against such dated Bellhead stereotypes?

Vodafone's Receiver magazine is off doing a little social anthropology around mobile phones in Africa. Interestingly, the example of Celtel's abandonment of on-network roaming in favour of integrating all its African networks is used to hint at something similar in Europe. Well - why not? It's not as if Viviane Reding is going to let you keep a roaming premium much longer.

The Swedish army has decided that, yes, a merger between TeliaSonera and France Telecom would be tolerable. Told you this deal would be complicated. It's slightly amusing that the Swedish military has pronounced just as France Telecom backed out, but considerably more amusing than this proposal to data-mine all telecoms traffic in Sweden. Even though Telia runs the armed forces' communications network, it's apparently moving servers out of Sweden in order to avoid being spied upon...by itself.

In other megamerger news, the MTN-Reliance deal is threatened by a dispute between the brothers who own Reliance Industries. One of them claims he has a right of first refusal over Reliance Communications, dating from when it was spun off from Reliance Industries, and he expected he could place more reliance in his brother's word... oops.

US WiMAX operator Clearwire has been pushing optimistic numbers around Wall Street. Now the long-rumoured cableco+Sprint+Intel joint venture is ready, they reckon they'll cover between 60-80 million people by next year and 220 million by 2017, aiming for 30 million subs by then, with ARPU of $49. The stock market isn't so sure: Nortel shares leapt after the company said it was concentrating on LTE. Well, they also said they would resell Alvarion WiMAX gear.

However, Sprint is signing up wholesale mobile-data customers: meet the mobile broadband-powered jukebox.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, announced the switch-off of its circuit-switched data WAP service. Not a moment too soon...but perhaps charging users by time, with swingeing overage rates, might be the wave of the future. After all, there's bad news at Carphone Warehouse as growth in DSL tails off and all those free laptops come home to roost, and AT&T is looking at capping its DSL users.

According to the BBC, BT's Ebbsfleet fibre trial seems to have some sort of differential quality of service based on content:

BT pointed out that while 10Mbps would be a baseline minumum for customers, download speeds would increase depending on what the user was doing, such as downloading a movie. And while the capacity is shared, customers would still get speeds of more than 50Mbps when required, said BT.

OK, but we liked this:

But a BT spokesman said that the speeds would be "very decent". "Higher in fact that anyone currently needs," he added.

After all, how long can it take to download 640Kb of data to the world's five computers?

Finally, a Vodafone Ireland customer has discovered a way of porting anyone's number. Fun, and games.