Ring! Ring! Hot News, 27th October 2008

Posted on

In Today's Issue: 30% discount on broadband; AT&T iPhone overdose; Vodafear; Mauretanian WiMAX; Africa teems with Opera Mini users, apparently; Live Messenger on the SIM; Indian speccy auction slides right; criminal mobile payments; dancing nonsense from Intel, Vodafone, Orange, RIM; horror predictions; Android backlash; BT sues Germany, info wants to be free apparently; Infinera ships units; cracking new voice & messaging app for RIM; Mobilkom ties up with Fring; Blyk in Belgium; Ovi works best as part of iGoogle; Telephony Online's search for a star

"Industry" economists blast EU net neutrality; they would say that wouldn't they? More interestingly, they reckon it might increase the end-user price of broadband by about €10 in Sweden and Germany; as nobody is doing un-neutrality now, this suggests that broadband is currently being sold about 30% below an economic price. Which wouldn't be altogether surprising.

After all, the industry has a way of doing these things; AT&T announces a profit warning due to selling too many iPhones. You read it here first; we blogged some time back that a major difference between the 2G iPhone and the 3G iPhone was that as well as taking a revenue share, Apple has managed to wring an impressive slug of handset subsidy out of AT&T. They are literally paying to shift them, and it's no surprise this has turned ugly for Ma Bell. $900 million slashed off profits entirely due to iPhones; wouldn't that effectively be $900 million straight into Apple's revenues?

Meanwhile, fear stalks the land. After poor results at Millicom, Vodafone shares tanked on the principle that its emerging market interests might be hit by the same problems. Not surprising, really; Mauretania's getting WiMAX now. A country where the main political news was recently that a former slave was standing for president has wireless broadband -- we're living in the future. The vendor is ZTE, of course.

MTN is pushing Opera Mini to its customers in Africa. Did you know there are 175,000 mobile Internet users in Uganda? Meanwhile, Oi's Brazilian customers get MSN Live Messenger on the SIM.

Indian 3G and WiMAX auctions have been put off due to trouble with the military over spectrum. The vendor death squad returns to its holding pattern to await further instructions.

More emerging market innovation: some chip and PIN merchant terminals are shipping from Chinese factories with secret and very much undesirable GSM modules that send card details to people in Pakistan.

In other Vodafone news, they get spotted engaging in a spot of dodgy tricks towards Orange UK and certain Blackberrys; as does Intel with some boasting about x86 vs. ARM technology. But then, everyone's whistling past the graveyard these days: dire predictions for vendors abound.

The Android backlash is underway. The Guardian tech blog thinks the applications on it are dire, and Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint Nextel thinks it's not good enough.

It's been rumoured that there is internal dissension at BT about the Phorm ad platform, setting the BT Retail people against BT Global Services' security group. Here's a possible data point: BT Global Services in Germany is suing the German government over its proposals for telecoms data retention. We'll be thrashing out the controversy at next week's Telco 2.0 event.

Raging demand for bandwidth suggests that high-performance optical networks are likely to be a business with crunch resistance. So it proves at Infinera, according to Telephony Online.

New voice & messaging application of the week: BlackBerry users can now log, tag, search and otherwise munge their call history. More at Wireless Week. We think that user data is going to be a goldmine of new apps and business processes. The question is who will find their way to the goldfield first.

Better than that; Mobilkom Austria has basically tapped Voice 2.0 developers Fring to make their new voice service based on SIP. The existing A1 over IP service will be rolled into it; then the client will hit the mobile handset. Watch out for it rolling out on Mobilkom's Balkan WiMAX properties. And don't forget that Voice & Messaging 2.0 will be a top priority at Telco 2.0 next week as we explore how to apply 2-sided market principles.

Blyk, meanwhile, rolls its ad-funded telco into Belgium with another NSN-managed core network.

The best way to use Nokia's Ovi services: through iGoogle! This nicely illustrates a bigger point of empowering users to combine and modify services. Sadly, most telco products are completely stuck in "take what you're given" mode. Don't like your carrier's voicemail system? Tough.

And finally, which telecom exec could be America's CTO?