Ring! Ring! Hot News, 2nd November, 2009

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Telco 2.0 Top Stories

[Ed - The Telco EMEA Brainstorm in London this week is packed to the rafters - so join us at the US Event in Orlando on December 9th-10th instead.]

The standards wars have been over a while now, and here's the peace treaty; the CDMA Development Group is joining the 3GPP, the GSM/UMTS world's standardisation community. The specific purpose of this is to represent the CDMA carriers, like Verizon Wireless, who are transitioning to LTE.

Which is slightly ironic, in the light of the quite horrible LTE performance figures Agilent cited during eComm last week, and the continuing travails of LTE voice and SMS; do the CDMAers really want to get involved with this mess? Unfortunately for them, they don't have the option of doing a quick upgrade to the latest HSPA release, which currently beats the latest LTE release for speed...

On a similar theme, Qualcomm's open-source shop is joining the Symbian Foundation; unsurprisingly, they are going to be on the board of directors and also on all the four councils that govern the open-source community.

Sprint Nextel has got an app store; in fact, it's got multiple app stores, including the independent GetJar, and they will all be available to its Windows Mobile and RIM users. Android and Palm users will of course have their own app stores. This is actually better than it sounds; Sprint wants to default to accepting everything that meets certain criteria, and hopes to turn submissions around in a week on average. Competition on those questions is welcome indeed. The appstore will be available across all the S/N business units, including the WiMAX operation, the big prepaid MVNO Boost, and the Nextel iDen network.

Worth noting, meanwhile, the arrival of the humble Sanyo 3320 handset on Sprint's network; nothing special, but even giveaway gadgets like this now ship with GPS receivers and e-mail clients.

A big theme at eComm was the increasing buzz around augmented reality applications; these are the things that map structured data from the Internet onto the image from a digital camera, going by its current location. TheNextWeb has a post with data on Layar, whose founder Claire Boonstra presented there. So far, they've seen 370,000 downloads of the client program, 1,450 API keys issued, and 180 third-party data layers created.

The Palm Pre does appear to be having an impact on Sprint's customer numbers; gross ads rose for the first time in two years in Q3. However, churn was still brutal, and one post-paid customer was leaving for every new customer attracted by the shiny gadget.

Speaking of shiny gadgets, does anyone remember the N-Gage? First it was a shiny gadget; then it was a Nokia services strategy. Now, it's an ex-parrot, as the games portal that Nokia moved into the husk of the N-Gage project shuts down and all its content is transferred to Ovi. Which is probably sensible; a survey says tech executives expect the last walled garden to die by 2012.

Forum Nokia has an interesting interview about developing with their Web Runtime widgetry toolkit. Apparently they "love Web technology". At eComm, Telco 2.0 talked to a software developer fresh from a major WRT project who discovered that the browser engine that renders WRT content and provides the JavaScript virtual machine is actually very different to the one in the Nokia Web browser, and you're not allowed to just use the Symbian BrowserControl API to embed the Web browser in your app. Take the promises with a pinch of salt.

In other unashamedly techie news, here's a HOWTO on setting up an Amazon EC2 system loaded with over a billion data records mined from Semantic Web projects, so you can be your own Google, or at least your own sinister government database.

It looks increasingly like Iliad/Free.fr is certain to get its mobile licence. Le Monde explores the details and suggests that they might well rely heavily on femtocells; the sixth generation of the Freebox CPE is coming up, and who knows what the famous engineering team there might have stuffed in it? The licence conditions make clear that carriers must offer national roaming for GSM, but that Free must roll out its own UMTS coverage; this strongly suggests the possibility of a disruptive, UK01-style deployment making heavy use of Free's fibre assets and user-generated infrastructure. The final word should come before Christmas.

Brough Turner has posted the slides from his eComm presentation on the possibilities of open spectrum and progress in silicon radio technology.

In Hong Kong, you can now get 100Mbits symmetric connectivity for US$13 a month. It's surely impressive, even if nowhere else on earth is quite as suited to FTTH deployment as a rich, hyper-dense city state with a government that doesn't take "no" for an answer. Speaking of similar territories, TelecomTV is having a live webcast debate on Singapore's National Broadband Network, with leading figures in the project. It's at 0800 GMT on Wednesday, but you'll all be at the Telco 2.0 event then. Fortunately, the video will be available afterwards.

Juniper Networks announced big changes in its product line-up, as it prepares to address the data-centre market better. About time too.

It doesn't get any better for Phorm, after the European Union issued a formal legal notice to the UK government charging it with letting them violate BT subscribers' privacy. Facebook users, however, showed little interest in changes to the terms of service, apparently being distracted by shiny new features. No surprise, really; 46 per cent of the public don't bother to fast-forward the ads when they watch recorded TV.

And Norway's Consumer Council says no to the Amazon Kindle for a variety of reasons relating to privacy and the clarity or otherwise of the terms and conditions. Motorola, however, only needed to rename the Droid to get it across the Atlantic.

Cable & Wireless's planned demerger is back on; Telephony Online reports that VoIP vendor Broadsoft is getting something like...an app store. And the New York Times seems oddly surprised that texting while driving is considered dangerous.

Here's an interesting article on spamming Facebook; it shows the downsides of social networking and advertising rather well.