Telco 2.0 News Review

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[Ed - a diary reminder that we'll be covering Device Strategies, Online Video and Entertainment 2.0, 'Net Neutrality' and more at the Telco 2.0 Brainstorms: AMERICAS 27-28 October, L.A.; EMEA, London, 9-10 November 2010.]


It's Nokia World this week, although you might think that isn't quite the biggest story in the Nokiasphere today. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo is off, and the new CEO is Stephen Elop. Who he? The former head of the Office division within Microsoft, and the first non-Finn in the top spot at Nokia.

He's not the only one leaving - so is Anssi Vanjöki, who had taken charge of the newly created smartphones/software/services division (Mobile Solutions) as recently as July, and who appears to have 'walked'. Elop takes over on the 21st, Vanjöki has to work out six months' notice.

There is, of course, much comment out there. A lot is going to depend on how Elop works with the existing and highly effective manufacturing/supply chain organisation. Nokia's biggest challenge, however, is the fight against commoditisation, as a great chart makes clear.

Merrill Lynch analysts are convinced that the Nokia N8 is going to be a hit and bring in at least $1bn in operating profit in the first year, which could be counted as a brave prediction. Details of the launch are filtering through - it looks like the gadget will go on direct sale any minute now at a price of £429, with a carrier launch on both sides of the Atlantic on the 1st October. That's more publicity than Nokia Home Music is getting.

On the theme of Nokia services disappearing from view, see the sad story of Dopplr - the company blog of the social network devoted to travel reviews they bought in September 2009 hasn't been updated since and traffic ratings are remorselessly sinking.

In other Nokia news, their data-compressing web browser for Series 40 featurephones is being deployed in production. Fortunately, they've also invented M-Cube, the Mobile Maturity Management Model, which looks to be a major innovation in slideware.

ComScore's latest numbers on streaming video are out, and they will puree your routers - the streaming of live events is up 600% year on year. It comes with a dramatic chart.

livestream.jpg

At the same time, Blue Coat warns that the addition of HD video and automatic downloads to the BBC iPlayer might whack your network silly. And even YouTube has announced a trial of live streaming with four selected partners (presumably another element in the monetisation strategy).

AT&T's lobbyists have discovered DIFFSERV, the Internet standard for quality-of-service management. How long before they realise that they could have their routers honour the type-of-service flags and let their customers pick what they want prioritising?

The good news is that at least the BBC's video delivery strategy is falling into place. Hence the deal with BT to build a really enormous Cisco Systems CDN, with a new private IP network to link broadcasters with the CDN ingestion points. It's in support of Project Canvas, the UK broadcasters' planned standard for smarter video delivery. We recently caught up with Canvas CTO Anthony Rose - there are some interesting things planned with edge-caching, storage, and broadcast-broadband integration.

At the same time, though, the BBC is also looking to point its giant video firehose at targets outside the UK - there's now a director of iPlayer within the broadcaster's commercial wing, BBC Worldwide.

At IFA in Berlin, Google has demonstrated Google TV and given some details. The idea seems to be mostly an unified user interface between broadcast TV, locally-stored content, IPTV, and Web video. Some special remote controls and other hardware are expected soon, and Android apps will be coming in early 2011. However, the Google TVs themselves won't have a hard disk and therefore won't do DVR, although they should work with third party DVRs.

Android tablets are spilling out all over the place, but at the moment it looks like existing apps won't run on them. 3UK is offering, if you're interested. There's also an update to the Google Voice app.

On the other side of the new great divide, Apple has announced that apps written in Flash will now be accepted in the App Store, although they still have a restriction on anything intended to "stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings" and anything that isn't either "useful" or "providing lasting entertainment". It's nothing but fun in Cupertino. Meanwhile, the latest version of iTunes is criticised.

RIM's BlackBerry World is up to 10,000 apps. Meanwhile, they've bought the company that makes Documents To Go, the mobile plugin for interacting with MS Office files. Not that much fun in Waterloo, Ontario either, come to think of it.

What's even less fun than reverse-engineering MS Office formats and implementing your solution on a mobile device with a screen the size of a postage stamp and strictly limited battery life? What about sharing cell sites and electric power? Ericsson proudly announces that it's combined the 10,000th cell site in 3UK and T-Mobile's (and now Orange's) joint venture, MBNL. On the other hand, while it may not be riotous fun, there's a particular joy in improvements to the bottom line, and we'd be interested to know what real cost savings they're seeing.

Poland's regulator has given two of its operators, PTK Centertel and Orange, clearance to build a joint wholesale LTE network. Count another!

OFCOM has granted permission for UK UMTS operators to turn up their Tx power some more, so if you start to see St. Elmo's Fire around your nose during phone calls you'll know who to blame. You may also read this and feel sorry for the OFCOM staffers who have to read all the submissions. They're also starting a consultation on mobile broadband.

The FCC is going ahead with the release of the "white space" spectrum. T-Mobile, meanwhile, is about to launch an HTC Android device with HSPA+ support.

Problems of the cloud - what happens when the virtual machine serving your business happens to be supporting a book-burning maniac's website as well, and you end up as collateral damage in the inevitable distributed denial-of-service attack?

Swiss courts hold that sweeping BitTorrent for IP addresses and then sending out nastygrams is illegal, on the grounds that the addresses are personally-identifying information and therefore consent is required to process them. And the European Parliament votes to make the EU negotiators on ACTA demand that anti-counterfeiting efforts respect fundamental rights.

An interesting idea for Worse Voice & Messaging 2.0. Meanwhile, BT is bringing its call centres back to the UK.

Google has made some changes to the core search product, which now starts trying to offer you results as you type. For the first time, the Google.com front page will involve JavaScript as a result. There's a fascinating story about how Google measures searches and therefore how things like Google Trends data and AdWords payouts are calculated - did you know that Google remembers anything you typed in the search box and left there for 3 seconds, even if you didn't load the search?

Vodafone is selling out of China Mobile, booking a nice profit on the way.

Operators are being pressed to improve traceability of their sources of key minerals.

The Netherlands' mobile operators and banks have agreed to set up a joint infrastructure for NFC-enabled mobile payments, using the SIM as the secure identifier.

A lesson from history on open-source software.

And a really bad morning for Réne Obermann, as the police raided his home looking for evidence of bribes paid during DTAG's expansion in eastern Europe.