Telco 2.0 News Review

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[Ed. Analysis from the 11th Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm will be out later this week, plus we've now set the dates for the next brainstorms in London, San Fransisco and Singapore.]

The UK's telecoms minister, Ed Vaizey, appeared at last week's Financial Times World Telecoms event and didn't quite say that he was going to end net neutrality in the UK. In fact, he couldn't have done as there is no such regulatory requirement in Britain. What he did say was that he didn't see any case for further regulations so long as there was plenty of competition at the ISP level. In that, he's entirely aligned with OFCOM director Ed Richards, who spoke the day before, EU Commissioners Neelie Kroes and Viviane Reding, and for that matter, Telco 2.0. Regarding the EU, we even blogged it. Come to think of it, he's even in agreement with Tim Berners-Lee. Can we put this story to bed, please?

Richards, for his part, also appeared at the event and announced details of the UK's 800 and 2600MHz spectrum auctions. A consultation will begin in February and run through to May, with detailed proposals in August, and the auction itself in early 2012 with a view to the spectrum being clear for a switch-on in 2013.

Cheekily, the BBC is going to launch a web application that profiles what your ISP is doing to their packets, rather like the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Switzerland (because it's neutral) application.

Meanwhile, Benoit Felten doubts that there is real value to be had from content-based discrimination. This goes to the heart of some of the points we made here - prioritised delivery is only valuable if the network is badly congested, but if it's that badly congested, will the upstream customers have any confidence it'll actually be up, never mind performing according to the SLA?

In other deep Internet news, here's a rundown of TCP congestion control inventor and Cisco co-founder Van Jacobson's ideas about "Content-Centric Networking". Also, both Renesys and Arbor Networks ASERT distribute calm about the suddenly-rediscovered China Telecom BGP routing leak.

The GSMA has reversed course on the issue of over-the-air SIM updates, possibly a very important regulatory shift. This would permit the hypothetical Apple device with a non-removable SIM, and also be very useful for M2M devices.

Unlike the MVNO solution as described at our event, though, it would still be critically dependent on the operator who delivers the SIM cards and who controls the OTA gateway, unless the carriers are willing to face the issue of interconnecting SIM-update messaging, a potential security minefield. Rudolf van der Berg has a detailed post on why being an MVNO beats having funny SIM cards over at GigaOm.

In other Apple news, News Corp and Apple are going to be publishing a new newspaper exclusively for the iPad, The Daily, based in New York. Apparently it'll cost 99 cents a week.

Wired reports that online advertising revenues are climbing again after a sudden stop during the economic crisis, and that some media companies are hiring again.

There's another of those "smartphone market share via ad-serving data" stories out this week. This time, it's not AdMob. But ReadWriteWeb reports that Millenial Media still finds that Android is growing at a ferocious clip and is now accounting for as many ad requests as the Apple iOS device fleet.

Palm is about to push out WebOS 2 to its developers.

At least part of Google's TV play has some good news to announce: Google TV Ads has got the contract to manage advertising on Verizon's FiOS TV service.

In India, the "telecoms scam" story continues to spread. TRAI is now proposing that 62(!) GSM licences simply be cancelled for one reason or another. Notably, Etisalat seems to be especially hit.

Ultra-low cost GSM vendor VNL has a contract in Ghana. We blogged them here. Vodafone and Telenor impressed the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress with details from their respective M-PESA deployments.

Meanwhile, major US carriers have agreed to start a joint venture to support NFC-based mobile payments. Interesting, but as someone points out in comments, M-PESA works with any device.

Brazil, meanwhile, has hit 100% mobile penetration.

Bell Canada flipped on dual carrier HSPA this week, with a "theoretical maximum" of 42Mbps. At least to begin with, they're charging a C$10 premium for extra speed.

Cable guys Cox Comms this week leapt into the US mobile snake pit, adding a mobile service to their existing triple play bundles. The service is going to be called "Unbelievably Fair" (because you get a refund for unused minutes) and it's an MVNO riding on Sprint's CDMA EV-DO network.

Spotify's numbers are out for 2009, not that this means much as start-ups notoriously operate in dog years (seven times the usual). For what it's worth, their losses were actually greater than their total revenue. There's a major lawsuit on between EMI and MP3tunes.com which is likely to turn on whether the DMCA safe harbor provision applies to "file lockers"/direct download websites. Killer detail: EMI uploaded some of the infringing content itself for promotional reasons.

Wired, meanwhile, says you should forget the news that the Beatles are now on iTunes and go straight to the real news - the Google Voice app for iPhone is finally here.

Meanwhile, Google's latest run at the social-network business is here: Google Hotpot integrates elements of social networking (like Google Buzz), local search, and product reviews in order to provide localised recommendations based on your friends' opinions, and no doubt advertising as well.

GiffGaff, Telefonica's MVNO that is supposedly run by its users, has suddenly withdrawn its unlimited call plan without asking them. The explanation is that some of the users ran up to 13,000 minutes a month or £520 worth of termination, with the average being 5,000. People still love telephony, and operators still occasionally pull off a One2One here and there.

Skype Journal wants to know if Skype video calls will be available once Verizon Wireless's LTE network goes live. Will they be an extra-cost option? Also, Meetzi is a Web site for making meetings less awful. Should Skype buy it?

Tim Panton explains why Asterisk SCF is an example of best practice in developer relations. And of all people, Microsoft are promising to "end the PBX era" with their new Lync unified comms product.

Tropo looks like it's going to add SMS shortcode capability, going by this post from Dan York on their official blog that invites users to open tickets if they want it. They also have a HOWTO integrate Tropo scripts with XMPP-based instant messaging. On York's own blog, he points out that his desk phone's major function now is as a spam trap.

AT&T Research shows off its speech-processing tech. So why do they still have voicemail? And here's an example of Worse Voice & Messaging 2.0: Apple won't let you write an app for spoofing your CLI, but nothing stops you building a Web site that does the same thing and bookmarking it in Safari.

Qualcomm claims the MSM8690 processor, the first dual-core Snapdragon, offers a 75% cut in power consumption.

Interestingly, the data-center world is beginning to look at mobile technology as a solution to its obsessive hunt for power savings. Data Center Knowledge reports on ZT Systems' new rackmount server based on up to 16 ARM Cortez A9 chips - fully populated, it's meant to draw some 80 watts peak while supporting 8 dual-Cortex server modules, 8 SSDs, and a pair of Gigabit Ethernet switches.

A new Amazon Web Services API lets you buy processing power on highly parallel GPUs, for people who essentially need an inflatable supercomputer.

The horrible bill trying to censor the DNS has survived the intervention of Vint Cerf and is threatening to pass in the lame-duck session of the US Senate. Nokia claims the Ovi Store has passed 3 million downloads a day. Anti-piracy lawspammer in serious trouble. The GSMA doesn't like SIM taxes.