Data Roaming Caps; Akamai CDN/Cloud; Telefonica's Voice 2.0 TUMe - Telco 2.0 News Review

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[Ed: It's 4 weeks to the EMEA Executive Brainstorm, 12-13 June 2012 in London. There's top speakers from Amazon, Google, Barclays, Ofcom and the top EMEA telcos, a great agenda covering the latest on Telco 2.0 strategies, telcos in the cloud, M-Commerce, and M2M, and it's in a smart new venue. Register here, call +44 (0) 207 247 5003, or email contact@stlpartners.com for more.]

Starting at the end of next month, European Union roaming price caps go into force. For the first time, they cover data, capping the price at 70 cents a megabyte and sliding down to 16 by 2014. And subscribers must be informed by SMS when their bill passes €50. But the most disruptive element is probably that, starting in 2014, users will be able to pick their roaming provider. We note that Starhome pushed out a press release today about their local roaming number product, which sounds relevant.

In other regulatory news, 3UK's CFO told analysts that the cuts to mobile termination rates had made it possible for them to offer an unlimited data package. Meanwhile, their new CEO David Dyson suggested that their network-sharing agreement with EverythingEverywhere might be extended to cover LTE, in which case 3UK might be able to take part in the early LTE1800 deployment EE keeps threatening.

BT proudly announced it had "passed 10 million homes" with fibre, although that of course doesn't mean quite what it does to a FTTH operator. BT's EBITDA was unexpectedly up, 3 per cent, on the basis of better-than-expected broadband net adds. A survey suggests that the UK consumer is not necessarily convinced.

Deutsche Telekom saw its net profits fall sharply, but still thought things were going reasonably well on the basis of their KPIs. The best news was that the deployment of LTE at T-Mobile USA was making progress, thanks to the cash and spectrum paid out as the break fee from the AT&T deal. The roll-out, costed at $4bn for 37,000 cells, will go to Ericsson for the radios and NSN for the backhaul and core network.

T-Mo, Sprint, and a group of RLECs are starting a campaign against Verizon's acquisition of the cable companies' spectrum blocks.

The 3G & 4G Wireless Blog, Dean Bubley, and many others have a long discussion about data growth rates, WiFi, and device classes. To what extent is the "data tsunami" a lobbying construct? This involves an interesting chart, from Telefonica's Q1s, showing the opposite of the infamous scissors diagram:

Telefonica_JanMar2012_6.jpg

NSN, meanwhile, signs an agreement to resell Ruckus Wireless's long-range WiFi equipment (you may remember they aced a Tom's Hardware test we blogged). Telefonica, for their part, have pushed the job of running their UK network to Huawei.

Telecom Egypt has a somewhat less awful few months. Kabel Deutschland buys Telecolumbus.

RevK on why more communications data retention is bad. Holland passes net neutrality. ORG lists some Web sites British mobile operators are blocking - they aren't the ones you might think.

The Voice of Broadband deep-dives AT&T's new home security product, pointing out that Cingular tried it in 2006 and pulled out, and that there's a $3.5bn pool of revenue up for grabs. However, delivering the service will be an operational challenge. And strangely, it looks like they trust their cellular network more than their fixed network.

We mentioned Telefonica, and they will be presenting on their CDN at Dan Rayburn's event today.

Akamai has a new product, Terra Cloud Catalyst, that permits cloud computing vendors to integrate their CDN services more easily. We've said in the past that the cloud and CDNs go naturally together. Interestingly, Rackspace is using it as part of an OpenStack deployment.

Amazon's CloudFront CDN has had a feature refresh, giving it more capability to deal with dynamic content and multiple back-end servers.

HP's public cloud, based on OpenStack, stops being free and starts being public-beta this week. There's a detailed discussion here. Interestingly, they are partnering with telcos around the world as local service partners as well as sellers of dark fibre and rackspace.

And Ars Technica has a great discussion of why Zynga moved into the cloud in the first place (scalability), and then why it moved out of Amazon Web Services and into its own private cloud (costs). Note the importance of admin tools and API compatibility.

Telefonica Digital has a new Voice 2.0 app out, TU Me. It gives you free calls and messaging between TU Me users, although it doesn't have any PSTN interworking, and the unique selling point seems to be that it keeps an integrated history of your conversations across channels for at least a year (which seems a bit stingy compared to GMail storage, and that was in 2004).

TechCrunch's Mike Butcher has joined the cult of Voice 2.0. (We're your family now, Mike.)

Conversion narratives are always interesting, and the way he saw the light is especially so. Apparently a major advertiser in the UK bought several million pounds' worth of Google AdWords, linking to their phone numbers. They paid a "major continental European operator" for a hosted PBX product to handle the incoming calls. But somehow, several of the phone trunks didn't actually work (or possibly the PBX was misconfigured) and 80% of the calls were dropped, something that wasn't realised for weeks. Both the customer and Google were furious.

As a result, Mike has had his come-to-Jesus moment about the integration of Voice 2.0 and online advertising.

Sprint, for their part, are the latest operator to offer HD voice, on the HTC One X.

Speaking of which, an epic struggle between the chip vendors is coming next year. Despite all the shiny at MWC, NVIDIA has had to put off the full-fat LTE version of the Tegra 3 quad-core chip to 2013. Round about then, Intel's 22nm chip, codename Merrifield hits the market, while Intel also pushes cheaper Atom chips further down the market. It seems that Intel is something like 100% committed to Android.

Horace, meanwhile, runs the numbers and concludes what everyone else has - Android's spectacular growth isn't hitting Google's bottom line.

Ask Siri for the best smartphone, and she will tell you to get a Nokia Lumia 900. This is because search partner Wolfram Alpha scrapes Best Buy product reviews in order to answer questions like that, and they are spammable.

Wired has an extensive interview with Nokia's new chief of design (who also co-founded Blyk). It is suggested that the gadgets are selling rather well.

Dell is readying a Ubuntu Linux ultrabook aimed at developers. And here's the rumour about what Apple might do when it stops using Google Maps: rather like Nokia Maps, to be honest.

Buongiorno sells, to NTT Docomo, for $300m.

Yahoo!'s new CEO isn't any more, after he was exposed as having lied about having a computer science degree. New boss Ross Levinsohn is profiled, plus some of his plans. Fixing the ad sales operation is crucial. More here - note that the new team is keen to expand Alibaba.com, the China-focused B2B market.

Is ad spending on YouTube rising?

Here's a very bubbly take on Facebook, which this week launched an app store. If you delete a Facebook app, that doesn't mean they get rid of your data. The rise and fall of a social media fad.

Why isn't Mozilla complaining about Apple platform restrictions when it does about Windows?

The app that finds out which apps are spying on you.