Brutal future for Euro Mobile; Telenor + Telefonica; Sprint + Softbank; shrinking PC market - Telco 2.0 News Review

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Is the industry facing a brutal future in Europe? New Telco 2.0 analysis says that Europe as a whole will drop by 50Bn Euros by 2020 - or about a third. Spain and Italy - major markets, under great macroeconomic pressure, with unusually high voice pricing - are especially in the firing line. (NB The chart below shows the 5 largest economies in Europe, the 'Euro 5' that will drop by around 30Bn Euros between them.)


Forecast Mobile Telco Revenues in Euro 5 Economies

Euro Voice Brutal Image 2 Chart Euro 5 Oct 2012.png
Source: Telco 2.0, European Mobile: The Future's not Bright, it's Brutal

Join us at Digital Arabia (5-7 November, Dubai) and Digital Asia (3-5 December, Singapore) to discuss this and the outlook and lessons at a global and local level.

How will the operators respond? Telefonica has been a pioneer in Telco 2.0, and this week they were pushing hard on the carrier billing front. In the UK, O2 is going to cut the share it takes of transactions processed through the PayForIt system in the hope of making them an economic solution for many more applications. At the same time, another pioneer operator, Telenor, is becoming the first carrier to be a customer of Telefonica's BlueVia developer platform. This is interesting, as Telenor's Content Provider Access was one of the very first Telco 2.0 projects way back in 2004.

There's also Telefonica Dynamic Insights, their new division which will sell subscriber data via a partnership with GfK.

O2 also had a major outage this week.

One thing that always cheers people up is a bit of merger activity, for some odd reason. Vivendi, having decided to sell Telecom Maroc last week, is now looking at cableco Numericable as a potential acquisition. SFR would no doubt be a stronger proposition with a DOCSIS network, but you do wonder about the idea of selling one telco to buy another.

Meanwhile, will Softbank acquire Clearwire? It's a challenging one, not least because Sprint can't just sell Clearwire to Softbank as it doesn't own enough shares, so Sprint might have to spend money buying out holdouts in order to sell. The deal makes a little more sense when you realise that Softbank is deploying TD-LTE, like Clearwire.

Of course, there's one way to fix the problem of Sprint not owning the whole of Clearwire. Just buy the whole of Sprint! And that turned out to be precisely what Softbank did. It's far from clear how this is going to work (and the structure is special), but Masayoshi Son has made a career of turnaround projects.

T-Mobile USA's CTO Neville Ray says that the MetroPCS VoLTE network is going to stay, although he's not sure if it's the long term solution. Etisalat says it's not selling out of its foreign investments.

On the other hand, smartphones sell and keep selling. Horace points out that the PC industry is seeing volumes shrinking, for the first time in 11 years, or in other words, since the last recession.

Canadian analyst thinks BB10 won't make Christmas, but on the other hand app submissions just opened, and he also thinks it won't matter much because the Windows phones won't do much. This hands-on review of the Nokia Lumia 810 will not help much, as it is only a form-factor dummy.

However, this Wired hands-on review of the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini is unequivocally terrible.

The new Microsoft Office is coming to iOS.

Nokia's VP of user experience design blogs at UK Wired, meanwhile, and discusses research on women and smartphones. Interestingly, camera specs sell, and a bare (51%) majority in Europe care about the colour of the case, although the number is higher elsewhere.

Britain! We have the lowest percentage of homes covered by FTTH in Europe, with a massive 0.05%. Doesn't that make you proud to be British? The good news is that Hyperoptic has decided to double its deployment in London after better-than-expected takeup.

Cisco has terminated a reseller agreement with ZTE, after they discovered that Cisco equipment was finding its way to Iran via ZTE, in violation of any number of US laws. OpenBTS's David Burgess, meanwhile, looks at the Huawei row and makes a case for open source software. While he was at it, hackers took a look at some Huawei kit and discovered that it's not the spies you should worry about, it's the default passwords.

Meanwhile, ZTE reported horrible results, with a substantial loss in the first 9 months of the year, notably because of the "Iranian market" but also due to pressure on its margins. Being the industry's low bidder, its margins are naturally slim.

(Speaking of Iran, in case you're wondering, the MTN vs Turkcell case has come up in court, and been adjourned.)

Super-WiFi vendor Ruckus Wireless is going for an IPO, and The Voice of Broadband fillets the S-1 form. It's an impressive showing, and over half the company's employees are in R&D.

And Surrey University, well-known for being the home of Surrey Satellite Tech, has snagged a major project to research 5G mobile. £11m comes from the government, and another £24m from Huawei, Fujitsu, Rohde & Schwarz, AIRCOM, and Telefonica.

Up in the cloud, a new trend - investment funds putting their money directly in data centres. Fidelity Investments is putting up $200m for a massive project in Nebraska codenamed "Photon". The customer is a secret. This isn't even the only huge secret data centre in Nebraska financed by your pension fund - there's also the even bigger Project Edge.

Here's an OpenStack modular data centre in a car park.

Amazon Web Services has pushed a lot of features from EC2 into its GovCloud, the special security-focused product they offer US government customers.

Building a gigantic DNS infrastructure at UltraDNS.

Google has walked back its use of Zagat restaurant ratings, a business Marissa Mayer decided to buy. Arik Hessendahl at AllThingsDigital suggests a solution to the Google-FTC row.

ReadWriteWeb reports on the Google Books lawsuit and its surprisingly uncontroversial end.

How to turn off ad tracking in iOS 6.

Fight! Fight! Dan York takes issue with Martin Geddes' "hypervoice" presentation. Meanwhile, Tim Panton of PhoneFromHere talks about the Burning Man OpenBTS network. A bit more here.

Fuzebox, a new unicomms solution for the iPad. Check out some interesting comments about channels to market, VARs, and enterprise voice.