Telcos' corner of Cloud; Joyn's 'IMS-free' MNOs; Bad APIs; and Blackberry z10 revival? - Telco 2.0 News Review

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[Ed. Next week we're at our Executive Brainstorm in Silicon Valley, 19-20 March 2013 in San Francisco, and then on to our EMEA Brainstorm, 5-6 June 2013 in London. The agendas feature our analysis of the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce, Digital Entertainment, and the Internet of Things - and will of course cover much on Cloud, Broadband, Voice 2.0, and new business model strategies - we hope to see you there.]

Telegeography has cloud revenue data and the take-home message is that Amazon Web Services is winning IaaS by a distance. Only one telco figures in the top three in any of the sectors they studies, and that's BT. Telcos do substantially better in traditional managed hosting and colocation.

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IDC, for their part, expect "hosted private cloud", aka virtual private cloud to explode out of the blocks, growing at over 50% from here to 2016. That could be much more like it. Our views can be found in Cloud 2.0: Telco Strategies in the Cloud.

VMWare, meanwhile, is whipping up hype for its public cloud product targeting Amazon Web Services. We're guessing that telcos probably don't want to get between the two Monsters Of Cloud.

Here's an interesting specialised cloud: "ARM as a Service", providing developers with ARM-based servers in the cloud in order to test their apps against the kind of hardware you expect from mobile, touch-based, or embedded devices.

Houston is Mission Control for more web sites than any other city, it seems, largely thanks to SoftLayer's flock of data centres there. And here's a massive gaming cloud in the back of a lorry.

Deutsche Telekom is the latest carrier to launch Joyn.

But, as Ian Scales at TelecomTV points out, Joyn (aka RCSe) is coming in a very different form to what the operators, 3GPP, and the GSMA anticipated.

Rather than a metered network service, it's much more like a freemium OTT app. MetroPCS, for example, has made its app available to customers of any carrier, while hoping for differentiation based on its VoLTE network and high-definition voice. And rather than a front-end to IMS, Joyn is usually being deployed with virtualised SIP servers. So, advanced voice and messaging is another app running over the LTE IP network, and the back-up, universal, 999-capable service is still provided by fallback to the traditional cellular network. Which doesn't leave much space for IMS.

DTAG recommends you only use it on trusted WLANs at the moment, as they're waiting for a security fix. This leads us to this Businessweek story about identifying the Chinese surveillance features in the version of Skype resold by TOM in China.

Also, did you know America Movil's Joyn service is running on a core network hosted by Vodafone? We saw that at Solaiemes's back-from-MWC blog.

Telstra has a new unified comms product, Cloud Collaboration, including voice, video, conferencing, and Jabber-based secure instant messaging. It's available wherever their NextG mobile broadband network is.

Digium, the company behind Asterisk, is now offering the default-standard telephony platform as a cloud service.

Crunched is a deep sales & marketing analytics system that uses Voxeo for HD voice. How to create a callback queue with Twilio.

Despite everything, old-fashioned phone receivers are a triumph of design, and it's hard to find a good new one.

WiFi offload is growing faster than anyone anticipated, the IP Carrier blog reports, reading Cisco's latest set of forecasts. They expect that 38% of mobile data traffic will be offloaded this year.

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India has been auctioning 800MHz spectrum, but there is surprisingly little interest.

The Voice of Broadband reports that US cable operators are beating US telcos for subscriber growth and even more dramatically for speed. Further, she demolishes the idea that fixed doesn't matter.

Meanwhile, Fibernomics makes a case that FTTC/VDSL isn't really worth having - although the deployment cost is about a third of that for FTTH, you still have to look after the copper last mile, and there is an upgrade treadmill for the electronics (a point the Voice also makes).

The problem is that a typical shareholder in KPN keeps their shares for two months, versus 6 months for France Telecom and DTAG, and 17 months for BT.

A state law banning municipal broadband, surprisingly common in the US, has been repealed in Georgia.

The 3G & 4G Wireless Blog takes a look at small cells and distributed-antenna systems, arguing that in the future, buildings will increasingly come with their own multi-operator shared DAS infrastructure. There's also an interesting presentation from NEC.

Optimising Small Cells Architectures for In-Building Solutions from Zahid Ghadialy

Meanwhile, Ericsson thinks you need SDN.

Dan Rayburn thinks there is a structural problem with the CDN industry. Nobody can make money, and YouTube is probably subsidising its CDN costs from its advertising business. An interesting debate begins in the comments.

We would point out that there are similarities with the mobile data networks a couple of years ago - the biggest problem was that they insisted on selling "unlimited" or at least very large bundles at silly prices in pursuit of market share. A price war often looks like a fundamental technical or economic issue while you're in it. Perhaps it's time for peace.

How's Amazon's web site acceleration product getting on? Nothing like Akamai...yet. But AWS's continuous improvement/kaizen strategy implies we've not seen anything yet.

The new Roku 3 is reviewed, and it's impressive. It also gets dismantled, revealing an ARM A9 core.

MTN's CEO is concerned that the African mobile market is becoming structurally unprofitable, with a combination of high costs (generating your own power etc.) and too many operators fighting for share. Uganda now has 7 MNOs for 34 million people and a per capital GDP of $1,341 at purchasing-power parity.

Mexico has the opposite problem, and it made Carlos Slim the world's richest man. Now they're trying to create a telecoms regulator with powers to break up monopolists.

In the UK, Virgin Media's MVNO operation, on EverythingEverywhere's network, decided to impose a 2Mbps maximum speed on mobile data...and succeeded in imposing a 0Mbps cap instead, as the network failed. They've now walked it back.

Going to the US? Need cheap mobile service? ReadySIM has the solution, as an MVNO running on T-Mobile USA.

O2 UK is pushing a GPS-based telecare product.

Informa's Exposing Telecoms APIs survey is out.

Operators' API initiatives are said to be 'fragmented,' 'inconsistent,' with 'universal coalitions/standards [that] never work.'

Ouch. But then again, we've been saying for a long time that telcos need to provide enabling commercial solutions for customers and not just raw APIs (see e.g. 2009's Open APIs 2.0 - APIs Everywhere, But What Is The Joined-up Commercial Strategy?).

In the smartphone world, BlackBerry may have scored a hit - half their Z10 sales in the UK and Canada are coming from either iPhone or Android users, smartphone switchers. The last major switching event between smartphone platforms was away from Symbian...

Horace looks into Android user numbers. As usual, fine charts are part of the package:

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The difference between Android growth rates in the US, and globally, is dramatic, and in fact it looks like Android adoption is slowing down in the States. The difference may be down to the availability of older iPhone models at low, low prices in the US.

Meanwhile, Android developers need to get used to two distinct audiences, "hackers" and "casuals". The first group support Android because it's mobile Linux, and always want more features; the second tolerate Android because it's cheap. But what kind of an audience will the vast global market for Android devices be?

Chinese officials are concerned by the huge share Android has achieved in China. It's probably similarly true to say that Google executives are concerned about the vast numbers of "forkdroids" rolling out of Chinese ODMs with homebrew flavours of Android and no obvious link to Google's business model.

HTC is failing.

If it's mobile Linux you want, there's Ubuntu Touch now. CNET made it their product of the show at MWC, and here's the video demonstration:

In apps and content news, PayPal has launched the new, and long awaited, version of its API.

In one popular tutorial, web developer Eran Galperin describes PayPal's original APIs as "among the worst I've ever had to deal with," citing inconsistent behaviors, lousy documentation, and unpredictable failures.

Facebook's updated News Feed: "personalised newspaper" or "junk deluge"?

Another take on Bayesian news filtering is Thirst.

Rovio drops out of the charts for app revenue. Is the market shifting from paid downloads to recurring subscription?

EA's games for the Nokia Ashas.

E-mail fail at Yahoo!

Hacking your phone with IMSI catchers, the FBI way. OpenGarden makes your phone part of a WiFi mesh network. And the startup for selling out of your startup.