Gold iPhone; Kindle by satellite; China Mobile LTE contracts; exit Ballmer - Telco 2.0 News Review

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Digital Arabia is coming to Dubai on the 12th-13th of November.

Any iPhone you like as long as it's gold; Amazon looks at satellite Kindles

The Apple rumour machine is operating at nominal capacity this week, and the pick is probably the suggestion that the new iPhone will be gold. Of course, Apple would no doubt come up with some sort of elegant champagne hue, but would they really indulge in Vertu-style bling?

A bit more seriously, Apple Store staff have apparently been briefed about a new trade-in program for old iPhones as an effort to increase the proportion of the devices that sell through Apple's own retail channel. We note that they've been in an investment phase in retail for some time.

It's suggested that the frame-rate might be dramatically increased.

And Apple has patented the "silent disco", a recent trend according to TechCrunch but one we remember happening in Waterloo Station as long ago as 2005.

Amazon's next lot of Kindles may use Globalstar's satellite network for their Internet connectivity rather than the cellular operator partners in Whispernet. If they do go ahead with this, it suggests that they're more than ever convinced that the devices are about receiving and consuming content and their general-purpose features are secondary - the latency would make browsing very sporky, but then if you're browsing the web on a Kindle you're probably desperate.

As predicted, the Ubuntu Edge didn't get to its crowdfunding target. On the other hand, Jolla has apparently sold all the pre-order gadgets.

China Mobile LTE contracts are out, and the lucky winner is...

The mother of all infrastructure contracts is here: China Mobile announced the first $3bn in a $7bn rollout of TD-LTE, including some 200,000 eNodeBs. Unsurprisingly, the biggest winners were Huawei and ZTE, who each got 25% of the job. The other half of the contract was divvied up between Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, and Nokia. China Mobile may yet spend as much as $18bn in CAPEX this year over and above what it's spent already, so there's plenty more to play for.

We shall see whether the share-out is enough to prevent a trade dispute between China and the European Union - the EU trade commissioner has been sitting on a complaint, waiting for the result of the China Mobile deal. Now the result is in.

China's .cn DNS root was the target of the biggest ever DDOS attack over the weekend.

AT&T, meanwhile, promised to add another 50 LTE coverage areas by the end of the year. FierceWireless has a good overview of US LTE deployment - even with the new deployments, Verizon Wireless is still well ahead.

AT&T also opened another of their "Foundry" innovation centres this week, in Atlanta:

VZW stopped offering unlimited data plans in 2011, but had to "grandfather in" the existing customers who insisted on their right to renew the contracts. They're now trying to persuade them to give up the sought-after contracts by offering them more shiny, via their "Edge" get-a-phone-quicker program.

Turkcell's long-running ownership dispute, between the local investor Cukurova and Russian telecoms group Altimo, got so bad lately that there weren't enough board members to sign the Q2 results. They've now had two neutral members imposed by the regulator, and as a result, we know the company's profits were up 4.1%.

Telefonica, meanwhile, upped its bid for E-Plus quite substantially, and scored the approval of Carlos Slim in his effort to acquire its owner, KPN. The deal would give Telefonica control of E-Plus and merge it into O2 Germany, while also leaving KPN with 20% of the combined company as well as the €8.5bn in cash.

Slim also OK'd Telekom Austria's plan to issue €500m of new stock. America Movil owns 24% of the operator, second only to the Austrian government's 28%.

The recent surge of emerging markets angst has shaken up some operators. Telkom in Indonesia, for example, responded to the slide in markets and a request from the government by offering to buy back stock. In India, Reliance is talking about selling a stake in its submarine cables, but then it has been for the last 12 months.

Orange, meanwhile, is planning a visit to South Africa, where it intends to start an MVNO and also to join a joint venture operating WLAN hotspots. Benoit Felten looks at some options for the Aussie NBN.

And meet the people worried about BT turning off dial-up service because they can't get broadband. In Uzbekistan, meanwhile, where the government ordered MTS out of the country a while back, they still can't find a buyer for the operator, and now mysterious new billboards are appearing. Detergent? Green tea? Or...a new mobile operator?

VMWare and Savvis roll out hybrid cloud; The Data Centre as a Computer, 2.0

VMWare held its annual shindig this week and Ars Technica was there. Major announcements include a new (ish) SDN solution, "NSX", which claims to provide a full networking stack in software from Layer 2 to Layer 7, more detail on their hybrid cloud service, and the new version of the core virtual machine, vSphere.

Savvis will be providing data centres and connectivity for the new cloud product. China Telecom, meanwhile, has been building what it claims is "Asia's largest cloud computing base" on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, where (among other things) the wind power is cheap.

Update your local buzzword cache: welcome to Fog Computing, which is what Cisco calls a view of the cloud that moves more processing to the edge, closer to the user, and emphasises M2M and mobility.

Here's a half-hour talk on how Reddit scaled up.

And Google has published the second, completely revised edition of the classic The Data Centre as a Computer, the paper that launched the cloud. You can download it here, free.

RingCentral is go for IPO, Calliflower gets refreshed

Chetan Sharma notes that voice and messaging revenue fell year-on-year in 21 different Vodafone markets.

The good news: RingCentral, a cloud-based unicomms product for SMBs, is going for an IPO at $100 million. Or, a valuation equal to last year's sales...

Voice on the Web reviews the refreshed Calliflower, including its new look and feel, its WebRTC support, and its use of the Opus HD voice codec.

Chris Kranky argues that Rogers Wireless' OneNumber FMC product is a buggy mess and should probably have been built in WebRTC to begin with.

DialDrive is a comprehensive marketing and virtual call centre tool based on Twilio's WebRTC client.

A Balancing Act talks to the Microsoft exec responsible for Office Online, the communications module for Office 365, and hears that it "just works" whenever latency is better than 250ms - which includes more of Africa than you might think.

Ballmer exits Microsoft; a fly on the wall at Yahoo!

Steve Ballmer leaves Microsoft, saying that he didn't want to be IBM and that there is no real enterprise/customer distinction. We'll remember him for "developers, developers, developers" - something Apple and Google grasped and Nokia never did.

Here's a form guide to the potential candidates for the succession.

Here's a deep profile of Marissa Mayer.

Mark Zuckerberg explains Internet.org, which turns out to be much like 0.facebook.com.

Baidu has a new HTML5 app store that is designed to save you downloading apps you only use once.

And it's time to kill Windows XP before it comes for you.