Cisco pivots to SDN, slashes jobs; AT&T claims big CAPEX savings; OpenFlow controllers, rated! DTAG strategy, Q2s
Cisco is urgently shifting its focus from big-iron routers to virtualised networking. This is a historic decision for the company more associated than any other with the very concept of an Internet router. According to CEO Chuck Robbins, this is because major customers are demanding it, notably AT&T. This comes after a mixed Q2 - overall revenue was up 2%, not least because of a strong performance from security products, but this masked a multitude of sins, as NGN routers were down 6% due to much lower spending from service providers. As a result, the company is laying off 5,500 employees, 7% of the workforce.
Comcast 1Gbps “coast to coast”; Centurylink, Frontier respond; Liberty Global, BT, KDDI, KT Q2s
Comcast’s CTO says they’re going to have gigabit cable “coast to coast” in the next 12 months, while their set-top box vendors are saying they expect a big ramp-up of sales early next year. Meanwhile, WOW, Cox, and Mediacom are hinting at something similar. DSL operators have little choice but to respond by building out something comparable.
Softbank x ARM; Apple, Samsung, and Huawei Q2s; Q2 shipments
Softbank astonished the world last week by buying ARM Holdings, the British chip designers behind 95% of the world’s mobile devices, for $32bn in raw cash. That’s “offer you can’t refuse” territory, especially as ARM is typical of successful tech companies in that its employees own a lot of the company’s shares, and the deal instantly makes millionaires of quite a few of them.
5G against net neutrality; EU, FCC moves on spectrum; NGMN action; Verizon specs
A team of European operators, plus some vendors and vertical industry players, has submitted a “5G manifesto” to the European Commission. They’re after some money to support large-scale demo projects and standardisation (not that much - a total of €1.5bn), plus they want harmonised spectrum licencing of the 700MHz, 3.4 to 3.8GHz, and 24GHz-plus by 2020. Their timeline expectations are focused on 2020, by which time they want to have at least one EU city covered. In the meantime, they’re promising a wave of trials focused on vertical use cases, on a pan-European basis, that will begin once 3GPP R14 arrives in 2018.
NTT: spectrum call this year for 5G in 2020; Qualcomm, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE 5G news; 3GPP sets 2018 target
Lots of 5G news this week, thanks to the conjuncture of 5G World and MWC Shanghai. NTT DoCoMo’s head of 5G, Takehiro Nakamura, says we need the spectrum position signing off this year for their planned launch in 2020. As usual, the 3.5GHz and 28GHz bands are in the frame, and NTT has been testing beam-steering in the 28 recently. He reckons it will take ten years to fully “optimise” 5G, but major trials at NTT will start next year and a lot of the moving parts seem to be ready.
Oi! Where’s my money? Gone; Arora quits Softbank; Free says goodbye to Orange
Time was when Brazilian consolidation was a hot story in telecoms. Now, on the boom has come the crash, and no-one’s talking about how to get their paws on TIM Brasil any more. Instead, Oi has gone bankrupt, owing some $19bn to various creditors. It’s the biggest bankruptcy in Brazilian history and the first major telco to go bust since the days of Global Crossing, 360Networks and friends.
WWDC: Intel modems in iPhone, ads in the App store; Google Fiber Wireless? MS LinkedIn; RIP Tom Perkins
It’s Apple WWDC week. First up, there’s a huge story in the semiconductor business - some variants of the next lot of iPhones will be getting their LTE modems from Intel, not Qualcomm. After years and years of trying, Intel finally has a major mobile deal and it’s the biggest it could possibly be. Also, it’s another punch in the guts for Qualcomm, especially as modems and other RF components are meant to be one of its biggest growth segments over the next five years, on a par with its push on the data centre.
Here’s an interesting panel on 5G - Verizon director of corporate technology, Gerry Flynn, is very clear that they are thinking primarily in terms of fixed wireless in the 28GHz band when they say 5G and they mean to shoot for very high data rates. AT&T’s director of advanced radio technologies, Arun Ghosh, makes the interesting point that the technology barrier for millimetre-wave spectrum is getting from a dish antenna to something you can fit in a phone. Obviously this is less of a problem if the form-factor is “something on the roof”.
If this Samsung European R&D presentation is anything to go by, they’re making progress on the problem. Also, 5G and 802.11ax WiFi have a lot in common, and the real gains from beamforming kick in once you start doing it in 3D.
CEO Lowell McAdam fills in some more detail. He says the carrier has tested up to 1.8Gbps, that he expects the roll-out to justify the CAPEX bill based purely on fixed-wireless, and that VZ will use it to expand its gigabit services beyond the FiOS footprint. That’s pretty big; the current rush to get more FTTH or DOCSIS 3.1 out there just got a new participant.
Euregulators nix 3UK/O2, probe DTAG vectoring; OFCOM consults on 160MHz more WiFi
Rewheel’s latest report points out that there is a drastic disparity in data pricing within Europe, and it’s between the markets with three or fewer operators, and the rest. In three-operator Germany, Vodafone users get 1GB of data for the same money, €35/mo, that gets Vodafone users in the four-operator UK 20GB. Typical data bundles in Holland doubled at the same price point after Tele2 launched the fourth 4G network. And France, once the dearest and least competitive market in Europe, is now the second-cheapest, powered by Free Mobile’s price-slashing.
It’s no surprise, then, that the European Commission has announced its veto on the 3UK/O2 deal.
Sprint’s 5G plans; LTE-U tests clear for take-off; NI’s “beast” of a SDR; LTE-B use cases
Once VZW started the music playing, everyone had to get up and dance. This week, it’s Sprint that’s setting out plans to have something described as 5G out in the field as soon as possible. CEO Marcelo Claure is promising to have a trial of millimetre-wave spectrum at two of the stadiums for the Copa America in June, with Nokia and Ericsson. As always with Sprint, it’s all about trying to find a use for that 2.5GHz block - apparently it’s “the low-band spectrum for 5G”. We can remember when it was the “beach-front spectrum for 4G”.
Unlikely Yahoo! bidding war; Vivendi swapping TI for Mediaset; RIAA vs. YouTube, again; the TV costs timebomb
Rather surprisingly, a bidding war is developing for Yahoo! Verizon kicked it all off, with an $8bn offer that foresaw Yahoo! being integrated into AOL under the purview of their new businesses EVP, Marni Walden. Then it was rumoured that Google might be interested - just imagine, searching the web with Google Yahoo! - or perhaps Time, Inc, in an ironic replay of the AOL-Time Warner merger.
VZW 28GHz tests; Tele2 virtualises for 5G; more ONOS telco cloud; open optical switching; Ahuja out at Cisco
Verizon has filed papers with the FCC requesting permission to test 5G technology in the 28GHz band at three locations in the US. The test campaign will last at most six months and it intends to evaluate Ericsson, Intel, Samsung, and Qualcomm equipment. Interestingly, Nokia has already been testing with VZ in the same area.
Tele2, meanwhile, is moving its core network into a private cloud, and it is positioning this as preparation for 5G.
3UK/O2 - Wholesale 30% of O3 capacity, or leave O2 independent?
The 3UK/O2 deal just gets more interesting. Hutchison apparently proposed to offer as much as 30% of the combined network’s capacity as wholesale for MVNOs, and sell its 50% stake in Tesco Mobile to the eponymous supermarket. It also suggested offering a strategic partner a long-term MVNO agreement, perhaps rather like the national roaming agreement between Orange and Free Mobile. The Financial Times reckons the partner is Sky, but it could equally be TalkTalk or Virgin Media.
TI’s €7bn for innovations; Equinix brings Open Compute to telecoms; Microsoft’s Linux-based switches; wave of NFV contracts
The long-running saga of TIM’s investment in Telecom Argentina is at an end, with regulatory approval in. The sale, to a financial investor, brings in $1bn. The interesting bit, though, is what TIM plans to do with the money. Over the next three years, TI plans €12bn of CAPEX. Out of this, €1.2bn is going into additional 4G capacity, €3.6bn into FTTH builds, €400m into the TI Sparkle submarine cable division…and a whole €7bn into “innovation initiatives” such as IoT, NFV, and cloud. CEO Marco Patuano says this is
“the transition from a traditional telco to a digital telco & platform company enabler of the country’s digital life”
A wet blanket for smartphone shipments; iPhone 5SE; Ericsson warns on m-money; Microsoft’s outstanding apps
IDC reckons the glory days of smartphone shipments rising 10+% annually are over. Western Europe, North America, and China are already under the mark, whereas South-East Asia, India, Africa, and Indonesia are going great guns. That of course means that the device mix is skewing cheaper, with ASP expected to drop from $295 last year to $237 in 2020.
GfK, meanwhile, offers a short-term take, saying that volumes were up 7% globally in 2015 but ASP fell enough that the size of the market by value was flat.
Last week, we saw the FCC filings; this week, AT&T gave details of its “roadmap to 5G”. Field trials are going to begin this year, in collaboration with Ericsson and Intel, and AT&T intends to feed back experience from them into the 3GPP standards process. Interestingly, although the FCC special authorisation provides for mobile, AT&T only refers to fixed-wireless in the press release. Re/codepoints out that AT&T has a considerable interest in, and a regulatory commitment to, replacing its rural copper with broadband wireless.
Much more interestingly, throughout the statement, they repeatedly link 5G, SDN, and NFV. This combination of new radio technology, cloud, and network virtualisation is the zone of disruption STL Partners identified in our May, 2015 Executive Briefing How 5G is Disrupting Cloud and Network Strategy Today. This week, we’ve issued a new Executive Briefing, AT&T: Fast Pivot to the NFV Future, which provides an in-depth update on AT&T’s cloud and NFV strategy and how far the transition has come on the way to 75% virtualisation by 2020. If we may be forgiven a spoiler: it’s going pretty well.
5G - AT&T goes next; LTE-U trials get the go; Nokia, Ericsson pre-MWCs; VF Turkey just misses the gig
The race to get 5G into the field is picking up, with the 2020 deadline moving forward to 2018 and perhaps even sooner. We knew the Korean carriers were shooting for 2018, but now TeliaSonera has joined them, Verizon Wireless is promising a trial this year, and now AT&T has applied for a licence to test 5G technology around Austin, Texas during the next three years. The operator wants to use four frequency bands ranging from 3.4GHz to 27.5GHz and to test both fixed and mobile stations. The motivation seems to be that they want to have some testing data in hand to inform the standards process. You can download the document here.
It wasn’t that long ago that AT&T’s Glenn Lurie rubbished the VZW project at last year’s CTIA. Now they’re getting up off the wall.
Apple Q4s are out and, as usual, they broke records - Apple’s revenue has never been higher and neither has its profits. With $75.9bn in revenue and a gross margin of 40%, you might expect everyone to be happy. But nothing is more characteristic of Apple than perfectionism, except perhaps bevelled corners. Apple’s guidance for Q2 is between $50bn and $53bn, and if the out-turn is towards the lower end, it will actually be lower than Q2 2015, the first drop in Apple revenues in 10 years.
Part of the story here is that the first half of 2015 was driven skywards by Apple’s triumph with the iPhone 6 and 6S. There is no such big new product at the moment, so you’d expect some reversion to the mean. That said, Apple could legitimately start to worry about the iPad line, as its sales were off 25% year-on-year even with the iPad Pro and Mini 4 to push. Interestingly, as ZDNet points out here, sales of services and software were very strong and Apple executives have been talking up the importance of this business and the opportunity represented by the installed base.
Not, of course, that they’re going to give up on hardware.
Google shares surge before Apple Q4; the enormity of bad advertising; iRumours; Oracle leaks Android “numbers”
Ahead of Apple’s results tomorrow, Google, or rather the holding company Alphabet, was trading within 10 per cent of Apple’s market capitalisation. The investment thesis is apparently that the iPhone has peaked, while digital advertising can only grow. How this matches up with the on-going shakeout of ad-tech companies and massive adoption of adblockers is an interesting question. Also, Apple ‘bears’ have notoriously managed to predict the end of the iPhone ahead of every Apple quarter for years, in the same way Paul Samuelson said the market predicted 9 of the last 5 recessions. So… tomorrow’s results will be interesting.
Mobile drives IPv6 adoption through 10%; MTS wants 5G by 2018; VZW wants 28GHz; ETSI MEC PoCs; Swantee quits
On the 31st of December, the world reached a milestone: 10% of world Internet traffic is now on IPv6, per Google. The US is almost at 25%, although nowhere close to mighty Belgium’s world championship performance with 43%. If current trends continue, that means IPv4 will be decommissioned by the summer of 2020, only 25 years after IPv6 was standardised by RFC 1883.
Interestingly, the key driver of growth is now mobility. On the US top four wireless networks, 38% of traffic is now IPv6, so 2016 will be the year when the world’s biggest and richest ISP market becomes majority-IPv6.
LG U+ bursts through 1Gbps; TEF, TIM Brasil, Vodafone CAPEX plans; new street lights for more small cells
We were wondering how long it would be before someone announced gigabit mobile. Turns out it was a week. LG U+ announced that they reached 1.2Gbps in a trial using a combination of 256QAM modulation, 4x4 MIMO, and 4-band carrier aggregation. Obviously enough, they won’t be offering this to customers until some devices show up with support for the new modulation scheme and the extra antennas for the MIMO, and they also need to add more spectrum - they needed 60MHz over 4 carriers.
The race to gigabit mobile - Ericsson/Telstra hits 950Mbps; Qualcomm mmWave demo; Samsung “not” selling Networks unit
Who’s going to be the first to launch a gigabit wireless service? KT claims they already did, by using multipath TCP over both their 3-band LTE and their WiFi. This week, Ericsson and Telstra claim they got within 50Mbps of the mark in a pure cellular setup, aggregating 100MHz of spectrum across Telstra’s holdings from 700 to 2600MHz. They claim to have measured 950Mbps downlink with a UDP streaming application, and a Speedtest.net result of 843Mbps. Ericsson also claims a 500Mbps test in 3-band CA, using a new modulation scheme.
As this goes on, more and more carriers are upgrading to 2- or 3-band CA and posting higher speeds.
Binge On! passes net neutrality, Comcast Stream not so much; 99% of Xbox streaming is from CDNs
T-Mobile USA has shaken everything up with last week’s announcement that key video providers were going to be zero-rated. Their customers are not surprisingly delighted, but how can this possibly be reconciled with net neutrality, and how will T-Mo deliver the goods? Lawman Wheeler says he’s cool with that.
The answer seems to be in this T-Mo document, which sets out technical requirements to join Binge On.
4.5G Huawei; Nokia/CMCC 5G; Ericsson-Cisco deal; Reliance Jio update; GSMA at WRC15; more LTE-LAA
Huawei is very, very keen to push what it calls 4.5G. This week saw announcements with 3 Hong Kong and HKT. The substance of the product seems to be, essentially, more LTE carrier aggregation, going from tri-band to quad-band. Not surprisingly, throwing more spectrum at the problem generates high theoretical maximum download speeds, which is what Huawei - like all vendors - most wants.
As we discuss in this note, they also seem to be worried about the possibility that a viable “early” or “phase 1” 5G standard is delivered quickly, which might hit their lead in 4G deployments. Interestingly, although the 4.5G announcements were all about speed, speed, and speed, the CEO’s new strategy statement is heavy on the Internet of Things. The advanced IoT features are coming either in “early” 5G or in the 2020 timeframe as part of the real deal, depending on who you believe, so this doesn’t quite fit the 4.5G story.
Huawei managers also recently said they think the company is like Nokia in 2000. Nokia seems to think it’s more like Huawei in 2015 after their string of huge China Mobile contracts, and this is borne out by their 5G research partnership with China Mobile R&D.
Monsters of Cloud win Q3; Microsoft Linux; HP, Windstream out of cloud, DTAG, Huawei in
Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have all reported impressive Q3 numbers driven by the cloud. As we point out in this blog post, our 2012 Cloud 2.0: Telco Strategies in the Cloud report forecast 2015 as the year the cloud market would take off into mass adoption. Taking it company by company, AWS revenues are up 78% year-on-year, and the 8% of Amazon’s revenue that comes from AWS represents 52% of Amazon’s operating profit. Amazon’s operating margin in North America is 3.5%. In AWS, it’s 26%.
Lobbies battle over Openreach; OFCOM boss comes out for 4 MNOs; Xavier Niel was right (again); Google vs. Russia
The lobbying war around the OFCOM Communications Market Review is peaking as we reach the deadline for submissions. Here’s a useful roundup that makes clear that BT’s line, as ever, is that it will deploy what’s now called “ultrafast” broadband real soon now if the regulators give it what it wants, the other operators’ line is that they can’t stand another minute of working with Openreach, and the Government minister is leaning towards BT’s position, apparently because the Government gave it so much money under the BDUK program. Isn’t the sunk-cost fallacy meant to be, well, a fallacy?
Drahi plunges on Cablevision; Comcast’s new enterprise unit; VZ - speed first, don’t expect growth for 2 years
So, Patrick Drahi and Altice strike again with another cableco deal. This time it’s a biggy, Cablevision, the fourth-biggest US MSO and the one that covers New York City. The deal means that the Dolan family, pioneer investors in cable for the last 42 years, are making their exit. Drahi is promising to drive down costs because he “doesn’t like to pay salaries”, but he did stretch to the $128m golden goodbye for the current CEO.
The deal is pricey, valuing Cablevision at 10x its FCF, and the debt-financed structure will take the leverage ratio up to 7x EBITDA.
New iPad Pro, Siri-fuelled iTelly, Apple’s own iPhone leasing plan.
No prizes for guessing what this week’s news event might be. Apple launched the iPad Pro, a 13” tablet it claims is faster than 90 per cent of PCs that shipped in the last year. Like the Microsoft Surface, it comes with a cover that acts as a keyboard and kickstand, and no fewer than four speakers to help you annoy people on trains. It also comes with a stylus, the Apple Pencil, so Steve Jobs will be spinning in his grave just as long as it takes to read him the Q2 results announcement and the iPhone pre-order numbers. Pricing is premium, to say the least, with the top-end, 128GB LTE model coming in at $1099, plus another $169 for the cover/keyboard - that’s edging into MacBook territory.
Google Fiber heads for Phoenix; world cable upgrades; TEF goes Juniper; Orange, BT lead global Ethernet
The US FTTH race continues. Google has the green light from Phoenix’s city council to start building, in a city where Centurylink is the incumbent telco and Cox has the cable licence. As Google already has agreements with Tempe and Scottsdale, Arizona is clearly becoming a priority for the 1Gbps deployment and it’s a fair guess that the other competitors will be responding soon enough.
After all, Altice-owned Suddenlink just began another round of 1Gbps upgrades.
Apple to the Enterprise, with Cisco; Android Wear for iOS; Amazon dumps hardware development
Apple has announced a new partnership around enterprise apps to go with the IBM one it announced last year. This time, the other end of the deal is Cisco. The big idea is to optimise enterprise iOS apps to work better with the network, presumably as long as it’s based on Cisco hardware. Another important element is better interoperability between Apple devices and Cisco’s collaboration software, like WebEx and Spark.
TalkingPointz points out that on one hand, Apple and Cisco compete more than Apple and IBM - FaceTime, for example, competes directly with Cisco’s videoconferencing products - and the partnership is the work of John Chambers and Padmasree Warrior on Cisco’s side, both of whom have now checked out of Cisco for good. On the other hand, the collaboration line of business is worth $4bn to Cisco, there are already iOS clients for all their services and they use some quite recondite features of the OS like ultrasonic pairing, and Cisco Spark demonstrations always seem to use Apple hardware.
One thing it certainly brings Apple is a very capable enterprise sales channel. Horace explains why this is necessary and why it historically hasn’t worked very well with mobile. Read down to Jack Schofield’s comment for an interesting story about Michael Dell.
While this is happening in the enterprise, Apple is also opening up the ecosystem in another direction.
Nokia staffs up with Android devs; Apple denies MVNO plans; Xiaomi production starts in India
The drumbeat about a Nokia re-entry to smartphones continues. Reuters reports that the company is aggressively signing up software engineers with Android skills and looking for joint-venture partners. Apparently there are no plans to resume manufacturing devices, which would be outsourced to the partner. This, of course, would be a disadvantage compared to Apple, Samsung, or Lenovo with their command of the supply chain. However, a software-focused strategy might be a way to get back in with minimal investment.
Apple, meanwhile, has vigorously denied planning to launch an MVNO building on the soft-SIM it introduced for recent iPads.
(Ed. Join us at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region, and there’s a great line up of top-notch stimulus speakers from Du, Mobily, Etisalat, Singtel, Globe, Qtel, Telecom Indonesia, Google, Amex, Unilever and others.)
The GSMA thinks that levels of mobile penetration have been greatly exaggerated, because the degree of multiple SIM ownership has been underestimated. Therefore, they now reckon that the ratio of SIMs to subscribers is 1.85 globally, which implies a penetration rate by subscribers of 45% and a customer base of 3.2 billion, roughly where we thought we were several years ago.
We weren’t convinced, thinking that despite all this time in the mobile business, we didn’t know anyone who actually used multiple SIMs, and an average of 1.85 with a lower bound of 1 suggests that a typical multiple user must have quite a few…until we remembered the pile of unsolicited pre-paid SIM packs gathering dust in a drawer, which does suggest the GSMA has a point about the numbers.
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
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.
(Ed. Don’t forget to join us at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region, and there’s a great line up of top-notch stimulus speakers from Du, Mobily, Etisalat, Singtel, Globe, Qtel, Telecom Indonesia, Google, Amex, Unilever and others.)
Larry Ellison has committed Oracle to the cloud, in his keynote at their OpenWorld customer conference. The company is offering a version of its key database product optimised for cloud environments, a version of its Exadata database machine intended for operating large in-memory databases in the cloud, and a pair of cloud services. One of these will be a classical public cloud, while the other will be installed on customer premises and managed by Oracle employees. There’s some discussion of this kind of hybrid strategy here.
(Ed. Now just 6 weeks to Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and 10 to Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region.)
(Ed. Just 7 weeks to go to Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and 11 weeks to Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region.)
Apple launched the iPhone 5 this week, and a new features run-down is at the link. There’s nothing radically new, but a lot of incremental improvements. Wired offers a specs comparison if you want to play Top Trumps, although one of the telling details is that all the phones look much the same expect the Nokia Lumia 920. Some more reviewing is here.
One important update is Passbook, an app with a faintly creepy name which acts as a bucket for tickets, receipts, and the like. There’s an API that standardises how you get secure content into and out of the bucket, and Webmonkey points us to a Rails service someone built as an example of how to integrate it with a Web site.
(Ed. Just 8 weeks now to Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and 12 weeks to Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region.)
Horace Dediu is sceptical about the device, arguing that as it’s probably a loss-leader, Amazon will limit the numbers that get deployed, and that customers might be chary of being an advert for the company. The e-ink Kindles, of course, have a clear use case, but it’s hard to say the same of the general purpose tablets, even if Amazon wants them to be perceived as a cheaper iPad equivalent (as Wired argues).
(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region.)
There is, apparently, a WP8 Nokia coming, and it’s going to be optimised as a camera phone, although not quite as much as a PureView 808. The over-sampling technology demonstrated in the last of the Symbian gorillas will be ported over, though, at some point in the future.
(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region.)
It’s finally here: OFCOM has made its decision and given EverythingEverywhere the go-ahead to launch LTE in its surplus 1800MHz spectrum. Apparently, they already have test networks in place, so the first UK 4G service could be on line very soon. Until the lawsuits hit, of course, as this doesn’t resolve the whole spectrum mess, and is only likely to provoke Vodafone and O2. EE’s owners, of course, contend that the “original two” operators already have an unfair advantage because they might get to refarm their 900MHz GSM holdings.
(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region.)
The BBC Internet Blog has a superb series of posts on the challenge of building their Olympic Games web site and delivering the vast volumes of HD streaming video involved to the public. This covers the video-pushing element of the problem - interestingly, the BBC engineers chose to deliver the live feeds exclusively using HTTP streaming with adaptive bitrates, in order to make use of the corporation’s whole web serving and caching capacity, while their Flash streaming infrastructure was used for the on-demand catchup service. The system was first used for last year’s Wimbledon and progressively rolled out to bigger events (such as the football European championships) in order to load-test it. Some more detail is here.
Beyond the video (and of course audio), there was also a massive challenge designing, building, and serving up the Web application, documented here with this week’s undisputed Chart of the Week:
There’s much more here, including the detail that the Beeb’s coders built an application to simulate the entire Olympic Games, just as a test-harness for the web site.
(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region.)
(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November. The Agenda covers the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in the Middle East and North Africa.)
Horace digs into the Nokia Q2 figures and reckons that the Lumia phones aren’t doing so badly in the US, specifically in terms of dragging the average selling prices upwards. However, in terms of volume, it’s nothing to set the world on fire, and he concludes that the biggest problem for Nokia is time. Of course, part of the problem there is that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 won’t run on the Lumias, which leaves 4 million orphan smartphones in the market.
(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November. The Agenda covers the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in the Middle East and North Africa.)
The Chinese Ministry of the Information Industry announced this week that smartphones have overtaken featurephones in the Chinese market. In H1 2012, 195 million phones were shipped and 48% of those were classified as smartphones. Since April, though, each successive month has been over 50% and June hit 56%. The 2G/3G split corroborates this, with 58% of the devices shipped being 3G.
(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November. The Agenda covers the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in the Middle East and North Africa.)
Gartner reckons that worldwide tech spending has slowed down quite a bit, from growth of 7.9% last year to 3% this year, hardly surprising in a very difficult economic environment. The single biggest chunk of that is the $1.7tn market for telecoms equipment, which is braking from 6% last year to 1.4% this year.
Interestingly, public cloud will be the main growth sector - Gartner expects it to reach $200bn by 2016.
(Ed. Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November. The Agenda covers the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in the Middle East and North Africa.)
Amazon Web Services was hit by a massive outage this week, after a hurricane knocked out power to data centres in the US-EAST region. According to the company, only one availability zone was down, but that was certainly enough to cause major disruption to web sites as diverse as Heroku, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Netflix, more often wont to give other people lessons on delivering high availability with Amazon EC2.
Microsoft launched its Surface tablets last week, marking a shift from the leg of the company that stands on Windows to the more hardware-focused side that makes the XBox. Reviews focused on the device’s role as a signal to the PC manufacturers, demanding that they get their act together. One thing everybody picked up on was the case - like the iPads, it has a magnetic case, but this one incorporates a keyboard. Gizmodo points out that even if the iPad turned out to be a more creative proposition than people expected, it’s a very specific kind of creativity - one that excludes text or code. Surface is going right for that.
At last week’s event in London, our Chief Strategist Chris Barraclough presented this rather chilling chart showing the slide of mobile voice volume growth in the UK. (NB Join us next at Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November.)
It amplified two of the core themes that we’ll be exploring in greater depth in our analysis this year: that many mobile operators are now conscious of the negative impact of substitution to other services; and that they are increasingly seeking new business models and ways to transform their businesses to stay relevant in the digital economy. Not that these are new messages from Telco 2.0. What’s different is the sense of realism and urgency that we’re starting to see, although whether this is yet resulting in enough fruitful action from operators is another matter. We’ll have more on this and the other themes from the EMEA brainstorm in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile there was something else going on. Not the football - the other thing. It was Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, of course. Ars Technica has a roundup of what was a relatively conservative WWDC, with the addition of the Retina display to the top-end Macbook Pro (review), the withdrawal of the 13” MacBook and the 17” Pro, and a new version of iOS. Tim Cook also trailed a major update of the Mac Pro line some time in 2013.
Netflix is moving its video firehose into its own CDN, Open Connect, rather than using L(3) or Akamai. This means a further shakeup of the Internet peering ecosystem, and is perhaps a sign that however good the cloud gets, there’s still a strong case for controlling your infrastructure. Fascinatingly, Netflix is also going to release the hardware design and software of their servers under an open-source licence. Operators who host the nodes won’t be paid anything, but will get the pain off their transit and peering links.
Dan Rayburn has details, including the facts that unlike Google Cache boxes, these machines will be under the hosting ISP’s control, and that Netflix is not planning to cache content in the usual sense but rather to push it to the CDN boxes proactively. Typically, the nodes will be running read-only during peak hours and write-only in the dead of night as the next lot of movies are pushed out.
It was Vodafone results week, and the results could be summed up as “not bad, seeing as they’re in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, and Ireland”. Revenues across the carrier were up a tad, helped by Verizon Wireless dividends and strong performances in India and Turkey. Operationally, Vodafone seems to have done an outstanding job managing the broadband incentive problem, as data revenues are rising strongly, and smartphones are drawing more and more subscribers onto contracts.
It was the week Facebook floated. Dealbook has a neat roundup, making the critical points: Facebook finished the day on $38 a share for a market capitalisation of $105bn, or to put it another way, a price-earnings ratio of 108 compared to Google’s 18 or Apple’s 13, or to put it another way, a valuation per user of $130. It was toppy, to say the least, and the response from the market was no day-one bounce, and heavy intervention by the banks underwriting the IPO to keep it from going under the offer price. Joe Wiesenthal notes the existence of a huge and consistent bid at 38. And eventually, when the market opened today, the IPO floor gave way.
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.
Despite the 2G licence crisis, Telenor’s operation in India, Uninor Wireless remains a strong business from an operational point of view. Over the last year, it doubled its revenues, added three million subscribers, and substantially narrowed its losses. But there’s still no answer as to exactly what happens with those licences. Bharti Airtel, meanwhile, reported revenues up 15% but profits down 29% as its 3G rollout cost more than expected.
Nokia was downgraded to junk status by two different credit rating agencies this week. As a result they’ve decided to sell the slightly embarrassing, but no doubt profitable, Vertu diamonds-on-old-featurephones business in order to bring in some cash. PE fund Permira is the buyer.
After a big run-up last week, China Mobile shares took a knock after the huge carrier’s Q1 subscriber numbers came in lower than expected. There were also reports that e-commerce star Alibaba.com’s profits were likely to disappoint, as the economy slowed down, and that venture capital was getting harder to find for Chinese startups.
Meanwhile, Reuters has a detailed profile of Huawei CEO Ren Zhingfei. Like a lot of important people in China today, he started from the bottom after his family was disgraced in the Cultural Revolution (his father picked the wrong side in the civil war). This insight into Huawei’s corporate structure is…interesting:
At the end of last year Ren gave some insight into the structure in place at Huawei, explaining a system in which eight executives took turns as chairman for six months.
After a period of decent newsflow for Nokia and a reasonable MWC, the black clouds rolled back in this week. In a statement, the company said it would probably lose money in the first half of 2012 and that its margins in Devices & Services were -3%, although the Smart Devices unit was still getting around 16%.
That can be overstated, of course, as even Apple gets it wrong. iPad 3 users were complaining this week about their devices struggling to maintain a cellular data link.
IntoMobile points out that although the expectations game is well under way, it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to make statements about Lumia shipments until Q2 numbers roll around in the summer.
And xda-developers has discovered a hack that lets you reflash the Nokia Lumia 710 with whatever you like. The first attempts seem to have been Android, but it’s going to be tempting to load up the Maemo Linux-based OS from the N9, especially if you’re in one of the markets where Nokia refuses to sell N9s…
There was some good news at the NSN half of Nokia, as they got the contract to build Softbank’s LTE network and also to deploy HSPA+ in their newly refarmed 900MHz spectrum.
Elsewhere, it turns out that Jim Basillie wanted to wholesale RIM’s network services, including its highly optimised VPN, accelerator proxies, BlackBerry Messenger, and device-management features, before being forced out as CEO. Meanwhile, YouMail has stopped further development of its BlackBerry app.
Samsung, of course, is the anti-Nokia. It looks like they pulled ahead as the No.1 vendor by shipments this quarter, and Horace makes the excellent point that where Nokia tried to keep selling “featurephones”, Samsung concentrated on increasing the reach of their smartphone portfolio. Hence, Chart of the Week.
[Ed: We’re working on the final edits of the San Francisco brainstorm analysis and will be sharing some of the insights and new ideas over the next few weeks and more at the EMEA Executive Brainstorm, 12-13 June 2012 in London, where we’ll build on the momentum with a great agenda in a smart new venue. Make sure you sign up while you can, SF was packed and London is heading the same way fast - please email email@example.com for more.]
HP is getting closer and closer to a massive public cloud deployment, and here’s a detailed story on the technology. Interestingly, it’ll be the first prime-time rollout of OpenStack, the effort to create a standard API layer for big cloud systems. Even more interestingly, starting on the 10th of May, Akamai CDN features are being built in to the service, as are HP’s clones of Amazon’s Elastic Block and Relational Database Services.
[Ed: We’ve had fantastic feedback from our Silicon Valley Executive Brainstorm last week. It comprised great content, some stimulating innovations in moderation and interaction, and superb energy and input from the most senior group of participants yet. We’ll be sharing some of the insights and new ideas from SF over the next few weeks and more at the EMEA Executive Brainstorm, 12-13 June 2012 in London, where we’ll build on the momentum with a great agenda in a smart new venue. Make sure you sign up while you can, SF was packed and London is heading the same way fast - please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more.]
Meanwhile, RIM announced a small loss for the quarter this week, and another of its CEOs resigned (in this case Jim Basillie) after revenues fell 19% and shipments 21% quarter-on-quarter. In annual terms it was worse, with revenues off 25%. The company was forced to write off a sizable stockpile of BlackBerry OS 7 devices as unsaleable, and accept that the PlayBooks are only moving thanks to heavy discounts. Basillie isn’t the only rolling head - the CTO of software, David Yach, is out, as is the COO, Jim Rowan. Thorsten Heins takes over as CEO.
Elsewhere in smartphones, are there signs of Spring for Nokia? Analyst Jamie Townsend thinks they are turning into a recovery story and wonders if some sort of Nokia/Microsoft/RIM deal is in the future.
The UK may be looking at its first LTE network, as EverythingEverywhere seeks clearance to deploy 4G in the 1800MHz band. Stand by for a hell of a row, though, as if this goes ahead EE will have a year’s clear run with the new technology before the competition gets a crack. However, Vodafone and Telefonica get to keep their 900MHz GSM spectrum under this proposal, with the year’s head start for EE as a quid-pro-quo. Only 3UK is left out, not having any legacy spectrum at all. Expect them to make a serious fuss, unless OFCOM and the government cook up some way in which they can be compensated when the 800MHz band comes up. Vodafone’s not satisfied with this tacit deal, though - UK boss Guy Laurence accused OFCOM of being out of its mind, arguing that once EE launches it will tie up the main 800MHz auction in litigation.
As this post on the 3G & 4G Wireless Blog points out though with this week’s Chart of the Week, there are still some very tricky problems to solve before we can break out the 800s and party like it’s 2009, when the Digital Economy Act was being drafted and the spectrum was earmarked for a national minimum broadband service.
Last week was the week that was MWC 2012, and this week we’re running a series of posts analysing what we saw on Network Technologies, Devices and Apps, and China Mobile (already published), and three more to come on Google/Facebook, what the Top Telco CEOs said, and M-Commerce. All of which, of course, will feature in the Silicon Valley and London Brainstorms in March and June respectively (email email@example.com or call +44 (0) 207 247 5003).
In the meantime, here’s a top-line fly-by of the annual explosion of annoucements, demonstrations and news from MWC and beyond.
In our post on MWC Apps and Devices, we note that the mobile Web was a key theme, what with the arrival of Mozilla’s all-web demonstrator phone and their partnership with Telefonica (keeping out in the lead as a pioneer operator). Beyond that, as Rethink Wireless points out, there’s some scope for a meeting of the minds with the carriers’ WAC project, which is also all about HTML5 and web-based APIs to both device and network capabilities (note that long-time Telco 2.0 ally Aepona got a deal to provide another carrier API at the show). There’s even an app store, the Mozilla Marketplace. And Frog Design even had an event on the theme Mobile Apps Must die. China Mobile’s developer program is certainly interested, as well as interesting.
Four UK mobile operators have filed for regulatory clearance from the European Commission for their joint mobile payments initiative. They plan to create a company to manage the technical platform and act as the point of contact with merchants and banks, on the model of Zoompass/Enstream in Canada and ISIS in the United States. 3UK has not been invited which may spawn a regulatory complaint.
Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook. It’s here - they filed the S-1 this week. It turns out that their revenues were $3.1bn last year with profits of $1bn, rather less than expected in terms of revenue and a little better in terms of margin. 12% of the company’s revenue (and 40% of its profit) comes from one advertising deal, the one with Farmville games developer Zynga. Essentially all the revenue is ads, but then that didn’t stop Google, did it?
It was a busy results week - and, as Businessweek reports, Microsoft, IBM, and Intel beat the spread. Microsoft did especially well, specifically in sales of Office and XBox products, while Intel’s results showed the company recovering well from supply-chain problems caused by flooding in Thailand and the Japanese earthquake before that.
Benoit Felten reviews the impact of Free Mobile’s launch, pointing out that it implements two of their historic selling points (low prices and simple propositions) but not the third (innovative services), although there is an argument that the heavy use of WLAN offload and femtocells represents an innovative solution on the cost side.
It’s CES week, and expectations are high because early sales numbers for Christmas are depressing. Overall consumer electronics sales, according to NPD, were down 5.9% year on year. The bright spots were “streaming devices” (like Roku and friends), home cinema kit, and flat-panel TVs, while everything else suffered and devices whose functions are integrated in the iPhone suffered disproportionately.
TV innovation was a big theme this week. Lenovo showed a 55 inch TV running Android 4.0 on a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU. (A dual-core TV?) It also has a built-in 5 megapixel camera to support face recognition. There are those of us who remember stories about East German TV sets that supposedly contained a CCTV camera so the local Party representative could check you were watching the TV you were supposed to be watching…
Apple backtracks on their iAds platforms’ controversial business model. You may remember that iAds was intended to be a high-concept, high-touch, but mostly high margin magazine ad service by contrast to Google’s micro-advertising model, and Apple expected the advertisers to commit to buying at least $1 million of ads as the entry ticket. Further, Apple also wanted to keep the pay-per-click model and charge for every touch. It was always going to be interesting to see if this would work, and by extension, whether the whole idea of the iPad as a luxury magazine format for big brands made sense.
It looks like it doesn’t - Cupertino has cut the minimum buy-in from $1m to $500,000 and then to $400,000, introduced a cap on how much advertisers have to pay in pay-per-click, and sent a lot of employees to their media buying agency to learn about the business. Meanwhile, developers who signed up for in-app advertising are complaining that there’s no money in it, mostly because there aren’t enough ads to fill the inventory.
Analysys International reckon that Android (and, of course, its growing brood of mutant forkdroids) has “destroyed” Symbian’s once massive market share in China. In Q3 2010, 68% of the Chinese smartphone fleet was running Symbian S60 - now, it’s 58% Android, in a vastly bigger population. Symbian is still at 28% of the market, with Apple on 6%, which is actually behind “others”. Fascinatingly, although the Great Firewall (both as a trade barrier and as a means of censorship) has prevented Google from dominating the Chinese search market, Google’s mobile Linux has proliferated enormously in China. Of course, it’s very doubtful whether any revenue actually redounds to Google’s credit from this, especially in the light of the forkdroid projects which basically replace the Google apps and services in Android with Baidu or QQ’s products.
[Ed. Last week’s Telco 2.0 ‘Away Team’ are just back from the excellent APAC Brainstorm in Singapore, albeit a bit jet-lagged, and will be bringing you analysis from it soon. In the meantime, the dates for the next Brainstorms are out: Americas, 27-28 March 2012, Marriott Union Square, San Francisco, and EMEA, 12-13 June 2012, Grange St Pauls Hotel, London.]
Saudi Arabia’s STC deploys LTE to 11 cities. Poland’s Polkomtel launches LTE with 22% population coverage. Uzbek LTE. Yota seeks regulatory clearance to launch LTE early, after it gave up on WiMAX. They’ve also signed up a wholesale roaming agreement with MegaFon. Meanwhile, Portugal has auctioned its LTE spectrum - PT, TMN, and Vodafone have unsurprisingly secured chunks. Interestingly, Vodafone has also obtained some additional 900MHz spectrum to refarm.
After a few weeks’ brinksmanship, Sprint and Clearwire have come to their inevitable agreement. Sprint extends its wholesale agreement for WiMAX service until 2013, and undertakes to keep selling devices through 2012 and supporting them up to the end of the maximum 2-year contract. This brings in $926 million for Clearwire, which for its part agrees to deploy LTE. If it hits targets set by Sprint, another $300 million is payable. With this deal signed and sealed, Clearwire now intends to pay the $237 million debt instalment it’s been blowing hot and cold about.
ZDNet blogs Google’s numbers and reports that there are some 190 million Androids out there and Google’s mobile line of business brought in $2.5bn in revenue. But, as usual, this is arrived at by taking the fraction of AdSense revenue that came from ads served to a mobile browser, and the debate as to how much of this would have happened anyway rumbles on. However, with the sheer numbers of ‘droids out there, it looks increasingly convincing that Android is a major driver of traffic past the ad properties.
Any investors in UK fibre would be “certifiable”, says the head of NM Rothschild’s telecoms investment desk, and calls for OFCOM to insist on wholesale access to Virgin Media’s cable network. Meanwhile, Computer Weekly compares Andorra Telecom’s FTTH to BT’s DSL service, which has to be the most apples-to-oranges comparison in a while. Benoit Felten is still pressing for muni-fibre. Marco Forzati, via the 3G & 4G Wireless Blog, has attempted to quantify the economic benefits of FTTH in Sweden. As usual, the key variable is take-up in the MDUs the fibre passes. That also gives us an undisputed winner for this week’s Chart of the Week:
Vodafone announced solid results this week, with operating profits up 4.4% on revenues up 2%. At last week’s Telco 2.0 event, Vodafone executives briefed on the progress of their project to consolidate the giant carrier’s numerous IT systems and on OneNet, their SMB-focused hosted unified comms product. And, of course, the arrival of the first dividends from Verizon Wireless is doing them a lot of good. In general, Telco 2.0’s Keith McMahon comments, the results reflect a renewed focus on operational excellence without the distractions of constant mergers and acquisitions.
3UK reports that 97% of the traffic on its network is now accounted for by data. This in itself isn’t that surprising, as the operator has a longstanding policy of both building capacity for mobile Internet service and also being the UK’s price leader. However, it makes us wonder about all those schemes for prioritising this or that traffic class - if 97% of the traffic is Internet service and a large majority of that is the Web, exactly what is left to enjoy a higher service class?
Samsung announced impressive Q3 results this week, showing strong profitability across its telecoms division in both devices and infrastructure. Unfortunately, they don’t provide a breakdown of device shipments by type, but Strategy Analytics reckons that they were the world No.1 smartphone vendor in Q3, pulling ahead of Apple, and in second place for handset shipments overall behind Nokia with a comfortable lead over LG. Horace Dediu (who’s covering ‘OS Wars’ next week) pieces together the data and reckons that they gained both in volume and in average selling price, and notes that Samsung is quite rapidly increasing the percentage of smartphones in its portfolio - but not as quickly as Sony Ericsson.
Netflix’s Q3 numbers are out, and we take a quick look below at just how bad a day it was for the US outfit. (NB We will shortly be publishing a detailed analysis of this business model change in new reseach, plus you can join us to discuss this at the EMEA Digital Entertainment 2.0 workshop at our London Brainstorm in a fortnight.) Netflix is also going to launch in the UK in 2012, but its going to stick to the streaming rather than diving into a head-to-head with Lovefilm.
So, after the results announcement on Monday, Netflix shareholders suffered another traumatic day with the share price down 35% to $77 from a peak of $305 in July - the stock has turned from ‘hero to zero’ in three horrible months. The problem is twofold: a 60% price rise has been met by cries of pain by users, some of whom have left the service in disgust; and international expansion plans in the New Year to UK & Ireland in 2012 will drive Netflix into red ink and losses. The reputation of the Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, lies in tatters. The larger, rarely mentioned, problem is that the transition from an analogue (DVD-by-Mail) to digital (Streaming) business model appears to be destroying margins (we’ll examine this in detail in our analysis).
Meanwhile, over at Amazon, the future is a little cloudy - and we don’t just mean in the sense of services provided from huge data centres.
This week saw a major technology disruption as RIM’s BlackBerry service network failed for days in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Repairs were repeatedly promised. Then the outages spread to the Americas. Not only did it fail, it kept failing. It couldn’t have come at a worse moment. RIM, under pressure, has recently rolled out some impressive new devices like the Bold 9900 and Torch 9810, come up with good ideas like music-sharing via BBM, and made a good decision like hiring Alec Saunders.
But this can only be very bad news. The Observer reports that major British banks are seriously considering abandoning the BlackBerry platform and transitioning their mobile device fleets to Apple iOS. It’s not the first time, of course, that RIM has had a continental-scale outage. In fact, the highly centralised network architecture almost seems to invite disaster. Most of the world’s BlackBerry traffic passes through two pairs of data centres, in Waterloo, Ontario and in Slough and Egham in the UK.
Ed. A quick reminder - it’s just one month to the London Brainstorm (9th-10th November) where we’ll share some findings from our new strategy report on ‘Dealing with the Disruptors’ - Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft/Skype, and Amazon’. Also, we’re just back from the Americas M-Commerce 2.0 Brainstorm in New York and working on the analysis of the intensive and highly productive brainstorm. The key theme of the event was how personal data will change M-Commerce (e.g. advertising, marketing, payments, etc.) - here’s a brief preview showing delegate views on how mobile marketing will change in the next two years to whet your appetite.
Apple’s much awaited announcement of the Apple iPhone 4S last week was accompanied by some disappointment in the media and analyst communities. Telco 2.0 thinks it will be a success, if not a game changer, and embodies some important strategic moves for Apple.
The main similarity with past iPhones is that the iPhone 4’s industrial design and look-and-feel (a phrase we wouldn’t be using were it not for Steve Jobs) have been maintained.
The software, however, gets the new iCloud and wireless sync features Apple announced earlier this year, plus the Newsstand in the App Store.
There’s also been a deeper hardware refresh - the A5 applications processor is another of Apple’s homebrew (or rather, ex-PA Semiconductor) products, giving it two cores and more power, and the baseband processor and RF chain are coming from Qualcomm and will support dual-mode (i.e. GSM/UMTS and CDMA) operation.
There’s a better camera and some new prices across the range of iPhones on sale: 4S, 4 and 3GS.
[Ed. Many of us are in New York this week for the Americas Brainstorm, so we hope we’ll see you there or at the London Brainstorm (9th-10th November). Also, our Strategy report on ‘Dealing with the Disruptors’ - Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft/Skype, and Amazon will be out in the next couple of weeks - see here or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 207 247 5003 for more.]
Speaking of Amazon, its new Kindles were out this week, and everyone was fascinated by the Kindle Fire, a 7” tablet based on yet another fork of Android, designed specifically as a content-consumer device (not much local storage, no cameras). There was also a rumour about Amazon buying WebOS off HP, but as usual no substance to it as yet.
[Ed. It’s our Americas Brainstorm next week, so book now if you haven’t yet for New York (5th-6th October) or London (9th-10th November). Also, our Strategy report on ‘Dealing with the Disruptors’ - Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft/Skype, and Amazon - is rapidly approaching delivery - email email@example.com or call +44 (0) 207 247 5003 for more.]
It’s also iPhone crystal ball time. Everyone’s expecting a launch in a couple of weeks, with incremental improvements, and varying predictions for sales and the fate of the older 3GS and 4 models. Will one or both be run on as a cheaper option? Meanwhile, there are rumours that Wintek in Taiwan is struggling with a manufacturing problem with the touchscreen, although they aren’t the only supplier.
Inevitably, Apple and Samsung are suing each other again. But it looks like macro-economic issues are going to hugely overshadow the spat - Bloomberg has some very worrying news regarding Apple’s orders for iPad 2 parts. Specifically, they’ve cut them by around 25%. Ouch.
[Ed. There are a lot of major Telco 2.0 milestones coming up in the 10 weeks, with our new report on the disruptors (Google, Apple, Facebook and co.) about to be published and our Brainstorms in New York (5th-6th October) and London (9th-10th November). We’re also delighted to report that the World Economic Forum have just appointed Telco 2.0’s CEO to their Global ICT Council.]
So, is there a crisis at Facebook? Reports are filtering out that the company may have missed internal revenue targets for 2011, and badly - $1.6bn as against $4bn. This is the sort of news that sends publicly-traded companies’ stock rattling down, and it’s probably no surprise that the IPO hasn’t happened yet. Datamotion argues that Facebook is “the new Yahoo!”, a company that was in the right place at the right time and therefore looked much better than it is. They point out that Facebook Messages, Places, and Deals have all failed to get traction, that there still isn’t a tablet-optimised version, and now they’re in a race to copy the latest features Google deploys to Google +.
And they’re losing users in the United States in significant numbers.
[Ed. To whet your appetite for our next Brainstorms in New York (5th-6th October) and London (9th-10th November) here’s a short video we made at the Spring 2011 Brainstorms.
It includes clips from senior execs from AT&T, Google, Telefonica and Telus talking about what they got out of the Brainstorm experience.]
Now, back to the ‘Forkdroids’ (OSs based on Android, using its open-source components but replacing the Google-specific apps and services): they’re here, there, and everywhere! After Baidu, Alibaba.com, Amazon, and QQ have all announced their own Android devices with their own special flavour. There are also a couple of ODMs who are planning their own take on it (Xiaomi and Tabco). Even if the idea of direct-to-consumer sales without boring telcos is even less likely to work than it was for Google itself (or Nokia), it seems to be true that once they broke the seal, everyone would do their own version. Rather like the original Unix, in many ways.
QQ’s version starts with advantages - they have an enormous and engaged user base and great brand values. It will be more than interesting to see both how well they do, and also to what extent any of these translate on the other side of the great firewall.
[Ed. Welcome back if this is your first week in the office after the summer holidays - here are the top two Key Telco 2.0 items to note. 1. This week is your last chance to input to our Apple, Google, Facebook, Skype and Amazon research. We’ll send you the survey results and a special deal on the report when it’s out if you do. 2. Book up now for our next Brainstorms in New York (5th-6th October) and London (9th-10th November) run in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. Speakers and registrants so far are top-notch, so don’t miss out.]
We’ve been talking about the possibility of a “ForkDroid” - a parallel development path to Android, using its open-source components but replacing the Google-specific apps and services - for a while. Now it’s here - Baidu has its own Android-clone. In some ways this isn’t really surprising as Baidu occupies the same industry niche as Google - a search engine that branched out into advertising, maps, mobile, e-mail, social networks, etc. and eventually got its own Linux-based mobile OS.
[Ed. In preparation for our next big report we’re after your input on Apple, Google, Facebook, Skype and Amazon here. We’ll send you the survey results and a deal on the report when it’s out if you do. Also, book up now for our next Brainstorms in New York (5th-6th October) and London (9th-10th November) run in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.]
It was the week Steve Jobs retired as Apple CEO. Ars Technica has three case studies on big leadership transitions in the tech industry, at Microsoft, Intel, and Sun Microsystems. That doesn’t sound too optimistic when you think about it, although they make the point that Sun’s fate had a great deal to do with the economic crisis and point out that Apple has so much cash on hand it’s relatively invulnerable to shocks.
[Ed. After last week’s coverage on Google/Motorola, have your say via our 2 minute survey here. Why did they do it, and who is it good/bad for? We’ll publish the results next week. Also, August is often a great time for diary maintenance, so why not pencil in our next Brainstorms in New York (5th-6th October) and London (9th-10th November) run in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.]
China Mobile reported that it has 622 million subscribers at the end of the quarter. To put that in context, that’s more than twice the population of the USA. 37.6 million of China Mobile’s customers are on 3G, and interestingly, despite the fact that it doesn’t offer the Apple iPhone, hasn’t got a contract with Apple, and has limited network coverage for such a device, it has 7.4 million subscribers with iPhones. Fortune reports that China Mobile has had several meetings with Steve Jobs and other Apple executives about the possibility of an iPhone that supports the TD-SCDMA network the Chinese government insisted China Mobile build.
In the meantime, you can get an iPhone 4-sized micro SIM from China Mobile but you’ll have to content yourself with EDGE data rates.
Here’s our round up of initial industry opinion on Google’s $12.5bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility. The main themes are: ‘It’s all about the patents’; ‘Impact on Android’; ‘Impact on other vendors’; ‘Google as Apple’; ‘Beyond Android’; and ‘Doom!’ - all outlined below.
We’d like your views too - there’s a 2 minute survey here - we’ll publish the headline results in the next couple of weeks (and send you a copy of the results if you want). We’ll also use this as input to our further in-depth analysis for ‘Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Skype - Disruptors and Co-opetition Strategies’, the Strategy Report that we’re publishing next month (please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more on this.
It’s All About the Patents
If there was a consensus of opinion, it was that Google really wanted Motorola’s intellectual property. Moto, after all, is the company that made the very first cellular phone call back in 1973, ringing up the then director of Bell Labs to needle him about it. They also developed North America’s first line of cell phones (StarTAC) and launched the first smartphone, as well as making major contributions to iDEN, CDMA, GSM, UMTS, and WiMAX networks.
We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.
He’s talking about the constant rows over Android intellectual property, although it’s very likely that the ones with Oracle about its home-brew Java virtual machine are more serious, and of course Motorola won’t help with that. (contd.)
Google is now a huge phone vendor - it just bought Moto Mobility for $12.5bn. We’ll be analysing this in greater detail as part of our forthcoming research report on ‘Apple, Google, Facebook, Skype - the Disruptors, and Strategies for Co-opetition’ (email email@example.com for more details).
Meanwhile, Motorola Mobility chief Sanjay Jha said that the company would consider doing a Windows Phone if they could get the same terms as Nokia from Microsoft. Somehow, we suspect you’ll be waiting a while for a Moto WP7 handset.
The Wall Street Journal has more detail about the US Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into Google. It seems as if the case, if any, is likely to centre on the Skyhook Wireless affair and Android, although that’s not the only issue. The question of content reviews on other web sites may remind people with long memories of when AFP threatened to sue Google to stop them indexing their news stories - for some odd reason it wasn’t enough just to set robots.txt to tell the Googlebot to go away.
It’s still going horribly wrong for Nokia, with smartphone sales off 34% and overall device shipments down 20%. Stephen Elop is pushing the emerging market product line hard - note the dual-SIM phones that don’t need to reboot when changing between them - but it’s worth remembering that the last major handset vendor to go all in on the low-end was Motorola with the GSMA-sponsored Emerging Market Handsets, and look how that turned out.
[Ed. All the Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! videos are now available on demand, including Orange on initial lessons from NFC launches, and Telefonica on how it’s used VOIP acquisition Jajah to build a ‘Facebook phone’.]
A majority of new phones in the US are now smartphones, according to Nielsen. Interestingly, they also reckon that Android market share has plateaued since Christmas, sticking around 27% (which makes it the market leader). Further growth has come from, you guessed it, Apple, especially since the first non-AT&T iPhones arrived in February. Windows Phone 7 was under 1% and RIM on 6%.
[Ed. Reminder - Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live!, our free global online event, is on live tomorrow Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th June, and on demand thereafter. Do join us for great presentations and interactive chat with Anne Bouverot, EVP Mobile Services, Orange Group, and Carlos Domingo, CEO at Telefonica I+D amongst others. We’ll be covering Mobile Broadband, Cloud, Mobile Apps and Digital Entertainment - all 2.0 of course.]
GigaOM asks if telcos could be the key to Twitter’s revenue model. It turns out that they’re planning to provide their own photosharing service, and might do it with Telefonica’s BlueVia API. The revenue element is, of course, that BlueVia offers you a share of the messaging revenue generated by your app. So presumably Twitter users pay for the messaging in some fashion and Telefonica kicks some of that back to Twitter. Telco 2.0 event attendees will not be very surprised to encounter Telefonica’s Jose Nunez Valles in there - he’s presenting at Best Practice Live! this week too.
RIM shares plummeted by 21% after they announced a profits warning six weeks after their last update. Not enough BlackBerries are selling and ASP is down - perhaps not surprising as there hasn’t been a new device since April, 2010. RIM has re-announced the next one several times, hardly helping sales of the existing range. 500,000 PlayBooks have been pushed out of the factory, but it’s anybody’s guess how many of those are somewhere in the supply chain rather than selling to end users.
[Ed: We’ll be publishing more on iCloud in the next few days, plus we’re looking at the range of entertainment services at Best Practice Live! on 28-29 June and in our forward research agenda.]
Apple made its digital locker/online backup/content streaming play this week with the iCloud - Ars Technica has a detailed sceptical discussion, arguing that Apple doesn’t have a great track record with virtual/online products as against hardware or even software. As a friend of ours said, it’s hard to give a cloud bevelled corners. They contrast Google, which excels at creating massively scalable online services but struggles with hardware and user interface design, and argue that Apple has a culture dominated by the figure of the designer - always an individual - compared to Google’s, dominated by programmers who work in groups.
[Ed: New ‘Roadmap to Telco 2.0’ strategy report available now here.]
Now that’s what we call a profit warning: Nokia lowered its outlook for Q2 profitability in the Devices & Services division, basically to zero, and announced that it wasn’t going to even try to forecast what might happen for the rest of the year. Both average selling prices and volumes are down. As a result, apparently, they’re “investing to bring new capabilities to our Symbian smartphones”, and they also have “increased confidence” that the Windows Phone 7 devices will be along in time for Christmas.
[Ed: New ‘Roadmap to Telco 2.0’ strategy report available now here.]
China has reached 900 million mobile phone subscribers in April, according to the Ministry of the Information Industry. So far, only 67 million of those are on a 3G network - this perhaps doesn’t say much for the wisdom of the MII’s massive reorganisation of the industry, forcing China Mobile to give up its UMTS network, etc. But the 900 million subs are there - a massive, undeniable demographic fact.
[Ed. Diary reminder: next Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! free virtual event is on 28th-29th June, covering Cloud Services, Digital Entertainment 2.0, Mobile Broadband Networks, Mobile Apps and Appstores, site here.]
China Mobile and Apple have agreed to do an iPhone that supports the Chinese TDD flavour of LTE, although they haven’t decided when. This would knock open a market of 600 million subscribers and significantly help China Mobile in its aim of keeping GSM subscribers from leaking to the new owners of their 3G network at China Unicom. However, it’s also obvious that only a relatively small subset of that user base could afford an iPhone, and this may reignite rumours that Apple might do a cheaper version. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless strongly suggested that the next lot of iPhones will be LTE/UMTS/GSM/CDMA “world phones” - as long as Qualcomm’s chips are ready in time.
To badly mis-quote Monty Python “No-one expects the acquisition”, and after the rumours about either Google or Facebook, it turned out to be Microsoft that bought Skype, for $8.5bn. It sounds like a lot of money, especially when you think that this is the second time the founders have had a payout, but as Telco 2.0 ally Dean Bubley pointed out at our event last week (next events here), it’s the same price-earnings ratio as Cisco’s acquisition of WebEx was and nobody thinks that was a waste of money.
[Ed. Telco 2.0’s EMEA Brainstorm is in London this week from Weds 11th to Friday 13th May, covering growth strategy, cloud, mobile broadband economics, online video, connected TV, M2M, Mobile Apps, customer experience and personal data. There’s also an evening AppCircus developer showcase event. If you can’t make it in person, you can now participate virtually - watch the presentations live online and even take part in the voting remotely and in real-time, from the comfort of your own desktop. Contact us for details
Apple is the world’s most valuable brand, as if you hadn’t guessed by now. The story is based on a “brand index” compiled by advertising agency WPP - one may well be sceptical of this sort of thing, but it’s hard to say that Apple’s brand isn’t enormously famous and surrounded by a gigantic user cult.
[Ed. The next EMEA Brainstorm is in London next week from Weds 11th to Friday 13th May, covering cloud, online video, digital entertainment, mobile internet, M2M, Apps, strategy, transformation, and personal data. See you there!]
After last week’s Amazonopocalypse, the clean-up effort is well under way, as are the recriminations. Amazon Web Services’ own report into the outage is here, basically confirming the view the last Telco 2.0 Review took on it. It seems that an internal router got misconfigured, dumping all the primary network traffic into a secondary network, which was swamped. That in turn led to a cascade failure of the control plane which manages the Elastic Block Service across multiple availability zones. Read it for much technical detail about the problems of really big cloud architectures.
[Ed - It’s just two weeks to the 13th Telco 2.0 EMEA Executive Brainstorm in London, May 11th - 13th - with lots more on Cloud, Digital Entertainment, Apps, Personal Data, M2M, Google / Apple / Facebook and the rest of our agenda. We hope to see some of you there - register now here.]
Now there’s a technology disruption for you - a complex, multi-day, multi-service, multi-zone Amazon Web Services outage. It’s far from clear what exactly happened, but it seems to be associated with their Elastic Block Service product (which emulates local disk access) and possibly also with internal networking. Most AWS clients using availability zones in their US-East service area, and some others, were seriously affected, bringing a lot of very large Web sites to a grinding halt.
Asymco Horace hails HTC’s market capitalisation overtaking Nokia’s - however, it’s worth pointing out that despite their spectacular, Android-fuelled volume growth, their average selling prices and margins have been flat at best for years. In late 2009 they briefly tried to jack up the prices and restore some margin power but saw their volumes hit a wall. There’s more in our Android executive briefing.
We’re in Palo Alto preparing for tomorrow’s New Digital Economics 2.0 Brainstorm, so this week’s news review is somewhat abridged and themed on some of the major issues we’re covering. There’s also a seasonal round-up of some the better ‘April Fools’ spoofs we picked up on last week.
As Amazon Web Services creates more independent availability zones and blurs the definition of cloud computing by offering dedicated EC2 machines, we’ll also be covering the strategy implications of the cloud in depth.
Interested in joining the crew of the Telco 2.0 spaceship? A berth has become available. Read on for the full job advert…
STL Partners - Vacancy for Head of Client Services - £40-£50K OTE, London (City/Shoreditch)
As a result of our rapid and continuing growth, we are now looking to recruit a Head of Client Services to oversee the management of our client projects and, working directly with the CEO and sales team, help grow a significant new line of business.
We want to hear from those who seek P&L responsibility and have the drive and determination to make a success of an exciting B2B marketing opportunity in the Telecoms, Media and Technology sector.
You must have a minimum of 3-5 years proven expertise in:
Planning and selling creative and effective B2B marketing solutions (digital media, lead generation programmes and events)
The Telecoms, Media, Technology sector
Project Planning and Management (working effectively with internal product and sales teams)
Directly managing and motivating telemarketing teams
Database development and reporting
Campaign Tracking & Measurement
Monitoring and managing internal revenue growth targets
The opportunity would suit someone who has been trained at a larger agency or worked on the client side and risen swiftly through the ranks, and is now looking to take on new responsibilities and make a major new career move to leverage their skills and experiences.
Significant performance-related bonus and share options to supplement the base salary will be offered to the successful candidate. The post reports directly to the CEO, Simon Torrance.
Office location: Border of City/Shoreditch. No relocation package applies.
Full-time, starting as soon as possible.
Please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance with a brief covering email, and we will follow up straightaway.
To share this article easily, please click:
[Ed. Our Americas Brainstorm is next week in Palo Alto - book now via email@example.com or call +44 (0)207 247 5003 - we hope to see you there. There’s also more detail here, and on the EMEA Brainstorm, 11-13 May 2011, here.]
Of course, there’s also a huge question of market power, pricing, and access. Connected Planet points out that both operators have huge wholesale, enterprise, and carrier services operations. Will this create opportunities for synergy between DTAG and ATT WorldNet, or will it be yet another regulatory problem? They point out that the history of such ventures is not promising - BT Concert, anyone?
[Ed: Diary reminder - it’s now just two weeks to the Americas Telco 2.0 Brainstorm, 5-7 April in Palo Alto, and seven weeks to the EMEA Brainstorm, 11-13 May in London.]
AT&T has agreed to buy T-Mobile USA off DTAG in a deal valued at $39bn in a mixture of cash and share swaps. As part of the transaction, the German operator will retain 8% of AT&T and get a seat on the board for Réne Obermann. AT&T gets an enormous pile of spectrum, a highly rated HSPA network, and a whole lot of regulatory trouble, as competitors line up to denounce an oligopoly with enormous spectrum resources. Major operator mergers in the past have often involved very large disbursements of assets to satisfy the regulators.
[Ed: Diary reminder for our upcoming Telco 2.0 Brainstorms in Americas, 5-7 April, EMEA, 11-13 May, and APAC 22-23 June 2011.]
Renesys reports that Internet traffic through Japanese IXen fell by 25 Gbps immediately after the magnitude 9 earthquake struck, but it returned to normal levels by the end of the day. You may have to stop updating Facebook to hide in a doorway, but it seems it takes more than apocalyptic devastation by the awe-inspiring powers of nature to faze a Japanese network administrator.
[Ed: We’re covering new mobile broadband business models, the impact of LTE, M2M, Cloud Services and much more at our upcoming Brainstorms in the Americas, 5-7 April, EMEA, 11-13 May, and APAC 22-23 June 2011.]
Network-sharing comes to Russia: Russia’s big three GSM operators have agreed to support a common LTE network deployment, to be managed by ex-WiMAX operator Yota.
[Ed: We’re covering a lot on the digital ecosystem agenda - broadband, Amazon, Apple, adjacent player strategies etc. at our upcoming Brainstorms in the Americas, 5-7 April, EMEA, 11-13 May, and APAC 22-23 June 2011.]
Connected Planet reports that spending on broadband equipment was up sharply in the last 12 months as major deployment projects pressed ahead. DSL, optical Ethernet, and cable technologies were all affected.
Basic connectivity is something of a theme this week. Huawei dared the US government to investigate it, and then went on selling enormous amounts of network equipment. Vodafone-Hutchison Australia announced that it was planning to replace its entire radio access network, after the CEO issued an apology to their customers for what sounds like truly dreadful service.
“The issues some customers have experienced included dropped calls, delayed SMS and voicemails, slow data speeds, inconsistent coverage and long waits when you called us”
[Ed: We’re covering a lot on the digital ecosystem agenda - Apple, disruptor strategies, etc. at our upcoming Brainstorms in Americas 5-7 April, EMEA 11-13 May, and APAC 22-23 June 2011.]
No prizes for guessing the lead story, again. You’re all probably well aware of Nokia’s “strategic partnership” with Microsoft, but just to recap, Nokia will be using Windows Phone 7 as its primary software platform. Symbian is going to reach end-of-life after another 150 million units. The new environment apparently won’t use either Microsoft Silverlight or Qt. MeeGo Linux is left up to Intel to look after. Most of Ovi will shut down, although the Ovi Publish interface (the back-end into the app store) continues to exist. The Mobile Phones division keeps ticking on shipping S40 devices to India and China, but how it stands for future development is anyone’s guess as part of the deal is a radical cut-back in Nokia’s R&D budget.
The reaction has been explosive - we’ll be giving our initial take later this week.
Tellabs threatens the “end of profit” for the mobile networks within the next few years - by 2013 in North America. However, readers at Informa’s telecoms.com point out that their assumptions about cost structures are highly conservative, and also that the study assumed that the network operators won’t do any repricing/usage based pricing. Further, increasing their use of data offload pushed out the evil day beyond 2015.
[Ed: Telco 2.0 presents our Best Practice Live! virtual event in two weeks’ time. On the 2nd of February, 0900-1500 GMT, and the 3rd of February, 0900-1500 Pacific Standard Time, we’re presenting a succession of talks from key innovators in the industry and on-line discussions. Sign up here - it’s FREE more details are here]
A clear top story this week: Eric Schmidt hands over after 10 years as Google’s CEO. Schmidt’s hopping upstairs to stay on as chairman of the board, in fact executive chairman, while Larry Page will take over as CEO. On the official blog, Page said that he now felt he no longer needed adult supervision. Not many other startups would have decided to give the top job to an outsider because they didn’t feel mature enough to run the business - it’s one of the reasons Google is such a special company. Meanwhile, Sergey Brin is moving to a new role heading Google’s product development.
Dan York thinks that the arrival of the iPhone at Verizon will be worse news for Google than for carrier rivals like AT&T - Verizon Wireless will no longer be the marketing champion for Android devices. The big question is how the expense of doing an iPhone that lives on CDMA2000 is justified when VZW is well on the way to deploying LTE. Informa has a stab at the numbers, and reckons that VZW will be forking over at least $3bn in handset subsidies. However, in return for that, they can expect to boost their population of high-spending subscribers, while Apple gets to ship more units. However, if you’re a rural Verizon affiliate, not so much.
[Ed: new Mobile Internet business models and Apple’s strategy are two of the major topics at our Spring 2011 Brainstorms and our free Best Practice Live! online event on 2-3 Feb 2011 - more on all of the agendas here.]
It was CES week, but we’re trying not to go overboard on the gadget blogging. Instead, AT&T gave some detail on its plans to roll out LTE, with the rollout beginning this summer with a target completion date of 2013. They also announced the completion of the HSPA+ upgrade. T-Mobile USA took the opportunity to upstage them by announcing the availability of “42Mbps” service (that’ll be a very theoretical theoretical maximum) with dual-carrier HSPA.
First order of business today: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is planning to bring net neutrality regulations to a vote before Christmas. It looks like Genachowski is hoping to pass the regulations under Title I, rather than trying the politically critical step of declaring broadband a telecoms service under Title II. Expect heavy litigation, whatever happens.
NBN Co has published its business plan, finally putting figures on the wholesale deal with Telstra and how much they might be likely to save on construction costs by using Telstra’s civil works infrastructure. Over the next 30 years, NBN Co is going to pay Telstra A$14bn to use the ducts, to shut down the PSTN, and to migrate Telstra’s subscribers onto new fibre-based services. On the other hand, NBN Co has revised its cost estimates for the build-out to A$37.5bn from A$43bn - if that includes the rent to Telstra rolled up over 30 years, this would suggest the network sharing roughly halved the cost of construction.
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?
[Ed. We’re now busy analysing the output from last week’s 11th Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm, as well as planning the next brainstorms in London, San Fransisco and Singapore (see here for more). Meanwhile, here’s a quick preview of one of the votes on Cloud Computing where we asked delegates to rank alternative ‘Use Cases’ options. It shows that delegates favoured the integration of telcos’ network and footprint assets with cloud computing as the way forward in this key field.
This supports our view in a forthcoming analyst’s note that using telcos’ control of network assets and widespread geographical footprint could be a key differentiator for them in the cloud market.
Vodafone results were out this week - the giant operator announced 3.9% revenue growth year-on-year for the first half of 2010. CEO Vittorio Colao said that he was planning to “adjust pricing to usage” in order to squeeze out more revenue from their data networks. As it’s Vodafone, there’s always someone trying to drum up a merger or demerger rumour, and this week Colao tossed them a bone by announcing the sale of Vodafone’s remaining stake in Softbank, bringing in a cool £3bn. Woof…gulp. More broadly, the firm is planning to concentrate on Europe, Africa, and India - how this differs from its strategy so far under Colao isn’t clear.
It’s not looking good for Clearwire: the WiMAX operator has stopped all new shops opening, delayed the launch of its smartphones, suspended its deployments to Denver and Miami, and sacked 15% of its employees. The reason is simple - the company is running out of cash. Although it achieved $147m in third quarter revenues, more than double what it did last year (when it hadn’t deployed very many networks), it urgently needs new financing to make it to 2011. There are one million retail and 1.8 million wholesale subscribers, but the wholesale subs are contributing monthly ARPU of $4.46. This quote doesn’t sound good:
Wholesale revenue in the third quarter was $16.5 million and is based upon minimal wholesale ARPU and usage assumptions due to unresolved issues around wholesale pricing. The issues relate to the application of existing wholesale pricing provisions to certain types of 4G devices. Once these issues are resolved, the Company expects to receive up to approximately $17 million in potential additional wholesale revenue from these 4G devices for the three month period ending September 30, 2010.
[Ed. - We’re just back from Telco 2.0 Americas, and we’re looking forward to the EMEA Executive Brainstorm in London on the 9th-10th of November. Sign up while you still can…]
Motorola announced Q3 results showing that the much-battered handsets business had struggled back into profit. The company posted an operating profit of $3bn, as revenues from mobile devices rose 20%. Although the bulk of the profit came from the Networks and Enterprise operation, both halves of the firm are now making money. The key to the turnaround seems to be their decision two years ago to commit the company’s future to Android. Two Motorola Androids will be Verizon Wireless’s flagship phones for the Christmas season.
[Ed - join us with Lightsquared, Google, and lots on broadband economics and disruptive strategies at the EMEA Telco 2.0 Brainstorms, London, 9-10 November 2010, and the AMERICAS Brainstorm on 27-28 October, L.A.]
Some doubted it, but the UK is getting regulated access to BT ducts at last, as well as dark fibre unbundling on BT’s FTTx network. The settlement suggests that BT will keep the right to price access to its fibre and layer zero infrastructure as a wholesale product, on condition that the same prices are charged by BT Openreach to BT Retail, and that they keep competing with Virgin Media’s cable net. Well, they’re unlikely to stop…
[Ed - a reminder that the ‘Early Bird’ discount ends for the EMEA Telco 2.0 Brainstorms, London, 9-10 November 2010, and that the AMERICAS Brainstorm is on 27-28 October, L.A.]
About 35% of mobile data is accounted for by streaming video, and 40% of that is YouTube, says Allot’s Mobile Trends report. Meanwhile, VoIP is 3%, but it’s growing at 83% year on year. So it’s no surprise that Skype is eating the world, again. Facebook wants a deal under which Skype would handle user-to-user voice for their half a billion or so users.
[Ed - a reminder that we’ll be covering Disruptive Strategies, Fibre and ‘Net Neutrality’, Devices, and legitimate forms of Digital Entertainment at the Telco 2.0 Brainstorms: AMERICAS 27-28 October, L.A.; EMEA, London, 9-10 November 2010.]
France Telecom CEO Stéphane Richard is interviewed by Le Figaro, and blames the regulator ARCEP for slow fibre deployment, although he does credit Free with having a “real fibre strategy”. He also says that he’s convened a meeting with Vodafone and DTAG about starting a common operating system.
It’s possible that he may mean joining WAC, using LiMo/BONDI, etc. It’s certainly very hard to see what the case for yet another mobile OS is at the moment. However, he also suggested that it could be as little as a common “apps factory”.
[Ed - a diary reminder that we’ll be covering Device Strategies, Online Video and Entertainment 2.0, ‘Net Neutrality’ and more at the Telco 2.0 Brainstorms: AMERICAS 27-28 October, L.A.; EMEA, London, 9-10 November 2010.]
Nokia is activating 300,000 devices a day, while Android is doing about 200,000. However, Android’s year-on-year growth rate is 886%. Of course, starting from a low base will do that for your numbers, but it’s still impressive stuff and hardly encouraging for the Nokia/Symbian world. Mostly, that’s good news for vendors and for software developers - Computer Weekly gives the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini a glowing review. Who would have expected that as the mid-market was slaughtered in 2008 and 2009?
It’s heeere…Google integrates voice into GMail. At the moment, they’re offering cheap international calls to US customers (which may imply that this shares common infrastructure with Google Voice), although some UK users (including this one) saw a phone icon briefly appear in the GMail window. Wired’s Ryan Singel points out that although Skype is now the biggest phone company by minutes of use, it’s making very thin margins - of course, this goes just as much for Google.
[Ed:Telco 2.0 is signing up a strong group of ‘stimulus speakers’ for its Autumn events in Los Angeles and London. Details here]
A survey of mobile operators for The Economistsays that they expect revenues from apps to pass revenues from voice by 2013. Really? If valid, that’s certainly the most radical prediction we’ve heard in a long time - you might almost consider it a marker of the existence of a bubble in apps. On the other hand, in the US, fixed-line substitution is running at 5% annually, so the prediction might not be so far off in as far as it involves voice revenues falling.
[Reminder from the Telco 2.0 Team: don’t forget to check out the 40 leading-edge online video presentations on ‘Best Practice’ Telco 2.0 strategies, case studies and use cases now available on demand, including:
NB To watch these videos you will need to register via the embedded links above.]
They call it the cloud, but it’s a very physical, hardware-heavy business. Amazon.com and Google both announced great dollops of capital investment this week, in Amazon’s case enough to spook the Street. The giant platform business is building infrastructure again, and a large fraction of that is in the form of buildings, 13 of them, both warehouses and data centres. They’re also adding another 2,200 jobs. CFO Tom Szkutak specifically referred to their Filled by Amazon operation, which delivers packages on behalf of other e-commerce firms, and to Amazon Web Services as lines of business that were in need of more space. Google, for their part, spent $476m in the last quarter on capital goods, essentially all on data centres. As we pointed out in the Google executive briefing, not only does Google spend much more on capital investment than its closest rivals, it gets dramatically better returns.
Reflecting the intensive competition in the mobile devices and OS world, as analysed by Telco 2.0 partners Arete Research in their Telco 2.0 ‘Best Practice Live!’ presentation here (you’ll need to register), a strong theme of this week’s news is that many of the main players in the arena are experiencing their own ‘worlds of pain’.
Starting with Microsoft, Infoworld got a preview of the latest Windows Phone 7 gadget, and reported a number of concerns, including a number of regressions from Windows Mobile 6.5 and a very strange user interface indeed. In the light of the idea of sudden extinction events, you might wonder whether Microsoft is going to stay in the mobile game.
[Reminder from the Telco 2.0 Team: don’t forget to check out the 40 leading-edge online video presentations on ‘Best Practice’ Telco 2.0 strategies, case studies and use cases now available on demand, including:
It’s been widely trailed, the FCC has spoken, and now it may be about to happen. The big US spectrum dump may happen as soon as today, when President Obama signs an executive order to start releasing the 500MHz of additional spectrum required for the National Broadband Plan (our response is here). NTIA is mandated to pick out spectrum allocations that the Feds currently aren’t using and prepare for auctions, although some elements of the plan, notably the type of auction and the idea of reusing the proceeds for public-safety radio networks, will need approval from Congress.
Verizon Wireless is signalling that it may resume paying a dividend to Vodafone next year. At VZW’s current monthly free cash flow, the company’s debts should reach zero some time in 2011; Verizon itself is as keen as Vodafone to get its hands on VZW’s profits, although they have been insistent on paying down the mobile operator’s debts first. A resumption would increase Vodafone’s free cash flow by 30%.
Don’t forget to register for our FREE virtual (online) event - Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! Over 30 presentations from senior execs from around the world addressing important aspects of business model innovation. Strategies, case studies and use cases covering: Mobile broadband; Digital Entertainment; IT & Cloud Computing; Mobile Advertising; M2M; Voice & Messaging 2.0; Consumer Data/Privacy; Living with Google; Mobile Payments, and more…Register FREE here.
Data repricing watch; O2 UK is the latest operator to (re)introduce tiered pricing, with monthly buckets ranging from 500MB on contracts between £25 and £35 to 1GB for £60. Another 500 costs a fiver. Oddly enough, existing unlimited contracts (and anyone who signs up before the 24th) get to keep their unlimited status, so the famous USB dongle torrent freaks and radio network controller-mangling iPhone fans aren’t affected yet.
We are delighted by the response to the inaugural Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! virtual event, broadcast online to 3 geographies worldwide on 28-30 June. Senior execs from around the world are preparing special presentations for this FREE event - including Olivier Baujard, new Group CTO, Deutsche Telekom and Sally Davies, CEO, BT Wholesale. Support also from MIT, the World Economic Forum, Vodafone, Telecom Italia, Telenor and others. You can register for FREE here.
More information on the accelerated BT fibre roll-out: the European Union has spoken, and it has decided that the carrier will have to offer so-called “virtual unbundled line access” to its wholesale customers in the first instance. This seems to be an odd hybrid of a wholesale generic Ethernet product and unbundling, which will still use BT’s electronic kit. However, although OFCOM thinks that will be enough, the EU insists that eventually they will have to transition to full LLU with physical third-party control of the fibre and colocation of third party equipment.
The special detail here is that AT&T is actually deploying more WLAN hotspots in order to augment its capacity; they’re a lot cheaper than Node-Bs. Interesting quote from Connected Planet:
It’s not too hard to imagine a network architecture where the vast majority of 3G device data actually passes over local area and femto networks. The femtocell or Wi-Fi router at home downloads the morning paper and traffic conditions; the 3G network takes over during the commute; and once at work the phone links up with the office LAN then transfers to the sidewalk hotspot at lunch time. After another stint on the 3G network on the way home, it’s back on the home network
[Ed: There will be even more on putting Telco 2.0 ideas into practice at the ‘Best Practice Live!’ free online event on June 28-30 June 2010.]
Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! Virtual (online) event, 28-30 June 2010, FREE to attend. Registration now open here. We’re delighted with the support we’re getting from the industry for this important project designed to show the ‘art of the possible’, with senior representatives preparing special material, for example: Hans Vestberg, President and CEO, Ericsson; Dr Hans Wijayasuriya, CEO, Dialog Group; JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist, BT Group. If you have a best practice case study you’d like to promote, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What if being a bit-pipe wasn’t such a bad idea after all? Nokia Siemens Networks published a study into the economics of mobile data (document here) that suggests it’s possible to provide up to 5GB of data transfer per user per month profitably. Doing so requires a flat-architecture IP network, a rigorous focus on efficiency, and some counter-intuitive factors; the more heavily trafficked cells are the cheapest to serve. It also strongly suggests that this segment of the business has major economies of scale, so being a “happy pipe” may be restricted to the biggest operators. That would suggest that the biggest operators might be better off pursuing a wholesale platform strategy supporting many applications, MVNOs, content players, and the like.
[Ed: Diary reminder: 28-30 June 2010, Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! - the first carefully curated, online, video-based, interactive knowledge bank of cutting-edge ‘Telco 2.0’ services, business models and solutions from around the world.]
Huawei goes along to get along with India; in return for the Indian government’s lifting of its ban on their equipment, they’ve undertaken to create an Indian business unit with Indian directors and management, and more importantly, they’re going to come clean at long last about exactly who owns the company. Rumours have circulated for years that the company is secretly controlled by the Chinese Army - the firm was founded in 1988 by a retired officer and instructor at their electronics school.
[Ed: For your diaries: Telco 2.0 Best Practice Live! provides the first carefully curated, online, video-based, interactive knowledge bank of cutting-edge ‘Telco 2.0’ services, business models and solutions from around the world. It runs on 28-30 June 2010.]
[Ed: Before we dive into this week’s Apple newsfest, a last minute reminder that the 9th Executive Brainstorm is in London this week - the volcano dust has been swept off the runways, the weather is surprisingly welcoming here in London, and there’s a great line up of speakers, attendees and content, so we’re looking forward to seeing some of you there.]
Apple’s Q2 numbers are now out and they are startling: profits up 90%, iPhone shipments up 131%, Macintosh shipments up 33%, although the iPod fell 1% year-on-year. (And only real geeks even remember there’s an Apple server division…) 58% of iPhone sales are currently going for export as Apple signs up more and more carriers as exclusive channels.
Google is in the news yet again, following last week’s article, reporting that DTAG, Telefonica, and France Telecom had a Ed Whitacre moment, complaining that Google wasn’t paying them to reach “their” customers, and that the EU Commissioner had already joined the debate. There’s more below on this plus our usual news round-up.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet done so, please give your views on the threats and opportunities presented by Google here in our short online survey. We’ll be sharing the findings in forthcoming articles and at the 9th Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm next week on the 27th-29th April in London (the Brainstorm is definitely ON in case you were wondering).
Verizon slows new FiOS deployments, while Google staff are sifting through 1,100 RFPs for their FTTH experimental project. VZ is apparently going to concentrate on filling in the gaps in the current FiOS footprint; discussion elsewhere suggests that the take rate for FiOS has been disappointing, arguably because their strategy for it was based on competing for cable or satellite TV subscribers, with voice and Internet service as a side project. Margins in the TV business haven’t proven to be good enough to let Verizon undercut the TV players.
Is Vodafone going to merge with Verizon? The FT thinks it’s possible, and also expects that Vittorio Colao will soon be able to force Verizon to resume paying dividends from Verizon Wireless after the mobile operation pays off its debts at the end of this year.
Brough Turner brings us a data point about 3G in China; despite having a much smaller share of the overall market, China Unicom has as many 3G subscribers as China Mobile and is growing faster. It probably has something to do with the fact China Unicom got the iPhone - and more importantly, the impact of the Ministry of the Information Industry’s reorganisation of the sector, in which China Mobile had to turn over its UMTS assets to China Unicom and start building a TD-SCDMA network.
ABI closes the books on 2009 and concludes that despite the global recession, mobile CAPEX held up well, if you count a 5% dip as “well”; key drivers of this included 243,000 base stations for China, Huawei’s lavish vendor financing, and Verizon Wireless’ LTE supercontract.
We may be facing a major moment in industry history: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is looking at using the Universal Service Fund (USF) to fund broadband deployment. In the past, the use of the USF has been purely voice-oriented, and has hitherto transferred large sums of money from urban and suburban telecoms users to rural operators.
If this goes ahead, watch out for many operators deciding that it’s time to set an out-of-service date for the PSTN itself - USF subsidies are assessed by PSTN line, and if they start flowing in other ways, there’s not much reason to go entirely cellular or to VoIP.
You really must show more application. According to a TNS poll, apps are now the joint second factor in subscribers’ choice of device - neck-and-neck with brand loyalty, behind look-and-feel. This rises to the first factor for the 16-30 age group.
Unsurprisingly, the other kind of applications - the ones that happen when you aren’t looking - are also burgeoning. Here’s yet another warning about the threat from malware - especially from the possibilities of a fake femtocell.
All the ‘sparkle’ at last week’s Mobile World Congress seemed to be about software and developers. While Nokia chose this year to keep off the conference site itself, Google showed up for the first time. Eric Schmidt made a show-stealing keynote speech which we reviewed here after the stardust had fallen from our eyes. Alternative views are here.
In addition, anyone who had anything to do with Google Android had rockstar status, Google told the world that it was willing to invest in 1Gbit FTTH projects, and launched a virtual tour of the Trans-Siberian Railway. To which we can only quote the view of someone on Gordon Cook’s listserv, to the effect that telcos spend money on lobbyists and lawyers, but when Google feels the need for influence, it carries out a small but spectacular tech project and everyone loves it.
Potentially seismic news in the UK: BT changes its mind on duct-sharing. Both OFCOM and the Conservative Party are keen on the idea - OFCOM had a survey of some ducts carried out, and discovered that a surprisingly large percentage of the UK’s telecoms infrastructure is full of raw sewage, and the Tories have threatened to legislate to force BT to provide ducts if they win the election. Mind you, they also threatened to abolish OFCOM - work that out. It’s a major turnaround for BT, which not so long ago wasn’t even willing to provide street cabinet access for the South Yorkshire Digital Region project.
We’ve said before that the leading actor in the deployment of fibre is increasingly the State. Brazil looks like it could be the latest, and one of the biggest, examples - as part of its national broadband plan, the Brazilian government is considering investing $10.7bn in publicly-owned infrastructure to reach remote and underserved areas. On a similar theme but much smaller scale, the proposals are now in from carriers and others wishing to join the New Zealand government’s Crown Fibre Holdings, which intends to deploy open-access dark fibre throughout the country.
Don’t assume the crisis is over; horrible sales figures from Ericsson were published this week, with fourth-quarter revenues down 13 per cent and profits positively crashing. Another 1,500 jobs are going. However, they did manage to cling on to market share. According to CEO Hans Vestberg, the trouble was concentrated in the emerging markets, where many of their customers were still unable to raise funds for their network deployments. Interestingly, Ericsson’s best performing markets were the US, China, and India - you might think that those three would be enough to support a half decent business, and it’s telling that China and India no longer come under the heading of “emerging markets”.
App Stores: Ovi reaches take-off - 1 million downloads/day
iSuppli has finished costing out the bits of a dismantled Google Nexus One, and they conclude that the $530 device costs about $174 to make, which is a fascinating margin by anyone’s standards. It’s worth noting that the silicon in the gadget is almost entirely Qualcomm - the main processor, and most expensive single component, is a Qualcomm Snapdragon, and the radio hardware is Qualcomm as well.
Well, we’ve just had CES and the buzz was of course about the Google gadget. Connected Planet asks whether Google might subsidise apps or content on the “Nexus One”. Although there’s certainly something appealing about the idea of flipping the business model, getting rid of the handset subsidies, and instead pushing the app ecosystem, it seems unlikely - the device is pricey, at $530 a go with no carrier subsidy, so you’d have to push out a lot of subsidised applications in order to make it a financially attractive proposition that way. (Also, this is roughly the model Nokia is pursuing for Ovi.) If the iPhone was anything to go by, that $530 includes a substantial profit margin - but the problem is surely how much subsidy to applications the user could absorb.
iFixit has a teardown out, so the genuinely intrepid can have a crack at costing out the BOM and estimating the margins themselves. We’d guess that the Snapdragon chip doesn’t come cheap. Apparently, the device is actually made by HTC, so you might expect that they’ll get the the lion’s share of the price after the upstream suppliers like Qualcomm, Broadcom, etc. have got theirs.
[Ed. - Please help Telco 2.0 improve our analysis service to you, via a short online survey of your research interests for 2010: brief survey here.]
It was probably inevitable that 2010 would kick off with a Google story; the rumour machine is operating at full power ahead of an announcement scheduled for tomorrow. It looks like it’s going to involve Google’s own Android handset, but at the moment it’s hard to say what if anything is special about it. Certainly, selling them for $530 a pop isn’t going to start any revolutions although the margins are probably decent, as they are with the iPhone.
Please help Telco 2.0 improve our analysis service to you, via this short survey on your research interests for 2010: brief survey.
TNS (a consumer research company) reckons the mobile industry is about to pull out of the recession, with a burst of growth expected in handsets. (Although, as we described a few weeks ago, will the vendors actually make any money?)
Meanwhile, pictures and details of what is supposed to be a Google Phone leak. If true, Google is making its own stab at an Android device and will be marketing it direct to consumers, which means that it will at least look expensive compared to the competition with their handset subsidies. However, you can be fairly certain that this device will come with Google Voice. Google was also working hard to snag more phone numbers this week: after Google Voice users got the ability to use the service with their existing phone numbers, they’re now being given the chance to “upgrade” and get a Google-assigned number instead.
So you thought content was king? Think again; Comcast, the huge US cable operator, star of multiple net-neutrality rows, and now significant wholesale provider, has bought a controlling stake in NBC Universal. In a slightly curious deal, they’re paying GE some $6.5bn in cash and $7.25bn in kind - specifically, in rights to programming they own. That gives them 51% of NBC, owner of movie studios and TV channels.
As part of the Telco 2.0 Americas event, we’ll be debating the value of AppStores with American delegates to see if they differ in their views from their European counterparts, who we asked to vote on this question: “How successful will the current focus on consumer apps and app stores be for operators?”
Vodafone is keen to find new ways of deriving revenue from its soaring data traffic. One way, according to Vodafone Europe CEO Michel Combes, might be to charge end-users or perhaps even content providers for guarantees of better QoS. This could go either way - two-sided triumph or IMS-headed fiasco. After all, it’s not clear to what extent a mobile radio network really can guarantee quality of service over the air.
Before this even becomes relevant, though, Vodafone may face a worse problem; without cross-industry collaboration, content providers, clouds, etc may not be interested in negotiating with every mobile operator in Europe and integrating with their diverse technical solutions. Delegates at Telco 2.0’s EMEA Brainstorm agreed that appropriate collaboration on APIs is now necessary to create the market.
YouTube is about to turn up high-definition video, with the 1080p standard becoming available from next week. Just watch the backhaul links light up when that stuff starts flowing. Clearly, we’re still going to need a bigger boat - or rather, a better, integrated video delivery system.
Last week was Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm time again in London; watch this space for blogs, video, slides, etc over the next few weeks as we run up to the first ever Telco 2.0 Americas next month.
After a panel that included the heads of API programmes at operators representing just under a billion subscribers, two-thirds of the delegates to Telco 2.0 believe that telcos should concentrate their efforts in developer communities on enterprise business processes, rather than consumer applications. “Which of the following markets are most profitable for telcos to focus their API efforts on? (Choose one)”:
UK Music chief and ex-Undertone Feargal Sharkey’s keynote in the Media 2.0 session at Telco 2.0 dealt with the possibility of peace breaking out between the music industry and the Internet community; he reckons the growth of services like Spotify and DRM-free download stores like Amazon’s may lead to the industry eventually out-competing the pirates. After Pirate World, new players emerge - where have we heard that one before?
[Ed - The Telco EMEA Brainstorm in London this week is packed to the rafters - so join us at the US Event in Orlando on December 9th-10th instead.]
The standards wars have been over a while now, and here’s the peace treaty; the CDMA Development Group is joining the 3GPP, the GSM/UMTS world’s standardisation community. The specific purpose of this is to represent the CDMA carriers, like Verizon Wireless, who are transitioning to LTE.
China Mobile reports a return to growth in Q3, with income up 2.6% year on year after the first quarter of decline since 1999. The carrier signed up another 15 million subscribers in the quarter. Meanwhile, China Telecom saw a 48% plunge in its profits as subscribers rushed away from its core fixed-line voice business towards mobile, and its subscriber acquisition costs rocketed as it makes its own move into the mobile business. It reminds us of a crack of Boris Nemsic’s when he was running Mobilkom Austria; if all your national fixed-line and mobile calls are inclusive, what do you need fixed-mobile convergence for?
Nokia announced ugly Q3 results this week, booking the first quarterly loss in 10 years. In Q3, Nokia lost €559 million overall, against a consensus forecast of a €350 million profit. In fact, the analyst consensus wasn’t that far off in terms of the operating level - Nokia took a €908 million write-off against the value of Nokia Siemens Networks, which therefore implies the company must have made €351 million from operations before the monster accounting charge hammered it. (Remind anyone of Vodafone’s books back in the day?)
BT says it’s actually going to do a lot more FTTH than previously planned, and it’s going to overbuild as well as install in new construction. Apparently, this is because they’ve discovered that it doesn’t cost as much as they thought, and (according to various press reports) they can use their existing ducts. Wasn’t this obvious? Or is this a reference to the secret cable-stripping tech they bought into?
In other news: Aircom predicts $1.8bn per carrier for LTE deployment; Tony Blair fails to secure Wataniya Palestine’s spectrum; US operators drain the spectrum tub and holler for more; trust busters warn them against disorderly conduct; Telenor/Alfa row finally ends; France Telecom No.2 quits over suicides; Amazon settles over Orwell-zapping; Sony will publish anyone’s book; MapReduce available as EC2 instances; 50,000 new EC2 instances a day - cloud turns black, thundery, grows rapidly; Lotus Notes in the cloud; RIM, Apple, Google work together to mobilise Flash Player; Nortel GSM on the block; Sierra Leone gets mobile money; more war stories from OpenBTS’s David Burgess; 2 billion iPhone downloads; Spotify offers offline; Grauniad for your iPhone; beta release for Google Wave; another 20 million iPhones post-exclusivity; more BBC web traffic comes from mobiles than PCs in Nigeria; Comcast CEO “in top five overpaid execs”
Crash of the über-merger; getting a deal that would satisfy both Bharti-Airtel and MTN’s sets of shareholders and the aspirations of their respective management teams was always going to be hard, and integrating the two companies even harder, but getting the politics right? Really hard. And that’s what’s happened - the South African government, which owns 21 per cent of MTN, has refused the deal on the grounds that they aren’t keen on foreign ownership of MTN.
In other news: Phorm - the end is nigh; Robo.to tells you more about incoming callers than you can read before you pick up; new version of Android; I love my INQ Mini, rather too much; Palm loses money under GAAP, loses 10x less under own rules; no more Windows gadgets from Palm; Hesse sez FCC “fair” to probe exclusive handset deals; row over Walsten’s FCC seat; VZ ditches the copper world, would quite like to keep tax break; AT&T denies role in Gvoice/Appstore; CMT slashes Telefonica wholesale rates 25%; VoLGA standard is here; NSN first call on LTE; T-Mobile USA first HSPA; FON gets into GSM; David Burgess at Burning Man; Y! intros combined OpenID/OAuth; IBM, Cisco both want smart grid standards; dire desk phone GUI, mocked; Braille on your phone; dodgy iPhone update; dedicated Apple support; HD voice “driven by VoIP”; Skype, Joost suing
Vodafoneannounces Vodafone 360, the successor to Vodafone live! The interesting bit here is exactly what 360 offers - rather than the video-heavy content offering that characterised both Live! and most operators’ ideas about what to do with 3G back in the day, its main selling point is as a wrapper around multiple social networks and other communications services. Vittorio Colao recently told investors that the social networks were one of the biggest drivers of traffic on Vodafone, and this looks like they’re suiting the action to the word. 360 is also going to include an app store - at least it’s a better name than Vodafone Widget Manager…
In other news: The end of TV ads? Raise you the end of fixed voice; China Mobile moves into Symbian’s giant app shed; spectrum upshot of T-Orange merger; Spotify hits the brakes; Rhapsody for iPhone; Vodafone outage; Vodafone launches better voice for SMEs; SingTel buys Eircom; Singapore NBN taps ALU for OSS BSS, in orgy of TLAs; US telcos - actually, we would like the money; Google’s latest SSN sails and dives deep; Indian 3G auction is go in December; AT&T adds more HSPA; NEC/Hitachi/Casio merger; weird Sony Ericsson gadget is weird; list of Ovi Maps apps; Nokia acquires startup; next INQ to run Android; DT-Sprint horrors rise from the deep; how M-PESA agents’ businesses work; Zimbabwe telco cuts everyone’s bill by half in desperate bid for cash
The ups and downs of advertising. Here’s probably the world’s number 1 in targeted ads and data mining, Tesco spinoff Dunnhumby, creators of the Tesco Clubcard. Their profits were up 71%. Great, no? We could really do with some of that in telecoms…so you’re probably already thinking of all those hard disks in the billing department. [Ed. - Martin Hayward, Dunnhumby’s Director of Strategy & Futures will be joining the panel on ‘Customer Data 2.0’ at the EMEA Telco 2.0 event on 4-5 Nov in London.]
In other news: Nokia still loves stalkerware; new blog about Nokia musicphones, entirely useless to 90% of our readers; Symbian for mass market, Maemo for high end; Nokia “has enough operating systems for now”; MoBot, the mobile scripting tool for power users; NSN chief leaves, Nokia services chief takes over; Sony Ericsson’s PS3 streaming gadget; Verizon joins TV-streaming alliance; Gmail outage; Kai-Fu Lee quits Google.cn; sense from Telephony Online about VoIP and unicomms; new HTC gadgets; Facebook friends for sale; China Unicom and Telefonica swap shares; funny filesharing figures from the BPI; French teachers want mobiles back in the classroom; Cisco dishes out rewards for failure; Digicel brings GSM to Nauru.
In other news: Apple accepts Spotify app; broadcast still the best way to deliver live content; now that’s what we call LBS; 12% broadband growth in France; Brough Turner forecasts LTE for 2012; Maemo Linux gets telephony API; IMS still hoping for video-sharing; mystery Vonage surge; heads roll at Clearwire, again; Intel: data centres can safely warm up; SkyTap’s VPN cloud; Cloudera vs VMWare; semiconductor sales up 5.3%; new Motorola Android gadget; iPhone goes to China - no revenue sharing there; Samsung’s app store; why m-banking is right for Canada; taking over the Internet; Home Office gets it wrong
Just how many applications is Appleselling through the App Store? According to AdMob, it could be as much as $200m worth for the month of August; there’s a good row going on over at GigaOm as to whether their methodology is likely to have produced valid numbers. It’s probably worth pointing out that the release and huge sales of the iPhone 3GS might have skewed the month, what with all those new iPhones getting apped-up at once. But it does tend to suggest that the App Store is a genuine business.
In other news: Verified online dating; “dynamic green routing” to save power in the cloud; Google seeks smart grid interoperability; cable cuts cause Chinese chaos, but not as much as in 2006; routing diversity scores on the doors from Renesys; BGP fatfinger strikes again; SingTel profits up on big Bharti contribution; giant credit-card hack; AT&T, T-Mobile robbed by ex-employees; Australian police too clever for their own good; Hacking at Random builds its own GSM network; Patricia Russo’s six weeks at SpinVox; 4th French 3G licence coming; O2 Germany OK with mobile VoIP; BT outsources everything, closes grad recruitment; Yorkshire lifeboat crew builds their own FTTH; slow progress on fibre in Spain; Budde, Conroy speak on open fibre networks; USDA report out on rural broadband; teledensity passes 100% in Venezuela; Orange, Vodafone looking for a social network; INQ-Spotify hookup; RIM “fastest growing company”; cops desert Airwave for RIM; John Todd speaks about Asterisk, communities, etc
The FCCis considering whether it should launch a full-dress inquiry into competition in the US mobile business. As the new FCC staff have begun to bed in, the agency has been increasingly activist, and this hearing is intended to look at the complex topic of intercarrier pricing, the US equivalent of termination in Europe. Could this be the beginning of a Viviane Reding-like telco-bashing rampage?
The Bharti-Airtel & MTN merger grinds on. Last week they were promising that the merger made so much sense they would have to keep running the two companies independently; this week they resorted to a more reliable form of persuasion - cash. Bharti is hiking the cash element of the deal by $1bn, reducing the volume of new shares that will be issued and also fudging the question of who controls the company. Not only do the South Africans see MTN as a strategic national asset, but there are more than 20 regulators to satisfy across the combined empire. It sounds almost as fun as that proposed FTel/TeliaSonera tie up…
In Today’s Issue: Strategy: Sprint’s WiMAX plans leak; Sprint loses contract customers; buys and closes Virgin Mobile; BT cleans up after Satyam SatScam; BT, FTel, Telefonica, Motorola shares up on non-awful results; ALU wants to sell more assets; Telefonica saved by Latin American businesses; 900MHz refarming is go!; what a mess at Nitel; Bharti Airtel/MTN - support the merger, we promise we won’t really merge; Core Services: Secret of the iPhone - telephony; AT&T accused of Telco 2.0 in reverse; Blyk swaps 200,000 MVNO subs for 12 million as a managed service; B2B Platform: TWC squeezed between Web video and IPTV; Google uses SMS for verification; BREW, RIM integrated with VZW app store; Enablers and APIs: Qualcomm, VZW plan to “explode” M2M applications; new Nokbrowser out; Technology and Devices: 1.5% of Indian Symbian devices virus-ridden; hackers explode iPhone with special SMS; spying on Amazon EC2; no MSFT phone; Intel gives “MIDs” the humane killer; upgrading your hacked TiVo; HOWTO stage the jewel heist of the century; the best papers on internetworking, ever
A Sprint document leaked, giving details of their next wave of WiMAX deployments. Interestingly, they aren’t in the places you might expect; perhaps they are doing the easiest radio plans first? It would hardly be surprising, seeing as they made a large loss, as valuable contract customers left the building and they also decided to buy out Virgin Mobile USA for $420 million. The plan is to fold the Virgin customers into Sprint mainline; so what did happen to the wholesale strategy?
Strategy: The spoils of Nortel; why would RIM want to be Nortel 2.0 anyway? Ericsson the winners so far; reasons to be cheerful - AT&T spending on infrastructure again; the iPhone sends waves through AT&T’s balance sheet; Zain/Vivendi deal off, revenues up; Ahuja and friends launch WiMAX startup; East Africa online; Core Services: Data traffic booms; NSN reckons it will exceed voice by 2011; mobile broadband subscriber numbers; Vodafone results down despite data surge; America Movil results up because of data surge; O2 UK’s nightmare week; HOWTO get US Federal broadband funding; Quigley picked to run Aussie NBN; B2B Platform: KCOM in trouble over war on filesharers; Will Page: music industry actually OK, really; Apple considers iTunes-focused tablet; Enablers and APIs: Rackspace, the latest API-enabled cloud; Technology and Devices: Avaya in pole position for Nortel voice assets; NSN opts for Alvarion’s WiMAX kit; WiMAX trouble in Malaysia; Ericsson chief promises to back Sony-Ericsson; ZTE: SDR-based LTE/CDG Node B; Telus prepares for CDMA-LTE leap; SpinVox is people!; 26% of Chinese crooks wannabe hackers; no wonder, when it’s this easy; Symbian-approved virus spreads by SMS; Apple breaks Palm Pre-iTunes sync, Palm unbreaks it; Nokia buys super-address book startup; a watch in a phone in a watch
The vultures swirl around Nortel. And sometimes they turn on each other…RIM complains bitterly that it’s not getting a fair chance to buy the core CDMA and LTE assets; Nortel says they can only bid for them if they promise to buy more assets after that; RIM wraps itself in the flag and claims that it must keep these strategic assets in Canadian hands. Meanwhile, one of Nortel’s creditors threw in a low bid for the assets, Nokia Siemens Networks made an offer…and Telephony Online asked why RIM wanted to become an underscaled infrastructure vendor, just like…Nortel.
In Today’s Issue: More app stores, but Symbian has a giant app distribution warehouse just off the M25; Nokia sells key Symbian unit; awful figures; another service strategy…; NSN gets $1bn Brazilian contract; Palm Pre syncs with iTunes, Apple rushes out update to stop it; Pre SDK away, hooray; Google’s voluntary total surveillance project for iPhones; 1.5bn downloads from App Store, most intended to replace native applications; wall of money hits iPhone games; Google Voice for Android; Sony Ericsson - the horror! the horror!; embarrassment at Motorola; Frenchmen threaten to blow up Nortel plant; operators “can’t stop now” on infrastructure spending; IBM detects “nanoscale green shoots” with new electron microscope; Spinvox offers shares rather than cash; O2 Germany intros “Comes With Malware”; Etisalat hacks BlackBerries, gets caught, lies about it, sees profits rise 10%; 3UK wants to advertise on dongle clients; Alierta skates from insider trading charge; even more highly doubtful piracy stats; is YouTube actually profitable?; the coming CDN boom; cool new TV box comes to Britain; C&W shareholders furious; simple ad spot prevents Federal broadband funds being paid; Telstra loses case over price hike; Thailand, Angola laying fibre; new hybrid HSPA/satellite network; loads of data on HSPA; fixed-mobile collision hurts BSNL; desperately seeking a voice solution for LTE; users considered intelligent in Wi-Fi study; 36% want mobile iPlayer; VZW cuts exclusivity before the Feds do; Vodafone to update on cost cutting this week; who will be Amazon’s pet MVNO in Europe?; O2 launches prepaid VISA card; Biz Stone says…something
Yet more app store noise. Well, not quite.
More details are emerging of the forthcoming Symbian app store, Horizon; in fact, it’s not going to be so much an app store as a giant app shed near a motorway junction in Wiltshire, delivering truckloads of apps to stores all over the world. Not necessarily a silly idea; the plan is roughly that Horizon would be a single buyer from developers, taking care of technical support, signing and certification, and distributing revenue share, and selling wholesale to operator app stores. Presumably, the Ovi Store is going to be a front end for the project. That would make sense; but then, when has Nokia’s services strategy ever made sense?
In Today’s Issue: Virgin after 4th French licence; SFR basks in iPhone glamour; India trebles teledensity, heads for 500 million subs; Indian military gets fibre in exchange for spectrum; Sarawak gets WiMAX; Oregon gets WiMAX; Portugal gets 100Mbits broadband; Econet rolls out in Kenya, Zimbabwe; Eurovendors - still got it, Ericsson edition; ignorant senators; Smart Comms’ next move; GrameenPhone IPO is go; Iran says no to Zain; Vodafone and CPW make nice; latest T-Mobile UK rumours; O2 gets Palm Pre, but Orange gets Blyk; T-Mobile: we can’t spy on our customers, we’re doing too much network-address translation!; BBC: Canvas makes sense, you know; Joost sneaks off quietly; new ad spec from CableLabs; Nokia immediately updates new phone; HOWTO make N97 homescreen widgets; rumour: Nokia to do an Android gadget; yet another dead Nokia service; Ericsson has an app store now; VCs throw money at iPhone start-ups; Zer01 launches, Tracfone is cheap; US broadband grants come with net neutrality; EU finally ends the charger madness; bad connectivity makes a fool of Bloomberg
Stalking the French fourth mobile licence; Virgin Mobile is apparently interested, with a “strategic partner”. Presumably this means that a big enough MVNO, in the opinion of its own management admittedly, now qualifies as a launch customer for a greenfield UMTS network; looks like wholesale really is becoming crucial. According to French government sources, the tender should be issued before the end of July for a decision in January 2010. Relatedly, SFR claimed it had a “good” Q2 in terms of subscribers, probably driven by the iPhone halo effect.
In Today’s Issue: Vodafone after T-Mobile UK? Femtocells ready to launch; voiceprint ID at Vodafone Turkey; moving to the Smoke; HOWTO install unauthorised software to a Palm Pre; Intel-Nokia strategic alliance; Moto Karma launches on AT&T; AT&T femtocells coming; subscription navigation application; TV to go; Comcast, TimeWarner break with Hulu; Virgin Media to bother filesharers; ARCEP says yes to urban overbuild, divides France into three parts; NSN gets optical kit from Juniper, i.e. Ericsson; the long death of Nortel; new Ericsson CEO talks to the FT; Indians alarmed by exploding Chinese gadgets; GVoice hype and cold water; AdSense for mobile launches; native SDK out for Android; BREW’s future; iPhone 3GS costimates; EBay “bought Skype but not the code”; Genachowski’s in at the FCC; Entanet shoots back in the UK wholesale wars
Consolidation watch: the Financial Times claims there is an offer on the table for T-Mobile UK, from Vodafone. How will OFCOM respond to that? A combined company would have no less than 40% of total spending on mobile service in the UK, and this would trigger yet more repercussions for the spectrum situation. Perhaps part of the regulatory solution would be to trade off a tranche of 900MHz to 3UK, in exchange for T-Mobile’s 1800MHz holdings?
In Today’s Issue: Nortel - the final curtain; NSN vultures up CDMA, LTE assets; CSL CEO: Chinese vendors are our rightful masters - submit!; Iran: HOWTO strangle the Internet; actually, asking NSN seems to be the staff solution; MTN chafes at the bit; more censorship data; Uncle Sam’s monster e-mail database; Novarra: half the data traffic is from basic phones, and we know because we read it!; Indian 3G auction set for September; WiMAX to follow; the great British spectrum sale?; AT&T/Slingbox/Baseball neutrality row; cablecos can community on Canoe; AT&T gives away MMS; 80% of growth at RIM now consumer; IBM R&D to spend $100m on Telco 2.0-ish agenda; Intel wants to put your phone in a cloud; Free lobbies on, self-funds fibre rollout; Wind faces cash call; BT will deploy more fibre, one day, perhaps; the call centre that can’t; augmented reality, without pills, with Gphones; new Android gadgets at T-Mobile; Palm SDK - still waiting; security alert from OpenBTS; Apple launches some sort of mobile device, apparently
It has come to this: Nortel throws in the towel. The vendor, once valued at $250bn, is to be broken up in an effort to recover some cash; the first vulture is already in, and it’s Nokia Siemens Networks. They’ve acquired the CDMA and LTE infrastructure operation for $650m, which gives them a considerably boosted presence in North America and control of important patents over LTE technologies. Other plums are likely to include the optical networking and carrier-Ethernet businesses.
In Today’s Issue: Sprint sells iDEN assets; US mobile data price wars; value heads for the edge and for key infrastructure; T-Mobile denies Data Thieves of 2009 caper; epic net neutrality row in the UK as politicos play to the whistle on Digital Britain; C&W in fatcat punchup; Australian NBN news shows Telstra and Optus making nice; a hundred flowers blossom, a thousand schools of thought contend, and they all want a broadband stimulus cheque; universal GSM for the poor - the US poor; Telekom Austria looks at separation; Qwest - customers don’t care about speed but do want everything now; Sprint-L(3) tie up to buy up Qwest; Kenya’s submarine cable comes ashore; China Unicom “buys 125,000 Node-Bs”; Qualcomm sees recover; Dell claims to monetise Twitter; dismantle your Palm Pre; Palm hires Apple iPod chief; Nokia coming for Adobe and MS developers; two Nokia howtos; sue your way to popularity; HP mobile social network; pitfalls of the smart grid; Cisco California comms considered costly; analogue switchoff, MediaFLO on the air; Iranian BGP admins working for the clampdown
So it finally happened: Sprint-Nextel is selling a chunk of iDEN assets in the Midwest to settle with one of its many, many angry affiliates. This sounds like an opportunity for someone innovative to make use of the system’s special powers in enterprise Voice 2.0. Meanwhile, price war rages; Sprint again slashed its data tariff this week after Verizon did likewise. With 500MB/month for $40, they’re yet to get close to the sort of prices 3UK offers.
In Today’s Issue: Verizon launches cloud computing offering; APIs coming up this year; the problems of being cloudy; beware potential plutonium privacy problems; hackers claim to steal entire T-Mobile USA billing database; SingTel on Bharti/MTN: “In for a billion!”; Apple App Store to start subscriptions, volume pricing; Google’s cash for developers scheme; MIDs fail; WhyMAX femtocell; satellite TV for your car; problems of network-based DVRs; Carphone Warehouse demerger on the way; “Twitter phone” = SMS; Pre SDK coming right up - eerily similar to JIL; has the Pre chased O2 off the N97?; DARPA mesh networks; Sarin’s exes are a gas; wave of missed call fraud; Pirate Party gets elected; Angola lays fibre, but not that sort yet; BSNL reissues WiMAX tenders after corruption panic
“The API is available today, and we’re using it for our own user interface. But we’re looking for the right use cases; we’re still doing due diligence to make sure we understand what customers are looking for when they want to interface with the environment in that type of manner. I’d say by the end of this year we’d have a published API that customers could leverage.”
In Today’s Issue:: MTN-Bharti back on in complex merger; Spanish regulators see 45% FTTH; layer-zero openness is key; fibre diet very good for Xfone; NBN numbers; Aussies row back on filtering; KCOM - managed services as a managed service; Time Warner gets out of AOL; Nortel gets out of LG-Nortel; Vodafone offers 25MB for £5 but not 5MB for £1; not the best start for Ovi Store; data pressure on at AT&T; AT&T to offer Android, Pre; Spotify for mobile; virtualisation for mobile; Facebook “valued” at “$10bn”; Orascom profits slide; Telfort fined; Vimpelcom loses money, gains subscribers; Zain Iraq fined; Wataniya Palestine appeals to Blair; Viettel buys 2,000 cellsites from Huawei; Renesys on the cybersecurity report; MetaSwitch claims softswitch leadership; decisions coming on UK universal service
The MTN-Bharti emerging-market supermerger is back on, after the two carriers agreed to negotiate exclusively with each other until the end of the year. The combined beast would be the third-biggest operator in the world after Vodafone and China Mobile; in a deal which could be fairly described as complicated, Bharti would increase its stake in MTN to 49%, while MTN took a 36% stake in Bharti.
In Today’s Issue: Sales crunched! but smartphones hold up; 3UK+T-Mobile=Skype?; 3UK, BT want to terminate termination fees; BT not too happy with LLU pricing either; Vodafone results; US layer-zero access legislation; Oz structural separation floated; Vodafone backs national fibre in NZ; Gulf state telcos want FTTH; EU clears rural broadband aid; Safaricom results; Vimpelcom’s holiday in Cambodia; politicians intervene in Telenor/Vimpelcom, demand end to political intervention; Wolfram Alpha “not the answer”; vvvvvv.tvvitter.com fools millions; Sun’s app store ready for launch; MS Mobile Me; Verizon offers security for SMBs; MetroPCS outsources complete BSS; numbers on the Amazon Kindle; Apple recruits ARM experts, 32GB iPhone rumoured; statistics app for the iPhone; working from bed, or possibly just watching TV; Hulu UK launch timed for September; yet another Nokia service; Yahoo! voice search; location data more privacy-sensitive than we thought; Project Gutenberg app slaughtered as “too sexy”; Paris Hilton tests RIM’s remote wipe function; Venezuelan satellite gone missing
Mobile phone sales suffered in Q1. Didn’t everything? Gartner estimates shipments were down 8.6%, with the smartphone segment holding up and even growing. This is rather the pattern we predicted back at MWC; as we also predicted, Nokia has ridden out the crisis while the mid-market manufacturers felt the squeeze.
In Today’s Issue: Participants at 6th Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm sceptical about the industry’s transformation efforts; Vodafone opens API worldwide; slashes roaming rates; data traffic surges at Orange and elsewhere; VZW encourages bandwidth hogs with netbooks, global data plans empowered by software-defined radio; more news on VZW LTE speeds, SIMs, timings; first Indian 3G net, powered by ALU; US carriers take credit for iPhone, for regulatory purposes; iPhone as weapon; express your despair with Motorola’s new motion-sensitive device; Sony goes for better sound, but not yet for better voice; “paper” stage of Nokia open-source life cycle removed; another Nokia service acquisition bites the dust; Google outage; zombie nightmare at BT; Wipro gets into nearshoring; court go-ahead for Vodacom, Marxist rage; C&W monster-bonuses; Nortel in “not quite that awful” shock; Bill Morrow woz ‘ere; RLEC consolidation watch; satellite broadband spectrum assigned, spaceship breaks down; Facebook the platform; learning from pirates; Will Page considered right
We’re back from the 6th Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in Nice; and as usual some interesting things came up from the voting at the event. 93% of participants think exploring new business models in these tough economic times is a higher priority than simply cutting costs and defending the legacy business.
A plurality of Telco 2.0 attendees think the industry has made a good start with its open API programmes - but feel more needs to be done to standardise approaches and to bring commercial thinking to the fore if APIs are going to generate significant value to the Telco industry in the next 3 - 5 years. A significant minority think the existing efforts are inadequate, and almost no-one believes they are sufficient:
Vodafone Qatar IPO; Tellabs looking up; ZTE growing fast, sells CDMA gadgets, gets gig for LTE smartphone; Ericsson profits fall 30% to general relief; Qwest profits rise 37%; more litigation at Sprint; Sprint outsources its network to Ericsson; ALU renames WiMAX “Wireless DSL”; more horrible results at Motorola; Android gadgets to save them “by Christmas”; Palm Pre, considered cheap; Palm lines up another gadget behind the Pre; Vodafone free trial reveals remarkable numbers of people googling for Google; Acer gadget with two SIM cards; more Apple netbook chatter; crisis at T-Mobile UK; fibre diet improves latency; Telcommunicator on Singaporean fibre; Enck on possible UK fibre; Wikimedians on implementing the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Pirate Bay in court again; Phorm’s…unusual…PR strategy; Google Books litigatin’; David S. Isenberg, much less stupid than his network
Signs of the upturn, or at least the bottom. Vodafone Qatar floats, raising $1bn; not so sure about boss Grahame Maher’s remarks, though.
“In any other country in the world this would not be possible. Qatar has demonstrated again that it is the leading global economy with this successful result.”
The leading global economy? Perhaps so. 65% of the shares went to 82,000 Qatari individual buyers, or an average of about eight grand each.
In Today’s Issue: crisis club DTAG back in the relegation zone; AT&T hits results on the nose; prepay/postpay split explains it all; sack sue the board!; 6-hour nationwide GSM outage; T-Mobile USA shifts 1 mega-Android; wants to abolish SIM cards; Reliance turns on GSM and heads for 100 megasubs; Amazon beats the spread; Texas Instruments calls the bottom; Apple ships 1 billion App Store downloads, boosts margins; “Baby Shaker” app canned; Juniper calls the bottom; AT&T CAPEX steady; IMS “business” standardisers “jump on moving train”; Nokia squorges WidSets into Ovi, announces prizes for Flash Lite apps; only 23,000 Comes With Music users; roaming price caps are here; T-Mobile UK launches “comes with connectivity” BlackBerry; Angelina is amused by the Palm Pre; weird BT/Voda/IWF censorfest; Pirate Bay judge is conflicted; Google’s peering strategy and stealthy CDN; OQO = dodo
Deutsche Telekom is back in trouble; a surprise profits warning reduced its predicted EBITDA for 2009 from €19.1bn to €18.7bn. The trouble seems to be concentrated at T-Mobile USA and in the UK, where the company’s mobile operations are lagging badly. Some suggested that this means that telcos aren’t so defensive after all; but we disagree. AT&T, after all, hit off expectations nicely with its own results last week, and it’s notable that one big contributor was the differential between AT&T’s success in signing up contract customers and T-Mobile USA’s in signing up prepaid customers. That is to say, T-Mobile seems to have succeeded in attracting low-spending, high churn users…and this is never likely to be a great strategy unless you’re Lebara.
In Today’s Issue: Nokia profits fall 90%; Intel: stockpile cleared, fabs fabbing again; Sony Ericsson in widely predicted dire straits; S60 for Intel Atom; EasyMeet, Nokia’s mobile collaboration app; IMS fans come over all Telco 2.0; no fibre, no fibre, no fibre for you!; Dunston flogging CPW telecoms interests; Tesco: target CPW!; Time Warner drops metered broadband; Verizon sues fibre-cutting hacksaw ghost, seeks acquisitions, publishes LTE gadget spec; AT&T pals with Telkom; Vodafone in court over Telkom; AT&T loves iPhones too much; Telenor pours billions into Indian buildout; tearful PCCW shareholders in court; Skype to IPO; EU: give us the mobile VoIP; ORG signs up Amazon and Wikipedia to anti-Phorm alliance; CPW censors trade union web site; better voicemail for Gphones; HOWTO convert from S60 Web Runtime to iPhone; meet the first Apple Mac botnet
Nokia results are out, and unsurprisingly given the economic crisis, they were awful. Net profits were down 90% with sales plummeting, and sales at Nokia Siemens Networks were pretty bad as well; it may be true that the Eurovendors have still got it, but it’s also true that the big contracts that have been announced recently have all gone to Alcatel-Lucent or Ericsson. However, the good news is that according to Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the market is “no longer falling in an uncontrolled manner”.
In Today’s Issue: Monster outage in California; tunnel boring machine will get you; NHS IT Zombie strikes again at BT; MetaSwitch attendees declare optimism; MetroPCS’ better voice service; Google and Universal = Vevo; Yahoo! runs Google software; Intel hands over Moblin ot the Linux Foundation; 100% of teenagers choose Apple, that’s 0.001% more than Saddam got; iPhones are so hot right now…that the WLAN only works in a fridge; Nokia’s really useful product for India; weird biz model at Zain; user experience with three Mobile Money Transfer systems; Moldovan blogger accidentally torched parliament; Zennstrom to buy back Skype with proceeds from Skype sale;Symbian, the “app warehouse”; Brough on bursts and bandwidth; Isenberg D goes after TWC; 3GPP has spoken and it says “femtocell”
A large chunk of the Bay Area lost absolutely all telecommunications - no Internet, no dialtone, in some places no TV, and very little mobile (AT&T Mobility lost 65 BTSs on two different BSCs, along with the co-located UMTS Node-Bs).
In Today’s Issue: AT&T Apps - seems to be a Web site; VZW joins JIL, launches app store; links voice and maps; Palm WebOS SDK out; Apple lawyers pursue illegal app stores through undergrowth; IMS widgets (we kid you not); VZW plans LTE build; big Euro WiMAX build nixed says source; Cisco’s routers drive the backhaul; the Universal Backhoe strikes in London; snoopery D-day; Swedes squash piracy; Spotify API coming; monsters of tech batting for Skype; Qwest may swap long distance for RLECs; Freedom2Connect summaries; cable guys open-source STB code; Sky’s new EPG; PCCW buyout back on; NTT buys marketers; Eurovendors still got it, part 3, Pakistan; G-servers on show; mobile phone orchestra
In Today’s Issue: Sony Ericsson warns on profits, top exec quits - we reveal the Sharapova factor; new SE gadget advertised as “comes with BBC iPlayer”; Moto shuts down video store; high speeds with unfeasible numbers of copper lines; Blockbuster’s CPE video distribution play; Nokia cans $5bn worth of outsourcing contracts; CAPEX down 20%; horror numbers at China Telecom; rather good ones at Hutch; Skype, the world’s no.1 in international voice; Ovi Store presos; UK spectrum chess - T-Mobile caves on 2.6GHz, Orange offers 900MHz universal notbroadband; first Samsung WiMAX gadget; at last, a new CDMA 3G network; Vodafone & O2 share airconditioning; Arqiva to supply cell sites to MBNL; FTel/Vivendi row continues; Telecom Plus - that’s not quite what we meant by multiutility; Dell is an MVNO; CPW wants Tiscali for some reason; i-Plate pushed; Piratbyran’s VPN; CDNs are the solution; Akamai’s State of the Internet conclusions; US shamed on Internet routing clue; no more “sell it to Google”; Chinese secret police hackers!!!
Tennis star Maria Sharapova is the femme fatale of the mobile industry. Consider this: back in 2005, with Motorola riding the RAZR boom, they brought out a Maria Sharapova V3 (it was Schiaparelli-pink, with her signature). And look what happened since. Now, Sony Ericsson has signed her up. And you know, things aren’t so great there either. At least this gadget is actually a new product.
In Today’s Issue: Sony Ericsson without the Ericsson; the mid-market group of death; Eurovendors: still got it, as Ericsson ties up huge Chinese contract; ZTE’s good year; China Mobile profits up, obviously time for an unwise monster acquisition; Palm’s race with the graveyard; AT&T iPhone contract=$400; MS pushing Silverlight “Deep Zoom”; spreading fibre with big lasers (but no sharks); Vivendi wants Francopenreach; Iliad doesn’t care, just keeps generating cash, wants mobile licence; fibre-to-the-desk - wanted, telcos for new business model; pricing apps on the app store; Sony+Google=trouble for Amazon Kindle; Fennec out in beta; OFCOM makes BT very happy, again; building an open source BTS; Samsung sells online videos, network operators groan with dread; pretty UIs pull traffic through the system, with added Odlyzko; UK network sharing out, outsourcing in; Zain’s giant m-banking launch, without “remittance service providers”
Ericsson wants out of Sony Ericsson, German media are reporting. Apparently, they want to sell their half of the handsets operation to Sony, but this may be complicated by the fact that Sony is short of cash and might struggle to round up enough to pay the greenmail. We predicted back at MWC that SE was especially exposed to the world economic crisis; here’s some evidence of the pressure on the mid- and low- end handsets business.
In Today’s Issue: Microsoft app store and its developer tax; the crucial importance of ridiculous apps; Google Voice - you know, that thing from 2007; G-Checkout fees hiked; Reding after your data roaming margins; Skype for sale again; even more network-sharing in the UK; no DRM at Vodafone; Bill Morrow takes command of Clearwire; Clearwire presses on with WiMAX deployment; Vodafone Qatar to float; AT&T plans $17bn CAPEX; Ericsson sells Turkcell a network; all-IP MVNO at AT&T; yet more Russian ownership rows; Bharti Airtel CEO spooks the market; MTN’s stellar results; surge in mobile money transactions predicted; Orange/Barclaycard NFC; obscure niche handset meets some social network site or other; Felten: fibre in your diet keeps you open; 33 years of Ethernet
Here an app, there an app, everywhere an app store. This time it’s Microsoft who have started one up. Features and terms are similar to Apple, no surprises there, with the caveat that you have to pay to get in. There’s an annual fee of $99, which entitles you to submit five applications to the store, with any further ones being charged at $99 each. The idea is, apparently, to discourage “silly” applications like the ones for the iPhone that fart. Is this sensible? Well, it’s hard to avoid the parallel with Microsoft’s business-making decision back in the 80s to give its tools away to developers while Apple was charging (quite steeply) for them. That paid off spectacularly for MSFT - developers developers developers, as Steve Ballmer said.
In Today’s Issue: Waiting for the Fibrarians; Virgin Media decides distribution is the way; BBC looking at superbox video delivery; iPhones in Japan - can it work?; giving them away; reliability data on mobiles; Nokia 5800 FAIL; Motorola whistles happy tune; surprisingly good news at DTAG, Telefonica; mobile pirates dock in your city and want your money; USG wants $5bn from carriers; Trujillo back from Oz; Aussie censorplan wobbles; Phorm row; Chinese master censor nailed in anti-virus corruption scandal; mobile voice crypto wars, Skype troubles; white space spectrum on the Web; Isenberg on the stimulus; another take on long tail scepticism; SMS outage spoils Nepalis’ fun
On tenterhooks as rumours leak out of a major announcement regarding BT, OFCOM, and fibre. Presumably it refers to the previously-announced £1.5bn fibre-to-the-cabinet plan; perhaps BT, OFCOM and DBERR have reached agreement after 25 or so years? At the time of going to “press”, the preannounced announcement hadn’t happened.
In Today’s Special Mobile World Congress Issue: Nokia cooperating with Qualcomm - dogs, cats sleeping together; dire forecasts for Motorola’s future; VZW taps ALU for LTE RAN RFP; here an app, there an app, everywhere an app store; the Telco API cometh; everything is a Web page; the peaceful rise of LiMo; 3’s triumph with INQ; Roshan pays anti-Taliban fighters’ wages by SMS; Afghans get EDGE; comfort in the DRC for Alvarion; wind-powered base stations; ZTE threatens WiMAX boom; ZTE launches revolutionary software-defined radio tech; in “and finally” slot, Samsung’s BeatDJ handset delivers Chris Morris’s vision of the future
Not only are the standards wars over, but the Nokia vs Qualcomm row is over as well; after all the suing, the two industry titans buried the hatchet at MWC to the extent of cooperating to develop a new line of Nokias for the US market, using Qualcomm’s Mobile Station Modem chips. It’s good news for Nokia, which is looking avidly at Motorola’s share of the US market; it’s good news for Qualcomm, which needs reliable major customers.
In Today’s Issue: Vodafone-Hutch merger in Australia; Vodafone profits from plummeting pound; Sprint-Nextel in forced iDEN sale; horrible ALU results, quits WiMAX; IMS sales “more than TDM” but this may not be much; Alvarion left holding bag after Nortel bankruptcy, manages to ship units anyway; horrible results at Motorola; Moto goes upmarket, launches cheap “unattractive” phone; $10 lappy that isn’t; Makerere teaches African GSM hackers; shadow CDR analysis app; fridge; Google launches its take on stalkerware; Reading “not that boring after all”; MS’s My Phone contactabase; shiny gadgets; Netflix for mobile; heads roll at Salesforce and RIM; OFCOM tackles Dutch astronomers over Channel 38; strike at AT&T; nine-year old iPhone dev wanted to impress sisters
Meet Vutchison - Vodafone and Hutch are merging their Australian operations into a 50:50 joint venture. The main motivation is to keep up with Telstra, whose heavy investment in its Next-G 850MHz UMTS network has left it with 42 per cent of the market, and SingTel, which has a respectable enough 32 per cent. The new firm will hold 26 per cent and will presumably be trying hard to push into second place, at least if you agree with Jack Welch’s contention that it’s only ever worth being first or second.
Vodafone gets a A$500 million cash contribution as part of the deal, but retains control of the company, which will call itself “Vodafone” and be headed by Vodafone Asia-Pacific boss Nick Reed. Sounds like a deal, but then, a lot of participants in joint ventures with Hutchison thought that…
In Today’s Issue: Facebook builds giant base in extinct volcano, denies planning for “world domination”; is hidden or overt surveillance more worrying? epic fail at Google; scheme to detect non-neutrality; RIAA tickles Eircom’s tummy, offers biscuit; all the Carter report that’s fit to print; Vodafone buys a map; 11 innovative applications, no money; Fring+last.fm=bandwidth hog; Kenyan voice-web integration; voice-command line memories of the Blair administration; perhaps time for a more intelligent intelligent network; WiMAX base stations run Linux; Nortel bails from mobile WiMAX; $9bn for US broadband; Renesys on the BGP routing costs of freedom
It’s coming: Facebook promises to make some money. This year. Real soon now. And, inevitably, it’s going to do this by selling its huge social-graph data pile to advertisers. It’s not clear whether this is going to be a Google Ads-style exercise - matching adverts to topics or groups of people - but Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks up in Davos suggest that they may be more interested in market research/business intelligence rather than advertising.
In Today’s Issue: Obama inauguration causes Akamai to give off steam; world economy still awful; emerging market users can’t get enough WWW; Rwandan innovators sell electricity by SMS; Rwandan innovators start revenue sharing platform; Pakistan deploys FTTH through anarchy, also knit their own Akamai; Microsoft in dated, monopoly-minded product shock; NHS IT zombie army eats BT’s brains; OFCOM squeezes UK GSMers’ margins; Sprint launches rather sensible small business products; interesting new contacts/social network/IM app from Nokia Labs; Verizon’s new CPE is boring; more eldritch horrors creep out of the Bush
As Network World reports, Akamai broke all its own records, as did all the other major CDNs; total throughput peaked at 2 terabits per second, but the Internet stubbornly refused to crash. Despite the best efforts of enterprise sysadmins to spoil the fun by blocking streaming and p2p ports, network operators reported seeing traffic 150% above normal levels even on systems that were 80% business customers rather than eyeballs…
In Today’s Issue: 2SBM - boosting productivity in the trucking industry; Google Maps on the iPhone eats telcos; Motorola sacks 4,000; Intel profits down 90%; Nortel goes bust; Samsung reorganises; Sony Ericsson loses money, ups prices; Sprint launches voice price war with barrage of sharp boomerangs; subsidy queue forms on Pennsylvania Avenue; munifibre advocates eye pile o’cash; VZW moves up LTE to NYE ‘09 if AWS OK; 700MHz spectrum traffic jam; Infineon has LTE chips; third Iranian GSM licence; Batelco buys Indian operator; Rwandatel sells out of phones, goes to China for more; infrastructure sharing in India; Latvia starts the big dig
Here’s something interesting; remember the Two-Sided Business Models (2SBM) report? A key case study in it looked at the possibilities for improving load factors in the road transport industry - reducing the mileage trucks spend transporting air from place to place. The CEO of UK transport major Eddie Stobart plc is floating the idea of a tax on empty truck movements as a way of saving energy and reducing traffic congestion. He reckons that every percentage point of capacity utilisation is equivalent to £100 per truck per month, which implies that a 1% gain in load factors across the entire UK trucking fleet would equate to a gain of £540m to GDP.
In Today’s Issue: DTAG, unlikely stock market darling; broadminded German VDSL operators share the love; wholesale prices out by CeBIT?; Telefonica beats eurotelcos, Big IT to DHL übercontract; UK broadband insufficiently broad; IPWireless bought back for pence from $100m buyer; Chinese forgers accidentally invent new phone; UIQ bites the dust; Palm’s iClone puts all your Web2 thingies in one handy e-puck, you smug git; NYC wants to turn off mobile networks when you actually need them; Nokia batteries bulge; in predictable news, EFF bashes DRM; Tata fills warchest, goes looking for a war; Jordanian government attempts to adjust camel/GSM balance
DTAG is apparently back in favour with German investors, after a ghastly 2008 marked by customer flight, clashes with regulators, and ceaseless privacy scandals. Unfortunately the reason isn’t anything the company is doing as such; it’s because the economy is so awful no-one can think of a better place to keep their cash. DTAG shares are down 11%, but the all-share index is down 40%. After all, didn’t we tell you telcos were still a highly defensive sector?
In Today’s Issue: Carter the unstoppable spec machine; UK rocked by spectrum row; double dongle density; no more BT USO, a quid pro quo for fibre? oh no; Andy Burnham is king of the world, it says here; Indian 3G licences, prices doubled; Nokia goes into crisis vulture mode; new PyS60 comes with music, without Symbian security certificate; CCC demonstrates killer SMS; Android vs OpenMoko; changes at the OMTP; Samsung fabs own mobile chips, escapes the Qualcomm Borg; Telco 2.0 elsewhere; models for efficient message-passing protocols!
Ministerial intervention; the UK’s telecoms minister, Lord Carter gets involved in the increasing row about 900MHz refarming and the 2.5-2.69GHz auction. The short version is that OFCOM wants the original GSM operators to disgorge some or all of their 900MHz spectrum, which has benefits in terms of range and building penetration, in return for the industry getting any more spectrum from the public sector. They feel this is unfair, while the other UK mobile operators who either began as 1800/1900MHz PCS GSM or 2100MHz UMTS feel they are being disadvantaged by not having access to the older GSM band as more users migrate to UMTS.
A fine mess. Nobody imagines either lot of spectrum will sell for anything like as much as the 2.1GHz did, but the issue is going to remain bitterly contested as all those mobile broadband dongles the networks handed out (there are more faster ones coming) chew up data network capacity. Carter has decided to leap into the open ground between the two groups of carriers, the various interested parties on 2.6GHz (notably BT), and the regulator - but what he intends to do there is far from clear.
As Sir Humphrey said, we’ve got to do something, this is something, and therefore we’ve got to do it. Most of the news this week comes from the UK, and His Carterness is a strong believer in this doctrine. In an interview with The Times, he suggested dropping BT’s Universal Service Obligation in favour of hitting up the whole industry for a levy that would subsidise broadband service in otherwise hard-to-reach parts of the UK. Gordon Brown, meanwhile, has been talking about “digital broadband” (as opposed to analogue broadband?) in terms of a Keynesian public works programme.
In Today’s Issue: Virgin Media loves DPI, goes shaky on Phorm; do you really want to compete with iTunes?; Phorm declares victory, execs leap overboard; bizarre disinfo campaign over Google’s homebrew CDN; “Stellar Wind”, it’s like OpenSocial for spooks; Yahoo! makes nice with privacy advocates; Vodafone crunches CDRs, asks for more; Telstra left standing by SingTel, turns to Chinese spy stories; gloom descends on vendors, even iPhone vendors; traditional Christmas Cable Cut Crisis; TV studio in a box promises more, heavier UGC. Joy!; Holland, France, and Brazil sort out their fibre issues; UK - no nearer to real broadband in 2008
Much churning and stirring in the world of digital rights this week. So Virgin Media is buying a gaggle of DPI gear from Israel. Teh horrors! On the other hand, they are blowing distinctly hot and cold on Phorm and behavioural advertising in general. And they are talking about restricting BitTorrent traffic in particular as opposed to having a bandwidth cap in general, on the grounds of “fairness”.
In Today’s Issue: Chinese 3G is go; China Mobile wants to get on to 4G ASAP; Lenovo’s mystery iClone; Orascom unwiring North Korea; access line growth stalls, dongles boom; ChinaTel implants CDMA phones in employees’ cranium; doom! rush to flog stock; doom! ALU managers slaughtered; doom! US R&D shuttered; Amazon: still investing; government hydroelectricity - it’s the secret sauce of cloud computing; EC2 comes to Europe; Mobile Windows Live out; Gphone hits data roamers in the wallet; fascinating new ForNok app; Stallman vs Cisco; Safaricom faces M-PESA audit; more faster Internet now in Holland; Comes With Music hacked
Aaaand it’s here…! The Chinese 3G licences are out, and the complex reorganisation plan associated with it is a go. We liked this quote:
“We think that China Mobile will muddle through in 3G and concentrate all resources on directly leaping into LTE,” says a scholar who is part of a government-affiliated industry think tank.
You could say that…China Mobile never wanted TD-SCDMA anyway, so the oppportunity to ditch it for LTE will be all the more tempting. As we said not so long ago, the standards wars are over.
In Today’s Issue: IWF denounces Wikipedia, mysteriously lets Amazon off; fighting HIV with SMS; Orange launches another m-bank; man literally SMSs arm off; EDGE gets progressively faster; putting ads in your SMS; Facebook as malware-delivery network; unlocked developer G1s; EFF seeks DMCA sicknote for iHackers; Nokia launches N97, prophesies doom; lastminute.com widgets; S60 GPS alerts; AT&T wants two single smartphone platforms; Sprint XOHM - Is an MVNO; Obama presses Keynesian button, Renesys angles for FTTH; should Alcatel-Lucent try doing less?
Digital rights and digital wrongs; the UK’s discreet Internet-censorship provider, the Internet Watch Foundation, seems to have accidentally eaten Wikipedia this morning, hilariously due to the cover of a heavy metal album. Some users of participating ISPs are reporting degraded service as literally all the UK’s eyeball network traffic tries to make its way through a transparent proxy server (or should that be poxy server?). Killer detail: the album in question is available on Amazon.com and the image appears in Google image searches, and for some strange reason the IWF didn’t feel confident enough to nullroute either of these dastardly porn pushers.
In Today’s Issue: Silly iPhone app of the week - MMS; EU hammers data roaming prices; Web 2.0 payola at the iTunes App Store; iPhone for business, and really silly apps; Nokia turns into an MVNO; Japan, it’s the industry’s new Holland; MTN CEO bashes bears; HOWTO make a good MVNO; Gphone demand surges; OMA device management for S60, part 2; “Faster” Vodafone beaten to Turkish 3G speccy; BCE LBO KOd; analysts back Telco 2.0 video views; mobile controls for your TiVo; Fring goes to the IMS World Congress, almost certainly youngest participant; SME WiMAX comes to the UK; BT slashes Metro Ethernet pricing; spot the tree competition.
Just the thing we were missing: MMS for the iPhone! Someone’s developing it, with the hope of selling it to carriers; it’s just a pity that iPhone users already have so many better ways of sharing their moments. There’s (good) e-mail; there’s any number of clients to upload media to blogging tools, Flickr, YouTube and friends, and then all kinds of social network apps to tell all your friends about it. And for cheap, too: the spread between data pricing and MMS pricing is still significant, which is of course why the carriers would hypothetically be interested in putting MMS on the iPhone, and why nobody will use it.
In Today’s Issue: Internet forecast wars on again; Odlyzko fights the nonsense; experimental high-def YouTube, and how to get it; BT: OFCOM ate my homework; Amazon’s CDN has landed; Telefonica wants a spaceship or two; T-Mobile UK is down; T-Systems blows the German secret service’s cover; VZW peeks at BHO’s CDRs; SearchWiki, another Google web-hoover; Ubuntu for mobiles; Lotus Notes for Nokia; Nokia and Yahoo!; Nokia and TD-SCDMA, possible faster Chinese rollout; HOWTO manage devices OTA in S60; GPS SIMs coming; Qualcomm’s WLAN LBS; CTIA fights for lucrative convict market; Clearwire-Sprint JV signed, shares tank; Indian consolidation coming; T-Mobile USA’s digiframe comes with data but no music; a cautionary tale about age verification.
In Today’s Issue: Fibre from the home, says David Isenberg; DTAG humbled over VDSL rollout; Nortel reorgs yet again, keeps fibre unit; Telephony Online covers the backstabbing in real time; regional separatists rock the Telco USSR; cuts at Vodafone and BT, profits down at Telefonica; BT Vision gets ITV content; drive your Sky+ box from your iPhone; Mobilkom deploys femtocells; Hulu vs YouTube == sausage vs rose?; more MediaFLO; Qualcomm-powered netbooks will eat our cities; the standards wars are over; first GSM/WiMAX gadget; the emerging Adobe/ARM/Qualcomm mobile OS; app stores, competitive arena of tomorrow; O2 UK, T-Mobile USA fire up dev ecosystems; Facebook gets OTT messaging; Hutch adapts; Bubley the revolutionary! The first thing we do, let’s kill all the vendors…
AT&T alumnus David Isenberg has an idea; if FTTH (fibre to the home) is difficult, then what about fibre from the home, with homeowners, developers or communities building their own fibre links out to the exchange? It’s a micro version of a munifibre deployment, and you can see how it might play well with an incumbent determined not to go beyond fibre-to-the-cabinet/node/local exchange. (Naming no names.) He also has more here regarding the maths of fibre deployment.
In Today’s Issue: Your churning handset market; Apple beats RIM into third; horrible quarter in the Telco USSR; astonishingly trivial jailbreak for Gphones; iPhone emergency call only function lets you call any number; AT&T’s iPhone-as-router; cap watch; MobileMe sporked; some kind of election in US spikes SMS service; CEP is your new favourite TLA; Virgin Media struggles, Iliad soars; Rio gets really fast Internet service; Orange cans IPTV; DTAG feeling better now; Turkcell stars at Telco 2.0, boosts profits 50%; 900MHz 3G in Finland; Vodacom = Vodafone Africa; Nortel MetroEthernet sale off; C&W split forever delayed due to unexpected good news; YouTube eats the world
We’re often noticeably keen on BT; but we’re not always right. This week, it happened. BT issued a profit warning combined with the message that it might have to chip in more cash to its pension scheme; the shares duly tanked. The hit to profits came at the company’s growth centre, BT Global Services, as its enterprise clients cut back on their IT spending. Perhaps, however, that’s a good problem to have; at least compared to those telcos whose core telecoms business is spiralling rapidly downwards.
In Today’s Issue: 30% discount on broadband; AT&T iPhone overdose; Vodafear; Mauretanian WiMAX; Africa teems with Opera Mini users, apparently; Live Messenger on the SIM; Indian speccy auction slides right; criminal mobile payments; dancing nonsense from Intel, Vodafone, Orange, RIM; horror predictions; Android backlash; BT sues Germany, info wants to be free apparently; Infinera ships units; cracking new voice & messaging app for RIM; Mobilkom ties up with Fring; Blyk in Belgium; Ovi works best as part of iGoogle; Telephony Online’s search for a star
“Industry” economists blast EU net neutrality; they would say that wouldn’t they? More interestingly, they reckon it might increase the end-user price of broadband by about €10 in Sweden and Germany; as nobody is doing un-neutrality now, this suggests that broadband is currently being sold about 30% below an economic price. Which wouldn’t be altogether surprising.
Just when I thought I was out, they drag me back in: Siemens shows a concept phone using the “big touchscreen” iPhone design meme to include a large solar panel in the device. Nice; but hasn’t Siemens given up making phones?
In Today’s Issue: Crunch crunches Chinese corporate creativity; Nextel spinout shaky; Sprint execs “industry’s most overpaid”; WiMAX smartphone leaked; VZW starts charging for bulk SMS delivery; IfByPhone understands your call centre campaign; vendor-pays data is here; RIM’s AppStore for enterprises?; Comcast gets social TV; Vodafone buys more of Vodacom; IBM: still has money; Indian cellsites get fuel cells; MBNL-BT backhaul superdeal; xG shenanigans; yet another security nightmare at DTAG; GSMA without the GSM; mobile filmmaking to fight the Taliban. scary!
This week’s main theme was telcos calling off planned corporate action in the face of the financial crisis; Huawei, like so many other vendors, has been thinking of getting rid of its handsets business, a low-margin job better left to cheap Chinese ODMs…hold on, some of us remember when Huawei was a cheap Chinese ODM. But this week, the sale was put on indefnite hold for fear someone might bid one euro and get it.
In Today’s Issue: Sprint selling Nextel; personalisation is dead; new enterprise voice at Sprint; harassing your customers; Apple iPhone NDA dropped; new Nokia, HP iClones; bloggers drool over Gphone; no new Nokias before Noel; S60 5th Edition; Web apps vs mobile apps - synthesis achieved; Nokia music; T-Mobile phone-router; weird concept phones; BT outsourcing whole of Openreach?; C&W/Thus spaceship gaffe; T-Mobile in 17 megacustomer datafart; MTN buys small country in West Africa; transit costs the same in London and Bucharest; Georgia seeks revenge in the courts
Having finally launched its WiMAX service, Sprint is moving closer to a sale of the Nextel iDEN network it bought for $35bn and has since written down to zero. Because of the vast accounting writeoff, the sale is certain to make Sprint’s books look a sight better, at least for those with short memories. It also opens an interesting opportunity for someone interested in better voice and messaging, what with its specialisation in push-to-talk and emergency service comms; however, it’s more likely that private equity buyers will squeeze it for cash.
In Today’s Issue: Bankers’ favourite BlackBerry bears brunt of banking bust; IBM and Salesforce.com, again; MSFT’s new Unified Comms server, works with Asterisk; Cisco launches Web-based unicomms with VZ; Dell’s business model diverges; Apple lawyers’ war on books. FACT!; Motorola deploys android hordes; HTC keeps on making Windows gadgets; funny prepaid broadband prices; awful EU telecoms bill defanged; roll-your-own MVNO; Joost and the browser plugin to end plugins; CWN vs Pirates; Roshan’s M-PESA deployment vs Taliban; Singapore’s fibre deployment, none more Telco 2.0; global M2M alliance formed
Crisis at RIM; the maker of BlackBerrys issued a profits warning for the fourth quarter, as thousands of bankers handed their company-issued devices over to the administrators, filed last-minute expense claims, and packed their belongings in the traditional cardboard box.
In Today’s Issue: Symbian bashes mobile Linux; LiMo counterbashes; Cisco buys Jabber, threatens protocol switch; new Nokia E-series; iTrojan; building stuff for the BlackBerry; data roaming price war in Asia; Reding insists on open access to NGNs; Nortel exits optical Ethernet; EU telecoms packet in trouble; Vodafone+Vodacom; RIP Mobilink CFO
In Today’s Issue: Nobody wants landlines; Apple zaps apps, caps AppStore competitors, Winer flaps; Open Hack Day@Yahoo!; implementation of sci-fi dystopia for the iPhone; Vodafone deckchair redeployment; T-Mobile Android phone; C&W builds non-virtual GSM operator for Tesco; free airtime for ad viewers, human or not; attack of the terminators; 3UK says no; KPN-Bouygues MVNO deal; the Internet interprets America as damage and routes around it; screen-scanning check-in; warrants needed for LBS snooping
A sign of the times: David Isenberg points out that the University of Kentucky has stopped providing fixed phone lines in the halls of residence, as nobody wants them. And before mobile operators start to gloat, don’t think those same students will forever tolerate voice and messaging services that in no way integrate with the rest of their online lives. Where are the voice and messaging applications of the future?
In Today’s Issue: Cult of Ben? Verwaayen to ALU; “company under siege”; killing Bell Labs; police raid at Newgate Street threatens BT execs with Newgate’s knocker; AT&T 3G KO; fibre lobby thinks fibre cheaper than BT does; Telefonica fibres up, ignores protesting pipsqueaks; there are limits to Nokia; 3 offers “unlimited” “e-mail”; Vodafone mini-laptop HSPA bundle; Orange boots RIM mapping, reverses course; Qualcomm’s robo-medic; 10 years of Google
So what would Ben Verwaayen do after BT? The speculation was rampant; a hedge fund? a return to Holland to become prime minister? The creation of a weird, telecoms-focused religious cult? Now we know. In fact he’s going to run Alcatel-Lucent, in which he has the advantage of having worked in both halves. At the same time, Philippe Camus becomes chairman and will be based in New York; a nice idea, but you wonder how the American half of the company will respond to yet another Gaullist industrial-establishment figure. Camus’s last gig was, of course, the huge Franco-German aerospace firm EADS, which is about as French a company as it’s possible to get, and he’s still a managing partner of Lagardere, the conglomerate that owns most of the French media, a chunk of EADS, and the bits of the aircraft industry the French government didn’t trust the Germans with.
In Today’s Issue: Vodafone calls serpents out the vasty deep over termination fees; AT&T’s cheaper data roaming - not very cheap; Google nixes XMPP on Android; Nokia kills native SIP on N-series; Mobilkom’s new SIP softphone; Comcast’s huge bandwidth cap; TiVo turns to telcos; new navigation-focused Garmin GPS gadget; what about XOHM and Navteq then?; Skype - not compatible with mortality; Broadcom sues Qualcomm again; 21CN will eat your granny; MTN looking for mergers; Vodacom buys Gateway
Following the publication of the new Telco 2.0 Manifesto, we’ve refreshed our overall strategy research programme for the coming year. (Like the fashion industry, our products change with the seasons.) This new programme will address the key strategic challenges that lie at the heart of creating new value in Telecoms and adjacent markets. Here’s a quick preview.
5 x New “Research Practices”
We’ve organized our research into 5 Research Practices to address the key Telco 2.0™ strategic challenges.
In Today’s Issue: Mobile gambling, music in Uganda; HSPA in Senegal; profits bashed at TA; freeee calls with Gizmo and Asterisk; Qtel keeps expanding; Hutchison wins on mobile broadband; P4P goes to SIGComm; the talking dog browser; fake queues for iPhones; Forbes vs Forum Nokia - fight! fight! fight!; 3G iPhone vs Nokia N73; Android out, no Bluetooth or Gtalk; Nortel buys a world; Embarq kits out for more unicomms; BT wins termination fees lawsuit
Think there’s still a telco-dominated high growth world out there in the emerging markets? Yes, we mean you, Vodafone… Warid Telecom has just announced its new gaming and flat-rate music subscription service, in Uganda. Said Warid’s COO:
“We have been pleasantly surprised by the response of the consumers to these services and will strive to make a mobile phone go beyond mere voice telephony to a complete 360 degree consumer experience.”
Meanwhile, Senegal gets its first HSDPA upgrades from Orange; so far it’s a trial with 200 customers, described as mostly being journalists, but it’s a start.
In Today’s Issue: 3G iPhones don’t work; developers think Google is being evil; Sun open-sources more stuff; China Unicom inflates the Chinese 3G bubble; UK MNOs not so good at ISPing; public doesn’t want Be CCTV after all; Orange UK gives away Asus EEEs, makes money; UK 2.5GHz is with the lawyers; Sprint’s new apps; Yahoo! FireEagle - your telco should do this; East Africa gets fibre
Oh dear. The iPhone iHype is followed by a wave of customer dissatisfaction, with hordes of iPhone buyers complaining that the device’s performance on UMTS is poor, and worse, that it struggles with connectivity in areas where other 3G devices find no problem at all - which points the blame straight at Apple rather than AT&T. It’s a serious problem. After all, if (as rumoured) the issue is somewhere in the signal path between the antenna and the RF amp, there’s no alternative to a hardware fix, which means recalling the Jesus Phones. As we periodically have to point out, radio is hard. There’s a suggestion here that the device doesn’t comply with ETSI’s specifications for UMTS terminals. Hmmm, let’s think… Moto are good at wrapping radios in boxes, but struggle at software. Maybe there’s a CEO phone call to be made…
In Today’s Issue: Emergency! Emergency! Paging Dr. Q!; Sprint reduces Nextel value to zero, then hopes to sell it for nonzero price; Sprint exec’s unusual $1m bonus; DTAG’s minor success; Moto reacts, joins a wave of LiMo gadget innovation; Apple zaps subversives; TD-SCDMA still doesn’t work, Huawei doesn’t want it; Chinese export industries perhaps not all they’re cracked up to be; re-re-wind to the first iPhone; Stingy download caps; AOL doom; new Nokia e-mail clients
We told you Qualcomm was responding skilfully to the end of its patent monopoly years. Here’s your evidence, if ever there was. They’re planning an MVNO dedicated to medicine, it turns out according to Wireless Week. Apparently they’ve been working on it for some time, but have only now named a CEO and got ready to give some details. The project’s applications will aim at helping to manage chronic conditions. We liked this quote a lot:
One hint that LifeComm seeks a broad audience is that the initial handsets at least will not require a physician’s prescription.
So you can get LifeComm over the counter, and not have to resort to handing over used banknotes in dark alleys.
In Today’s Issue: Moto splits again, makes actual money; CDMA - the edge of darkness; Nortel loses customer, 15% off shares, gains WiMAX obsession, 13% back on shares; most pointless network tech announcement?; the LTE voice problem; FCC KOs TCP RST DPI; good news shock at FT, NTT; Indian WiMAX speccy shocker; IKEA is a mobile operator; BT shareholders panic; free N810s
We’ve been following the crisis at Motorola for some time. The latest reorganisation is here. As well as selling off the failing handset division, they’re now planning to split up the rump of the firm into several chunks. The set-top box and related business goes in one, the cellular business in another, and the WiMAX operation in yet a third. (Motorola’s declared tech strategy assumes that WLAN, UMTS, and WiMAX are the default radio network technologies, and these roughly map on to this structure.)
In Today’s Issue: All the Vodafone that’s fit to print; just what’s in that tall glass of mobile data?; the Spanish builder menace; AT&T discovers principled objection to mergers, porcine aviator sighted; Sprint flogs towers; Sprint’s multi-gigabit radio backhaul, departure from the NGMN; is MediaFLO short of spectrum?; frantic open-source activity; Nokia pays for friends; Intel dumps Ubuntu from its mobilinux; Win95 on a Nokia N810; better voicemail for all; Bundesnetzagentur’s odd idea of regulation; BT begins to move on fibre
In Today’s Issue: Some phone or other launched; “ZZZPhone” debunked; Verizon ODI dip stick; Launchcast “Dashboard” open to hackers, in a good way; Verizon - dangerously interesting?; Sprint pushes push-to-talk; iPhone Truphone; NTT DoCoMo on the unwise monster acquisition trail again; unwitting private equity fund sups with Richard Li, helps 3UK double its customer base; pass the separator, Mme Reding; Comcast in trouble with the FCC; open search at Yahoo!; the coming mobile data boom?
In Today’s Issue: OFCOM moves towards BT’s line on fibre; £31,000 phone bill; GTalk for mobile, where’s the talk?; iPhone bank run; pity about the OS security patches, though; cross-platform widgets; Files On Ovi; MTN-Reliance rift; EU offers more 2.6GHz TDD, WiMAX Forum delighted, Ericsson furious; RIM shares dive after profits double; how do you value mobile ads?; GSMA’s funny figures
Big news: OFCOM director Ed Richards spoke to the UK IT trade association, Intellect, in terms that suggest he’s leaning towards offering BT concessions on regulatory pricing in exchange for deployment of fibre in Openreach’s access network. This is an instance of the two-level bargaining process we described here; it looks like BT is still succeeding in monopolising influence on the regulator, but the next step will be to see how this can be made compatible with the existence of a competitive ISP/Altnet market in the UK. Details are to be published in September. Here’s a telling quote:
One thing is certain: the government is very keen that taxpayers don’t shell out to make Britain’s internet infrastructure competitive with more advanced networks in countries such as South Korea and France.
In Today’s Issue: WiFi in your car; connectivity included with O2UK iPhones; Nokia buys Symbian and gives it away; LiPS and LiMo; OpenMoko ships; Sony Ericsson struggling; Reding terminates 70% of termination fees; France Telecom hits the silk from the Telia deal; T-Mobile USA launches femtoVoIP; FemtoForum+NGMN=sense; where is the network API? probably not in the IMS; Blyk expands; FISA fight goes on; T-Mobile UK goes down; Vodafone to buy Ghana Telecom?
Just what I always wanted — WiFi in the car. Chrysler’s UConnect product will essentially give some vehicles a WLAN router with a 3G radio modem for the backhaul. The interesting question will, of course, be the business model. Chrysler says there will “be no tie-in to long term contracts”, but it’s going to be hard to get this off the ground without some element of two-sidedness — perhaps by bundling connectivity in the car as an optional extra, or doing something clever with GPS and localised ads.
You’d better hope the WLAN is encrypted by default, or the term “wardriving” will take on a whole new layer of meaning as hackers chase open WLAN vehicles down the freeways of California, trying to stay in range just long enough to finish that torrent download, or to spork the satnav display with a specially crafted packet. All your SUV are belong to us.
In Today’s Issue: 60 years of computing - our Mancunian future; 25 years of DNS, 10 years of a post-Jon Postel world; securing the root DNS; Yahoo! loses clue to the wider environment; Apple’s outrageous iPhone margins; iPhone-RAZR culture shock; 1st VZ ODI gadgets; Moto tries to slim itself fat; Huawei handsets up for grabs; Telefonica leads misguided acquisition rush into China; Chinese bank buys Poland; first WiMAX.eu; Sprint XOHM goes live in September; Sprint offers enterprise e-mail; Nokia builds mapping capabilities; “IMS light”, again; communicating non-neutrality; Isenberg makes stabby over FISA
It’s been sixty years since the very first computer that accepted a stored program, Manchester University’s “Baby”, successfully determined the prime factors of a given number. The beginning of computing is one of those events it’s hard to date - in the UK alone, you’d have to consider the rival claims of the Cambridge Maths Lab, NPL, and Manchester, to say nothing of the code-breaking COLOSSI (although they weren’t capable of re-programming in memory), the US’s ENIAC, or Konrad Zuse’s work in Germany. But Baby’s special claim is because it was both a digital computer, and one which could read a stored program; you can date the beginning of the primacy of software to this point, and hence essentially everything that defines the IT industry and its distinctive culture.
Whilst we’re on the topic of history, it’s been 25 years this week since the first DNS server went on line, just one of the many contributions of the late Jon Postel as co-author of RFC882, which specifies the DNS, administrator of the .us TLD, president of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, and editor of the RFCs. This is a fine excuse to link to RFC2468, the tribute to Postel written into the Internet’s standardisation process (Postel’s own invention) by none other than Vint Cerf. And yes, that is as in “2,4,6,8, who do we appreciate?” More practically, the Renesys blog has some thoughts about the problems of securing the root servers, with a handy list of where they should be.
In Today’s Issue: Mobile spam horror looms; Gyahoo will eat your ad business anyway; Nokia starts its own ad platform; open-source unicomms for prison warders shames telco engineers; roaming in Africa; Reding on the rampage again; Swedish military intervention; MTN-Reliance sporked by brothers’ brawl; Clearwire’s world domination plan; Nortel ducks for LTE; Sprint-powered jukebox; the end of WAP; Carphone in trouble; AT&T caps hogs; BT fibre - not all it’s cracked up to be; when number portability works too well
Computerworld asks - are we on the edge of a mobile advertising disaster comparable to the spam phenomenon? A close reading of the story would suggest that their definition of a disaster might be quite close to a mobile advertiser’s definition of success - however, Telco 2.0 would point out that in telco terms, advertising alone is just not that big a deal and operators need to look to facilitating a far wider set of interactions between users and enterprises.
In Today’s Issue: FTel/Teliasonera nightmare off; Singtel/Indosat off; visual voicemail for all; iPhones to be 50% subsidised; David Isenberg, underworld spy; DTAG, spy; VZW buys Alltel; secret Phorm docs; Android-Access row, but mobile Linux marches on; 3GPP femto standard less unready than before; 3UK crash; Qtel spends a billion in Iraq
In Today’s Issue: More spy scandal at DTAG - Ricke implicated; your insecure mobile; iPhones that look like Windows!; killer photos hack RAZRs; “Safari” browsing, not browsing with Safari; FeliCa hacked; shareholder revolt at ALU; Isenberg on teleconferencing; Google’s app store; BREWidgets; Intel - they’re back; UK WiMAX delays; it’s Christmas for Openreach; Phorm demonstrations; Virgin Media adds more limits to unlimited broadband; KPN launches mobile TV - sort of; mobile phone shipments sink in Europe
Oh dear, oh dear; the Deutsche Telekom spy scandal takes another turn for the worse, as it turns out the spy was receiving money from the firm as recently as early last month, although the company had claimed it had all ended in early 2007. DTAG management, of course, claims that they were paying for something different and entirely aboveboard…they just don’t seem clear what. Interestingly, the spying included the mapping of targets’ movements using the mobile CDR stream — now that’s what we call a location-based service.
In Today’s Issue: Chinese restructuring and 3G licences are here!; Unicom tapped for UMTS; Every breath you take, every move you make, DTAG is watching you; no further disaster this week at Moto; 3UK squeezed on MTR; dumb pipes smarter than you think; Nokia drinks the DRM Koolaid; MTN-Bharti off, MTN-Reliance on; no money for you, WU; two-sided API-enabled OTA config firm launches in Telco 2.0-fest; send in photos of your unmentionables for only £49.99.
The great Chinese 3G story is at an end. After years of speculation, MII — that’s the Ministry of the Information Industry if you’ve not been keeping up — has spoken. China’s essentially going to end up with three huge converged telcos, in a sort of ‘Son of RBOC’ arrangement mimicing the USA: as China Unicom merges with China Netcom, China Mobile buys China Tietong, China Telecom buys Unicom’s mobile assets, and China Satellite becomes a China Mobile division. (Yes, there will be a test afterwards to check you’ve remembered it all.)
In Today’s Issue: Motorola in the psychiatric ward; Verwaayen takes a bow;Bharti/MTN deal in the offing; Vodafone buys social network app, customers; Orascom: Iraq, Syria, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and now Cuba; C&W soon to be C and W; data from space cheaper than SMS; Qualcomm in the UK; more mobile-TV alphabet soup; Sprint launches WiMAX, loses 1 million customers and Embarq wholesale contract; MacBooks with WiMAX?; new J2ME toolkits; Verizon Linux; NFC SIMs in Thailand; death of muni-WiFi
Oh dear. Evolving Excellence have a killer detail about the crisis at Motorola and the rather non-obvious solutions they’re adopting - namely, picking a CEO who refuses to use computers and cutting back on R&D. Because, you know, they stopped meaningful product development for two years after the RAZRs came out, and that worked so well. Not just that, but the new guy’s background at the company was in the automotive business, which they’ve now sold as non-core.
In Today’s Issue: DTAG wants a monstermerger; T-Mobile USA subscriber surge; Sprint/Google/Clearwire/Cable/Intel; superduper HSPA; the coming US mobile broadband price war; profit at HTIL; cunning Charlie Dunstone; Broadband (breadth differs); some sort of device from Apple; TV needs a new business model; Vodafone vs MTN?; Huawei handsets havailable; BlackBerry discovers “fun”; poor KDDI results; TeliaSonera likes the FTTH; heart-controlled mobile games; Brough Turner is right
Deutsche Telekom boss Rene Obermann didn’t want to discuss the Sprint-Nextel order, but he did confirm that there will be a huge (and undoubtedly overpriced) foreign merger in the company’s future and that he wants the company to make two-thirds of its income abroad in the future.
In Today’s Issue: DT/Sprint murder’n’acquisition poses world’s biggest OSS BSS MESS; shareholders scared; political egos swell; warming up by buying OTE; and a side order of Nokia Ovi content, please; Mobistar MVNO mastery; Microhoo muffed; Yahoo+Jajah; huge Brazilian mergermonster slithers out of rainforest, eats shareholders; Virgin Media intros TV-over-IP-over-TV-over-IP; Globe Tel intros TV-over-3G; Sony Ericsson offers nightmare coding turducken; all-open-source mobile dev framework Flyer
No! Don’t do it! Think of your family! It’s one of those moments where someone’s about to be very ill-advised indeed, and the rest of us can but watch in horror and incredulity. Yes, we said Deutsche Telekom was a company with a huge overseas acquisition in their future, and guess what? They want to buy…the Telco USSR, Sprint Nextel. Apparently DTAG considered a bid for Nextel way back when - so no wonder they’re interested in getting it cheap, with Sprint thrown in free (they spent $40bn on Voicestream alone - they’re now looking at $23bn for the whole Sprint empire). But you have to wonder why anyone would want this: let’s see, that’s German, British, Dutch and US GSM and UMTS, German DSL, VDSL and even some ISDN, CDMA2000 at mainline Sprint mobile, iDen at Nextel, WiMAX at Sprint XOHM, more GSM/UMTS in Central Europe, FLASH OFDM in Slovakia and UMTS TDD in the Czech Republic. To say nothing of their competing global carrier operations, and WLAN hotspots, and SprintLink US fibre, and T-Systems call centres…
It’s like a charming screwball comedy entitled Converge This!, in which we follow the exploits of two hilariously ill-matched OSS-BSS engineers, Sven and Sven, as they strive to integrate the back-office operations of a giant mobile phone company that uses literally every network protocol in existence…no wonder the Frankfurt stock market doesn’t like it at all.
What is considerably less funny is the answer to our question: basically, the German government, which owns a large chunk of DTAG, is mad keen to see them do a “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” moment in Washington (well, Overland Park, KS) by becoming the US’s biggest mobile operator. They may have forgotten that the character in Raoul Walsh’s film said that whilst standing on top of a giant tank of petrol in an oil refinery on fire, being shot at by the police….
But what is funny is that some US politicians apparently think German ownership of Sprint would be a menace to national security…
Welcome to the all-new Telco 2.0 weekly update relating to financial wheeling and dealing in the TMT sector around a specific topic each week. Our aim is not to regurgitate earnings releases amply covered elsewhere, but to look at the financial world through the Telco 2.0 telescope. This week we look at the latest batch of results and data around handsets.
Meet JIL; that’s the Joint Innovation Lab, a project worked out between Vodafone and China Mobile that’s meant to establish standards for mobile widgetry. Apart from the obvious point that only telcos could come up with anything like a standards body for widgets, what’s the betting the standard turns out to be a lot like the Nokia Web Runtime?
In Today’s Issue: Online businesses crave telco capabilities (potentially…). Motorola rearranges the deckchairs. Nokia profits up 25%, but you wouldn’t want to see what went into that. Is Comes With Music a lossmaker? Nobody pays for the stuff anyway. Silverlight everywhere. And Moonlight. Is Microsoft IBM in 1993? 1,788 entries in the Android dev competition, but Google can’t keep a SIP server running. They can send a man to the moon… O2 users optimise radio network by whingeing. FTel+TeliaSonera=nightmare on Wall Street? Truphone gets a cash dump. UPS saves fuel with a platform. Pat Robertson, selfless crusader for your digital rights? AT&T fearmongering vs Andrew Odlyzko; there can only be one winner. Data centres in containers will eat the world. EBay finds giving away telephony is not a business. And there’s the day the YouTube died.
Ed Wray, CEO of Betfair, the world’s biggest betting exchange, came to last week’s Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm and told the assembled crowd of telcosians he would be delighted to pay a telco to solve his ‘digital logistics’ problems. Authentication is crucial to Betfair’s business, not just to prevent fraud but also to prevent Americans and the under-age from using the site, something which can lead to an executive jail problem. And telcos, he says, can provide it. At the moment, it’s costing him $22 to verify the