April 23, 2013

EE: Running To Stand Still

Everything Everywhere, the joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, recently announced its Q1 results that give a little further insight into the industry’s journey into the ‘digital hunger gap’. (Ed. We’ll be exploring this and what can be done about it at the EMEA Brainstorm, 5-6th June in London).

EE is very proud of adding 166k postpaid subscribers, for a total of 348k since the launch of their LTE network, but the two underlying operators also shed 571k prepaid customers, while the “steady service revenue performance” is steady in the sense of “steadily falling”, down -0.4%, or -5.4% counting the effects of changes to the termination regime.

Importantly, EE is now a majority-data carrier, with 51% of its revenue being non-voice, and 82% of its postpaid subscriber base on smartphones. The problem is illustrated by the following chart:


Although data revenues are going up, voice and messaging are eroding fast, and the chief answer seems to be migrating more customers onto the LTE network. The problem here is that migrating them over usually implies supplying a top-of-the-range phone, and therefore a slug of handset subsidy, and also that whatever uplift in data revenue is achieved must both compensate the loss of voice and messaging revenues and also pay for CAPEX as the new network rolls out.

(This said, it’s worth pointing out that there EE decommissioned 548 cell sites in Q1. So there may be savings from LTE deployment, providing that the decommissioning is not instead a result of post-merger network rationalisation.)

The change in user behaviour is well illustrated by the infographic EE included with the results presentation.


It wouldn’t be quite right to say that the voice and messaging that accounts for 49% of their revenues is hidden in the 8.2% of traffic marked “video calling and other” - having opted to provide 4G voice via circuit-switched fallback, this traffic would be carried on either Orange or T-Mobile’s 3G or 2G networks. But it is certainly illuminating just how dominant general Internet activity, web-based video, and web-based music are.

We’re also a little amused by the fact 0.77% of total 4G traffic is accounted for by, the 10th biggest single attraction - that’s got to be worth something in terms of publicity.

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January 11, 2012

Free Mobile: Very Telco 2.0 Indeed

The web is agog about the launch of’s mobile network, long awaited. Om Malik interviews CEO Xavier Niel, and it’s quite impressive how much Telco 2.0 comes up.

“Since it is our own set-top box, we can innovate around it,” he says. “In the U.S., they buy their set-top boxes from other providers.” That’s a mistake and lost opportunity, Niel says and proceeds to outline how pivotal these set-top boxes are for his company and its future.

They’re referring to the Freebox Revolution devices Free pushed out last year. We’ve long been arguing the importance of better CPE, and pointing to Free as a case study of how to do it (they engineer them in house, based on open-source software).

l1011414-1.jpg (from here; by)

For example, used the set-top box for automatically sharing a portion of one’s broadband connection via Wi-Fi with other customers. Over five million set-top boxes means has a free Wi-Fi cloud enveloping major cities such as Paris. Even when away from home, you can easily get broadband instead of resorting to an expensive 3G network.

This Free.Fr free Wi-Fi network is going to play a pivotal role in the soon-to-be-launched service, which will be using 42 Mbps HSPA+ technology. The company has built a network of 15,000 macrocells, but those 5 million “nano cells” are going to be the key difference maker, Niel points out.’s newer set-top boxes will have built-in femtocells. On top of that, Free is going to be beefing up its macrocells with high-capacity fiber connections being fed by Iliad’s dark fiber. And when the time comes, he is going to embrace LTE and include that in his network as well. “We will go to wide area network (3G and 2.5G) when we are not in Wi-Fi coverage,” he tells me.

WLAN offload, multiple radio networks, and small cells? Telco 2.0 has been covering this ever since we first encountered FON.

He believes telecoms should charge for access and make money by selling the ID and payment services, not voice and SMS. It’s one of the reasons he loves Square, Jack Dorsey’s payment company, where he is an angel investor. “It is crazy to pay for voice by the minute as voice is so cheap,” he says. Even SMS texting is a lot of money and he finds that crazy. “We are trying to be the cheapest mobile service in France,” he adds. Don’t be surprised to see Google Voice-type services built into the service itself.

ID, personal data, and mobile payments as services to upstream customers? And better voice and messaging? You heard it here first.

The really big question is whether the cost savings from providing so much connectivity via the Freeboxes will be enough for Free to keep its promises on price. Then we’ll see whether there really is more to the disruption than just another round of commoditisation. And if so, Free will again be a world example of Telco 2.0 best practice.

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August 17, 2011

Digital Entertainment 2.0 Update: Telcos vs. Apple, YouTube, Cable; Telco CDNs; social media meets TV

Four short online videos below on: key trends in digital entertainment, opportunities for telcos and the competitive state of the connected digital entertainment industry; a presentation by BT on their Content Connect strategy; a demonstration of Virgin Media’s TiVo video service; and an industry insider’s perspective on ‘Augmented TV’ - the innovative frontier between social media and traditional TV.

NB You’ll need to register to view these videos, which are part of our recent ‘Best Practice Live! global online event. You can also join us in person to discuss more on M-Commerce 2.0 strategies in New York (5th-6th October) and London (8th-9th December). Or, to book a place at our Digital Entertainment 2.0 workshop on New Business Models for the Home Video Entertainment market in Europe - Lessons from America at our London Executive Brainstorm on 8th November, please email or call +44 (0) 207 247 5003.

Digital Entertainment 2.0: Telcos vs. Apple, YouTube, Cable et al

Thumbnail image for Aug 16 Keith McMahon BPL Still image.pngIn this video, Telco 2.0’s Keith McMahon describes how consumer behaviour is changing, tablets are emerging as a ‘fourth screen’, and internet, cable and other major retail players are evolving digital entertainment strategies including ‘digital lockers’ that store consumer content in the cloud. Who will be the winners and losers, and where does this leave telcos? (Register and view here)

Content Delivery: BT Wholesale’s Strategy

Aug 16 Simon Orme BPL Still image.png

Simon Orme, Strategy Director Content Services, BT Wholesale, describes current market trends and how BT has evolved its wholesale strategy and division to serve new demands from the media industry, including media and broadcast, online and TV voting, and Content Connect delivering ‘next generation content delivery’. (Register and view here)

Next Generation TV: Virgin Media’s TiVo Service

Thumbnail image for Aug 16 Alex Green BPL Still image.pngThe UK’s Virgin Media claim to have ‘re-invented TV’ with their TiVo offering which offers personalised, targeted content recommendations and highly programmable storage. A short demo video and introduction by Virgin’s Alex Green. (Register and view here)

Augmented TV Opportunity: disruption, new devices and social media

Thumbnail image for Aug 16 Anthony Rose BPL Still image.pngHere Anthony Rose, co-founder and CTO of tBone, and former leading light in the development of the iPlayer and music sharing service Kazaa, describes how social media and new devices will transform TV into a seamless social experience. What are the opportunities and who are the new players? (Register and view here)

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June 10, 2011

YouView: the future of British TV or another Domesday Project?

In which Telco 2.0 reviews the YouView specifications

Delegates at the recent T2 events would have seen a fascinating couple of sessions on future TV. Will we (as LG suggested) have multi-screen TVs, with screens dedicated to high definition video, meta-data, and to social content? Or will the role of “social TV” be fulfilled by an independent “companion device”, as former YouView CTO Anthony Rose suggested?

[Ed: We’ll be discussing this and other issues at our forthcoming Digital Entertainment 2.0 events. For more Telco 2.0 thinking on this, try our recent YouTube: Recent Improvements Change the Game note and our new Analyst’s Note on UltraViolet,the content industry’s answer to iCloud and Amazon Cloud Drive]

On the other hand, as we’ve been saying for years, the move of mass-audience TV onto the Internet is constantly testing the technologies and business models involved. Even if the growth rates are not as ferocious as first predicted, they are still higher than overall traffic and the content itself is getting higher quality. How will we push all those packets?

In the UK, whenever there has been a technology transition in broadcasting, there has always been one institution that has acted as a leader - the BBC. Its great rival in this has to be BSkyB - think of Sky+, Sky HD, and Sky 3D. On the BBC’s side, there’s decades of work in the core trades of TV, developing the basic infrastructure, pioneering TV on the Web with the iPlayer, and some interesting side projects like the BBC Micro. The two of them have contrasting and perhaps complementary specialities - as the pay-TV challenger, Sky is fascinated by adding more features to TV, while the BBC as a public service is all about infrastructure and universal reach. When a little-known Racal division called Vodafone needed a radio planner to build their GSM network, they poached John Causebrook straight out of BBC Research.

After much tortuous negotiating with the regulators and the other TV stations, they have finally got a specification out for a common platform for the next generation of STBs, YouView. If it gets deployed, it will shape the future - so is it any good?

Telco 2.0 recently had to make a long train journey, so we grabbed the 229-page technical specification and got stuck into it.

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December 14, 2010

Analysis of UBS Media & Comms Conference - Some like it Hot

As part of our increasing focus on ‘Digital Entertainment 2.0’, here is an analysis of UBS’s recent Global Client Conference:

The top brass of the Media and Communications industries gathered in New York last week for the final investor jamboree of the decade and the word on everyone’s lips was “online”, and specifically, whether it was a creator or destroyer of value for the industry.

It was apparent that it is far too early in the game to pick winners and losers. Perhaps more importantly, the playbook of the move online in the video world will be completely different from the music and newspaper industries where significant value was, and still is, being destroyed.

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November 3, 2010

Smart TV and the Connected Home

We’re delighted that Nicolas Bry, SVP at Orange Vallee, France Telecom’s 2 year old ‘skunk-works-to-market’ group, will be stimulating the ‘Connected Home’ session at the Telco 2.0 EMEA Executive Brainstorm next week in London .

To stimulate the brainstorming he’ll describe ‘SoTV’, which is about defining a new type of TV-based internet experience - integrating entertainment with search, apps, gaming and other services. He recently wrote a thoughtful piece on his blog below, which helps us to understand where he’s coming from.

A key question is this: if the TV is becoming the ‘Smart TV’, how can we avoid the mistakes of the move from phone to ‘Smartphone’, in terms of ceding power to other players? Who should telcos partner with to keep a strong position in the ecosystem, and how should they do so? Here is Nicolas’ blog post:

Smart TV and future of Television

I’ve been through a very interesting article from Mark Suster, an experienced manager in the digital economy, who is now working at GRP Partners since 2007 as a General Partner, focusing on early-stage technology companies. It is called The Future of Television and the Digital Living Room and was released at Fast Company’s web site.

Mark identifies 10 major issues that the TV industry will face in the next 5 years, and I have tried to put a few comments after a short summing-up:

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September 30, 2010

BSG: Technical Perspectives on Net Neutrality

Broadband economics, traffic management and “Net neutrality 2.0” are big themes at the upcoming Telco 2.0 events in Los Angeles on 27-28 October and London on 9-10 November. We’re delighted to be able to share new analysis and use cases from the Telco 2.0 team, Bain & Co, Ericsson and Analysys Mason at the events, as well as hear from the Group CTO of Deutsche Telekom, the Chairman of Project Canvas, and others.

Our in-going point of view is described in our submission to Ofcom here. As additional context please see below a detailed write up of the recent Net Neutrality conference in London organised by the Broadband Stakeholder Group detailing the experiences of the BBC, 3UK, Ericsson, Cisco, and including valuable data on network costs.

One of the things that struck us about the shindig was that in fact, net neutrality and its opposite weren’t really top of the agenda.

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September 20, 2010

Digital Entertainment 2.0: New Growth Opportunities

This post on new Telco 2.0 opportunities in Digital Entertainment is the second of our daily posts this week, summarising our recent and new research for the Americas Brainstorm in L.A., 27-28 Oct, and the EMEA Brainstorm in London, 8-9 Nov.

It’s also the ‘last chance to see’ the material from our first ‘Best Practice Live!’ online event, with the videos coming offline on 28th September, so please watch the ones you want to see before they’re gone. The links are marked* below or can be found here). NB. You will need to register on the first page that the embedded links take you to, or log in if you’ve already registered. If you have any problems please email us at

Digital Entertainment 2.0: New Growth Opportunities

In Entertainment 2.0: New Sources of Revenue for Telcos?, we showed how telco assets and capabilities could be used much more to help Film, TV and Gaming companies optimize their business model, which is under pressure from new players applying new forces as outlined in our notes on Apple and Netflix.

But what should telcos and other players do to take advantage of these opportunities?

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August 27, 2010

Entertainment 2.0: New Sources of Revenue for Telcos?

Telco assets and capabilities could be used much more to help Film, TV and Gaming companies optimize their beleaguered business model. There’s an extract here from our new 38 page Executive Briefing report examining how.

These themes will also be examined and discussed at our Oct 2010 Americas and Nov 2010 EMEA Executive Brainstorms.

Report Extract - Figure 4: Entertainment-specific Business Model Strategy Choices

EB entertainment fig 4.png

Source: Telco 2.0 Initiative
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December 18, 2009

BitTorrent’s uTP: The Art of Getting Out Of The Way

[Ed: Help Telco 2.0 improve our service to you - take a brief survey.]

Media vs P2P vs Telcos: The Internet’s Civil War

At the 8th Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in Orlando last week, Eric Klinker, CEO of, had some fascinating things to say about technical solutions to the interlocking intellectual property and bandwidth issues we’re constantly debating around online video. (He also remarked that the whole debate about P2P, piracy, and intellectual property had begun to remind him of the US Civil War - by 1863, it was clear that the South could never win, but the war went on anyway, and the majority of the casualties died pointlessly between then and 1865.)

He said that both the telecoms and media industries hated BitTorrent, but that this was in part a reflection of their own mutual distrust. BitTorrent was a very small company being ground between these two huge interest blocks. Despite that, it’s still global - the only country where there are no BitTorrent applications running is North Korea - has 66% of the market, and the monthly peak throughput of the BitTorrent network is 4 terabits per second.

Congestion, not Traffic, Drives Cost

ISPs tend to be concerned about BitTorrent because they see it as a bandwidth hog. Klinker pointed out that he had himself been an ISP engineer and that he therefore understood their concerns. He remarked that traffic was not, in fact, a driver of cost - congestion was.


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October 8, 2009

Voice is dead, says Verizon CEO

Thanks to Dave Burstein, who runs the excellent DSL Prime newsletter, for capturing this:

Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon CEO, saying at the Goldman Sachs Investment Conference last month that “voice is dying” is a defining moment in telecom history.

He didn’t use those words, but his comments are clear “we have to pivot and make a shift from the voice business to the data business and eventually to the video business. … we must really position ourselves to be an extremely potent video-centric asset.”

“The issue there is perhaps it is like the dog chasing the bus a little bit. So what I need to do is get ourselves focused around the following idea, that video is going to be the core product in the fixed line business. … I shed myself of the burden of chasing the inflection point in access lines and say I don’t care about that anymore.”

Verizon remains one of the most profitable companies in the world, but the wireline business is heading downhill so fast JPMorgan writes “Action will likely be necessary to support the dividend beginning in 2012.” They won’t be able to support $5B/year in dividends without tapping wireless 45% owned by Vodafone. [Some analysts] think Verizon will buy a satellite TV company. Knocking out one of the four TV providers is unthinkable if the Obama team is serious about competition, but that’s not proven…

You can meet Dave, who has lots more great insider information, at the 8th Telco 2.0 Exec Brainstorm, on 9-10 December in Orlando.

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October 7, 2009

ESPN: Making ‘pay-for-content’ work - a telco opportunity

Internet Video is a booming business in it’s own right, a key driver of broadband volumes and costs, and increasingly an important component of telcos and other broadband service provider’s (BSPs) packaged broadband offerings (see our recent Strategy Report “Online Video Market Study: The impact of video on broadband business models ). The Goliath US Sports network, ESPN, has just entered the UK market, and we analyse here their history, strategy, and lessons for BSPs and other content aggregators both here in the UK and elsewhere.


In the rush to find a working model for monetizing internet video, the most obvious solution is often overlooked – the payTV model. Since 1979, when the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) secured an exclusive deal with the USA colleges (NCAA) to screen their sporting contests, the model has proven resilient to both the advertiser-funded free model and economic climates. The model has also delivered both steady profits and growth to all players in the value chain – rights holders (e.g. sports bodies), content aggregators (e.g. channels) and distributors (e.g. cable systems). In the payTV model the money flows from the consumer to the distributor to the rights holders via the aggregator. 

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July 7, 2009

Online Video vs Broadband: A symbiotic relationship?

Initially, broadband enabled online video. Now online video is growing to become the volume driver of broadband traffic. Analysis of these interrelated markets at different stages of evolution worldwide provides insight to future strategy in both.

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June 24, 2009

Google: The Internet Behemoth and how it profits from YouTube

There is an ongoing debate about the size of the losses at YouTube and for how much longer the parent, Google, can afford to fund its errant child’s excessive lifestyle. Credit Suisse put a high price on it; Brough Turner criticised their analysis; RampRate decisively debunked it.

The debate has focused upon YouTube as a standalone service and little attention has been given to the spin-off benefits accruing to the parent. Google controls a significant, and growing, share of the means of production of the entire Internet industry. We argue that ownership of YouTube is a crucial ingredient for Google’s control of the economic rent that Google extracts from the whole of the Internet value chain.

We believe that YouTube is used indirectly to drive profits at the parent, and that Google is currently incentivized to keep these profits hidden from prying eyes. The key indirect benefits accruing to Google of owning YouTube are as follows:

i) YouTube gains Google a critical slice of growing online video eyeballs, which will attract more marketing dollars to the Internet as a whole. This is much more important in the USA, where the main competitor Hulu is ad-funded than the UK, where the BBC iPlayer is taxpayer funded;
ii) YouTube gains Google yet more important meta-data which can be cross-pollinated with data from other Google services;
iii) YouTube traffic strengthens Google specifically in peering negotiations and generally in network design;
iv) YouTube is probably a small fraction of Google’s overall cost base, and the spin-off benefits from lower overall unit costs;and
v) YouTube positions Google very powerfully for a key role as a gatekeeper in the copyright world.

This article explains these indirect benefits in detail and explains a strategy for telcos to adopt in the online video world.

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June 12, 2009

Online Video 2.0 - TIme to re-think the fundamentals

Below is a summary analysis of the Video Distribution 2.0 session at the May 2009 Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm.

The premise we explored was this:

The demand for internet video is exploding. This is putting significant stress on the current fixed and mobile distribution business model. Infrastructure investments and operating costs required to meet demand are growing faster than revenues. The strategic choices facing operators are to charge consumers more when they expect to pay less, to risk upsetting content providers and users by throttling bandwidth, or to unlock new revenues to support investment and cover operating costs by creating new valuable digital distribution services for the video content industry.

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June 4, 2009

“Social News” = “New Players Emerge”?

Here’s another attempt to map the future of media: How Our News Sources Changed in the Last 200 Years.

News sources changing over time

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April 15, 2009

Lessons from the UK TV Market: inflexion point reached

Following our Online Video Market Study, and in preparation for the brainstorm in May, we’re continuing to analyse the video and TV markets on a regular basis. This note, based on a rewiew of latest data from OFCOM, looks at the current state of play in the UK TV market to draw out the key challenges for new entrants to this specific market and also to draw more general conclusions for new entrants in any country. [Ed. - note, the full article is available to subcribers of the Telco 2.0 Exec Briefing Service].

The structure of TV markets and competition within them vary greatly by country. Essentially they are local, national markets. The structure is highly dependent upon the historical context - the strength of the state broadcaster, the degree of regulation with wildly different rules for local content creation and distribution, the penetration and financial strength of payTV (both cable and satellite) and the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial switch-over.

Unsurprisingly, this means the size of the opportunity for both telcos and “over-the-top” internet companies to find a profitable place in the value chain varies greatly by country. We are firm believers that the technological economies of scale that the global internet offers are more than counter-acted by the complexities of national regulation and content acquisition. TV will remain national market-driven in the internet era.

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Case Study: Lessons from the Shipping industry

We’ve quite frequently referred to shipping containers and containerisation on this blog as a useful parallel to trends in the telco industry, especially the importance of big-scale IT, personalised and integrated logistics services, the relative weakness of systems based on deep packet inspection, and the vital importance of standards. If you’re a recent reader, you might not know why we care so much; so below is a case study originally published in our Future Broadband Business Models report.

In 1956, the first all-container ship, Ideal-X, sailed from Newark to Houston. In 1956, containers weren’t actually new technology; in fact they made a distinctly slow start. In the 1920s, the London, Midland, and Scottish Railway already had thousands of containers, as did SNCF, the New York Central, and several other major railways. There was even an international trade association, the Container Bureau, trying to promote their use. And the US Army was shipping soldiers’ personal effects and equipment around the world in small Conex boxes. But take-off had to wait for Sea-Land and the pioneering voyage of the Ideal-X

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March 27, 2009

iFlood: How better mobile user interfaces demand Layer Zero openness

Networks guru Andrew Odlyzko recently estimated that a typical mobile user consumes 20MB of data a month for voice service, but that T-Mobile Netherlands reports their iPhone users consuming 640MB of data a month; so upgrading everyone to the Jesus Phone would increase the demand for IP bandwidth on cellular networks by a factor of 30.

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March 26, 2009

Is Online Video commercially viable? new Online Video Market Study

As you’ll be aware from previous posts (“How does YouTube make money?” and more BBC i-Player analysis here), we’ve been researching the Online Video market for a while. We’re now pleased to report that our latest essay crisis is over and that we’ve now published the new 148 page Telco 2.0 Strategy Research Report Online Video Market Study: Options and Opportunities for Distributors in a time of massive disruption. The report identifies in detail the scenarios and strategies that Telcos and other distributors should adopt in the commercially challenged online video market.

Key Report findings:

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February 25, 2009

Platform Lessons from BSkyB

BSkyB’s platform shows a multi-sided business model in action, bringing value to both upstream and downstream customers and earning decent returns for shareholders.

BSkyB is probably the most misunderstood publicly quoted company in the UK. Most analysts view them as a media company; our theory is that BSkyB is a platform company and comparisons to Apple, Microsoft or Google are more appropriate than UK media players such as the BBC, ITV or even potential new entrants such as BT.

bskyb1.png Figure 1: Sky Delivery Platform

Here are five rules to being successful in the platform game:

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February 23, 2009

Rich Communications Suite: Really Considered Significantly Obsolete

It was a curious Mobile World Congress last week; half Telco 2.0 triumph, with things like the OneAPI project, O2 Litmus, and a truly impressive focus on developer communities, and half a harking back to the days when IMS was the solution, whatever the problem might be.

Take the GSMA’s ‘Rich Communications Suite’ (RCS). We’ve discussed the imperatives for voice telephony recently here. So, we’re at a loss as to the relevance of RCS to the market, as one of our analysts vociferously describes below.

But we’d value an open discussion with readers who support the initiative. Do read the analysis in the rest of this article, and tell us what you think via the ‘comments’ function on this blog…

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January 23, 2009

Wholesale Mobile Data - UK Cross-Carrier Trial

We’re delighted to be welcoming back Andrew Bud to stimulate the 6th Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in May. Andrew is Chairman of a large transaction network (mBlox) - important players in future Telco 2.0 ecosystems - and also Chairman of the Mobile Entertainment Forum.

He is currently in the middle of a cross-carrier trial in the UK on a ‘sender pays data’ concept (you’ll here more about this at Mobile World Congress in a few weeks). In May he’ll be exclusively sharing some of the results, to stimulate the debate on new telco wholesale services, a key plank of the Telco 2.0 growth opportunity.

To understand what ‘sender pays data’ means and why it’s important, here is a video of Andrew’s presentation from the last Telco 2.0 event in November 08, modestly entitled “Saving the Mobile Internet”. Below that a summary:

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December 18, 2008

Guest Post: “Medianet” - Optimising the Network for Video and Rich Media

At the November Telco 2.0 Event Simon Aspinall, Managing Director of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, described how video creates a major threat to the cost assumptions and business models of fixed and mobile operators. Building on that and Telco 2.0’s ongoing analysis of Online Video Distribution, Cisco describe below a new strategy called ‘medianet’ - building a network that is optimized for video and rich media based on a new generation of media-aware technologies…

Service providers know that the basic delivery of TV services is no longer enough. Today’s consumers want a richer, higher-quality media experience, and they want access to more kinds of content than ever before. They want to enjoy the same kind interactivity, personalization, and control that they have come to expect from the Internet with their video entertainment. And they want the ability to access any type of content they choose, whenever and wherever they choose, over a variety of devices and screens.
Video traffic growth is undeniable. Based on the Cisco Visual Networking Index Study:
  • Global IP traffic will reach 44 exabytes per month by 2012 — more than six times the total traffic in 2007
  • Nearly 90 percent of all consumer IP traffic in 2012 will be video

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November 24, 2008

Ring! Ring! Hot News, 24th November, 2008

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.

It’s another round in the Internet traffic forecast wars. The vendors’ side last week published research claiming that a coming exaflood would lead to “Internet brownouts”; as TelecomTV points out, not only did they use identical language to everyone else who’s predicted this over the last 16 years, but just as always, world authority Andrew Odlzkyo disagrees and is probably right (his MINTS project claims that backbone traffic actually fell recently).

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November 12, 2008

The Future of Online Video - new hypothesis

One of Telco 2.0’s key associates in the ‘Content Distribution’ space is Alan Patrick from Broadsight (see his excellent blog). He’s been working with us on a new report on Future Business Models for Online Video Distribution, which will be published later this month. Alan presented some of this analysis at the Telco 2.0 event last week. We asked him to sum up his thoughts:

Over the last two months we’ve created a hypothesis on how the online video market may evolve - based on desk research, interviews, online questionnaires, a workshop with the avant garde new media users at the Tuttle Club and a “Wisdom of Crowds” session at the Telco 2.0 Brainstorm last week. First, here’s the stimulus presentation I made:

The Future of Online Video
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: internet telecoms)
Now, here is some explanation to bring this to life for you:

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October 13, 2008

Ring! Ring! Hot News, 13th October 2008

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.

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October 9, 2008

Fixed/Mobile Video Distribution - Survey ends tomorrow

Our survey looking at future business models for internet video distribution closes at midnight tomorrow (Friday).

Last chance to have your say here.
It takes 10-15 minutes to complete. We guarantee it will be stimulating. If complete it, you’ll get a free summary of the analysis in a few weeks time. A big thank you to all those who have taken part to date.
Background to it here. It’s part of a major new study being published in November (described here).

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September 29, 2008

Ring! Ring! Hot News, 29th September 2008

In Today’s Issue: Bankers’ favourite BlackBerry bears brunt of banking bust; IBM and, 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.

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September 17, 2008

Telco 2.0 Interview: Steve Zimba, Microsoft

Continuing our series of interviews with major industry thinkers, Steve Zimba is Microsoft’s Managing Director, Global Telecoms Business. We interviewed Steve about their ‘Telco 2.0’ strategy. This integrates their PC, IPTV and mobile offerings with a combined software and services offering, supported by telecoms-specific capabilities and a third party ecosystem.

Steve Zimba

Microsoft is a particularly interesting company to us because they are in a unique position. They bridge the consumer and enterprise markets, which places them well to create technologies and operational businesses for two-sided markets. Their Internet competitors are consumer-centric, and don’t have channels into the enterprise. Rivals such as IBM don’t have the consumer brand or media properties to run experiments on the scale Microsoft can. Furthermore, Microsoft is active across all of the B2B value-added service areas we believe will drive future telco growth: identity, advertising & marketing services, e-commerce, order fulfilment, content delivery, billing & payments, and customer care/CRM. The difficult challenge is whether Microsoft can make the whole more than sum of its software conglomerate parts.

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September 2, 2008

New Internet Video Distribution Survey - have your say

Today we launch a new survey, part of a major investigation into new business models for internet video distribution (kindly supported by the TM Forum, TelecomTV, the Mobile Entertainment Forum, and TVoverNet.)

By ‘internet video distribution’ we mean: any video material (movies, TV, infotainment, sports, UCG) distributed via internet technologies (IPTV, web streaming or P2P downloading) over any bearer (fixed or mobile broadband networks) to any device (PC, TV, handheld). We exclude traditional broadcasting and physical means of distribution, although the consequences of internet video distribution are looked at.

Do take part here. It takes 15-20 minutes to complete and you’ll get a free copy of the summary results if you invest the time to complete it properly. (The system allows you to come back to complete it if you need to take a break). Survey closes 1st October 2008.

Some of the questions are pretty challenging, so it’s well worth reading the context for it below first:

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August 31, 2008

Telco 2.0 Research Programme, Autumn/Winter 2008

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.


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August 4, 2008

BT fibre roll-out: Do the numbers add up?

BT is at last moving on fibre. This is of interest because BT don’t own a cellular network, and their current residential copper access network is functionally separated — a very ‘Telco 2.0’ horizontal model. Is it possible to make money on new network builds without complete vertical integration and a monopoly on services?

We dig into the numbers, and work out whether BT’s shareholders should be concerned, or delighted.

The details are more than a little sketchy at the moment, but we can be fairly certain of some points:

  1. Both FTTC and FTTH are in prospect.
  2. Speeds are to be “up to 100MBits/s” for the FTTH element, 40-60Mbits/s for the FTTC element.
  3. The service will be available wholesale.
  4. The project is costed at £1.5bn over five years.

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July 30, 2008

Close to Boiling Point: ISPs, Aggregators and Music Rights Holders

The current EC review of Telecoms Law and the UK government consultation on Illicit P2P Downloading (announced last week) threaten the ISPs relationship with its customers. Legislation alone will not solve the Content Industries problems with the internet - ISPs have capabilities they can bring to the table to help ease the pain.

Throughout history, whenever an industry is in meltdown, bullets of blame are sprayed everywhere and the industry players turn towards governments and the legal system for protection. These days, the music industry is in meltdown and the bullets of blame are targeting the ISP industry. Failure to react could cost the ISP industry dearly. We examine some of the options below.

Note that music is not suffering from a demand-driven meltdown: consumer demand for music appears as strong as ever. The problem appears to be music is being increasingly delivered by the internet, and it is proving difficult to monetise this demand across the whole of the value chain.

All the evidence seems to point towards a significant number of consumers who are sharing music without the rights holder’s permission and without compensating them. Demand for legal online services pale into insignificance compared to the illicit demand. Even worse, consumer behaviour and expectations seems to have changed — free sharing of music is becoming the default mode. Not surprisingly, music companies are looking for the law for protection and other content industries fearing a similar fate are jumping onto the bandwagon.

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July 16, 2008

Online Video Usage Scoreboard: YouTube thrashing iPlayer

Online Video consumption is booming. The good news is that clearer demand patterns are beginning to emerge which should help in capacity planning and improving the user experience; the bad news is that an overall economic model which works for all players in the value chain is about as clear as mud.

We previously analysed the leffect of the launch of the BBC iPlayer on the ISP business model, but the truth is that, even in the UK, YouTube traffic still far outweighs the BBC iPlayer in the all important peak hour slot - even though the bitrate is far lower.

Looking at current usage data at a UK ISP we can see that the number of concurrent people using YouTube is roughly seven times that of the iPlayer. However, our analysis suggests that this situation is set to change quite dramatically as traditional broadcasters increase their presence online, with significant impact for all players. Here’s why:

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