Saturday 12 April 2008

Quad Play Coming Soon

From the Complete Blog:

It seems like most people these days buy their cable TV, Internet and home phone service from one provider in one nice and neat package. Whether it’s to consolidate billing or to save a few bucks, bundling seems to be catching on.

The real growth opportunity, as most telcos see it, is in bundling cell phone service with existing services. Cell phone service clearly falls under the umbrella of telecommunications, and even though most telcos don’t operate a cellular network themselves, they have been open to creating partnerships with carriers in the past. Including cell phone service in telco bundles would turn the “Triple-Play” into the “Quad-Play” and give telcos a new level of product (and marketing) integration.

But will consumers really go for it?

According to a Compete survey conducted this month, they just might. 35% of survey respondents indicated that they would be either “likely” or “very likely” to purchase cell phone service from their telco provider. It also appears that these consumers can be influenced given the right product and marketing messages. Below is a chart of features that would affect consumers’ decision to purchase cell phone service from their telco provider.

If telcos can articulate the value proposition for bundling cell phone service in with other telco services, it looks like consumers will be accepting. So let’s invite another guest to the party and bring on the Quad-Play!

I would personally definitely not mind Quad Play as I am already having something similar to Triple play at home. The main factor for me would be the ability to forward phone from landline to mobile and free calls from home number to my mobile number and vice versa

You may also want to read an earlier blog of Quintuple Play.

GSM + HSPA = 3 Billion Subscriptions

3G Americas, a wireless industry group advocating for the GSM family of technologies in the Americas, today announces the technology milestone of 3 billion GSM and UMTS/HSPA subscriptions worldwide, based upon research and projections by Informa Telecoms and Media. Today, 88% of the world's 3.5 billion mobile wireless subscriptions are to the GSM family of technologies.

GSM mobile wireless technology continues to outperform most of the communications technologies ever invented. By comparison, there are only 850 million personal computers worldwide, forecast to reach 2 billion in the year 2015 (Forrester, June 2007). Three billion GSM/HSPA subscriptions is nearly triple the number of people accessing the Internet around the world, 1.1 billion. Fixed landline phones number just over this, at 1.3 billion globally. The closest technology in terms of number of electronic devices is the number of television sets. But even that number falls a full billion short of the 3 billion GSM/HSPA milestone, with an estimated 2 billion television sets in use today (Source: Communities Dominate Brands blog, Tomi Ahonen, January 2007).

Read complete press release here.

Whats this ENUM business

In the recently concluded Unified Communications 08, one of the presentations was titled "The Magic of ENUM". I didnt get a chance to attend that but tried to dig out what this magical thing called ENUM is.

The following is from The IP Multimedia Subsystem by Travis Russel:

In the SIP domain, subscription addresses use the form of a Universal Resource Identifier (URI). This is analogous with the Universal Resource Locators (URLs) we use to reach Web sites on the Internet, but they are assigned to subscriptions for reaching individual subscribers. It is the concept of the URI that makes communications models in the IMS unique. The ability to reach a subscriber based on these very personal identities rather than numbers, and to apply these addresses to all forms of communications, is the purposeof the SIP protocol within the IMS.

A URI can take two forms. A SIP URI uses the same form as an e-mail address, consisting of
username@domain. The first part of the address is typically the username of the subscriber, while the last part is the domain name of the network provider where the subscription resides. The last part of the domain name (.com, .org, etc.) defines the type of organization according to Internet rules. SIP also supports addresses in the form of telephone numbers, referred to as TEL URIs. A TEL URI uses the same form as a SIP URI, substituting the telephone number for the user name. These are used most commonly when a call is originated in a non-SIP domain, or when a call is being placed to a non-SIP network (such as a call from the IMS to a wireline subscriber in the PSTN). The TEL URI is a good example of interoperability between legacy PSTN and IMS.Since legacy networks will continue to support the use of telephone numbers for some time to come, there remains a need to translate these telephone numbers into public identities for use within the IMS.

The actual conversion process is provided through a function known as ENUM. This function translates an E.164 telephone number into a SIP or TEL URI. The ENUM function does not translate the identity into an IP address, however. This remains the function of the Domain Name Server (DNS). We will talk more about these functions later. Eventually, TEL URIs may disappear completely as we become more and more accustomed to using SIP URIs for all communications. This is still a long way off, however, and something we may not see for decades.

For more information see the following book:

You may also be interested in the following presentations:

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Nokia E61: Why do i need on PC?

Recently I have been using my computer quite less and that is because I realised that I can do quite a lot using my E61. Please note that if you get Inspired by this post to buy E61 (though thats not my intention; I just want people to explore the millions of Applications out in the market) better go for E61i as that has an additional 2MP camera.
So let me tell you what appications I generally use and how I can do this using my Phone:
  • Browser: I have a default browse in E61 but thats not great. So I downloaded Opera Mini Browser and that can do quite a lot. Maybe sometimes If there is Java related stuff i struggle.
  • Web Based Mail: I can use my browser for web based mail but since I am on Yahoo or Gmail, i can download their mobile apps. You will be amazed by what they have on offer.
  • Maps and Directions: I cant use Google Maps using my browser so I downloaded the Maps application. Very useful.
  • VoIP calling: I found that I cannot use Skype on E61 :( but then I found Fring which is much better and I can call Skype users as well ;)
  • I am able to read Word, PPT and XLS files by default but you can also download Quick Office.
  • PDF: You can download Acrobat Reader from Nokia Site.
  • Other Apps: Nokia E61 website has many applications which you can use to make your life very simple.
If you think I may be exaggerating then why not look at this another opinion here.

So why do I need the computer?

Monday 7 April 2008

Motorola's loss, whose gain?

In an earlier post, I mentioned about Motorola closing down its handset business. In a news item couple of weeks back, there was an announcement that the company will be breaking into two:

Motorola announced plans to separate its struggling handset business from other operations forming two separate publicly traded companies after months of agitation from frustrated investors. The suburban Chicago-based cell phone maker has been under pressure from billionaire investor Carl Icahn for changes meant to revitalize its cell-phone business. The cell phone unit has seen its sales and stock price plummet with the company unable to produce second act to the once-popular Razr phone.

Motorola said the handset business will operate separately from another company that will encompass its home and networks business, which sells TV set-top boxes and modems, and its enterprise mobility solutions, which sells computing and communications equipment to businesses.

"Our priorities have not changed with today's announcement," Chief Executive Greg Brown said in a statement. "We remain committed to improving the performance of our Mobile Devices business by delivering compelling products that meet the needs of customers and consumers around the world."

Schaumburg-based Motorola said it hopes the transaction will be tax-free, allowing shareholders to own stock in both of the new companies. If the deal is approved, the two units would be separated in 2009.

Brown said Motorola will launch a search for a new chief executive of the Mobile Device business as it works to regain favor with customers and its No. 2 position in the cell phone market.

Motorola lost that spot last year to rival Samsung Electronics Co.
Finland's Nokia Corp. is the industry leader.

"We believe strongly in our brand, our people and our intellectual property, and expect that the Mobile Devices business will be well-positioned to regain market leadership as a focused, independent company," Brown said.

Wednesday's announcement was just the latest shake-up at Motorola, which rode the success of the iconic Razr phone from 2005 to 2006, but has stumbled since amid stiff competition.

Motorola Inc. is laying off 2,600 employees across the company, resulting in a pretax charge of $104 million for the first quarter, the Schaumburg-based telecommunications equipment-maker disclosed in a regulatory filing Thursday. In a separate statement, Motorola said the layoffs are part of a previously announced plan to cut costs by $500 million this year. Executives had disclosed the cost-reducing program at the beginning of 2008 and warned that it could mean job losses. Motorola's employee head count totaled 66,000 at the end of 2007, according to the annual report it filed in February.

There are rumors linking Dell and ZTE to a buyout of the handset business part but we dont know for sure.

So who will gain from this?

There are many upcoming handset manufacturers who may benefit directly from this. Apple, ZTE, RIM and HTC are the obvious candidates that come to my mind. A somewhat old (Feb) news item from my Inbox can give us some clues:

RIM and ZTE took places among the world's top ten largest mobile phone makers in 2007, new research from Gartner claims.

Despite only being available in four markets: US, UK, Germany and France, the iPhone transformed Apple into the tenth largest handset maker in the fourth quarter of 2007, the analysts informed.

RIM took sixth place while low-cost handset manufacturer ZTE, which specialises in delivering devices to emerging markets, took seventh place.

Apple holds 0.6 per cent of the market while sixth-place RIM has 1.2 per cent. Motorola saw its share fall to 11.9 per cent from 21.5 per cent. Nokia (40.4 per cent) and Samsung (13.4 per cent) continue to dominate global handset sales.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi observed: "The global mobile devices market will remain relatively immune to a recession in the US and Western European economies as the majority of growth in 2008 will come from emerging markets. The mature Western Europe and North America markets are driven by operator contract terms and replacement cycles and will account for just 30 per cent of the global mobile devices market in 2008.”

700 MHz Spectrum - Google: Loser or Winner?

Google on last Thursday revealed for the first time that it had been among the bidders for the federal 700-megahertz spectrum auction, which provides access to the Internet via mobile devices. Didnt we already know?

But the Mountain View-Calif.-based company now says that was all part of the game plan.

Google had said last July that it would guarantee a minimum $4.6 billion bid if the Federal Communications Commission would grant four license conditions the company sought for the spectrum. The FCC granted just two, giving open access to outside applications and devices, but Google proceeded with a bid.

"Google's top priority heading into the auction was to make sure that bidding on the so-called 'C Block' reached the $4.6 billion reserve price that would trigger the important 'open applications' and 'open handsets' license conditions," wrote two of the company's lawyers on the corporate blog. "We were also prepared to gain the nationwide C Block licenses at a price somewhat higher than the reserve price; in fact, for many days during the early course of the auction, we were the high bidder. But it was clear, then and now, that Verizon Wireless ultimately was motivated to bid higher (and had far more financial incentive to gain the licenses)."

Most observers had already assumed that Google had, in fact, bid, and some had even worried that the company would win the auction, which could have added risk to the company's business operations.

The company's lawyers said that the auction "doesn't mark the end of our efforts toward greater wireless choice and innovation."

"We will weigh in at the FCC as it sets implementation rules for the C Block, and determines how to move forward with a D Block re-auction," they wrote on the blog.

The FCC plans to use the D block for public safety networks.

It appears everything went as planned for Google. It didn't have to cough up any money in the 700 MHz auction but it ensured the open-access provisions (at least most of them) that it fought for at the FCC. But with the same faces, namely Verizon and AT&T, emerging as winners in the auction, the auction isn't going to change the face of the wireless telecom industry as industry pundits had hoped.

As exciting as it would have been to see a newcomer to the wireless landscape, incumbents such as Verizon have the wherewithal to spend billions on licenses and billions more to build out network infrastructure. That's their core business. And with the 700 MHz band the last of the so-called beach-front property, operators were prepared to drive the price up to a hefty level, especially given the fact that new 4G networks need a nice chunk of extra spectrum, about 20 megahertz, to deliver the broadband data speeds that are advertised.

Verizon Wireless was the big winner for the 700 MHz auction after winning the Upper C Block of spectrum, which is laden with open access provisions. Google did not win any licenses. Satellite television company EchoStar subsidiary Frontier won a significant amount of licenses in the E Block--enough to give the company a nationwide footprint. Verizon Wireless not only won the coveted C Block, but also most of the A Block and 77 licenses in the B Block, which contained the smallest licenses in the auction. For its part, AT&T managed to scoop up 227 of the smaller slices of spectrum.

Friday 4 April 2008

FMC + M-to-M at home and outside

I was lent a copy of Fixed Mobile Convergence book that was recently released by McGraw Hill. Very interesting book if you are involved in some way or other in FMC world. If you think you missed out on many conferences on FMC (and saved thousands of pounds) then investing in this book will provide you with far more information and may make you an expert.

Here is a snippet of something I always like reading and think will be big in future:

Improved availability, reachability, and cost savings enabled by FMC can be applied not only to communication between humans or humans and machines, but also to communication between machines themselves, for instance, intelligent devices with microprocessors running applications—machine-to-machine (M-to-M)—with far-reaching consequences.

To date, the solutions offered by telecom service providers have almost always involved a human user at one endpoint of a communication session. With the mass deployment of wireless networks and microprocessor-based remote sensing devices, this paradigm is about to change, with literally millions of devices capable of connectivity
being readied by manufacturers in different industries.

The solution in Figure above allows persons and remote applications to monitor the status of stationary and semistationary objects in the home zone and control their behavior based on policies, changing conditions, and other factors. The home-zone objects may interface with the home-zone M-to-M controller via low-power, close-proximity technologies such as ZigBee, defined in IEEE 802.15.4 specifying Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN), and Z-wave (a proprietary standard developed by a company called Zensys), or more mainstream Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies (depending on specific implementations).

The applications relying on such a symbiosis of M-to-M and FMC may include inexpensive and easy-to-install,8 standards-based, remote monitoring and control equipment. In residential applications, for example, communicating thermostats, security systems, and lighting, as well as numerous mobile assets belonging to a household such as vehicles, pets, and family members, can be enabled to maintain uniform connectivity and create an M-to-M ecosystem, as depicted in Figure above.

If this interests you then information on the book as follows:

Thursday 3 April 2008

CTIA Wireless 2008

When: April 1-3, 2008
Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

I am collecting links on CTIA08 on this page. Please feel free to contribute yours.

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Just keep texting

Last year I blogged about SMS being the killer App and it seems to be still going strong. Sprint recently launched $99 plan known as Simply Everything allows unlimited voice and texts. These plans will make people more addicted to texting.

A recent study by Portio Research confirms continued healthy SMS growth. ABI predicts the overall mobile messaging market will grow to become a US$212 billion market opportunity by 2013, while Portio Research argues SMS will be least a US$67 billion revenue opportunity during the same period.

Yet while it’s clear SMS growth is showing no signs of slowing down, wireless operator margins have not grown with the wireless consumer’s appetite for low-priced service sets. Industry research points out SMS revenues will only see a 28 percent increase from 2007 to 2012. This means all-you-can-eat plans by Sprint and other wireless operators, coupled with increasing competition, will minimize the rise of new SMS revenue.

A quick search about SMS news gave some very interesting results:

Interesting list, isnt it?

Tuesday 1 April 2008

No Mobile Phobia

This one is very interesting. From The Independent:

Being out of mobile-phone contact is as stressful as moving house or breaking up with a partner for nearly one in five phone users, according to a survey which suggests many Britons are in the grip of "nomo-phobia".

Anxiety over running out of battery or credit, losing one's handset and not having network coverage affects 53 per cent of the UK's 45 million mobile-phone users, according to the study by YouGov.

Read the article here.