Saturday 5 July 2008

Mobile TV! Still no joy

Mobile TV is floundering in one of its bastion (Korea ... other one being Japan). The following is from a report in

With mobile TV services in the flagship market of South Korea floundering and with few signs that operators anywhere else have found a successful formula for launching such services, most operator and vendor delegates at the recent CommunicAsia Summit in Singapore struggled to find enthusiasm for the fledgling industry.

Some operators and vendors say that mobile TV should be subscription-based, to offer a reliable revenue stream; others say an ad-supported model is the most viable option; and still others argue that a combined pay/advertising approach is the way forward.

Figures from South Korea seem to suggest that both pay-based and ad-supported models have critical weaknesses, which would also apply in other markets in the region. A lot more experimentation and creativity from operators might be required to find the right model.
Those promoting the idea of a pay-based service say that only by charging for content can a business model work. They say operators must team up with content firms to acquire premium content - most particularly sports - that people will be willing to pay a monthly fee to view or even pay for on a per-view basis.

But this line of thinking seems flawed, given that there is a limited amount of blue-chip content for which people will be prepared to pay, most notably live sports events - such as English Premier League soccer games - or highlights of them.

The problem is, of course, that content-rights holders have become adept at exacting a premium price for key sports rights, meaning that mobile TV operators would have to recoup their heavy capital investment by charging high subscription fees.

This is a problem, since the high churn rate experienced by TU Media in South Korea seems to suggest that mobile TV subscribers are extremely price-sensitive.

TU Media subscribers pay just KRW13,000 ($12.60) a month for the service but have been leaving in droves after their initial one-year contracts finish, forcing the firm to offer significantly reduced subscription rates to keep subscribers from deserting the service.

TU Media's experience suggests that mobile TV subscribers will be willing to pay only so much for services and that although blue-chip sports content has a crucial role to play, operators must find a way to acquire the content without paying excessive prices.

On the advertising side of the debate, many delegates at CommunicAsia argued that an ad-based strategy would work best for mobile TV platforms but that operators would have to be extremely creative in their approach.

There is no magic bullet that will provide a successful business model, but there seems to be a reasonable possibility that an attractive model can be built if operators can match the largely young and technology-friendly subscribers viewing mobile TV on their handsets with advertisers desperate to reach such a market.

Intriguingly, conference delegates also discussed the possibility that broadcast-type mobile TV services might never fully take off in the region and that Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (MBMS) video streaming over high-speed HSPA and future LTE networks would dominate the market.

The debate has strong proponents on both sides. Many vendors back an MBMS approach, saying that experience shows that broadcast-style services are not what users are demanding and that the more-narrowly targeted VOD-style content being offered on HSPA networks is already proving hugely popular.

The pro-MBMS argument also runs that with HSPA/LTE networks already in place and offering voice, data and video services, why go to the expense of deploying a terrestrial or satellite-based mobile TV network, especially with the expense involved in creating high-quality in-building reception?

Although this is a persuasive argument, it has shortfalls, most notably the fact that even LTE networks will still be point-to-point networks and will be unequipped to operate as point-to-multipoint services, which a full broadcast mobile TV service would require.
The broadcast-mobile-TV lobby argues strongly that the core strengths of broadcast-based networks cannot be replicated by even high-speed mobile networks, which would not be able to support the huge demand that's sure to arise for broadcasts of live sports and important news events.

In reality, the MBMS-vs.-broadcast-mobile-TV debate is spurious, given that both technologies are going to be on the market, and it will be users who determine which is the more successful.
At this early stage, it looks likely that subscribers and operators will use high-speed, quality video streaming for VOD-based "snacking" on content and that full broadcast mobile TV will be used for some live events, for which only a broadcast-style service can supply the quality of service required.

Korean Insight has an interesting section on Mobile TV (but no blogs on this topic for some time). A blog on this topic last year says a lot:

As TU Media started operations in mid 2005 it tried to acquire simultaneous re-transmission rights from broadcasters. This means that S-DMB viewers would be able to watch popular dramas and shows simultaneously with fixed TV. These contents are considered the most popular on both fixed and mobile TV. However, previously have broadcasters been reluctant to share these contents because they wanted to use it for their own T-DMB service. This is why S-DMB had to focus on other contents like sports and news. But the lack of “killer” contents from fixed TV hindered S-DMB development (as shown in the graphic above). Until today it had been able to acquire approximately 1.26 million subscribers. But according to TU Media they need approximately 2.5 million subscribers to be profitable.

But also T-DMB is struggling to build a profitable business. Despite more than seven million T-DMB devices in Korea the advertising revenues are marginal. Which partially is the result of very restrictive legislation on advertising but also broadcasters have failed to develop an attractive mobile advertising value proposition to make this channel more attractive for advertisers.

Consumers have embraced this new medium and it is very likely that broadcasters will take mobile TV more serious and endeavor to make mobile TV advertising more attractive for broadcasters. Until 2012 more than 20 million T-DMB devices are expected, so mobile TV has a future in Korea.

LTE And WiMax Together?

In my last blog I talked about LTE and WiMax finally finding a peace in each other and the early signs of the two having a future together. As I said before I have always believed that the two technologies as a basic are not very much different. I certainly support the notion that the industry can benefit a lot from the two working side by side.

But as always when I was discussing this with some of my friends in the industry they questioned about the similarity between the two technologies.

So how much similar or different they are?

Whenever the similarity between LTE and WiMax is discussed we conclude that the single most important similarity between LTE and WiMax is orthogonal frequency division multiplex (OFDM) signalling. Both technologies also employ Viterbi and turbo accelerators for forward error correction. From a chip designer's perspective, that makes the extensive reuse of gates highly likely if one had to support both schemes in the same chip or chip set. From a software-defined radio (SDR) perspective, the opportunity is even more enticing. Flexibility, gate reuse and programmability seem to be the answers to the WiMax-LTE multimode challenge and that might spell SDR.

So to start with I just concentrated on OFDMA and did some research to find out how much similar the two technologies are in terms of OFDMA or are they?

Most of the articles and discussion shows that LTE and WiMax may be two peas in an OFDM pod, but they are not twins. Here are three significant differences:

1. Both use orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) in the downlink. But WiMax optimizes for maximum channel usage by processing all the information in a wide channel. LTE, on the other hand, organizes the available spectrum into smaller chunks.
WiMax pays a price for high channel utilization, however, because processing that much information might require a 1,000-point fast Fourier transform. LTE can get by with a 16-point FFT. This translates into higher power consumption, because it's difficult to design fixed-function WiMax hardware that is also efficient in LTE designs. An architecture that exploits the principles of SDR, however, could reconfigure its FFT function for better power efficiency.
2. LTE uses single-carrier frequency division multiple access (SC-FDMA) for uplink signaling, while WiMax sticks with OFDMA. A major problem with OFDM-based systems is their high peak-to-average power ratios. The average power spec cited in marketing presentations does not show the whole picture. Unfortunately, the system's power amplifier has to be designed to handle peak power--and the PA is the single-largest power consumer in a handset.
LTE opted for the SC-FDMA specifically to boost PA efficiency. "If you can improve the efficiency from 5 percent up to 50 percent simply by changing modulation schemes, then you save a lot of battery time," said Anders Nilsson, principal system architect at multimode specialist Coresonic AB. WiMax's OFDMA has a peak-average ratio of about 10 dB, while LTE's SC-FDMA's peak-average ratio is about 5 dB.
The difference also affects the baseband chip, Nilsson added, because of the need to support two modulation schemes in the uplink. Programmable solutions are flexible enough to reuse gates and keep power low in LTE mode.

Regarding the PAPR issue (Peak to Average Power Ratio), I found the following tutorial interesting

3. Although both the IEEE 802.13e standard and the evolving LTE standard support frequency division duplexing (FDD) and time division duplexing (TDD), WiMax implementations are predominantly TDD. LTE seems to be heading in the FDD direction because it is true full-duplex operation: Adjacent channels are used for uplink and downlink. LTE can therefore quote a better spec for downlink data rates, albeit at a cost of placing very severe latency requirements for forward error correction. The bottom line is that the WiMax radio is much simpler
These differences make designing a chip or chip set to support both standards more difficult, but they also have network infrastructure consequences that might be more easily resolved by harmonization instead of competition. Certainly, from the handset designer's perspective, there is no clear winner.
The battery life and power efficiency of the chip or chip set are critical to market success, said Fannie Mlinarsky, an independent consultant specializing in wireless testing and design. Power is a big issue for WiMax and LTE because megabit-per-second capability means running the DSP hard and making the chips more power hungry.

Thursday 3 July 2008

Rumors: Femtocells being rolled out from this month

Sprint's indoor coverage-extending femtocell device, Airave, will be rolled out nationwide on July 15 (USA) according to early reports. Airave is a device which connects to any cable modem or DSL router with an open port, and generates a signal to which mobile phones can connect. Airave allows up to three simultaneous voice connections to be made within a 5,000 square foot coverage area.

Additionally, Airave comes with a 20-foot long antenna (cant be right) that must be stationed near a window so its onboard GPS receiver can connect. This is necessary for the device to function because the GPS determines if it is stationed within Sprint-licensed territory. If this device is used in an area that does not offer some degree of native Sprint coverage, it will not function.

This is a bold move from Sprint considering this another story from Unstrung titled, "Operators Feel Femto Frustration":

A lack of standards, unresolved technical issues, and unclear business cases are conspiring to push operator plans for commercial femtocell launches into next year. That’s the message from major mobile operators at the recent Femtocell Europe 2008 conference. While operators are still enticed by the potential for cost savings, capacity increases, and new service revenues that the mini home base stations promise, they gave a realistic account of their own plans for femtocells here, and they said they anticipate commercial deployments in the market some time in 2009 .

The lack of a definitive standard for femtocells is a sticking point for operators and has even caused some to postpone their vendor selections. SFR , for one, has delayed its femtocell RFQ (request for quotation) because the standards are not yet defined.

While equipment suppliers have taken a big step recently to agree on a framework for defining a femtocell standard -- thanks to vendor compromises and the Femto Forum Ltd. facilitating a consensus -- the hard work to hash out a standard at the 3GPP is just beginning.
T-Mobile International AG ’s head of RAN strategy, Zhongrong Liu, said the femtocell standardization process was hampered by “lack of resource or focus from big vendors,” and he urged them to send more delegates to the 3GPP working groups.

O2 (UK) Ltd. has found in recent femtocell tests that the devices were not hitting HSDPA data speeds. Chris Fenton, director of convergence policy at O2, said that the femtocells the operator tested recently got to just 700 kbit/s on the downlink. “There is some work to do to get us to the 3.6 Mbit/s and 7.2 Mbit/s” he said. “We’re testing early boxes, though -- I think it’s really close, so that’s OK.”

Operators admit that they are not yet certain of what the service proposition for home base stations should be or how they’ll make money from the devices. Some look to femtocells simply to improve indoor coverage, which could have a big effect on churn. AT&T’s Gordon Mansfield, director of radio access network planning, said that poor coverage is the number one cause of churn. “In the U.S. market, we’ve got these challenges,” he said.

Mansfield said that early femto deployments would be aimed at improving indoor coverage and that future deployments could be aimed at “integrating three screens in the home,” or, in other words, tying the mobile phone into consumers’ home networks.

Another article in Unstrung last month had an interview with Vodafone visionary on how Vodafone dreams of Metro Femto:

Femtocells could one day proliferate in metropolitan areas at bus stops, on lamp posts, or on buildings, if Vodafone Group plc's vision for a hotspot deployment of femto access points becomes reality. The giant mobile operator's head of new technologies and innovation, Kenny Graham, proposed taking the mini home base stations out of the home/office and onto the streets at the Femtocells Europe 2008 conference in London Wednesday morning. Graham (a.k.a. the Vodafone Visionary) reckons the same attributes that make femtocells ideal for deployment in homes and offices -– localized coverage, improved performance, self-configuration, self-optimization, and low cost -– can be of use outside, too. He dubbed this kind of deployment a “metrozone.”

Meanwhile operators are working hard to make sure the cost of Femtocell hits rock bottom:

Telecoms operators are pushing to get the cost of a 3G femtocell in the home down to €40 – well below the current $99 (€63) target. "For the femtocell to be economically viable compared with the macrocells, it has to be less than €40 in the total cost of ownership per access point," said Thierry Berthouloux, head of network evolution at French mobile phone operator SFR, speaking at the European Femtocell conference. "It is not €100, that is far to expensive, and that is really the challenge," said Berthouloux.

Tuesday 1 July 2008

NFC: Near-Field Communication

Saw this posted on Forum Oxford. Very good introductory article on NFC:

Near-field Communication (NFC) is characterized as a very short-range radio communication technology with a lot of potential, especially when applied to mobile handsets. Imagine yourself using your cellphone to interact with posters, magazines, and even with products while at the store, and with such interaction initiating a request or search for related information in real-time. Other usages of NFC include the electronic wallet to make payments using your handset, the same way you do with your credit card. With NFC all this is possible. But NFC is still a young technology. That said, NFC-enabled handsets are being introduced into the market, and deployments and pilots around the world are occurring.

Near-field Communication or NFC is a standard defined by the NFC Forum, a global consortium of hardware, software/application, credit card companies, banking, network-providers, and others who are interested in the advancement and standardization of this promising technology.

NFC is a short-range radio technology that operates on the 13.56 MHz frequency, with data transfers of up to 424 kilobits per second. NFC communication is triggered when two NFC-compatible devices are brought within close proximity, around four centimeters. Because the transmission range is so short, NFC-based transactions are inherently secure; more on this shortly.

When compared to the other short-range radio technologies, NFC is extremely short ranged and what I call people-centric. Some of the other short-range communication technologies have similar characteristics, for example RFID, while others are completely different yet complimentary to NFC; for example Bluetooth and Infrared. A good scenario of such compliment is the combination of NFC and Bluetooth, where NFC is used for pairing (authenticating) a Bluetooth session used for the transfer of data.

Complete Article at Sun Developer Network.
More about NFC at NFC Forum homepage.

Sunday 29 June 2008

Mobile broadband to overtake wired broadband by 2010

According to this report in Times Online, "By 2010, the mobile phone network will have overtaken home broadband as the primary way of connecting to the web, experts say".

I agree that more and more people are accessing web through their mobiles but replacing the connected web is still long way to go. There are many factors that will keep the connected web in business:

  • The mobile networks are not properly dimensioned and optimised to heavy data use
  • The networks are still not very reliable
  • The network backhaul is not good enough. Operators have been too cautious to upgrade their backhaul as it costs good money.
  • Mobile Web will never be suitable for large and medium business.
  • People who regularly watch Movies and Videos (inc. IPTV) over the net can never get desired quality over mobile (maybe for short time they can)

Things may change with the introduction of Femtocells but thats still long way away and anyway, the Femtos will use connected web to tunnel its data.

From the Times report:

Increased sales of laptops - which can be connected to the internet via the owner's mobile phone connection - the widespread roll out of high-speed mobile networks and the falling price of connecting to such networks have all contributed to the uptake of mobile broadband, they said.

One person in ten now regularly accesses the internet on a computer via a mobile phone connection, despite such services only having been on sale for less than a year, according to research released this week by You Gov. Of those, up to a third now connect their computers to the internet solely through the mobile network.

"This trend is as significant as the shift from home to mobile phones that took place in the mid Nineties," a spokesman for Top 10 Broadband, a price comparison site, said. "We predict that by 2010, mobile broadband will overtake home broadband as the default way to access the internet in the UK." A similar claim was made by Broadband Expert, another comparison site.

Mobile broadband takes advantage of high-speed 3G phone networks that can transfer data at speeds approaching those achieved by a fixed-line home internet connection. The customer plugs a small device known as a dongle into a laptop's USB port, and can then surf the web at speeds of about 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps).

Most home broadband packages advertising speeds of "up to 8Mbps" achieve speeds of 2.7Mbps, according to a study by Which? last year.

Prices have come down by 50 per cent from late last year, with a typical mobile broadband package now costing £15 a month - roughly on par with a fixed-line deal.

Via: WirelessMoves

T-Mobile USA Hotspot@Home goes National

T-Mobile's Hotspot@Home can be labelled as pre-femtocell service. Its based on UMA and needs UMA based phones for this service to work.

The following is from a report in C-net:

Subscribers will be able to connect any regular home telephone to a T-Mobile router that will send calls over the Internet much the same way as services like Vonage operate. The service costs $10 a month plus taxes and fees for unlimited domestic local and long-distance calls.

Only T-Mobile wireless customers who subscribe to at least a $39.99 individual calling plan or families subscribing to at least the $49.99 monthly T-Mobile calling plan can get the service. The @Home service also requires that users subscribe to a separate broadband service from a cable operator or telecom provider. And they are required to use a special T-Mobile router, which also provides Wi-Fi Internet access throughout the home.

This router can also be used to provide T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home phone service. This service, launched last year, allows T-Mobile subscribers to use dual-mode cellular and Wi-Fi phones that switch between both networks. When subscribers are near their home Wi-Fi hot spot, they use the broadband network to make unlimited domestic calls. And when they are outside the home, the phone seamlessly switches to T-Mobile's cellular network.

The service, which also costs $10 extra per month, serves two purposes. It helps provide better in-home cell phone coverage and also helps reduce the number of minutes used on the T-Mobile cellular network.

Via: Dailywireless

Saturday 28 June 2008

LTE and WiMax Working Together?

In my past blogs I have written about the competition between LTE and WiMax. From some of my previous blogs you might remember that I mentioned about the dirty war between LTE and WiMax. Until few months ago both LTE and WiMax camps never missed any opportunity to have go on each other. But it looks like things are changing now and may be changing for the good.

I have always believed that there is not much difference in the basics of the two technologies. Then why to have two camps which will not serve good to any body.

The issue for me is simply resources in our industry where we only have a finite number of R&D engineers and we split them into different camps, then we would be diluting what we can do in the future.
In the recent days after reading some articles and talking to some of my friends in the industry I can say that after a couple of years of verbal skirmishing and specsmanship, there are signs that the WiMax and LTE camps may be seeking a negotiated settlement.
I believe that LTE standard is an encompassing standard, an accommodating standard and there is a TDD section that I think WiMAX could fit into.

People in our industry must be knowing by now that the outgoing CEO of Vodafone group Arun Sarin has always been a supporter of WiMax. If I say that he was the one to kick start the open debate of LTE WiMax coming together then I won’t be million miles away from the fact. During the opening keynote at the last GSMA's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain the executive tossed out the suggestion that WiMAX could find a place within the LTE standard. He argued that we need about one sixth of the number of operating systems out there in the market and that we have to narrow the range of operating systems. Sarin continued by saying that that we have 30 or 40 operating systems right now, if we had three or five operating systems, then that would be a good thing.

For many players, there are compelling reasons for peace between the two camps and no doubt saving the money tops the list. A head-to-head battle over the next few years would require an outlay of multiple billions of dollars in equipment deployment. It would also be confusing for end users, and might even determine a winner and loser in a very high-stakes game.

Until recently, much has been made of the differences between the two 4G wireless-communications candidates, usually by comparing performance characteristics and ignoring architectural similarities. Sean Maloney, executive vice president at WiMax champion Intel Corp., has already hinted that the two standards should be harmonized because they are "about 80 percent similar." Maloney added that Intel is looking into ways to integrate the technologies. It is technically possible to create a chip set that could be used for both, he said. Maloney's comments might be interpreted as a response to Arun Sarin’s suggestion of the two coming together during the february’s GSMA’s mobile world congress.

While the feelers may not qualify as a love fest, they come at a time when emerging semiconductor technologies promise to make LTE-WiMax multimode operation a reality in the not-too-distant future. In that context, spending billions to deploy standard-specific networks becomes unattractive.

"The differences are more political than anything else," said Nadine Manjaro, senior analyst for wireless infrastructure at ABI Research (New York). Although Manjaro predicted the standards would merge, she also said LTE will not be a formal standard until 2009 or 2010. Thus, she said, it would be 2015 before any merger takes place.

Well time only will tell whether the early signs of this friendship between the two camps will materialize or not. I firmly believe there are more positives as compared to negative if the two camps come together. The time, money and resources saved will be immense if the two work together.

muni Wi-Fi for Beiging, China

I wrote about this topic earlier this year. Municipal WiFi's are failing in US as the cost of maintaining them can sometimes overwhelm the municipaltys. Anyway, I still think that they may serve a very useful purpose especially when IMS is available and they can be used as Access Networks.

While China is still holding back on 3G rollout, I read in China news that there will be a blanket of WiFi over the whole of Beijing. This will be in place by olympics and during olympics there will be free access for people. Here is what the news said:

Chinacomm Communications, the service provider, will implement the plan in three phases. The first phase began trial operations on June 25, and covers an area of 100 square kilometers.

The second phase is scheduled to finish in 2009 and the final phase will be completed in 2010 with the creation of a citywide wireless network, the report said.

Through the wireless access points, people with laptops, PDAs or Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones will be able to go online outdoors, the report said. However, the report didn't say how much the service will cost.

According to the plan, CECT-Chinacomm Communications will build 9,000 wireless access points in public areas and 150 WiMAX stations by the end of 2009, providing Wi-Fi services on more than 90 percent of streets in Beijing. Xuanwu District already has 15 such stations that serve the city's sanitation departments.

Future Tech Home of 2013 (after LTE of course ;)

Got this one in a mail from The Standard:

It's 2013, and you've just come home from work. As you pull into the driveway, you reach into your pocket and swipe the screen of your smartphone with your thumb. Your garage door opens and the lights in your house turn on. The TV queues up the shows you missed while you were working late. Your favorite songs are following you from the living room to the kitchen. Then you stop. The phone blinks and warbles at you. The fridge says you forgot the milk.

It's the HD/wireless/automated/streaming/sych'd/ready-to-entertain house of the future, and you're living in it.

Welcome home.

Sit back, strap on your sense of imagination, and get ready to step into the digital home of 2013. Here are ten technologies that will make our life complicated ... I mean simpler:

High-speed telecommunications: In 2013, you can forget about the cable guy running coax cable through your home or your Wi-Fi signal petering out in the master bedroom. By then, you'll have high-speed Internet access anywhere you go, regardless of whether you're chillin' on the deck out back or surfing upstairs in your pajamas. Constant access to the Internet will be provided by technologies like WiMAX and 4G.

It's an HD world: What's better than sitting on the couch in the family room while stuffing your mouth with popcorn as you watch the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica on your new 50-inch HDTV? Nothing? Well, what if you could live in a home where HD isn't found in just the living room, but all over the place? Now that is what I call living!

Gaming gets real: The digital home in 2013 will see a new breed of consoles that go beyond the Xbox 360/PS3/Wii experience. And although some say that game graphics have little room for improvement, the consoles being fired up in living rooms of the future will certainly feature titles that are far more life-like than ever imagined. As graphics approach photorealism, PC gaming could feel the greatest impact of all.

Reach out and touch something: Touching is fun. It's really fun to touch gadgets, and navigate user interfaces using your fingers. And while you're walking through your digital home in 2013, you'll be doing a lot of touching all the time.

Automated home control: The digital home in 2013 will provide residents with exciting new ways to control their houses, devices, and appliances, while saving energy. And who isn't happy about helping out ol' Mother Earth?

Green goes mainstream: The green trend is undeniable. More and more high-tech companies are becoming aware of their collective obligation to the environment. Right now, companies including Dell, Apple, and HP provide safe recycling of computers, while small manufacturers like Green Machine Shop in Michigan are promising more environmentally friendly computing gear.

Welcome to the cloud: As broadband penetration expands, the idea of accessing data storage, software, and even extra processing power is becoming more attractive. And if you play your cards right, your digital home in 2013 will not only be free from clutter, but it might be in a serious relationship with the Web.

The rise of streaming media: Although Blu-ray seems like the ultimate in futuristic home technologies right now, it will look like a dinosaur by 2013. By that time, streaming content from the Internet and from room to room will be relatively commonplace, and the idea of spinning a plastic disc to watch a movie will seem positively archaic.

Online distribution of TV, movies: In the digital home of 2013, the Internet will help you access libraries of content that go far beyond what Netflix or Wal-Mart offer in their DVD catalogs. Furthermore, on-demand Internet delivery will allow viewers to turn away from prescheduled TV programs. You'll be able to watch what you want, whenever you want.

Collaborating across town, and across the world: Collaborating via email is, well, outdated. In the future, you won't need to wait for an email with an updated file attachment, and you certainly won't need to send off documents through FedEx. Instead, you will be using services like Google Docs to share documents in real-time, and using next-generation conferencing and messaging services to collaborate. Sharing is the key to the future, and as your mother once told you, sharing is good for you.

You can get all the details by following this link.

And by the way, if you want to find out how the world will look in 2032, see this earlier blog.

Sunday 22 June 2008

New Fad: "SMS with Attachments"

The press release said: New ''SMS with Attachments'' Service Used by 18 Million Mobile Subscribers in China. SMS with atthments? Isnt this what MMS stands for. Maybe people are reluctant to try new Mobile Applications. Anyway, here is the press release summary:

First you get the text message. And then the phone rings, playing back a multimedia joke message sent by one of your friends. It's funny enough that you want to share it with others. It's called SMS (text) messaging with attachments, and it is the latest revenue-generating service built using Open Access(TM) media processing boards from telecommunications services platform provider NMS Communications. The SMS with attachments service, developed by value-added service provider ChannelSoft, is available to nearly 96 million China Unicom and China Mobile subscribers, and has already been adopted by more than 18 million subscribers to date.

SMS with attachments allows users to send external multimedia content to friends and family. Callers can subscribe to the service and select attachments such as music, ringback tones, jokes, other audio files and other forms of entertainment that they want to share with friends. The operator will then send the SMS message with the attachment to the recipient, who could then forward the message to other friends. ChannelSoft expects the service to continue to grow, increasing average revenue per user (ARPU), with estimates topping $44 million for 2008.

"While text messaging still enjoys the lion's share of mobile messaging revenues, operators are expanding their menus to give subscribers more options that will, in turn, drive revenues," said Jamie Warter, vice president of marketing at NMS Communications. "SMS with attachments is another great example of a creative service developed by an innovative company like ChannelSoft using NMS Open Access media processing boards."

Now you may soon hear about Phone Call with Picture (a.k.a. Video calling ;)