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Rich Tehrani
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T-Mobile Suing Starbucks

June 7, 2008

T-Mobile is already not thrilled AT&T will replace them as the service provider of choice in Starbucks stores, now the GSM-based service provider who was early to embrace WiFi is losing revenue due to the new AT&T/Starbucks promotion of free WiFi in its stores.

While the news came out around February 11th that AT&T and Starbucks would provide free WiFi service, according to these court documents T-Mobile learned of this arrangement on or around March 30th.

Here are the salient points from this lawsuit:

  • In early 2008, Starbucks, AT&T and T-Mobile negotiated some agreements allowing a structured and seamless transition allowing AT&T to replace T-Mobile as the WiFi provider in Starbucks stores.
  • During the transition period, T-Mobile and AT&T would each promote the other brand via web pages which are displayed when a user logs onto the wireless network.
  • In addition, this page would allow customers to be authenticated by an existing subscription with either service provider.
  • AT&T and T-Mobile would not pay each other for using one another's networks.
  • Starbucks rolled out a promotional plan allowing its customers using a Starbucks card to register the card at starbucks.com and at this point the customers are directed to an AT&T page.
  • Since every US market is covered by T-Mobile except for Bakersfield, CA and San Antonio, TX, T-Mobile loses the opportunity to be marketed in front of these customers in other markets.
  • In addition, these cards are available to everyone, not just AT&T customers.
  • The agreement stipulates only AT&T customers are to have this right.
There is more but you get the idea... The point is if you have a T-Mobile account today, why not cancel it and use these cards instead to ensure you have access to the internet for free.

Based on the documents it is apparently T-Mobile thinks that Starbucks and the relationship they have with the behemoth of a coffee house is important to their success. Om Malik finds it funny that a coffehouse is a key pawn between two telecoms. He has a point.







Will Steve Jobs Wow Us?

June 7, 2008

It seems that if you do not blog about the iPhone this weekend you will be out touch with the blogging and news gathering communities. It is just that important. On Monday we will have a new Apple mobile device to drool over and I wonder if the company has any surprises up its sleeve such as higher screen resolution?

We know the new iPhone also called Jesus Phone by some will have 3G but will it also have a keyboard?

Tech Overload For Rich Tehrani

June 6, 2008

You may hear less from me than usual over the next week as I have a new Laptop -- a Dell M1530, a new desktop from Dell and a new HTC XV6800 (my old one had an unfortunate encounter with a toilet. )

I find that technology makes me productive. This is likely no surprise as I write about this topic so often. Tech allows me to communicate and work anywhere and everywhere.

HTC Touch Pro

June 5, 2008

The HTC Touch Pro may be the ultimate Blackberry killer. I know the term "killer" is used very often but let's look at this situation carefully... People who type a lot benefit from a keyboard. Sure, an on-screen keyboard works but it is not ideal.

Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

June 4, 2008

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do you think we could see a time when we all have avatars -- or even multiple avatars used when communicating with different people?

Think about it... A work avatar in a suit, a casually dressed avatar for hanging out with your friends and yet another more "elegantly dressed" avatar for communicating with members of the opposite sex.

I recently wrote that Nortel, Dialogic and NMS are in this space but I forgot to mention that IBM too is deploying a virtual world communications system for US intelligence agencies. (Credit goes to Tony Rybczynski for reminding me yesterday of this).

Nortel recently espoused how we will one day use avatars on our mobile phones and it seems they were right on -- at least in theory.





Will LTE Fuel IMS?

June 3, 2008

Will LTE fuel IMS? Bob Emmerson seems to think so and he has a great point. With similar elements defined in WiMAX, LTE and IMS, the chances that carriers will have to install more and more IMS components are good. Similar to how you put a few pieces of a puzzle together at a time only to find your entire puzzle is solved before you know it, expect carriers to look at their networks and say that with a few more dollars they will have full-fledged IMS and the benefits such a framework allows.

Another point worth making is that IMS is due for a revival as we have already gone through the hype phase and there is less buzz around this term than there has been since its inception.

Flat Rate Voice/Data Plans for SMBs

June 3, 2008

One More Reason To Vacation in the Bahamas

June 1, 2008

Recently the Bahamas Telecom Company (BTC) decided to migrate its existing countrywide wireline network to IP using Sonus and Calix gear. The move to IP will reduce the amount of equipment that needs managing and in addition, the Bahamian phone company expects to save over one million dollars a year in electricity as a result of this switch. Another million or more is expected to be saved in reduced upgrade and maintenance costs.

In addition to replacing the existing infrastructure, the plan includes a disaster recovery site in Miami which will enable the carrier to quickly recover the island’s communications network in case of a natural disaster or other emergency.

What is interesting about this news is that Hassan Ahmed, CEO and chairman at Sonus Networks mentioned that the Bahamas is ahead of many major carriers in its adoption of IP-based telephony. While most of us in the telecom field know this to be true, it is still baffling to me.



Of IP Communications and Broadband Reliability

June 1, 2008

I came across an interesting article in the New York Times by Randall Stross which discusses consumer VoIP services, the differences in quality between them and the general trend towards multiple services of lower reliability replacing a single service (PSTN) of extreme reliability.

What is interesting is comments by Comcast regarding the reliability of the company's service as compared to Vonage. The cable company stresses that their quality is better. They go on to say, because they have control of the network, they can provide better service. This is a true statement of course -- any internet telephony service can potentially be inferior to the quality of IP telephony -- where packets do not flow across the public internet.

Then again, as broadband speeds get better and better, the quality of internet telephony improves as well.



WiMAX Research Launched

May 28, 2008

If you are interested in analysis on the ClearWire WiMAX deal and other facets of the exciting WiMAX industry, you are in luck as Sidecut Reports has a new report which goes into depth on all parts of the burgeoning market.

The growth of WiMAX is probably going to be like so many other technologies. It will be over-hyped, slow and then do well when we aren't looking. This of course is easy for me to say but what about the countless people who need to make investment decisions that turn into quick profit?

These people need actionable intelligence and they need it ASAP.

Is this report what you need?

I browsed the 39-page draft executive summary and liked what I saw. In addition, I know the author Paul Kaputska quite well and he is great writer -- knowledgeable and with good connections.

Some of the topics in the summary include why now is the time to launch WiMAX networks in the US as the threat of 4G looms; an iPhone discussion; LTE; cCompeting wireless timelines; A discussion of the players in the space; and WiMAX chips, costs and more.

I recommend this report to anyone who needs to keep up with the busy and often exciting wireless/WiMAX space.











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