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Despite Outages, Verizon Has Record Quarter

January 24, 2012

Months back Verizon sent me a 4G personal hotspot to review and I confess it is one of the most important pieces of technology I have. For example just yesterday I was at a lunch meeting for an extended period of time – and I had an iPad and keyboard with me. The Optimum WiFi network was not working well. AT&T was also having problems for whatever reason – it was very slow.

Julius Genachowski Makes Brilliant Move at FCC in Hiring Henning Schulzrinne as CTO

December 29, 2011

Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the appointment of Henning Schulzrinne as Chief Technology Officer – a major move forward for the FCC and the US communications regulatory environment. This move was made in-part because the FCC has had to keep up with fairly rapid changes in the communications and networking worlds. Telephony was once a circuit-switched service provided by a handful of large telecommunications companies and a number of regional players.

It was relatively easy to understand and regulate.

At Metaswitch Forum 2011

October 3, 2011

I presented at two sessions today at Metaswitch Forum 2011 and both focused on wireline trends in the market. The general theme of this conference so far has to do with how carriers can compete in a world which is rapidly becoming mobile and social. Metaswitch for it's part has been busy improving it's platforms allowing carriers to take back control of business relationships with their customers.

Interesting takeaways from this session is a discussion being led by Anusha 'Ash' Nirmalananthan of Metaswitch where she is dissecting some social network activities in Facebook and Skype and exposing areas of exploitation for carriers.

She says, innovation and differentiation are crucial for carriers going forward.



ITEXPO West 2011 Austin Highlights

August 23, 2011

Before all ITEXPO events I do a final proofread of the show directory and this one may be the biggest ever at 132 pages with tabs (just doing our part to support the economy). We will post a PDF version soon so you can see what’s in it but until then, here are some highlights that caught my eye:

Keynotes & Exhibits Tuesday, September 13th at 9:15 AM we have Ian Pennell from Cisco and at 4:30 PM-5:30 PM we have keynotes from Siemens and IBM followed by a Grand Opening Networking Reception sponsored by Interact from 5:30-7:30.

Wednesday, September 14th at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM we have keynotes from Polycom and DHL followed by exhibits from 11:00 AM- 4:00 PM. Then at 4:00 PM there is a Cocktail reception sponsored by Rackspace Hosting and at 4:45 you could win a pair of mountain bikes from Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop - an Austin Institution ( I am told).

Will AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Slow Wireless Innovation?

July 25, 2011

AT&T has done an incredible job of getting special interest group after group to endorse its merger with T-Mobile, saying it will provide better broadband access for minorities, rural subscribers and just about any group of people you can think of. The broader gay community too has endorsed the merger - apparently transgender-Americans have been hoping for the day when there was one less GSM provider to choose from.

Here is how the system works - AT&T has hundreds of thousands of workers and inevitably large numbers of them in myriad groups. This in turn coupled with large contributions to various organizations and associations is rewarded with the reciprocal endorsing of anything AT&T requests.

To help grease the wheels even further, AT&T has further upped its lobbying budget by 58% according to PC Magazine.

AT&T is doing the smart thing by getting rid of its sole GSM provider allowing it better negotiating leverage in its roaming agreements with foreign carriers and gaining the ability to raise rates with one less major competitor to depress market pricing. It will also gain more leverage when negotiating with hardware and software companies.

An anti-merger video by the Free Press Action Fund



If the US government blocks the deal it will be because the remaining major companies AT&T and Verizon will have so much share that they are effectively a duopoly at about 80% - allowing them to raise prices at will.

Again, if you are an AT&T or Verizon shareholder, you likely want this merger to happen and AT&T is serving its short-term  shareholders well by seeking this transaction.

But the challenge I see is that with one less major telecom carrier in the US it becomes that much more difficult for innovative start-ups to launch, get funding and hold their breath long enough for a carrier to buy from them.















Is AT&T Using Investment Angle to Silence Blumenthal?

March 25, 2011

One thing you have to give AT&T a tremendous amount of credit for is knowing how to work the regulatory system - legal, financial and lobbying to get deals done. They are absolute masters and off the record I hear amazing things about just how connected they are. And they will likely need to pull on all the strings they have access to in order to make the T-Mobile acquisition happen.

So realizing the US is a Republic made up of 50 states, the company has now begun working on public opinion in individual states. Consider that today alone the company has put out two releases regarding their building of what they call the most advanced mobile broadband experience in Cincinnati and Connecticut.

In boilerplate press releases where a few items are changed, the company explains that in the greater Cincinnati area it is going to install 10 new cell sites, add spectrum carriers to 35 cell sites, enhance backhaul to 100 cell sites to enable 4G and deploy a distributed antenna system at the Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium to enhance network coverage during events.



What AT&T Purchase of T-Mobile Means

March 20, 2011

Today, AT&T announced it was purchasing T-Mobile from Deutsche Telecom generating a combined entity with 130 million wireless subscribers producing $72.2B per year in revenue. While AT&T had an exclusive contract with Apple to sell iPads and iPhones it could rely on organic growth but now that Cupertino decided polygamy was more lucrative and Google’s Android is unleashing a torrent of cool devices on all networks, the challenge for carriers is to figure out how to compete effectively in a world where differentiating based on device is more difficult.

iPhone and AT&T’s Network Quality Perception

AT&T took a beating while being the exclusive home of the iPhone and was ridiculed on programs from The Daily Show to Saturday Night Live for selling device which couldn’t effectively make phone calls.

Sprint Doing Better But Challenges Loom

February 11, 2011

Sprint added 58,000 net subscribers in its latest quarter ahead of estimates but is still losing money and now must contend with the Verizon iPhone. Beecher Tuttle has the details on TMCnet. The new challenges for Sprint are twofold.

You can now get an iPhone to work anywhere in the US where Sprint service is strong. Every carrier has some pockets of strength. The basement of Grand Central Station for example is one place where AT&T works very well and Verizon doesn't work at all.

If Super WiFi is A Dream, At Least I'm in Good Company

January 27, 2011

Updated Jan 27, 2011, 8:01 pm EST.

It’s no secret that both Microsoft and Google are looking at white spaces and Super WiFi as an area of growth allowing inexpensive broadband wireless signals to be transmitted over long distances.

But technology is difficult to predict – we didn’t know for sure tablets were going to cannibalize PC sales but they are and we didn’t know small, cheap hard drives were going to cut the legs out from the large, expensive hard drive market. You may know that in 1997 when I went to COMDEX and told the world TMC was going to launch a magazine called Internet Telephony – people laughed and told me it wasn’t an industry.

-50F With Wind Chill. Escape to ITEXPO in Miami

January 24, 2011

You know I would never stoop to reminding you about the weather to persuade you to attend what I believe to the be the best tech and telecom conference in the world - OK, maybe I would.

So I was driving along this morning on the way to work and noticed I couldn't feel any of my fingers. I decided to check to make sure I was wearing gloves. I was. Then I realized I couldn't feel any of my toes and yes I had shoes on.



I then looked at the temperature reading and it said one degree.





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