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Service Provider Opportunities

January 11, 2008

Service providers are being extremely creative in using technology and ingenuity to launch new and enhanced services and products to keep customers and attract new ones. Some of the better ideas I have seen lately are the consumer electronics DECT phone from Comcast which allows internet browsing and address synchronization via the in-home cordless phone.

I also think the Alltel/AAA collaboration is a great move allowing consumers access to over 100,000 locations which give AAA discounts. In addition the GPS-enabled devices allow instant transmission of location to AAA when you have a car problem.

Another great idea is the transmission of Pandora radio to certain AT&T Wireless handsets. I really like Pandora as the service allows you to customize your own radio stations without listening to commercials.



IP Fax Reliability

January 11, 2008

Nortel Sues Vonage

December 17, 2007

Vonage just can’t catch a break these days and seems to be the target of more lawsuits related to patent infringements than just about any other company out there. The latest patent fight is with Nortel, a company who says Vonage is infringing on twelve of its patents.   ``Defending our intellectual property rights is a top priority for Nortel,'' said Nortel spokesman Mohammed Nakhooda. ``That's why we are seeking damages and to put an injunction on the use of our technology with respect to Vonage.''   ``The litigation is ongoing and both parties have filed and will continue to file papers,'' said Vonage spokesman Charles Sahner. Nortel's filing ``is a countersuit in defense.''   Generally speaking when a company becomes as high profile as Vonage they also have an arsenal of patents.

Net Neutrality 2.0

December 12, 2007

Should service providers be allowed to alter your web pages? The issue came up yet again when Toronto-based Rogers decided to insert messages containing sales messages in web pages they display on their customer’s browsers.   "We are concerned about these reports," Google said in an emailed statement to the Toronto Star.   "As a general principle, we believe that maintaining the Internet as a neutral platform means that carriers shouldn't be able to interfere with Web content without users' permission," the Google statement said. "We are in the process of contacting the relevant parties to bring this to a quick resolution."   Without a doubt, this is the sort of issue that begs for politicians to ensure there is network neutrality.   If service providers are allowed to display messages in web browsers, there are virtually unlimited things they can do to destroy other businesses. They could for example only show messages on Google search pages thereby giving users the incentive to switch search engines.  

They could reformat pages in such a way that they look unattractive.

NextPoint Analysis

December 11, 2007

If you meet David Walsh a partner with One Equity Partners, you immediately think banker. For those of you who may not frequent the tiny (and blisteringly cold when I was there) island of Manhattan, banker generally means investment banker. At a telecom conference you can always pick out the bankers because they dress nicer than most telecom types.   I recently had a chance to meet with Walsh and discuss the formation of NextPoint with him. Generally the “money people” are shielded from the communications and technology media as there are generally more technical people who are better at communicating with the “trade” media.

Security: The Best IP Topping of All

December 11, 2007

The Internet Protocol is one of the largest enablers of the last decade. It allows communications to take place wherever there is broadband connectivity. Voice over IP, video over IP, fax over IP… Just about everything runs over IP it seems. But this is old news – right?

Telecom Growing Nicely

December 5, 2007

It’s a good time to be in telecom. With all the housing gloom and doom it is nice to see that at least the telecom market is doing exceedingly well. Of course you have to pick your battles… Consumer VoIP is a rough space to be in (just ask Vonage) but companies focusing on the enterprise are as happy as pigs – well let’s keep this semi clean – Pigs in subprime mortgages.   Case in point, after a sluggish second quarter in 2007, enterprise telephony equipment manufacturers saw an 11 percent jump in worldwide sales in 3Q07 to reach $2.6 billion, according to a recent study.   “The Big Three (Avaya, Cisco, and Nortel) had excellent quarters, all growing well into the double digits,” said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research.   Worldwide sales of service provider next-gen voice equipment are up 5 percent in 3Q07 from 2Q07 to $956.4 million, says Infonetics Research in its "Service Provider VoIP and IMS Equipment and Subscribers" report.   “The bump this quarter was partially due to seasonal factors, as the third quarter tends to be strong, but also because of increased demand across the board, even in the TDM segment.

NextPoint is Born

December 4, 2007

TMCnet’s Greg Galitzine announced the rumor on October 19th that NexTone and Reef Point were to merge. Today the news becomes real as the companies are combining to create NextPoint. Here are some quick facts and quotes according to the companies:  
  • Combined Companies to Deliver First Integrated Border Gateway, in Addition to Full Suite of Products Under the new NextPoint Name
 
  • Woody Ritchey Named CEO; David Walsh Named Chairman
 
  • JP Morgan Chase’s One Equity Partners Leads $20 Million Investment Round To Address Accelerating Market Demand
  “The integration of session border controllers for both fixed and mobile networks with a security gateway enabled by the merger of Reef Point and NexTone will create a powerful product family for next generation networks,” said Malcolm Wardlaw, Director, Converged Services, Intelligence and Applications, BT. “The IBG has the potential to simplify network design as well as reduce the total cost of ownership in a converged world, supporting the needs of our customers in an all-IP world.”   “The increasing demand for secured IP-based mobility services in a multi-access environment is creating a need for a new category of equipment called the multi-access convergence gateways that provides intelligent interaction with subscribers, services, and transport mechanisms,” said Stéphane Téral, Principal Analyst, Service Provider VoIP, IMS & FMC, Infonetics Research.

Podcast Interview: Oswin Eleanora, Acision

December 3, 2007

In my travels, one of the more knowledgeable players I have run across in the space of telecom – and especially wireless communications is Oswin Eleonora (Oz) the Senior VP Sales and Marketing North America for Acision. You may recall I wrote about Oz and Acision back in July of this year.   I had a chance to pick his brain again regarding Verizon’s open network announcement, the iPhone, the future of wireless, the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), Android, CDMA, GSM and more.   How will service providers differentiate themselves in the upcoming years as networks become more commoditized? Oz has the answer.

Consumer Gadgets Eclipse Business Phones

December 1, 2007

The maddening division between consumer and business mobile devices continues to grow and as the trend picks up steam it is apparent consumers are the winners and businesspeople suffer. This is not to say the problem isn’t in some ways necessary.   Case in point was the amount of time it took for Research in Motion to put cameras on their Blackberrys. Many corporate customers actually didn’t want cameras on phones it purchased and this is the reason many of these e-mail workhorses seemed so featureless for so long.   This weekend however it really hit me. Consumers are getting unbelievable products and businesspeople are left wondering why our devices are so boring and devoid of features.
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