Carl Ford : 4G: For Generations to Come
Carl Ford

Telecom Tidbits # 2457

Some help with Robocalls. Pass it along. Private equity firm, TPG, last year acquired RCN and Grande. Now they are grabbing...

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Is the Cisco VNI Right?

I come across many business plans that utilize the Cisco VNI, and these business plans and business often speak of it...

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What Happened to LinkedIn?

This week there have been two posts on my feed about "We can connect but don't spam me!" The discussion was...

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If Starting Today as an Agent

If I was starting my telecom agency today, what would I do? When I started in 1999, I was selling basically...

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The Rise of AI in Communications

Data, Data everywhere but not a byte to thinkData, Data everywhere buy why are the bytes not linked? As economical compute power...

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ITW - Will There Ever Be A Return To The Good Ol' Days?

International Telecoms Week (ITW) is where all the interconnect carriers come to work out minutes exchange pricing and routes.   Dialogic has had a...

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What The U.S. Tax Code can Learn From Ransomware

U.S. citizens in Little Rock Arkansas pay the same federal income tax as those in New York and Beverly Hills - even...

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My Instincts about the Korean market opening up for iPhone

September 24, 2009

It will be interesting to see what happens next, now that the Korean Communications Commission has okayed the importing of iPhones and Blackberries. 

Korean has a very saturated market, so I would not expect a fast migration.  However I would expect to see improvements from Samsung in software strategies, including an adoption of Android in the states.

It has been interesting to observe Kanji based cell phone users, They have a phonetic use of the alphabetic keyboard that makes their sms messages happen quite quickly.  I am not sure the soft key boards on a screen are going to add any value to most users.

Additionally most games in Asia have found their way through existing solutions, so I am not sure how much additional value the app store will bring to the table.

Of course on a sheer numbers market perspective the adoption will probably be astounding, but like Telefonica, I think the more interesting question is what impact it will have on carrier adoption.

Tags: Android, Apple, Appstore, Blackberry, Google, Instinct, KCC, RIM, SK Telecom, Samsung, South Korea, Telefonica










Lightsquared Goes to the Beyond

September 21, 2009

It is painful to watch the corpses of competition.  I tried to by Clearwire service over the weekend and that was outright painful.  Lightsquared at least never was in a store I could go to so buying the alternative service was never an option.

Lightsquared had the dubious challenge of restating its goals and making the GPS community come after them like villagers chasing Frankenstein.

Significant Skype Snipes

September 21, 2009

I am always impressed with Skype.  The user interfaces are good, the business strategy is clever and left to itself, it has created a significant marketshare of communication without technically being a carrier.

That is a difficult road to travel.  Virgin Mobile, Vonage, Packet8 and most MVNOs have not been able to navigate that agile path.

So if the Janus has been Jilted by the former Joltid CEO the question is does that mean an end to Skype's ability to navigate?

Inside Avaya there is a lot of buzz about being able to join the Skype Echo system.  It could take on a lot of different strategies, from developing media server solutions, interfacing like Digium has to the Skype network, or my favorite, federating the pbx's with supernode abilities.

Federating has been a giant problem, because the long tail of the federating has been elusive.  I was very close to it once, and the company I helped to form got lost in the weeds.  See the thing they forget to tell you about the long tail first mover is that its the new category creation that is the key.

But if Silver Lake's Skype acquistion goes through, in theory Avaya's federation has found a new home and its not aligned with a network operator.

On the other hand if Janus and Niklas win their war, its not about enabling the enterprise for them.  The path that the current team has been on in deepening the eco system.  I am not sure if the partner program would be totally restored, but I would bet that it would at least be reorganized.  (As you know it was killed shortly after the announcement of the acquistion)  This could have been just an issue of not hosting it with the Ebay types, which had hosted the community as a subset for a while.

If Niklas negates the deal, the question of what is next becomes significant.  Without a clear path, Skype could go the way of Alta Vista, AOL, and other industry movers. If the objection is one of allowing Skype to go IPO I think that works. If it is about the IP embedded in the system and the licensing deal is the real issue, that should be addressable.  (I have stated my view previously).

I am sure Ebay would love for this to be over, but like a diamond that is going to be cut, the next move is the significant one.  Let's hope it makes the service more precious.

Tags: AOL, Alta Vista, Digium, Ebay, Federation, Janus Friis, Joltid, Joost, MVNO, Niklas Zennstron, Packet8, Silver Lake, Skype, Virgin Mobile, Vonage, avaya

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Niklas and Janus Jolts Ebay WTF?

September 15, 2009

Hmmmn,

I guess the world is truly in a state of chaos.

According to Reuter's the Skype founders are suing Ebay and Silver Lake over their skype deal.

I am not sure, how this happened.

Many of us who had been looking at the skype sale, knew that Niklas and Janus had to be managed. 

It may be the knee jerk reaction that had Ebay buy Skype is still part of the culture in selling it.

On the other hand, given the Skype development team has not managed to publicly migrate away from the piece of core technology from Niklas and Janus. 

Many of us believed that the acquistion of Paradial would have been appropriate.  It maybe that Paradial represents some prior art of value in the network.

Regardless,  it should be interesting to see how this is resolved.

Tags: Ebay, Paradial, Silver Lake, Skype

















Should the Universal Service Fund Include Wireless Broadband

September 15, 2009

In a panel discussion at 4G world the general opinion was that USF will be modified to include the ability to support wireless broadband strategies.

"Their is growing consensus that Universal Service should include wireless" said Hank Hultquist of ATT.  Many panel members echoed these comments, but the details as to what will be included were not the full topic of the discussion.

Currently the definition of broadband is under discussion at the FCC. 

Many carriers are worried that a definition now may be unattainable as they service the growing data needs of the consumer.  Previously Kris Rinne, 4G CTO of ATT, stated that they were seeing a 4000%  growth in the data traffic since the adoption of the iPhone and other smartphones.

Questions that will have to be addressed include whether the addition of wireless to the fund will be associated with reform to the fund itself or as an addition.  Current adminstration members were instrumental in the development of the USF in the Clinton adminstration and have a favorable view to the model.

However the costs associated with the High Cost land line services may not be valid when talking about Wireless strategies, and it may be that the inclusion represents alternative services as well via the E-rate model.

It has been suggested that many of the proposals attempting to use the stimulus dollars are similar in ownership structure associated with E-rate.

Tags: ATT, Hank Hultquist, Kris Rinne, USF, Wireless Broadband, e-rate, high cost













Apple you Win, I Bought and iTouch!

September 10, 2009

As my regular readers know, I am Apple user but not and Apple fan.

As so many of my friends around me are using the iPhone and telling me how cool it is, while never making a call with it.  I decided the best AV tool I could use to get my points across was an iTouch.

I bought the iTouch paid extra for the microphone headset and gave it access to my Verizon MiFi.  I then downloaded skype with an outbound international dialing service.  What are the points I am trying to get across?

1) the iPhone is a gadget not a smart phone.  The best application I have seen on the iPhone that is telecom related is Calliflower, but even that is just as good if not better on the web. It really is a gaming device that you can by virtual cartridges for at the app store.
2) the App Store has nothing to do with the 3G.  When spectrum was ransomed with the hope of new services, the apps and the network were suppose to be a blend.  We have still yet to find a purpose to be married and the app store is little more than a WAP gateway of control.
3) the Apps are in the store, because it is a gateway.  For all the talk of the 65,000 plus applications, It is nothing in comparison to the Internet itself and the value of Internet is repackaged within the store.
4) the network is the Internet, no offense to ATT.  The ability to deliver worldwide connectivity can not be over emphasized. The iPhone / iTouch are beautiful devices, but it would be a wrong to consider them valuable as a network device.

As you should have expected its a poor concession speech, but its a beautifully designed device.


Tags: ATT, AppStore, Apple, MiFi, Skype, Verizon Wireless, iPhone, iTouch















In the UK, resistance to drink the Orange T

September 9, 2009

I was looking at Guardian reading about the merger of the Orange and T-Mobile assets in the UK.  This 50/50 merger seems to me a great deal particularly for T-Mobile.  Orange from most accounts was the better built out network than the T-Mobile acquired assets.

I expect that some consumer concerns are going to impact the restrictions on the merger but the merger will go through.  The biggest issue is that Vodafone the UK based company just got passed in market share by other carriers making them number 3.

Its a vibrant market and if O2 was allowed to become part of Telfonica, and has Hutcheson (branded as 3) representing other foreign investors in the space the consolidation of foreign investors is a good thing. 

As for impact, I could make a case that 3 and Virgin will find a way to work together.  By in large Richard Branson has lost his taste for Telecom is more focused on energy issues (even before smart grid became the fad).  However, the opportunity may be with one of the other large players.

The analysis in the UK about the need for 5 wireless competitors should be put in perspective to the EU's over all view.  The EU commission sees all the services as blended, as ultimately they are, so landline operators, cable and other technologies should be pointed out as reasons to think beyond the monopolistic fears.

On a worldwide scale the more interesting question is should we expect more of the same.  I have often felt that T-Mobile and Sprint would be a good combination, but they do not have a common history in the US.  But strangely enough, Orange has a past with Sprint, so maybe the ball will get rolling towards some US talks.

Tags: 3, EU, Hutcheson, O2, Orange, Sprint, T-Mobile, Telefonica, UK, United Kingdom, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone











LTE Reality Check

September 9, 2009

Of all the sessions i attended at 4GWE my biggest wake up call came from the sessions featuring Frank Schirrmeister of Synopsys, Chris Rowen of Tensilica and Frank Vincze of Steepest Ascent.

With the standards released almost a year ago to the day of the conference, the normal cycle for chip production is over 2 years.  And thanks to the work of companies like Steepest Ascent, the library of standards actually has a chance to be interoperable.  Even the largest companies will use the products from our speakers to assure some sort of independent testing.

So as Verizon pushes to get LTE out there as soon as possible the chipset is going through the iterative stage of development.  This further points out that Verizon is willing to bleed a little on the edge like it did with FIOS.

However, the odds are likely that the development effort will have a few hiccups along the way.  The question is will it be only apparent to the network operator, or will it be noticable to the end user.

I got the impression from Chris Rowen, that a great deal of the issues can be hidden in the development of the chips, if you have a bold enough vision of the processing strategy.

In the end the testing that Synopsys enables a sense of security in rolling out services.

I thank the panel for enlightening me.

Tags: Chris Rowen, Frank Schirrmeister, Frank Vincze, Steepest Ascent, Synopsys, TenSilica, Verizon Wireless

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Testing a Big Question for 'Open' 4G Devices

September 3, 2009

There was a little cold-water type reality splashed on the audience at the morning panels here Thursday at the 4GWE conference, specifically around the notion of 4G network and device testing -- a relatively non-sexy topic that may nevertheless slow down the delivery of all the new devices promised for the 4G networks of the future.

The problem, as outlined by the panelists, is that with the increased bandwidth and increased functionality of the mobile devices of the future comes exponential requirements for testing to make sure the devices and the applications residing on them work as promised.

There was some deep-dive material that we're not going to get into right now (check this space for an update when we post the panel presentations) but on a simpler plane panelists like David Gehringer, VP of marketing for Fanfare Software, noted that things like the IEEE standards, say for mobile WiMAX, are really just the starting point for delivering a working device.

"It's nice to have a standard, but it's really just the ante," Gehringer said. After you meet the baseline standard specs, he said, "then the real testing starts."

Fanny Mlinarsky, president of octoScope, said that in the past testing mobile devices was relatively simple, since they typically only had one radio inside. Now, multiple radios -- different cellular bands, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth -- are a given, as are multiple applications, sometimes from third parties outside the carrier's own operations.

The complexity, she said, makes testing devices a much harder task these days. Even Apple's iPhone, which all panelists agreed was an extremely well-tested device from the manufacturer's standpoint, has attracted a wide range of add-on applications, some of which perform better than others -- especially when it comes to battery usage.

"That's why iPhone users stay close to the power plug," Mlinarsky said.


 














Bandwidth Update -- Towerstream Holding Strong

September 2, 2009

Here's another look at the WiMAX-fueled bandwidth we are enjoying here at the 4GWE conference -- thanks to Towerstream. (For clarity's sake Towerstream CEO Jeff Thompson said the 10 Mbps link is not "official" WiMAX but a proprietary Towerstream implementation... to us it's just backhaul and it's working pretty well.)

This link is from the WiMAX to a Wi-Fi access point... lots of folks on the net, very few problems.

Tags: Towerstream, Wi-Fi, WiMAX