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

Open Letter to LinkedIn

What started as a neat online rolodex evolved into a business networking site, but now is a lousy version of Facebook....

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API of the Week: Stitch Labs Adds Flexibility to Omnichannel Commerce

As the number of sales channels explodes, companies look to automation to help them manage inventory across them all. From Amazon to...

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ITW and the Importance of Services

As many of you know, ITW has historically been about wholesale voice minutes exchange.  But as voice minutes exchange has lessened in...

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All About the API: The One Developer Event You Need

OK, I am going to start off by taking back the headline of this post... There isn't one of anything you need....

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API of the Week: Use Flowroute to Access the Multibillion Dollar Telecom API Space

Flowroute is one of the companies in technology that “gets it” when it comes to APIs. Yes, I know APIs aren’t new…...

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API of the Week: Vidyo APIs Add Value All Around Us

If you want your company to have a tremendous valuation, make it an integral part of a platform which allows others to...

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The Growing Importance of VoWiFi Beyond VoLTE

Last week, I wrote about the importance of VoWiFi as an extension to the VoLTE strategy.  When you look at the chart...

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The Apple Google war may make ATT the Victim.

August 3, 2009

While the California Titans get into a contest of wills, ATT's congressional nemesis is looking to add to the battle.

I have to say it's pretty amazing to me what Congress focuses on, but the letters from the FCC inquiring about GoogleVoice make clear that this is going to be dragged into the bigger discussion.

First of all lets talk about the letters.  The FCC's letter to Apple
Apple letter 7 31 09.pdf wants to see if ATT drove the decision or had any influence.  I think Craig Moffett is right to suggest that if that were the case, it would be more courtesy than control.

Though as a former President of a major phone company used to say, If you leave a telco witness up long enough they will confess to anything.

Now the ATT letter AT&T Letter 7 31 09.pdf gets into the general distrust and expands the discussion to ask about blocking applications as well.

Finally the Google letter Google letter 7 31 09.pdf ends with concern as to whether Android has similar strategies as Apple.

Embedded in the documents are a bunch of questions about Rural Services and Network Neutrality to the ATT & Apple relationship.  Particularly when taken into consideration of the Markey Bill.  It has brought to the attention of the Congress that the Stimulus may leave the unserved and underserved with a network that does not have sexy devices like the iPhone on it, which is not what their constiuents want to hear. 

The people want device freedom, and Congress may give it to them.

On the business side of the equation the resignation of Eric Schmidt from the Apple board is probably long overdue.  The companies have been expanding the Ven Diagram of overlap with Android, Chrome, MobileMe, Safari, etc.

While the two companies could have been the best hope for a level playing field of interoperability, we are probably not going to see either side be their better selves for a while.

Adobe and Oracle (Java) are two other companies that may have a desire to contribute to the discussion.


Tags: Adobe, Android, Apple, ATT, Congress, Craig Moffet, Eric Schmidt, Google, GoogleVoice, iPhone, JAVA, Markey, Oracle, Steve Jobs

























A Kinder Way to Interpret the Sprint's Numbers

July 29, 2009

The Wall Street Journal was pretty hard on Sprint as was the Kahuna on CNBC. 

However the reality is the losses to the iPhone are proportionately less than Verizon has suffered.  It may be for a few reasons.  First of all Sprint may have a good understanding that its customers base is price sensitive.  

The long tail of the iPhone is only a long tail for a specific segment of the market. 

The prepaid services of Boost and Virgin Mobile are probably a case of eating your own young, but it seems to be keeping them in the same tent.  However this migration impacts the profit margin harder.

The acquistion of Virgin Mobile also represents an impact on the botton line, since being the supplier was more profitable than being the service.

Richard Branson like so many other entrepreneurs has found telecom to be as bad a market as the airline industry, which may be why his efforts for green technology are not particularly network oriented.

On the other side of the equation the eating of their young via Clearwire and the outsourcing to Ericsson indicate a desire to get to the right price points to compete in the market.  I think there are opportunities for continued consolidation and Sprint may find new growth in wholesale services and machine to machine markets.  Remember its Sprints WhisperNet that supports the Amazon Kindle. 

Additionally, Sprint's relationship with Ericsson may provide a more logical migration strategy to LTE from CDMA.

So this may be downside of the U for Sprint may be near.




Tags: Apple, Boost, CNBC, Clearwire, Ericsson, Palm, PalmPre, Richard Branson, Sprint, Virgin Mobile, WSJ, iPhone






















If ATT has Apple, and Sprint has PalmPre, VZ & RIM

July 28, 2009

The Q&A with John Stratton and Jim Basilie shows a mutual knowledge of companies that are clearly working together.

Basillie, the CoCEO of RIM, makes it clear that he thinks that Verizon is the leader in mulitmedia services.

Stratton, makes it clear they are AppWorld (RIM's App Store) friendly in their development.

In the midst of this discussion a Joint Venture between, China Mobile,  Softbank, Verizon and Vodafone aimed at Widgets.

The annoucment of the JV which they call JIL (Joint Innovation Lab) is aimed at providing a community of 1B paying subscribers.  

Masayoshi Son, video is about the mobile computing power that is going to increase 1,000 times.  So the handset is no longer a mobile phone, the key all the rich media of music, video, etc.  

He personally is seeing his pc use decline he has moved entirely to a mobile device.  "Let's change the future together."

By being be part of JIL, you have can have Asian and European distribution.



Tags: China Mobile, Jim Basilie, John Stratton, Masayoshi Son, RIM, Softbank, Verizon, Vodafone

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Verizon WIreless says the Future is Open

July 28, 2009

Lowell McAdam, President & CEO of Verizon Wireless open the conference talking about the future is open.

Here they are talking about being the carrier of choice for apps.  Verizon Wireless mission is to win the application developers need for a reliable network and they see a vision where HD video fits comfortably in the platform that LTE provides. 

Speaking about the SUN Java conference, McAdam shared the view that developers think beyond the traditional view of cell phone.

Billing and network services such as location are being offered in the Network API that is being rolled out here, today.

John Stratton EVP & CMO, then shared the reset of development with Verizon.  

He made clear that the move was to Java while still supporting the history of Brew.  However, Java is a platform with an open community and the goal is to support all sorts of developers.  The Verizon plan is to provide over 70% of the revenue to the developer and to provide the ability to launch on their app store in 14 days.

The App store is not aimed at an SDK but a toolset that brings the Verizon's support services to the application



Tags: 4G, Billing, Brew, GPS, Java, Jim Basilie, John Stratton, LBS, Lowell McAdam, RIM, SDK

















Straight Shooters

July 28, 2009

The U.S. Army has used technology as its weapon for decades.  Today technology plays a vital part in military success--from gathering top-secret information to manufacturing efficient arms.  
Many military technological applications need broadband service to operate, such as radio communication, video surveillance, and security.  The military must ensure that its communications infrastructure can operate in a large coverage area--such as a battlefield--and is efficiently communicative among its soldiers.  However, finding the right technology was a challenge.
The Army attempted to deal with this issue by developing the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), a program for a family of software-programmable tactical radios that would provide soldiers with voice, data and video communications as well as interoperability across the battle space.  The JTRS would need to use a network of wide bandwidth that would also be compatible with the existing waveforms in use by the Department of Defense.  The army began testing the $6.8 billion JTRS program in June 2003, but the project was set back by several financial obstacles and failed to carry through.
Then in December 2006, Motorola began producing the MicroTCA.  The MicroTCA provides a scalable, low-cost network-centric paradigm for effective connectivity between soldiers.  In addition, the MicroTCA is ruggedized in order to cope with the harsh climate of the battlefield.  In October 2006, Motorola, Intel, and Hybricon developed a ruggedized MicroTCA-based WiMAX demonstration platform at MILCOM, an international conference for military communications.  Combined, the MicroTCA and WiMAX network offered open standards-based subsystems on many different mobile platforms integrated into a high-performance network, physically fit for a military environment.  
In April 2007, the US Army's Communications Electronics Research and Development Engineering Center (CERDEC) evaluated Mobile WiMAX off-the-shelf products for possible military use, and the WiMAX MicroTCA proved to be a very likely candidate.  CERDEC also evaluated Samsung's commercial WiMAX products, yet details of the trial were not disclosed.  In June 2008, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) chose Alcatel-Lucent to provide a turnkey WiMAX radio access network that included a WiMAX base station, WiMAX Access Controller, and WiMAX Operation and Maintenance Center that supported the latest WiMAX standard, 802.16e-2005.  The equipment had passed examination by the Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD), which focuses on testing the usefulness of a hybrid communications architecture that uses standards-based, COTS, satellite communications and wireless technology to extend global, wideband communications in a mobile environment.
WiMAX has played a part in military developments besides for strictly communications infrastructure.  In January 2006, NASA drafted a proposal for the WiMAX Networked UAV Telemetry System (WNUTS).  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones, are military aircraft that pilots can control from a remote base station.  Thousands of miles away from the battlefield, pilots sit at a video screen, viewing and attacking the enemy via a UAV that hovers unseen above.  The WNUTS used a WiMAX network to support telemetry applications for UAVs, including visualizing real time UAV missions in 3D flight through animation, performing real time GPS data processing for direct remote sensing data geo-reference, and displaying selective inch-level high-resolution image contents.  The WiMAX network was chosen for its flexible coverage, low cost, easy maintenance, and scalability.

Tags: Alcatel-Lucent, CERDEC, Intel, JTRS, MILCOM, MicroTCA, Motorola, NASA, Samsung, UAV, WNUTS, WiMAX, military

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Verizon Developer Community Conference

July 28, 2009

I am in San Jose for the Verizon Developer Community Conference,  It should be an interesting an event, they have brought their execs here to speak to folks in California.  One thing I expect to here is the need for LTE for future applications.

I am going to be listening for the way that people react to the ideas Verizon has for their network app store that is independent of a device, and their vision for a network API that is not independent of the carrier.

My friend Andy Abramson recently highlighted the Gizmo5 to Google Voice which can also support Skype connection.  For the end user, this is great stuff the more you can make a free call the better.

From the view of a network operator, the question is why are these types of applications compelling?  Is the price the only thing that matters? Or is the value connectivity something that should be enabled on their network.

I will be very interested to hear the conversations at the event.

Tags: Andy Abramson, Gizmo5, GoogleVoice, LTE, Verizon, Verizon Wireless

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Ericsson Powers US Up During the Low Down

July 27, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has it right in pointing out that Ericsson has positioned itself well in the US Market.  The acquistion of the Nortel assets, its selection by Verizon as an LTE supplier and its deal with managing Sprint's network has evolved into a dominating force.  And it comes at a time when transitions are going to be lengthened. 

My personal perspective on the acquisitions and mergers is that they never go through a comprehensive integration without a year of positioning.  Leaders become lurkers, Lurkers become darlings and systems that looked synergistic die on the product management life cycle. 

However, this is a good time to be assimilating the products of Nortel since the purchasers are moving at a steady pace toward something in the long term.  Verizon had a 21% decline in profit and is betting on LTE like it bet on FIOS.  It may be that the best hope for Verizon is in the soon to be released Apple Netbook.
However, the bleeding

Assessments and Evaluations are going to be a big part of the rest of the year as the network operators look to manage capex costs to match the slow market.

Craig Moffet correctly pointed out that Verizon is good at playing the share gain and their acquistion of Alltel was the best part of wireless growth.









Tags: Alltel, Apple, Ericsson, FIOS, LTE, Sprint, US, Verizon, Verizon Wireless

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Now That CDMA is in the Ericsson Portfolio of Patents?

July 25, 2009

Very different press about Ericsson being acquired by Nortel, then when Nokia Siemens Networks "won" the bid a month ago.

NSN was talking integration, had customers talking about synergies of support and you got the general sense that the deal was about customer acquisition and enabling a smooth transition. I think NSN, even in the loss,  may have benefited from the early win as well with the customer base.  They looked like they were about service and kept a lot of good will.

This time, the customer is being acquired and so are the patents for CDMA, a technology that is not normally of interest to Ericsson, since its portfolio with CDMA is not as strong as its GSM/UMTS patents.

As we head toward Release 9 of the 3GPP standards effort, it will be interesting to see if some of CDMA creeps back in. 3GPP crushed CDMA in previous releases forcing Qualcomm to end its efforts.  However CDMA has been credited with Verizon's success in the past and it maybe they are willing to regret the termination of CDMA now that Ericsson is no longer an antagonist.

The acquistion also has implications for Sprint and the cable operators since they partner and the cable operators like Ericsson's view of service delivery strategies.

My normal rule of thumb is any acquisition takes a year to digest. Now this calls into question the Avaya deal.  So we will stay tuned to discussion.









New marketing message comes through loud and 'Clear' in Vegas

July 23, 2009

Our quick impression from a full day and a half spent inside the Clearwire bubble, at the company's "official" market-launching event in Las Vegas on July 21: The nascent national WiMAX-providing company seems well past its sometimes-confusing stumbles of 2008 and into full execution mode, showing it can put on a confident, coherent local event even as its overall marketing, pricing and demographic messages remain somewhat a work in progress.



The ability to stage a fairly seamless, fun and informative day on the small stage of Las Vegas still doesn't answer how Clearwire will fare when it takes on the bigger challenges of market launches in places like Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia, which still lie ahead on the company's ambitious 2009 rollout schedule. But embedded within the Vegas-flavored parts of Tuesday's proceedings were some new, strong marketing messages, which, if coupled with continued execution on the networking side of things, should bring cheer to Clearwire investors, partners and customers as the WiMAX express rolls onward.

While we'll dive deeper into some of the proceedings and interviews we conducted during the event in later posts and reports, Clearwire followers should remember the line "more for less," which we heard quite often Tuesday and will likely hear again and again at subsequent launches. Until now, a big problem with Clearwire's WiMAX offering has been that the company itself didn't know how to best position it -- how exactly do you best pitch a service that delivers wireline-like broadband with the mobility of a cell phone? Before the Vegas event, you could and often would get different answers depending on which Clearwire executive you spoke to.

Tuesday, several different executives all seemed to be "on message" with the cost-saving idea, making it pretty obvious to anyone listening that Clearwire's promise was mainly about giving you more of what you need -- mainly Internet access -- for less.







Are you Looking for Working? Can you help with BTOP?

July 23, 2009

I volunteered to help the NTIA with its broadband Stimulus evaluation, but before I get a chance to look at them, three of 4GWE speakers are working with various states for build out strategies. 

One of them told me he was only going to bid on ten and that has since doubled because the states have approached him.

This is to the point where he needs more people to write the proposals make the calls do the work, so he asked if I wanted to get involved.

Since I had volunteered already, I did not want to.  Some of the states he is applying for I know of other proposals.  Hmmn, I wonder if unserved can go to overserved in a year.  

Standard thought is that when three competitors exist real competition exists.
I have never understood if they would count a comprehensive view of data, video, voice as a single competitor or not. 

After a long delay the stimulus may be having the desired effect. even if it is just on paper so far.  I expect the monies for CAPex are going to be 2010 2Q.

On paper most of these proposals make a lot of sense to me, One of our speakers is augmenting a state I work in with some localized NAPs to connect regional fiber rings that are too isolated and do not support the communities connnectivity.  A few states made deals in the buildout era for fiber by the highway that is not supporting the local communities.  An analogy would be a highway with no off ramps. (Is I66 a good example?)

Lets see how the process continues, but I have to say after waiting for Washington to get the act (bill?) together, this is coming along nicely.


Tags: 4GWE, BTOP, NTIA, Rural Utilities Service, Stimulus

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