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

Apple Pay Vs. Google Wallet

Replacing credit cards can likely only be done if the new system is dead-easy to use and it moreover has to be...

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Signaling Offers Great Differentiation for Mobile Value-Added Service Offerings

We’ve all heard that some Value Added Services (VAS) revenue such as Short Message Service (SMS) are starting to decline in...

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Birdstep Improves Wireless User Experience, Reduces Churn

A smartphone user can get tripped up easily when in motion as today’s smartphones look for WiFi networks to connect to and...

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Sonos BOOST, For Music in Tough to Reach Places

I’ve been using Sonos as an in-home streaming solution for many years and since it relies on WiFi it provides infinite levels...

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IOT tests do NOT tell the whole story

Service providers typically have infrastructure from multiple vendors installed in their networks.  Mostly this is by design since they don’t want...

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Notes from Connections 2014 Part Deux

More notes from BSFT Connections 2014 in the desert by friends of my at the show. These notes are from ANPI's...

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Notes from Connections 2014

Broadsoft Connections kicked off with the usual festivities yesterday including a pool party and a summer fashion show. This morning it...

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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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Review of the Clearwire Guerrila Marketing Campaign

July 23, 2009

It's not a phone, it's the Internet.

I went to Las Vegas to attend the market launch by Clearwire.

The launch is reaching out to a population of 1.7 Million in a 638 mile area.  The launch today continues the road show by Clearwire as they open up new areas around the country.  The obvious goal is to keep the bandwagon going.  The momentum is certainly heading that way, the stock (NASDAQ: CLWR) has doubled since last year and the company is expanding their rollout strategy.  However, the goal is not upgrading existing customers, but to get new customers.  It's an uphill battle that requires putting Gorilla Marketing to work. 

On Local TV:  Clearwire embraced the town of Las Vegas by having the mayor cut the cat 5 cord and donating 20 WiMAX netbooks to the Virtual High School. Taking a shot at Verizon, Clearwire's commercial features cupcakes with sprinkles, like the sprinkles of the Verizon add, except here the sprinkles shower down from the sky beyond the Skittle showers of commercials gone by. The event ended with 500 balloons containing gifts of service and other gifts being dropped on to the local audience.

Street Warfare: The truck is green, with glass panels surrounding two rooms.  A living room area and complete with laptop and HD Screen, the second room resembles an office which includes a chair, a desk and of course a laptop.  As the truck is driven around Las Vegas, Clearwire employees work in the living room and the office.  On the body of the truck is the statement declaring this is not a truck it's a mobile office.







The Internet as a Bundle

July 22, 2009

I have posted in the Newsletter about the Clearwire launch yesterday, but I was struck by the conversations with the company employees.  They were using the Internet service with their own preferences,

One of them always had a device open with them in the car to listen to their choice in music via Internet Radio.

The other was using an iTouch to watch his slingbox and commenting on the fact that the video was smooth and unblocked.

Another was a Hulu user who was talking about getting a great stream of video to his home TV.

And of course they all used Skype.

Bottom line it was not a triple play. There service is access to the Interet and the bundle is what you choose to do on it.

Pretty straight forward and suggests a very focused business plan.

If you are not trying to run a three services to the same place, can you build the one service cheaper?

I think operationally the answer is yes. 

Tags: Clear, clearwire

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Samsung Selling Mondi MID for Clear WiMAX, $449 Unlocked

July 22, 2009

When we told you this morning that the Samsung Mondi MID was going to be available soon, we didn't know that soon means now! After chatting with Samsung's Kim Titus, he told us the device is available now in an unlocked format directly from Samsung for $449 ($454.94 with shipping). And on Aug. 1, Titus said the Mondi will also be available in Clear stores and Best Buy locations in all live Clearwire markets (Baltimore, Portland, Ore., Atlanta and Las Vegas), at the $449 unlocked price as well as a $349 option with a two-year Clear contract.

We played around with the device a bit at the Clearwire Las Vegas launch event, and were impressed how well the touch-screen and software keyboard works. There is a hard keyboard too.

Clearing the Way to Las Vegas Clearwire Launch

July 20, 2009

Our speakers from Clearwire have invited us to this weeks launch in Las Vegas.

While I am looking forward to hearing them speak at 4gwe.  They are excited about the opportunity now in front of them.  Some analysts were afraid of a price war, but in Clearwire's case they are clearly ready, willing and able where available.

The stock (Nasdaq: CLWR) is on an up swing making the write downs of the past a brillant move for their investors.  Recent announcements from Comcast about reselling the service is also good for their bottom line. 

I will be reporting more form Las Vegas so stay tuned.



Tags: Clearwire, Comcast

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