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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Devices What Catches your Eye!

July 9, 2009

I walked over to Best Buy with Rich Tehrani, as a result of the 99 cent promo for a Compaq netbook with Sprint service.  Counting the floor model which had to be initialized while we talked, they had 2 in the place and no one seemed that particularly interested in selling them. 

"Tell me about the service?", was responded to with that the Mobile department. 

"So is the chip embedded or do you need to use the USB?"  once again the mobile department.

Saw a mobile person I am on break was the reply.

Ah, the joys of Retail.

But the engine is selling machines's Asus just reported a 49% increase in sales over last month which 34% Year of Year.

And i get the alert that T-Mobile was pre-selling the next Gphone.  Which I obviously need.

Its embarassing watching Rich try to like my Gphone.  He just got the iPhone 3GS and it is improvement and he loves it.  I pointed out that his VZ device was his prior method of surfing and he told me the Iphone had taken over for him.

For me the Gphone is still the right tool.  My big issue is getting my data from my gmail account and the synchronization between my contact needs in gmail and gphone is pretty good.

Mind you I could give you a list of improvements I want.
Support for .vcf on the Gphone, better dialing functions from email (like Peter Kalstrom did for Skype), better linkage to the calendering function as well.

But given i am now on a mac, gave up on mac as a trusted place to put the address book, I feel safer in the cloud then on the device and that makes Google my choice.

In the anecdotal observation mode, I still have yet to find a MobileMe advocate.  Power users on the iphone are still all about the device.

Mind you the tools continue to improve on the iPhone, the latest commercial with the video edit I think is a good sales tool for the youtube fanatics of this world.

After all its a visual world, and when LTE comes along i think that will be the story.

Tags: Apple, Asus, Best Buy, Compaq, Google, LTE, Rich Tehrani, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, gphone, iPhone, netbook

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The Russians are Here: The Russians are Here!: MagicJack

July 8, 2009

With Obama in Moscow, the media I listened to talked alot about rebooting the relationship.  While the politics of the countries play out, communication as usual is going beyond the borders.

MagicJack is a great example.  SJ Labs is the SIP Client behind the business of MagicJack.  Give MagicJack credit for the business plan.  It fits a nice model and enables an online strategy that supports network services like voice mail.

Anecdotally, I sat with a Vonage booth sales woman.  I asked her how many sales a day she made and how often the people were overseas.  Her answer was 90% of the time the customer was taking the device overseas.

We talked about the Packet8 and their price point and their quality as a worthy competitor.  Most of her customers are unaware of the packet8 solution.

Likewise codec strategies have had the benefit of Andrei Sviridendo, Spirit DSP has been supporting solutions from Skype and other major Voice on the Web solutions.


Tags: MagicJack, Obama, Packet8, Russia, SJ Labs, Skype, Spirit DSP, Vonage

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Rural Broadband : All There is to Know About RUS and NTIA

July 7, 2009

Just last week, the Obama Administration published some of the criteria for its broadband stimulus money-doling.  This event followed President Obama's signage of the  of 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act(ARRA), which allocated $7.2 billion to the US Departments of Agriculture and Commerce to improve broadband development in rural and remote areas of the US.  The Rural Utilities Service (RUS)-a subsidiary of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)-and the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA)-a subsidiary of the US Department of Commerce (USDC)-were entrusted with the responsibility of handing out the money to appropriate applicants.  Here is a simple, yet comprehensive guide to the who, what, and where of this major government windfall.



The ARRA provides over $28 million toward Rural Community Development. 

Should Skype be redesigned?

July 7, 2009

A friend caught me this morning and wanted to talk about the Skype IPO next year. A few months back I had been trying to get near the discussion because some from friends who had money in hand.

Ebay thinks that the IPO is the right strategy according to reports, but when I was trying to talk to them, the Intellectual property still owned by Niklas and Janus and embedded in Skype seemed to be a stumbling block.

Now in the past Skype has been clever in acquiring their own path to success.  The acquistion of Camino Networks was allowed them to go beyond Global IP Sound.

So how do they go around themselves?

Henning Schluzrinne did a great analysis of this question with his team in 2005. 

Personally, I think they have to come to terms with the patent before the IPO, but stranger IPOs have been in the market that got past these kind of issues.

Perhaps this is a sleeping dog, with 15 Million subs if they were compared to voice service providers they should do better than the 2.6 Billion previously evaluated.

However customer goodwill is not the same as salvage cost, so maybe Skype will be compared to an Oracle or Microsoft?


Tags: Camino Networks., Ebay, Global IP Sound, Henning Schulzrinne, Janus Friis, Microsoft, Niklas Zennstron, Oracle, Skype


















LG Nortel OY!

July 6, 2009

I never know what to make out of a partnerships, so the announcement out of Finland that K&K is the partner for LG Nortel fiber optics left me asking more questions.

First of all the positive side.  Nortel Enterprise has a strong history in optics and their solutions were part of a rebirth strategy shared with some friends earlier in the year.

But clearly the decision by K&K is more about support of the existing than growth of the new. 

LG Nortel  is more case of what a strange taffy pull it is to extract telecom strategies.  The primary value of Nortel in the mix is in reaching out to carrier enterprise sales with the LG Nortel product line.  Given the Nokia Siemens deal, I am not sure how the LG channel will work. 

It may be that the K&K, part of Lagercrantz) deal is part of the overall trend.  Then again, it may be time for LG to rethink its relationship with Nortel, or become a buyer for the fiber part (which would make my Adtran / Digium strategy even more logical).



Tags: Adtran, Digium, K&K Oy, LG, LG Nortel, Lagercrantz, Nortel, Nortel Enterprise.

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Scenario Planning; If You Build It Will They Come?

July 6, 2009

"A sales guy is usually the last guy to call a downturn", is the quote from Dave Vellequette of JDS Uniphase in today's Journal as they discuss the value of scenario planning in a recession.

I think all the carriers are busy doing their own efforts nows.  With over 5 Million additional subscribers to ATT as a result of the Iphone here are some scenarios I will be thinking of at 4GWE.  Verizon is certainly wishing it had better understood the impact of the exclusivity on their bottom line, and the desire to partner with Apple with LTE is a big part of the aggressiveness implementation.

1) Best Case for T!  Nothing changes for Apple and ATT but the widgets start to add value to a general marketplace.  I am still not sure I can make the distinction between a widget and an application, but as Google's Android and Palm advocate widgets I think the scenario will be slower growth.  Its still the coolest phone in town, but its limitations are easy to exploit.  Multiprocessing and more web friendly strategies all work for me.

2.  Retail WiMAX! So what?  Clearwire has been agressive with its build outs, but the WiMAX certification process is going to yield some products that are going to be looking for a general consumer spend.  What is the scenario that impacts the planning?  What should be the competitive analysis that drives the discussion.

3. Price Floors!  We have bundled pricing as our strategies, when a competitor starts to impact you what can you do to stop the bleeding.  Ericsson / Sony, HTC, LG, Nokia, RIM, and Samsung are all great at making the same phone (only different) for various partnerships.  However, Apple, Google and Palm are doing exclusive deals (We may have to think about Google differently then all of them going forward).  So how do you fight the coolest release.  The reaction to the Apple/ATT launch was very weak by T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon.  What should be the next strategy.  Apple certainly knew how to steal the thunder from the Palm Pre launch.  Other than price what works?  What holds the customer in place?

4. MID way!  The case can be made that the device of future is not a phone, I am now starting to watch how many people are in keyboard mode rather than in voice mode.  I have even seen someone trying to text while the speakerphone of the cell was on (does this work on your device?).  If you look at Intel / Nokia and a few others they will tell you the story is not about a phone but a computer, (Hence the session at 4GWE)  I am not sure when this move happens.  Samsung has a WIMAX netbook, but everything else is still adjuct with a USB.  I think there is a price point that will hit the market right for this and then comes the most interesting question.  Will the carriers enable VoIP?

All of these are game changers that can have a huge impact on the bottom line and all of them require contingencies.  I have also left out the possibilities of major mergers, and the world wide impact.











Wireless Termination: Neutral Tandem

July 2, 2009

Investor's Daily did talked about Neutral Tandem today.

The article was interesting because their biggest customers are the wireless carriers that are not affiliated with the ILEC (is that term getting old and I should just say ATT & Verizon?). 

So T-Mobile and Sprint/Nextel are using them as place to interconnect.  One to the biggest values is the way the tandem configuration works.  We can make the case that Neutral Tandem is a virtualization service to reach the most of the jurisdictions.

Friends are at Neutral Tandem who use to work with me and they have gained some of the brillant people formerly at Vonage, Comcast and Nominum. 

TNDM is the ticker and if you are into this kind of thing, IBD likes them as a stock.  They compare them to Neustar which is interesting. The general view is that cable operators may prefer this methodology of interconnection going forward, and who knows combined with the wireless operators may find a way to cease paying the incumbents for termination.

Tags: ATT, Comcast, Neustar, Neutral Tandem, Nextel, Nominum, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Vonage

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EU Price Rationalization

July 2, 2009

If all politics is local this one indicates the issues local to Europe.  Europe is about to go on holiday.  As a matter of fact for the northern climates July is the month, the southern go in August. So the law to reduce the cost of roaming for both SMS and Voice will be loved by all starting now. Which is why it went into effect yesterday.

Charges for roaming in Europe have been high regardless of whether you are roaming on the service provider that you already have in your home country.  O2/Telefonica, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone are brands that span across Europe but, charges when you leave your own country do not take into account your affiliation. 

Viviane Reding at the ECC has been a long time advocate about the high prices of carriers, and is very Skype friendly as she as held them up to make her points about the traditional carriers.

The biggest change will be the way that consumers see their bills because the prices are rounded up to minutes but on seconds.  The large carriers say they have already complied with the law but the commission says it intend to continue the analysis and may add future guidelines next year.


Of course the issue right now may not be SMS or Voice but the web, and with revenues in decline the migration to LTE for many of the carriers may face some financial challenges.








Tags: DT, Data, ECC, EU, France Telecom, GSM, KPN, O2, Orange, SMS, Skype, T-Mobile, Telefonica, Viviane Reding, Vodafone, Voice, Web, billing

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TerreStar to Launch

July 1, 2009

FCCESQ

July 1, 2009

Okay, First of all I admit I am a fan, but a frustrated one.

Chairman Genachowski announced his staff.  Men and Women (many Harvard trained) that are willing to give themselves to public service.  Thank you all.

So why I am frustrated.  I have been rooting for some IAB, IETF types to be the mix. No Offense to lawyers but changing law to support changes in communication in theory could benefit from some of the best thinkers about where the Internet is going and where it should go.

I am aware of some of the best Interent engineers on the planet's willingness to come work for this administration.  So it was with a frustrated sigh that I read the bios of the chairman's staff.  I wish you all well, but please let some of the brillant minds that are expanding and supporting the Internet be more central to your views of what you are regulating.

The rules of Interconnection and taxation that have driven telecom for centuries are being usurped by the ability to interoperate based on Internet - working meet points and almost universal ethernet structure.  The Universal Service I worked to support in my youth is drawing to a close and the age of a new universal service (called the Internet) should not be judged on the existing service models.

My hope for you all is that the new laws you offer are based on a goal for service in the future and not a restriction of power we have seen in the past.

Tags: FCC Staff, Julius Genachowski

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