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

Coming of the Mobile Advertising Age

Many of you probably know about the yearly Internet Trends report that comes out from Mary Meeker.  There is always a lot...

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Procera Helps Carriers Shape Even Encrypted Traffic

One of the biggest challenges for network operators is certainly dealing with the growth of network traffic in a margin-compression environment. Video...

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MultiTech Intros New 4G-LTE Cat 1 and LoRa Solutions

For anyone who worked with PCs during the 1980s they remember MultiTech as a major player in the world of modems. In...

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Cybersecurity and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

There are perhaps four major cybersecurity incidents in my mind which are world-changing. The first is the OPM data breach which allowed...

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Value-Added Services in the VoLTE World - Enterprises

From an enterprise value-added services perspective, voice conferencing could be a good one.  Enterprises still need to host conferences, so conferences that...

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Value-Added Services in the VoLTE World - Leveraging the Device

Looking at the subscriber from a different perspective, that is, one who is going to use the mobile device as an on-ramp...

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Value-Added Services in the VoLTE World - RCS

Mobile Value-Added Services (VAS) has historically meant any kind of service beyond voice where the service provider could charge an additional fee....

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Peter MacKinnon, President of LG Nortel Gives us Perspective

July 13, 2009

I read an recent press release from LG Nortel and thought we might gain some understand by interviewing Peter MacKinnon, the Chairman of LG Nortel Ltd, and President of the LG Nortel BU.

 

[CF] Is the LG Nortel relationship an entity that exists regardless of the turmoil at the parent company?

[PM] LG-Nortel is a profitable, standalone business and has not filed for creditor protection. The company is solvent with a strong balance sheet, >1000 employee base, enjoys a leading position in building customer network solutions in Korea (across several product portfolios) and has generated positive cash flow from operations since its inception in November of 2005.

Given Nortel's filing for creditor protection and the ongoing business environment, Nortel has decided its intention to seek a buyer for its majority stake (50% + 1 share) in LG-Nortel, the company's Korean joint venture with LG Electronics.



Ericsson Do You know What You Got? Sprint!

July 10, 2009

As usual, I have to start by admitting that I am a Dan Hesse fan and my bell head nature feels for the team at Sprint.

The people who made this deal viable are long gone.  When the taffy pull of Sprint and Embarq first occurred Dan went with Embarq.  While I have no first hand insight, I remember my divestiture experience and all my ATT friends looking forward to being free of that local loop. 

Sprint's network since the split has been an interesting mix of fixed line, Internet and Wireless.  In theory it had the efficiency of the network behind it to make the company a lean mean fighting machine, but as my Dad used to say you think your are breaking up and in reality its a Taffy Pull.

Sprint and Embarq had OSS overlap and the company suffering from the digestion of Nextel could not find a strategy that equated to customer service.

Now we are going to see Ericsson manage the network, but the real question is what is the migration plan?  I would assume iDEN is out for sure and the relationship with Clearwire should make for even more interesting navigation for Ericsson.

If Ericsson pulls this off it may also indicate some opportunities beyond the US market.  Ericsson has been a lead integrator for Telefonica / 02 and it may be the Sprint asset gains some new relationships that way. 

However the market has been hard on Ericsson, it used to be you could go into the executive offices of most Latin American PTTs and find swedish being spoken, thats how embedded Ericsson was.  Today the question will be how does the commitment to 4G impact the Ericsson / Sprint network plans.

We are lucky to have keynotes at 4GWE from both Clearwire and Sprint that can hopefully give us the insight we need as we watch the rollout continue.

Tags: ATT, Clearwire, Dan Hesse, Embarq, Ericsson, iDEN, Latin America, Nextel, PTTs, Sprint, Telefonica

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Widget Wonders & Apps Trap

July 10, 2009

Finally some sense out of someone about the App Store.

Today's Journal calls Malcolm Gladwell out on his favorable view of the ability to charge for content thanks to the app store. 

Shaw Wu from Kaufman Brothers points out that at best the store is generating 1% of the revenue for the hardware.

My friend Dave Jodoin says it well about apps in general we have a long way to go.

If you asked me which is more important to build a widget or an app, I would vote for a widget that connects to you through the cloud rather than an app that traps you on a device.

As a primer lets define our terms this way.

An app needs to communicate with the OS
A widget just needs to communicate with the web

If you follow this logically this race to the app store that is going on is just one more blue tulip bulb (holy cow now entry in wikipedia for this) in a world that should have benefited form experience by this time.

Widgets I believe make so much more sense on so many more levels and yet its the weak sister right now.

And when Google announces its heading toward an OS that makes the problems worse. (more on this with another blog).



Tags: App Store, Apple, Dave Jodoin, Google, Kaufman Brothers, Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers, Shaw Wu, WSJ, Widgets

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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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