Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

3G Networks

Video on the Bosphorus

October 13, 2010

A few weeks ago, I was in Istanbul with some customers and prospects. As I've written many times in this blog, the promise of adding video to an already existing voice and/or text mobile application is compelling to use, and compelling as a value-added service to offer.  So it's a win-win given the right business model.    Given the 3G networks available in Turkey, I figured it would be a snap to actually demo a mobile video app to these customers and prospects so I called into a customer IVVR demo that shows your airplane seat visually and how to change it from your phone. But alas, there was the error message "no video service, video call failed." Huh?   Well, I just so happened to be with the service provider that my phone was using at the time and they made a few phone calls. It was indeed not offered yet since they haven't figured out the payment plan. Would it be part of the monthly fee? Would it be charged per use? Would you have to buy video prepaid cards to use the service? Since I was roaming, how would the roaming charges work?    These issues will all be worked out, but it was an important reminder to me about why video telephony, like most new technologies, takes a little longer to become ubiquitous than some might think. It's the same to me as VoIP was 10 years ago, and that's why I'm bullish on mobile video.

"Wireless Inside" Inside Japan

July 7, 2010

Japan has always been at the forefront of mobility and the use of mobile phones. It's always an interesting place to go to see how people are using mobile phones. In the land of Pok√©mon, it's not surprising this was one of the first places I remember seeing the equivalent of emoticons (emoji) built into the phones as a way to more easily get your point across when texting.    Wireless Japan is next week in Tokyo and with femtocells being at the forefront of news in Japan right now, I thought I'd write about that a bit. A femtocell is essentially a way to bring the wireless connection indoors, or in other words a way to create FMC.   A femtocell device would connect to a broadband connection on one end (your home or office DSL or cable broadband router for instance, or potentially in the future a WiMax one), which then through an IMS or IMS-like architecture gets back to the wireless or PSTN networks, and on the other end has a 3G (or other) connection to talk to your phone that's inside the building.    In places like Tokyo, where there are dense building structures, this is important as the 3G networks are not always able to penetrate the buildings. And in places like Tokyo, where people use their mobile phones a lot for texting, gaming, chatting, Facebooking, viewing videos, etc, keeping the connection going when going indoors is important.    One obvious issue with femtocells involves already having a WiFi connection in your house.   With many smartphones having both 3G and WiFi (4G) connectivity (see my June 30th blog about AT&T offloading users to WiFi services), why would you need to do this? Well, all phones are not smartphones for one thing. And all use cases are not the same, especially as I've said regarding Tokyo where the mobile phone use case is different from the US. But, it is an issue worth mentioning. And another issue is the business case - the ROI of paying for this benefit.   Two weeks ago, Ubiquisys, which makes femtocells, announced that Softbank would offer free femtocells. Softbank, which by the way is the exclusive iPhone carrier in Japan, has long been a femtocell supporter. I guess they are coming to the realization that people, while they "like" a service like that, do not like it enough to pay for that service. And this is also a way for mobile operators to keep their subscribers on their networks longer as opposed to switching to a WiFi network. Given KDDI rolled out femtocell services on July 1st, we'll see if this is successful in Japan. People are watching this closely

Videooooooooooooooooooooo Gooooooooooooooooooooooal!!!

June 14, 2010

  

With the World Cup now in full swing, people will do anything to watch a soccer game or get information on any of the games. I had to be away from a TV when the US played England this past Saturday, and using my mobile phone, I had to go to espn.com to get automatic refresh on comments to get results from the game as I could not get video of that game. (My battery juuuuuuuuuuust made it through the game). And I couldn't see the goals until later on. 
  I wish I had a video goal application, as did one of my colleagues who happened to be in Brazil the Friday the World Cup started. Since the taxi ride to the airport from downtown Sao Paulo takes a while, both he and the taxi driver were looking for goals from the first day of the World Cup.   I know CallTech is working on one
  Creating something like this is what the Dialogic Innovator Challenge is all about.

3G Video + Humidity = Singapore

June 2, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I visited Singapore for some press meetings. One good thing about Singapore is that there is a 3G network here and when we talked to the press, we were able to demonstrate some live 3G video applications that have been built on Dialogic video enabling platforms. 
  One bad thing about Singapore is that anytime you move when you are outside, you sweat. And since you have to move when you are outside, well, you sweat. In case you haven't figured it out if you've never been there, it's super humid. I guess that is your lot in life when you are on the equator next to an ocean. Luckily for me, I found a place called the "Eski Bar." This is a bar that has been set up essentially in a meat locker environment. So it's coooooooooooooool inside.
  But back to the 3G video apps. If you go to the Dialogic YouTube channel you can see some interesting videos of some of these apps, but it was nice actually showing live demonstrations of Video Value Added Service apps that our partners have built - such as Voice SMS, Video Portals, 3G video call completed to a non-video 3G phone, and IVVRs. Showing these in action to the press is very powerful.

A Big News Week for Spectrum Auctions - Germany's 4G Auction

April 15, 2010

The other day, I wrote about India's 3G wireless auction. Turns out Germany has started auctioning off spectrum that will likely be used for LTE-based networks. The bidders include E-Plus, Telefonica O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone. It will be interesting to see how much the government makes from licensing the spectrum but it is likely to be much less than the 3G auctions that occurred in 2000, as times are much different now - the internet bubble had not quite burst yet.
  What will be the impact of LTE on the consumer? It's speed of the experience. I have written in the past about LTE being roughly 20 times faster than 3G. With 3G technology improving, assume LTE is roughly 10 times faster than the latest 3G technologies. 10 times faster will certainly improve the data and video utilization in mobile devices and will spur the advance of mobile value added services with these devices. We will see more and different kinds of video applications, and we will see more video usage.

India's 3G Auction Finally Started

April 12, 2010

India is one of the largest mobile subscriber markets in the world, and on April 9th, bidding for the 3G slots started. Two slots are already been awarded to the government agencies MTNL and BSNL, with essentially 3 other slots available. Obviously, the emergence of 3G networks in India, which would be set to start on September 1st for these bidders, means infrastructure spending also has to follow to install the 3G networks. So there is a lot at stake here with regards to the bids and pricing as the winners will need to monetize their win over time. It will be interesting to see how they go about this, but obviously data and multimedia/video traffic and applications will be key parts. With huge subscriber growth per month in India, the 3G networks also will play a key role in simply having bandwidth available for subscriber growth. So the 2G networks will play a key role for some time, likely for the lower ARPU customer base. However, I'm also sure other kinds of business models will emerge in India.
  In terms of this auction, it seems to me that the government sets the price, and bidders either OK it or reject it. And based on that, the price goes up or down. If you go to http://dot.gov.in you will see the state sponsored website. If you click on the "auction update" button, you will see a daily report for the different regions. 
  Above that, you'll see something called "Spectrum Auction" and then if you click on that, it takes you to some interesting information, such as the list of bidders. The bidders include Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Etisalat, Idea Cellar, Reliance Telecom, S Tel, Tata Teleservices Videocon and Vodafone. 

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