First Coffee for September 29, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

First Coffee for September 29, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and as the luck of the Five CD Changer Draw would have it, we’re listening to “Jack The Idiot Dunce” by The Kinks:

China Mobile, the world’s largest GSM operator, has selected Nortel to expand its digital wireless network in six regions under a series of contracts this year, collectively estimated at $150 million.

The work includes network optimization to improve China Mobile’s infrastructure and performance and to let the operator standardize service pricing across all regions.

China Mobile’s GSM network expansion in the six regions will increase subscriber capacity by 3.48 million to a total of approximately 18 million, and improve its chances of offering future 3G services.

Nortel has deployed wireless networks in 17 of China’s 31 provinces and municipalities, including GSM digital infrastructure equipment for China Mobile affiliate companies in the provinces of Hebei, Shaanxi, Tianjin, Xinjiang, Guizhou, Anhui, Liaoning and Hunan.

After spending close to thirty seconds trying to make sense of the headline “UK Business to Pocket Marketing Hits the Mainstream With Radical New Service” – is “pocket” a noun or verb, is “Business to Pocket” a phrase – First CoffeeSM finally just had to read the article. Hate it when that happens.

It’s a re-announcement from SMS marketing company TxtLocal.com (see if you can figure out the URL) for a “pocket marketing” service for all UK businesses, large or small, “that could do for SMS mobile marketing what Hotmail did for e-mail,” company officials claim. At least they think big.

The original announcement a week ago claimed it was a “free text service” on the grounds that they give you a “a totally free mobile number and keyword” – while charging you 5.5 pence per call.

Backtracking on that claim, the company has carefully excised the word “free” from the latest announcement.

Evidently any business, service or community group can obtain a mobile number and keyword to publish on their stationery, marketing material and web site to “enable rapid collection of opt-in customers eager” – eager! – “to hear about news and promotions.” The business can then contact these people, sending them a text message, for just five pence ha’penny. Which, of course, adds up pretty quickly into some serious guineas.

“Many users report a 40 percent response to promotions and a 200 percent increase in sales,” claims TxtLocal creator, Alastair Shortland. He thinks it’s “so effective” because “advertising is aimed directly to customers who have requested it – straight to their pocket.” Ah, so that’s where that comes from.

SMS is becoming more popular in the United Kingdom as a business communication and promotional tool, and TxtLocal is trying to establish itself as a standard vendor for the market, fair enough. Its angle is offering a mobile number and keyword to facilitate the collection of opt-in mobile numbers.

Keith Milford, identified by TxtLocal officials as “a Chinese takeaway manager in Leeds,” what they probably mean is the manager of a Chinese takeaway, says his eatery publishes their number and keyword on menus and place a slip of paper into all orders saying “To hear about special offers text...”.

Milford reports that in the first week alone they got 80 customer numbers, and they’re up to a texting opt-in list of 400, to whom they send message offers weekly along the lines of “Show this message to get 20 percent discount on Wednesday,” and get “a queue of people going down the street.”

Jim Woods, a hairdresser in Derby has 300 customers on his list, and says “If we need to fill seats we send 100 messages offering a 20 percent discount if visit us before 6 p.m.”

Persona Software, Inc., a vendor of SIP-based Personal Mobility Applications is announcing a new version of its Persona OnePhone for Fixed Mobile Convergence.

Persona OnePhone 2.0 provides support for an expanded range of dual mode (WiFi/cellular) handsets and operating systems including Symbian OS, used by many handset manufacturers. The latest version of Persona OnePhone adds some end user features, claims increased security capabilities and integration with the IP Multimedia Subsystem, which is the basis for FMC and future converged services.

“The FMC market is ready to explode,” says Rob Fuggetta, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer for Persona Software, who’s tired of people adding “boutit” on the end of his name. Fuggetta thinks the open SIP standard is the heart of next-generation IMS/3G networks.

Delivered on Persona Software’s SIP Application Server, Persona OnePhone lets mobile users to roam between WiFi and cellular networks with one phone, one identity and one phone number.

In addition to Symbian, the product also supports Windows Mobile 5.0 and Micro Linux Mobile.

American service members deployed to Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom are some pretty serious bloggers, and a quick check of the blogs turns up a sure-fire, never-fail “we appreciate you and the job you’re doing” gift: calling cards.

An Air Force Chaplain Assistant with the pen name “Airmen in Iraq,” wrote in a Sept. 10 posting (http://thewann.blogspot.com/ ), “I was talking to some of the chaplains about care packages. We have tooth brushes, toothpaste, shampoo, razors and all of that stuff. At this moment the only thing we can think of would (be) calling cards. I don’t think we can have too many calling cards!”

But beware of what kind of card you send. “I received a regular phone card in a letter from home, which was supposed to have 60 minutes or something, but with the Kuwait-U.S. charges, it turned into more like 13,” another blogger, the Maryland Guardsman who blogs as “Chris Whong” (http://chris.whong.org/ ) wrote.

The best place to go to send cards to the troops is https://thor.aafes.com/scs/default.aspx, which is run by the Army & Air Force Exchange Service where you can buy the 550-unit cards for $40, which are the best value for talk time.

AAFES usually requires you to be in the military to shop online, but they now allow anyone to buy phone cards for troops overseas. So do it – www.aafes.org, or call 800-527-2345, ask for “Help Our Troops Call Home” phone cards and let the Red Cross, Fisher House or USO distribute it to “any service member,” unless you have someone specific in mind.

By the way, for some absolutely outstanding front-lines blogging, hit independent journalist Michael Yon’s “Gates Of Fire” at http://michaelyon.blogspot.com/2005/08/gates-of-fire.html as he goes on a raid, and ends up in the middle of the combat himself.

After the firefight a wounded American soldier is lying in a hospital bed practically next to one of jihadis who was trying to kill him. Naturally, as Yon says, “over lunch with Chaplain Wilson and our two battalion surgeons, Major Brown and Captain Warr, there was much discussion about the ‘ethics’ of war, and contention about why we afford top-notch medical treatment to terrorists. The treatment terrorists get here is better and more expensive than what many Americans or Europeans can get.

“‘That’s the difference between the terrorists and us,’ Chaplain Wilson kept saying. ‘Don’t you understand? That’s the difference.’”

Amen.

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