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June 2009

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The Death of the Cassette: Anthony Robbins

June 30, 2009

My TV keeps me company in my late hour work and my hotel rooms.  Often I wake up to the infomercial dujour.  Anthony Robbins is on a lot these days with a 19.95 offer.  I have been trying to understand why so cheap.

Then I noticed the offer was only for the audio cassette.

My guess is that he got caught thinking that cassette was a constant business. I think we can assume that the tipping point has occurred for digital media.

Nortel Enterprise: Two Buyers (Together) are Better than One

June 29, 2009

First of all congrats to Nokia Siemens.  I always wondered why the domain is NSN.  From now on this will be Nokia Siemens Nortel in my head.

Here is a thought about the rest of Nortel.  Nortel Enterprise is not just about voice, its about transport and other tools that are within an enterprise.  So who is the logical choice to acquire?

The rumor mill says that Avaya and Siemens Enterprise are already in the bidding war. However, hedge fund companies adding more distress to the mess is not their normal strategy (think of Chrysler / Cerberus). I can make a case for both and of course Cisco, but I have another idea. 

Digium has a very strong relationship with Adtran.  While it looks like Adtran is losing people the beginnings of Digium started with Adtran. 

The reason I suggest this two partner acquistion is based on the remaining assets of Nortel Enterprise.  The PBX part of the company is only 1/3 of the asset and its a hardware intensive solution.  If Digium were to acquire, an Asterisk adjunct box, (aka app server would be a great add on particularly if it included SkypeIn SkypeOut support).  Heck, Ebay might even put some money in.

Now comes the other parts.  Over 2/3rd of the value is in rock solid government and networking equipment and for Adtran this would represent a new energy into a company that has been strong but needs to augment the porfolio for government contracts.  For the Nortelians this would be a great fit too since it would not be a mashing of personel but an LOB within Adtran that augmented with very little overlap.

Mind you if the dollar numbers I am hearing are true this is kind of a stretch, but I have seen the numbers rumored and the numbers signed to vary greatly. It may be worthwhile for Adtran and Digium to jump in.

Out in the Open Oracle

June 29, 2009

Reading the Wall Street Journal, I saw the Justice Department is extending the review of the Sun acquistion by Oracle.  Ben Worthen, pointed out in the article,  In April, Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison called Java "the single most important software asset we have ever acquired."

This is the critical issue in the Justice department mind.  Hardware no worries, Databases no worries.  JAVA not so fast.

SUN has done a great job enabling the third parties to adopt the JAVA and as they have said continually,  IBM is the largest JAVA developer. 

Given the ecosystem of JAVA, I am not sure there is much to worry about.  I can imagine some optimization for Oracle and as long as the Java Community Process continues.  Having said that, it would be nice if JAVA became more stabilized as a standards effort.  This is the one place I would focus as the Justice Department.

After that I am hoping that Larry gets his Internet Toaster.  Back when I was in the carrier, I kicked the Oracle folks out since they had an expectation that I was going to provide local loop Ethernet. 

Today the vision can be accomplished and Larry should bring it back and with an Open API.  You would be surprised what things are available when the database can be networked.  New federation opportunities exist and SUN asset will prove its value.. 

The Dead Zone: The realities of Coverage

June 27, 2009

While roaming the Internet, looking for things to make my Blogging more interesting to you the reader, I came upon Jeff Cohn's Coverage maps

I am sure you have seen the Verizon Dead Zone commercials. 

Looking at Jeff's maps you come to understand that living in an NFL city skews your perspective on coverage and makes the stimulus goal of unserved areas easier to grasp.  Mind you the economics are hard.  After all the Alvarion / Open Range announcement talked about 6M people in 17 states.  Its hard to get critical mass in some areas.

When I worked for what is now Verizon in NY I was struck how much of New York State might as well be US West territory.   When my pal Mark Hewitt showed me the plans to connect the fiber rings in NY I immediately recognized the holes that were being filled by their plan.

As will be discussed at 4GWE, If we are going to make the Internet available on broadband to everyone its going to take more than any one carrier can give us.  

One last point about the maps.  If you look at them you can see that unserved is a much greater problem then underserved.  It will be possible for the competitive providers to claim they need stimulus, but my hope is that Chairman Genachowski will focus on the unserved.  They are a greater need and more important to the greater good imho.  I base this on the believe that economies of scale work in our favor where people are served, I would venture a guess that whoever is servicing the area might be open to enabling wholesale.

Natural Selection and Evolutionary Process

June 27, 2009

Investor's Daily has a nice article on how wireless operators in the US have hit the saturation point.  While I keep trying to talk about nothing but the broadband wireless network of the future, consumers are selecting an alternative direction.   

Prepaid services are on the rise with companies like Boost (Sprint brand), MetroPCS and LEAP.  These services are strictly voice and text, with very little intention to use the wireless Interent at the moment.  One exception is American Movil which is testing a $30 a month plan that includes browsing.

For the large players world wide the story is a mixed bag.  On the positive revenue side the smartphones are on the rise to by 12% worldwide.  On the negative side the overall worldwide market fell by 9%.  (statistics courtesy of IDC in the article). 

While almost half of the market lost revenue worldwide domestically ATT is up almost 10% and its all thanks to Apple.  Mind you I am not sure those dollars translate to the net given the contract with Apple but we have to tip our hats to them.  Solid growth and from what I can tell loyalty.  I have not see the numbers, but I am guessing that 3GS has a lot of first generation iPhone users coming back.

Its seems for a great many consumers we should have a sign that says "Its the text stupid".  Their connectivity is about SMS.  For me, this feels like a market ripe for arbitrage which brings me back to the real value of the Internet.  The ability to evolve applications that grow the community.

From a 4GWE perspective the obvious question is what should we expect for the data needs.  As people are texting like crazy should we expect the data side to segment into low end services as well?  That will on my mind with our community in September 1-3 in Los Angeles.

Wireless Backhaul is Fiber?

June 26, 2009

Our pal Gary Kim highlighted up the In-Stat report on Wireless Backhaul

Its an interesting report and helps to show some segmentation in the marketplace.  For Verizon the LTE build out has them moving as much as possible to fiber and MetroEthernet.  

Outside of majority the base stations are taking advantage of the Microwave which means Fixed WiMAX is a winner for a lot of implementations.

MetroEthernet is going to claim about half of the market place according to In-Stat because the migration to support data means circuit switch trunking is no longer viable, and the equivalent costs associated with Special Access is becoming a bone of contention in Washington. 

As the network data traffic grows the relevance of the circuit switched models using T-1s is reduced.  Mind you the commitment to bring voice on to the data side is limited at best.

A very real benefit of MetroEthernet to the links between the RAN and the core network is the ability to have better distributed redundancy and QoS for traffic shaping.

At 4GWE we are going to look at the backhaul and give out the wireless backhaul awards.  I am hoping some innovative strategies apply.

Apple Peals - Bob Borchers leaves.

June 26, 2009

Yesterday Bob Borchers informed the world that he was going to Opus Capital Ventures.  The Opus website says "Early-stage venture investing is what we like to do. And we're good at it. The team at Opus Capital has been active in the seed and Series A funding of technology companies for more than 20 years, having invested in such companies as Airgate PCS, EFI, Galileo and Harmonic at their very early stages."  Borchers experience is definitely the valued proposition for Opus.  Perhaps their is an Internet App market that is vendor neutral in our future as a result. 

As for Apple.

I keep getting told that Steve Job has made a legacy group that survives him, but the departure of Borcher and Rubinstein indicate some shake up is happening. Is this about the internal politics of Apple, has Steve's heirs been selected and that is why the departure?

Context Aware Call Centers - Wake up to LNP

June 25, 2009

I have a complaint.  I dont mind that call centers user my caller id to direct me, but i wish I could give my profile my other numbers, but when I call the 800 number that is nationwide and get directed to people who can only help me based on my caller id it gets annoying.  They can't transfer.  Its pretty lame.

And they should know better.  They are using Local Number Portability and help direct it as a solution, so why can't they accomodate it in their call center call routing.

Should be a no brainer.

Best Buy Gets Smart about Mobile

June 25, 2009

Yesterday, Scott and I were busy traveling to meetings in the city with companies in three separate sections of town.  At one point we past the Best Buy Mobile store at Union Square.  I wanted to jump in, but we were in a time crunch.

If you read the press release of the Best Buys earnings you discover that smart phones are pretty profitable for the retailer.  So much so they intend to add another fifteen stores under the Best Buy Mobile broad.

And its not just smart phones they want to display there but netbooks as well.

At the retail level the term Mobile Internet Device [MID] seems to be missing.

It maybe that with the advent of certified WiMAX rolling out this fall, the term MID starts to catch on.  Talking to Ari Zoldan yesterday, I was impressed with some of the devices solutions he was offering that was carrier independent.

I don't think this is the place where Best Buy makes its margins, I think they are somewhat carrier dependent for the margins on the smart phones.   So it will be interesting to see what kind of bundles start to happen with the netbooks.

I purchased a netbook separately from the Verizon MiFi from Novatel.  But and the HP Verizon bundle may have value to others.

Bottom line though is the Wireless Internet market is about to explode and it should be fun to watch.

Intel Finnishing it Connections, or, That's Nokia with an IA

June 25, 2009

Jack Gold who has consulted many friends in the industry and provide great analysis now at J Gold Associates has done a more thorough analysis of the Intel Nokia deal that I highlighted yesterday.  Having talked to friends in both companies, I think Jack understands the considerations very well.  Take a read.


Today, Intel and Nokia announced a long term strategic relationship. There are 3 key parts to this agreement: Intel will license Nokia's technology for 3G HSPA cellular technology for use with its chips; Intel and Nokia will collaborate on making their respective open source implementations of Linux for small devices (Moblin and Maemo) more compatible; and they will collaborate on future Intel architectures (IA) for mobile devices. This is a compelling partnership for several reasons.

Why we are here? 4GWE Rewind

June 24, 2009

I took the liberty of heavily editing  Brough Turner or Dialogic discussion from the "Our Genealogy" session.  When we come to the west coast we broke up the tutorial so that Brough Turner and Fanny Mlinarsky had more latitude to talk about the current environment.

I placed the Video on YouTube

What's great about Brough's analysis is the understanding of the prime movers in the technology.

This clip gives the perspective of the fact that like the landline network, the wireless network is being swallowed by the data requirements of the future.
In LA we are continuing the discussion about what it take to evolve the 4G wireless broadband.

In listening to Brough, one thought occurred to me is that iPhone probably drove the US 3G adoption way past Europe at the present time.  (Don't your get hopes, I have not reset my opinion of Apple.) 

Enjoy the listen and if you want to stay up to date with us join us at 4GWE September 1-3 in LA.

In the meantime if you want access to the presentations send me an email and I will add you to system.

This is ARMless: Nokia & Intel

June 24, 2009

In case you missed it yesterday, the great news was that Intel and Nokia started up their working together again.

Why do I like this?  While I covet an N97 (or even a refurbished N95), my favorite Nokia device was the WiMAX 810 tablet.  Mind you this announcement is for the 3GPP side of the equation.  Its also for Linux which means (I think) its more of a netbook than a phone.

As you watch the Silicon in the wireless devices of the future, various manufacturers are partnered with the subs or other partners for their strategies. 

Down at the base Silicon is in turmoil.  Hostile takeovers, forced mergers and stranded investments.  Nokia working with Intel to use the chips that are at the heart of the data revolution makes real sense.

One of our speakers at 4GWE is from EB Software who was the design support for the 810.  My own take is this will be the key for data network to deliver the full experience of the Internet.

Twenty Reasons to like RIM over Apple

June 23, 2009

Anton Wahlman, a good friend, who helps focus money and hedge bets, sent me this note.    

1.      Blackberry is a fully encrypted military-grade secure platform,
with 100% market share at FBI, CIA, White House, Congress, Department
of Defense, major consultancies and major investment banks.  There has
never been a virus or security breach on a Blackberry.  iPhone is
filled with security vulnerabilities.

New Phones Apple pushes the competition around

June 23, 2009

Last week the iPhone 3GS was announced and Apple says they sold 1M. 

Comparing that to Sprint's PalmPre and T-Mobile G2 announcement its a winner.  However, Apple's efforts to steal the thunder obviously succeeded.

Having said that the front end loading has been pretty annoying.  Apple basically did not let those of us who had minor needs into the store in some areas they were so busy selling the 3GS.

Myself, I continue to try to recuperate from the disaster of losing my machine.  Having gotten different support from the Genius bar and the Apple Care line, I continue to find Apple a back end system disaster.

Call your cell phone operator and they have your history.  Call Apple its like your are a new customer every time.

Which make sense given any problem I talk to them about generates a reset.

For the Apple lovers of the world.  You are right to love their interfaces.  You can even love their customer care.  I do not.

One company they are not pushing around is RIM.  My next post will be why RIM is the real gorilla in the room.

4Gee - What happened to Nortel?

June 22, 2009

The road ahead is not as clear cut as people would like to make it.  Case in point is Nortel.  The 3GPP type assets were sold to Nokia Siemens Networks.
Previously the WiMAX side of the shop was scuttled.

So what does this mean for the rest of Nortel?

Candidly I am not sure.

They have other assets they sell to carriers, but I would consider it more marginal and not specifically wireless.  Metro Ethernet, Call Center Solutions including directory, etc.  I would not be surprised if those assets also ended up in other companies.

The part of the company that is enterprised focused is surely in trouble to and acquiring that asset would be best to those who have a weakness in call center capabilities. 

Actually these assets make sense for an Asian buyer.  Although I could make a case for two others.

I can always make the case for Cisco because some of the best assets are in research and I would like to see some people land in the right place. 

As Nortel was failing its R&D was still amazing. 

So what is the lesson for the rest of us?  I would submit that 4G is not a simple migration.  Using the same technologies as the Internet and consumer wireless requires a massive rethink of what a carriers assets are and what they need.

Architectually it looks the same, but in the delivery of services and applications its a new ball game.  Thats been the focus of my travels lately and the speakers that are coming to 4GWE in LA on Sept 1-3 are also focused on the nature of the future.

Nortel had many redeeming qualities and as the assets get integrated natural selection will evolve into something new.

Alvarion Open Range Interview.

June 22, 2009

AlvarionOpenRange.mp3  Greg Daily, President of Alvarion, Inc and Ashish Sharma talk to me about the significance of the win with Open Range.

Open Range intends to serve over 6 M in 17 states in the US.  This discussion looks at what was announced and how it can be a lesson for other 4G implementers.

Indirect Consequences - As the FCC settles down

June 19, 2009

Just got off a call on some hiring that I have been advising.  Its been since October and its somewhat political.  Why has it taken so long?  The beauty of Washington Politics is that the change or Parties at the top put a lot of people in flux. 

By in large Washington actually works pretty well the politicians and their lobbyists know each other and act in a civil way (despite the noise you see and hear on TV).

But when the music starts again after an election and everyone has to find a new chair it turns out that in this version of musical chairs, some chairs are better than others.  And that causes a log jam. 

Hiring the right person has been hard since so many candidates are trying for better positions.  And the floor and ceiling is in flux.  Like a person, it may turn out you are their second choice because they are waiting for the appointment of a friend or have their own name in the mix of the administration.

Have a job you may want, it may be held up by the lack of a leader at the department.

So the appointment of the Chairman allows the freeze at the FCC to thaw and for the applicants to have a better understanding of their chances.

Why do I bring this up now, because as the music stops and the chairs get filled the next thing to happen is the noise level is about to increase.  Agendas and lobbying are going to find their pecking order as well.

I have already hinted at what I thought was coming up thats new.  But before we go their Intercarrier Compensation and Special Access are going to become the big stories.

And they have a lot to do with Wireless.  If you see a call with a bad called ID you can suppose that its on purpose and a wireless originator was probably involved (even thought they used VoIP to terminate). imho when Intercarrier compensation gets done this issues should go away.  And as for special access the building out of the wireless backhaul network is looking for relief from these charges.

Assume you see some documents out of the commission by the end of summer,  making for a very active fall.

Up to Orlando for Infocomm

June 18, 2009

I woke up early this morning to keep some obligations and meet with some friends at Infocomm2009.  For some reason this show things vegas and orlando in june are good ideas.

I think the only people who should schedule for this time of year should be ice makers and deodorant conferences.

The candid remark made to me was "Its not as big as last year", which is a sad statement because to me it was looking at the glass half empty.  Last year Nextcomm was in the south hall of vegas, and i think they would kill to have the floor space this event had.

Additionally, I was there becuase of the Samsung, Radvision announcement that is definitely aimed at being a game changer.  $2000 for a video conferencing terminal pushes the video out of the executive board room and to the halls of the company.

That's also the goal, Samsung has in mind and its very well positioned to succeed. Samsung had another of cool solutions displayed and many of them would integrate well with the Radvision stack.

Radvision to their time demoing to me the presence engine and the opportunity for improved interoperabilty.

Likewise, Magor was demoing their offices by actually looking like two offices talking.  It was a very nice demo and showed well when walking buy it.

A few of the others were into these elaborate desks strategies, To me they are meant to impress the user who is an outsider, but the problem is these systems are internal.

We have a ways to go, but thanks to the magor Mitel / samsung and radvision deal we are gaining some momentum.

Alvarion Scores $100 M WiMax Deal With Open Range

June 17, 2009

The press release just hit the Internets -- Alvarion's mysterious $100 million WiMax gear deal is with planned rural WiMax provider Open Range Communications, and not Clearwire as previously rumored.

According to Ashish Sharma, Alvarion vice president for corporate market development (and apparently handler of all late-night phone calls), the deal could eventually be in excess of the stated $100 million total over its planned five-year length -- but even at the stated $100 million, it's a big win for Alvarion, which just posted $68 million in revenues for its latest quarter. Though Open Range was all over government funding before anyone even dreamed of big telecom stimulus bucks, there are still a lot of questions in the industry whether Open Range is all hat, no cattle as they sometimes say out West.

While Open Range's promises and strange makeup -- government funding and a non-standard deal to obtain spectrum -- have made for a lot of industry head-scratching, the Alvarion deal (which calls for radio equipment, customer premise gear and systems integration) seems to put some meat on the Open Range skeleton, so to speak.

As we said earlier, any $100 million deal is a good one for the WiMax industry, no matter which provider is paying the bills. But until and unless Open Range actually starts delivering on its rural broadband promise (Sharma said services are supposed to be available before the end of the year) this one is still probably better marked as incomplete.

The Tax Man Backs Down for Now.

June 17, 2009

The IRS earlier this month was looking to tax the personal use of business cell phones.  It was considered a perk!.  To have a wireless tether 24x365 was a perk!  

They have since backed down, but the point is not this instant but what comes next.  What you should understand is that even at the federal level they are looking for new tax revenues.  

But cellphones represent a hornet's nest of issues when it comes to billing.  Its rare that the cellphone is a corporate charge.  Most of the time the billing is personal with expenses.  Its interesting that the IRS did not try to attack this from the opposite direction.  In effect the subsidy is the opposite way with the employee floating their employer. Mind you we have not gotten to the point where the IP-PBX has disappeared and its all wireless.  Lets drag picocells and dualmode into this to while we are at it.

All of these issues are great points of discussion to bring up when next the idea of taxing telecom comes up.  I would expect the issue to come up alot this year.

All Glory is Fleeting- The Genachowski / McDowell Hearings

June 17, 2009

Finally the hearings happen, but what a strange love fest.   In some ways it reminds me of the old adage, everyone hates congress but loves their congressman (95% of the incumbents got reelected last election).

Future Chairman Genachowski, was praised by Senate Committe Chairman Jay Rockerfeller with the telling line, 'If you do not have the credentials to be the Chairman, I don't know who would".

But the love fest was full of the reminder that all glory was fleeting and within the hearing were statements that made it clear the committee had their priorities of agendas.

The one that caught my ear (and seemed to have a rough concensus), was the desire for a nationwide emergency service system. 

NENA is ready with a next generation design that needs funding and it would be interesting to see if somehow the rules for $ 6.7 B stimulus can be modified to include the support of this build out. 

Whenever I think of the next generation of 911, I remember what a kludge funding for the existing network was and in this country every state's 911 is testament to how taxation has worked in the past.

Which is why I think the glory for poor Julius is fleeting.  The rules are old and the needs are new.  Its a bad combination and he will need to be adept at bringing the telecom act of 2010 into some useful model.

Congress wants him to succeed as do I.

Commissioner McDowell was very gracious and put his role in perspective.  I was very impressed with his opening remarks.

From Congresses perspective they have a monkey on their back with the issues of media ownership.  It was clear that their were expectations of shot clock of 6 months for the approval process for all future mergers and acquistions. 

Like Genachowski, McDowell was given the we want you to succeed despite our conflicting objectives (save the newspapers expand the ownership).

I also want to concur with the praise of Acting FCC Chairman Copps, he was the half vote on the pulver order and am glad to have as much of his guidance as possible.

Now that they are about to take their seats I want to put in my own two cents on their priorities.  I want to echo Senator Hutchison's call for the unserved to take priority over the underserved when it comes to broadband.  The Yellow spots on the map can fit into the definition of underserved even though if you were to use the cable model of homes passed the bandwidth is greater than the need.  Fix the problem for the unserved first. The underserved need solutions that are not directly associated with high cost and the need for tax dollars.  (imho A few rules in support of network neutrality might do the trick).

Dear Apple, Calm down.

June 16, 2009

The new iPhone 3GS has been declared sold out by Apple as it continues to take orders.  Perhaps they have adopted the record industry method of counting retail inventory as sold rather than available.  Whatever is going on its a very disturbing methodology and perhaps is an over reaction to Rubenstein's defection to Palm. 

The company has been so good for so long making it look like Steve was in total control, the fact that the emperor's clothes are fraying right now is disturbing.

Everyone likes the new price points.  I myself and thinking of expanding my owner ship of Apple gear, (though my Linux gear is non-existent right now and Ubuntu would give me access to some interesting mobile OS strategies.)

But the issue is that Wall Street is playing with stock based on the chatter.  Watching CNBC I have gotten Apple advise every fifteen minutes (or at least it has felt that way).

I want to buy technology for its value to me, not based on artificial stock manipulation.  And as we know from Kramer's past, Apple is a darling to play with.  I am hoping that the noise out of Cupertino calms down soon.

India - Tech Centers and guess what #1 Trend they want

June 16, 2009

Mobile Apps!

Looking at the Times of India (a good place to read to get away from the skew of US politics but perhaps hard for those who are used to a more US centric view).  One of the lead articles is on the tech center build outs going on in India. 

What are the trends will fill those offices?
  1) Mobile Applications
  2) Green Energy
  3) Green Lighting
  4) Global Positioning Systems
  5) Next Generation Networks
  6) Green Mobile
  7) Netbooks
  8) New Interfaces
  9) Content Delivery
10) High Definition TV

Most interesting is the fact that the story is no longer outward facing.  The article highlights the 400M mobile subscribers internal to India. Also highlighted is the use of SMS with ecommerce, Widgets and the mobile web.  The expectation is that SMS spam will be a big problem as well.

Saying all that the trend on the phone in India is take advantage of its recent upgrades to 3G made the 41st country to get 3G (though they consciously want to catch up to Japan and Korea in their WiMAX and LTE rollouts).

The best part of the discussion was the topic of the Set Top box offering WiFi access to the HD Video it was receiving.  Interesting concept and makes the Femto disucssion alot more interesting.

HD Video Samsung and Radvision Gear up for the Next Wave

June 15, 2009

Lots of talk about HD these days and I have been waiting for this announcement to put in my own two cents.

My personal view point is that HD Voice needs HD Video to lead the way. 

The first reason is that HD voice has very little chance of gaining new revenue.  Video Conferencing is becoming a very fertile marketplace.  It can blame the user generated content side for some of it, but the bigger picture is the bandwidth is becoming available globally.

So the ability to use presence with HD Video is huge and will eventually hit the tipping point for migration.  I am not saying that every call will be a video call, but at some point in our lives our goal will be to accept video as easily as we pick up a call.

So the VC240 product by Samsung a world leader in HD TV sets with the communications suite of Radvision is a great combo that should be considered in strategies for collaborative services.

The FVNO A New Role for Virgin with Sprint

June 15, 2009

Scanning the news on our site the announcement by Jim Patterson of Sprint that Wholesale Femtocells were a possibility gave me a great cause for speculation. 

What if Virgin Mobile took the challenge of providing a Virgin Mobile Femto?

What would that mean at the home?  A service that had unlimited ringtones?
An improved music player strategy that include private events?  I started to see some signs of genius here, when it came to hearing a difference in the femto model.  And in Virgin's case it could be bundled with a pay as you go model.

By in large femtocells often come across as a pretty strange beast to me.  Built for the carrier unlike a WiFi device in your house, but supposedly something you want to pay for.  Dual Mode phones are clearly popular (even though it prays for security to be missing)  so when does the femtocell become compelling?

Better coverage in your home, that pushes the landline out of their, but you need to keep a DSL or Cable Modem?  Feels like a stretch to me.

But bring in the idea of an MVNO with Femtocells and now it has some real legs, like the battle that rages in France with triple play set top boxes from Free and all the Thomson customers.


Acronym Decipher
MVNO - Mobile Virtual Network Operator
FVNO - Femtocell Virtual Network Operator

Introducing the 'Clearwire NTK' Research Series -- Deep Insight for Less Than $5

June 13, 2009

Welcome to the June, 2009 installment of our "Clearwire Need To Know," or Clearwire NTK, Research Series. The NTK Series provides quarterly updates on all things related to Clearwire Corp.'s nascent WiMax services, including market launches, pricing schemes, WiMax device availability and recent business deals from the company building a nationwide WiMax network. The Clearwire NTK reports are designed to give anyone interested in Clearwire the most thorough and up-to-date package of news, analysis and short-term outlooks available, in a format designed for easy reading.

Much more comprehensive than short blog posts -- and much more timely and economic than thousand-dollar traditional analyst reports -- our Clearwire NTK reports are "right-sized research" for busy professionals who want to stay as current as possible on all things Clearwire. If you are interested in Clearwire, here is everything you NEED TO KNOW, ready for you to order and download directly from our site.

Topping out at just over 3,000 words -- like those good old feature stories that most tech publishers don't have the space or author experience to provide any more, each of our Clearwire NTK reports are available in form factors designed for your convenience, from PDF downloads for your desktop, laptop or netbook, or in formats suitable for reading on your Kindle bookreader or iPhone.

Jim Crowe and Dan Hesse

June 12, 2009

  The Wall Street Journal reported that Level 3 and Sprint are in talks. And while a lot of the commentary will be negative, I have to admit I think it is synergistic. First of all the realities; Level 3 had a head chopping moment about a year ago where good people that were paid reasonably well were cut by pay grade and not by performance. Some of them have landed elsewhere others are still in transition.  At the time I thought it was positioning the company for acquisition and I thought a customer was already in mind other than Sprint. Level 3 has had some interesting services based on their customer's needs and between their relationships with Amazon and its cloud network and Akamai and others in the video world they were finding new uses for the network that were valuable. On the VoIP voice side, as a supplier they were pretty firm with their pricing models and while I considered them too pricey for some of the stuff I was asking them. However,  combined with the 911 support services they were offering many retail VoIP solutions found them useful.  Sprint likewise found a niche in supporting the cable operators as they need transport of telecom traffic and some form of triple play services. Of course the major goal was not to work with Sprint but not to work with the incumbent which helped justify the separation from the ILEC (now called Embarq). Dan Hesse was at Embarq before coming back into the Sprint fold and he has successfully managed the finishing touches on the Clearwire strategy.   (Has anyone noticed that the Palm Pre supports WiMAX?). Some of the commentary has been negative on a 51% newco strategy that would take assets from Level3 and Sprint. Remember Wholesale LD requires volume, so combined they may move into the second position for wholesale minutes. Personally, if Sprint finds a way to be the Berkshire Hathaway of Telecom, more power to them.    

Dear Clearwire, Reach me @home.

June 12, 2009

Sitting here wanting to participate in the WiMAX testing and using the Palm Pre, I need a WiMAX home device to backhaul to Clearwire.

If they were to do this and I think it would also enable them to trend spot customers in clusters and accelerate their rollout plans.  Another key ingredient if the device enabled meshing would be to let word of mouth and the palm pre to drive customers.

As a majority owner, I think Sprint would like this as well and if they share the info new synergies may materialize between them and their cable operators.

Cisco 4G is about Video

June 12, 2009

I had a talk with Kittur Nagesh Director Marketing at Cisco Systems about the Clearwire Cisco announcement.  It was an interesting discussion that was not specifically about the Navini product line within Cisco but the overall ability to contribute to the products and services. 

We are at a critical point in the WiMAX certification phase where products are being set up that will deliver new solutions.  It will mean the shelves should be filled at your local retailers with solutions that offer WiMAX.  I am not sure that these devices are going to be the equivalent of DSL/Cable Modem router.

I think we are going to see more interesting solutions.  A great example of this view that Cisco has that Video is going to make 4G more compelling.  Cisco predicts that about 64% of the traffic by 2013.  For this to happen an expansion of devices that support video in a variety of ways will have to be prevalent.

Cisco's commercials show their Telepresence, Webex services, but the best may be the video connectivity which should include HD Video.

Apple vs. Palm Heats up.

June 11, 2009

Top Dog iPhone has gotten into a price war and the pr noise does not add up right to me at all.

First of all estimates are that the Palm PRE has sold less that 200,000 units, which is pretty amazing since the inventory is not there.  Go into any Sprint Store and you can hold one, talk about but you are told to go the web for documentation.

Mind you ATT did not do much better at supporting the iPhone when it came out.  The marketing power was all in hands of Apple. 

So the price drop did not make much sense to me, after all Apple was keeping the price high deliberately for awhile and blackberry was not acting like a spoiler either.  And of course the gPhone is still catching up to them.

So is the Palm Pre that good that is warrants a price drop? 

I think Jon Rubenstein's departure may be more likely reason for the drop.  Trendy people everywhere are pausing to think about the implications.  And there is always a desire for new embedded in trends.

Right now we are in a phase where the original iPhones are going up for a contract, and many people I know claim they are keeping the phone as an iTouch but switching to another service.

So is Sprint's ability to steal customers at this moment as threatening as it sounds.  I think the next two quarters should be interesting.  And as a man who owned palm pilots and handsprings for years, I am interested in the software side.

Ultimately a phone is a phone, the smart side is the soft side.

And I supposedly understand this Stuff - LNP

June 10, 2009

As I have written about before I am in the process of moving.  I am going to miss Sanibel. So I asked for an existing service to give me the old phone number on the existing phone.  However for the right price I would have been willing to pay for the existing number as well, just to be safe.

As any of us VoIP types know its possible to ring multiple devices.  For a Canadian carrier, at a previous job we had a service that dialed out with the caller id that was associated with local rate centers.

So when my provider told me, I could not keep both, I tried to find the root.

Here is the IM between my knowing friend and myself.

ME> Quick Question.

Friend> Ack ( Can you tell we talk alot of SIP between us :<)

ME> How come when I use LNP for my cell phone I am not allowed to keep the old one?  Is it tariff issue? Or, a rule at the LNP level?

Friend> Its not the technology ..did you change rate centers?

ME> I took the house number that i sold and made it wireless.  I was not allowed to keep the old wireless number.

Friend>  Becaused you moved? and changed carriers?

ME> yes

Friend> Thats it ..its not technical its political they still have the same BS rules for going out of rate centers for mobile that they have for landline.
If you had just ported land line to mobile bbut did not move It would have been OK

Me> Let me restate
I have a mobile number NNX-XXX-XXXX
I have a landline number NNX-XXX-XXXX
I sold the house with landline and ported it to the mobile.
but the mobile made me give up the existing mobile number that was part of the original service.

Friend> One number per device?
ME> That's what they are saying.  I cant keep both numbers on the device.

Friend> right ..thats it ..

ME>Now you and i know its technically easy
Friend> trival ..
ME>  Like Remote Call Forwarding [RCF].  I am wondering why they wont offer it?

Friend> Some GSM phone cannot deal with 2 numbers but the GSMA specs do call for I think seven.

Wireless Backhaul LTE - Lots of Transport Equipment

June 10, 2009

Susan Campbell in her discussion of LTE brought up some of the realities we are facing as Verizon leads the pack of deployers.  The cell sites are probably going to increase as the deployment will show the realities of IP service delivery on a wireless network. 

Some friend are reversing the trend in wireless backhaul.  It use to be that 80% of the transport was radio and 20% fiber,  These days the LTE switch is to be fiber and particularly Metropolitan Area Ethernet.  So as we move forward this trend is promising adequate bandwidth at the core. 

But the base stations are expanding to accomdate the traffic and the concerns about MIMO as the access.

Its these changes we are looking to highlight with the Wireless Backhaul awards .  My expectation is that we are running down a similar path to when Fiber gained the power of DWDM. I have a friend who claims that the collapse of the telecom industry at the beginning of this century was a result of the pricing models being eroded by the excess capacity of bandwidth.

So the realities of service as learned in the implementing and testing of the wireless backhaul network is important bellweather for us to look at right now.

What's Good for GM is Good for Ed Whitacre, Jr.

June 9, 2009

First of all a personal note, Ed Whitacre and my father were friends, so I have never stated an opinion about Ed, despite my affiliation with people who did not like him.

But the story here is one beyond the man, but by the government that chose him.  Ed Whitacre is a very logical choice if you consider what he was doing at ATT/SBC and what he has to do now.

First of all, his role as a Union Negotiator is pretty well understood.  And the IBEW, CWA is proabably as close to coping with the UAW as you can get.

He has history of trying to do the most with the least (his plant upgrade strategy was loved by wall street), so I am sure that the big plans that some of us hope for electronic cars and visionary thinking will now be safely in check.

Likewise he has a history of consolidating things and making it so that he stays on top, so if GM is acquired he wont mind a bit.

In the last few days the story about Hummer and Saturn being sold were leaked out and I am not sure if they were approved of by the primary owner.

And that certainly the best thing Ed is known for,  managing Washington.  So the man may have been picked for that specific job.

This administration is not short on vision, but the team is showing the fact that they are stretched beyond their means.  I expect that Ed will bring a sense of stability to the discussion.  I also expect some Telecom lawyers / lobbyists are going to find a new home. 

For the telecom sector as the battle about Special Access and InterCarrier Compensation continue to drag on perhaps it will be easier to find a solution with less of our brethern focused on telecom (unless OnStar has an issue).

Good Luck Ed,  If you are good for GM you have to be good for the country because its no longer whats good for GM is good for the country its whats good for the country is a good GM.

Anton Wahlman Guest Blog on the Palm Pre

June 9, 2009

I played with the Palm Pre for a few hours today, at two different
Sprint Stores.  My review below is not a comprehensive review (go to and equivalent for that), but it does point out my
observations and comparisons.

First, what are the positives?

1.      Unlike iPhone, it uses the same standard MicroUSB as the newest
Blackberries and for that matter all other new handhelds.  This is the
standard for the next decade and means a lot of simplicity and

4G - Power Car

June 5, 2009

Have I mentioned, my obsession with battery.  I do not consider myself a hog on power, but my phones are constantly running out of battery.  Yesterday's trip did not have the blogging I expected, because it did not have the power.

So Radio Shack got to sell me a 350W car adapter today that now has my two computers, my two phones and the MiFi attached.  Pretty amazing.  Of course if i don't turn it all off when the car is off, the other triple A in my life will be coming to visit.

But I am up and running right now and it only took converting my car into a small office, or maybe a power station.

Yesterday, the discussions were very insightful, and I think the real story in QoS maybe the Power to Signal ability.  Right now, with everything attached, the only limitation I have is VZ's bandwidth limit.  But in the past, the GPhone has died when watching a YouTube video. 

I have yet to go in dual mode on phone that will the subject of another blog.  But the efforts I have made to make sure I have another power suggests to me that we have a long way to go.  A lot more evolution in this wireless broadband world is ahead of us.

Do DECT Phones fit in the 4G Wireless Evolution?

June 4, 2009

Scott and I visited our friend Mike Storella at SNOM yesterday.  As usual we got into a lot of subjects.  HD Voice, Video, VoWiFi, the expansion of SNOM's product line and distribution channel.  All good things.

We also talked about the DECT marketplace.  DECT is finally having its impact on the US.  They are feature rich phones, but the best part is they are easily integrated into a strategy. 

So in the battle of Femtocells versus Dual Mode, I want to cast my vote for DECT. 

At my house my DECT phones support intercom, bluetooth to my cell, speakerphone and its not about carrying something that needs to be charged.

As a matter of fact, I frequently use the base station as the only charger and leave the DECT phones lying around in convenient spots. (hmmmn, can I ask that the DECT forum consider TV remotes as an integration). 

I suggested we start discussing DECT's role at 4GWE.  We already have the Femto, Dual mode folks represented.

Massive Mobility Finally

June 3, 2009

Scott and I just had lunch and we were next to a Verizon Wireless store.  And we got to talking about Andy Abramson's blog about VZ's MiFi service.  My connectivity has been for S%^# for a while and these last few days has made a dramatic change in my ability to be part of the 4G world.  So this is my first blog taking advantage of my new device. 

Earlier in the day Scott and I were on a conference call with both of our cellphones,  I joked that we needed an ip pbx in the car, or a better speaker phone on the bluetooth device. 

In the move from the west coast to the east coast of Florida, I am getting the T-Mobile@home service for my old number.  This has also given me ATT DSL.  My ID with them works for all their hot spots (as if I was not going to McDonald's anyway).  

I expect my blogging to dramatically increase.

The iPhone Effect on Verizon

June 2, 2009

One of the reasons Verizon is so aggressive in its LTE deployment is Apple's iPhone deal with ATT is only for the 3G generation of iPhone.  As we have reported before the iPhone has given ATT an additional 5M subscribers mostly from the Verizon customer base.

Verizon executives see LTE as a way to align itself with Apple and regain customers.

Its unclear where Verizon's API strategy overlaps or competes with this desire. 

Verizon is agressively seeking to enable some network widgets over the course of the next year which will be available to third party developers.

Other than the iPhone the plan is to have LTE be offered for data services to start.
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