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Showing posts from September, 2015

Android Support of RCS Gets Google Boost

Some of us might argue the biggest boost to next generation carrier messaging (Rich Communications Services) could well come from a commitment to support RCS by Google, across its Android platform.
Google says Jibe Mobile is joining Google to help us bring RCS to a global audience. Jibe is a leading provider of RCS services and they’ll continue helping carriers easily deploy RCS to their users.
Deploying RCS to create an even better messaging experience on Android will take time and collaboration throughout the wireless industry, says Mike Dodd, Android RCS software engineer. “We’re excited to team up with mobile operators, device makers and the rest of the Android ecosystem to support RCS standards and help accelerate their deployment in a more consistent way.”

Carrier OTT VoIP Has Been a Modest Success, At Best

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By 2020, mobile voice services sold as part of fourth generation Long Term Evolution services will generate about $100 billion in revenue, according to Juniper Research estimates. By that time, over the top voice services on 4G networks will generate about $10 billion, up from about $2 billion at present.
Most of that revenue--about $4.4 billion--will be earned in China and northeast Asia.
If those projections prove correct, we can reasonably conclude that mobile operator efforts to enter the OTT voice arena have been modest successes at best. By about 2018, mobile revenue globally will be about $816 billion, according to Spirent.
Carrier voice still will represent about 48 percent of total revenue at that point, or about $392 billion. OTT VoIP revenues globally might be about $25 billion by 2018, according to Spirent.
The larger trend is simply the diminution of voice revenues, down 30 percent to 50 percent in Western European markets since about 2010, for example. In fact, Juniper Res…

Verizon Launches Hum for Connected Vehicles

Verizon Telematics has launched hum, an aftermarket vehicle technology and subscription service providing roadside assistance, diagnostic features, parking tools and other features of connected cars.

Subscribers install hum using an onboard diagnostic (OBD) reader that is plugged into the vehicle’s OBD port, and a Bluetooth-enabled device that is clipped to the visor.
The monthly subscription also includes a smartphone app allowing subscribers to monitor their vehicle health, contact help, and manage maintenance needs, even when they are not behind the wheel.
Hum helps users dispatch advanced roadside assistance, alerts emergency personnel of a car’s location if a crash is detected, and assists authorities in locating a vehicle that has been reported stolen.
Two year subscription plans start at $14.99 per month plus taxes, fees and equipment for the first vehicle (including the hardware, valued at $120) with the option to add other vehicles for less.

New Front in Net Neutrality Wars?

Whatever the eventual implications widespread ad blocking might have on Internet app and content variety and openness, it is within the realm of possibility that new forms of net neutrality debates will emerge, with the focus on device suppliers rather than app providers or access providers, which up to this point have taken the brunt of criticism.
The reason is simply that Apple’s move to enable ad blocking by developers on iOS 9 devices creates the potential for gatekeeping on Apple’s part. That is not to say Apple would take such steps; only to note that it could.
The potential form of control would be an Apple-sponsored “fast running” version of iOS, with integrated ad blocking, or a standard version that allows apps to block ads if they choose to do so, or allows consumers to add their own ad blockers, but does not come automatically designed to run faster because ad blocking is more efficiently integrated into the operating system.
In a hypothetical case, Apple’s “fast browser” o…

Huge Chunks of the Internet Could Disappear, Eventually, Because of Ad Blocking

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The Internet is a loosely-coupled ecosystem, it often is helpful to remember. Unlike a vertically-integrated business or industry, unless all key elements are aligned, the value chain does not work very well.

That technical architecture also is a business architecture, underpinning and limiting the possible major business models. So when a key element of the value chain shifts, there is impact across the ecosystem.

We seem to have arrived at point where the existing value chain is under stress from any number of forces and trends. Observers do not agree, but strong forms of network neutrality (including the notion that all bits must always be treated alike) and now ad blocking are emerging as issues.

To be sure, even strong forms of net neutrality do not fundamentally change today’s value chain and business models. But they could be quite important forces over the long term, ironically as ad blocking increases.

The fundamental issue is that advertising and quality of service are two m…

Jana Builds Sponsored Data Business

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Let us be clear: Facebook does not participate in sponsored data or zero rating programs. Its Free Basics program does not involve any financial transfers from Facebook or its apps to Internet services providers, nor do ISPs pay anything to Facebook.

On the other hand, others might wish to do so. Jana, for example, has done so successfully, in multiple markets, offering airtime in exchange for taking some action desired by sponsors, such as trying an app.

Clients like LINE  pay Jana to get their apps in front of users who spend more than ten minutes a day on WhatsApp, for example.



The idea is not new. Entrepreneurs have tried to launch various ad-supported services for decades. Jana might be succeeding because of its ability to use billing systems more affordably than ever before, and because it can mine data better, at low cost.

Think of the issue with micropayments. Generally speaking, it has been difficult to sell products at cents when billing costs represent dollars of cost.

The s…

Internet.org Rebrands "No Data Plan" Service as Free Basics

Internet.org has been rebranded as Free Basics, a mobile app and website which provides no-charge access to some 60 apps without the need for buying a mobile data plan. The new name obviously better describes what the service entails.

The organization also is helping third parties create new Wi-Fi services in rural areas of India. Called Express Wi-Fi, that initiative provides support for entrepreneurs who want to sell Wi-Fi access.
The initiative aims to enable Wi-Fi  at lower retail prices than has been possible before. Part of the effort might well entail stripping out bandwidth-intensive elements such as advertising and video.
Facebook has already set up such hotspots in partnership with Internet service providers in parts of Uttarakhand and Bangalore.

Mobile Web Audience Grew 42% Year over Year

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Mobile media now is driving growth in digital media business, underscoring mobile’s role in just about every important trend in Internet access, content consumption and value of the Internet overall.
Mobile web audiences grew 42 percent over the past year, while use of mobile apps grew 21 percent, year over year, comScore says.

Fixed Network Business Case Remains Challenging

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No single access platform ever is the “best” or “only” solution for a communications objective. Though mobile widely has become the key enabling platform in much of the world, there are times when satellite or fixed wireless is the only economically-viable option.
Likewise, despite the bandwidth advantages of a fiber-backed fixed network, the business case is severe, in many cases.
By some estimates, fiber to the home or fiber to the curb has a positive business case in less than 50 percent of instances, and far less than that in the developing world, according to the International Telecommunications Union.

70% of People Globally Will Have Internet Access by 2020, ITU Says

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Of an estimated 9.2 billion mobile subscriptions expected to be in service by 2020, 7.7 billion will have mobile Internet access, according to the International Telecommunications Union. At that point, about 70 percent of the world’s population will be using a smartphone.
If those forecasts are correct, then dire warnings about the global digital divide will be a sharply less important reality. We likely still have some ways to go in terms of supplied bandwidth, and there still will be coverage gaps.

In Europe, Higher Capex, Lower Revenue is a Trend

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It might not be the case in every market, but in Europe, legacy carrier revenue is down, capital investment is up. Revenue gains are being made by attackers, including some that find they are earning more revenue on less capital investment.

That is not the case for the cable TV, mobile and fixed network service providers, all of whom are seeing increased capital spending. Cable is seeing a one percent increase in revenue, but telcos and mobile service providers are seeing negative four percent to five percent revenue trends.

Linear Video Subscriptions Drop 1%

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A slow decrease in linear TV viewing, accompanied by an equally slow increase in mobile viewing are among the findings of the latest Nielsen Total Audience Report, measuring consumer use of various forms of media.
According to Nielsen, the number of homes with linear video subscriptions is down 1.2 percent to 100.4 million, over a one-year period. 
The number of broadband only homes rose 52 percent to 3.3 million from 2.2 million, over the same period.
We should not expect the slow changes to continue forever. At some point, an inflection point will be reached and the balance will tip much faster.

U.S. ISPs, Linear Video Providers Get Higher Satisfaction Ratings

It never has been easy for providers in some industries, including telecommunications or airlines, to earn high marks in consumer satisfaction surveys.

There might be some improvement on the part of fixed network communications providers though, according to the latest J.D. Power surveys. A separate study by the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows some Internet service providers are doing better, some worse.
But linear video subscription services and Internet service providers score at the bottom of industry rankings.
Overall satisfaction with television service providers has increased by 12 points to 723 in 2015 from 711 in 2014 (J.D. Power uses a zero to 1,000 scale).
Satisfaction with network performance and reliability improved 22 points from 2014. This follows a 17-point increase between 2014 and 2013.
The danger of low scores can be illustrated by a couple of facts. Lower potential churn rates are associated with scores of 900 or higher.
About 53 percent of highly-satisfied…

Mobile Internet Usage Now About 33% of All Usage

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Globally, more people get access to the Internet using a personal computer or tablet, according to Global Web Index. 
But the percentage doing so using a mobile phone is growing steadily, and currently represents usage about half the level of PC or tablet access.

People 16 to 24 are the most-frequent mobile Internet users, spending 3.25 hours per day online on their smartphones, about 43 percent of their total internet time.

Mobile Ops Need to Maximize Customer Touch Points

Aside from the assertion that mobile service providers can do a better job of upselling products and services to customers who have interactions with the mobile websites, a new Allot Communications report indirectly points out some of the core challenges faced by mobile service providers.
The report points out that service provider websites are very rarely accessed on daily basis by subscribers.
Most of you would not find that a contentious observation. The most-used apps and sites are those of third party providers, and likely always will be. That is simply a reality for an application architecture that divorces apps from access.
Most people, most of the time, are going to go to third party apps and sites. But Allot also notes that such low engagement makes it harder for mobile operators to foster higher uptake of their own applications and content.
On average it appears that only 0.7 percent of subscribers access their CSP website on a daily basis. So service providers must do better at…

Study Finds Public Wi-Fi Assets are Wasting Capacity

XCellAir conducted an analysis of 250 live Wi-Fi access points around its offices in Montreal, Canada and found that 92 percent of access points do not adjust their operating frequency, no matter how badly performance is degraded by interference.
It also found that on average, two channels worth of bandwidth is unused at any given time, despite congestion and interference. Each channel equates to 50 Mbps of idle bandwidth totalling 100 Mbps unused.
The study, conducted in partnership with independent telecoms analyst Real Wireless, shows that poor management of Wi-Fi assets severely limits such assets' usefulness in dense urban environments.
To quantify the impairment, Real Wireless modeled the impact on a capacity-constrained mobile service provider, over a five-year period.
In New York city, for example, the net present contribution of operational savings and new service revenues was estimated to be $374 million over five years. Some of that value came in the form of avoided mobi…

Telco Fundamental Strategic imperatives Remain, Tactical Focus Changes Over 5 Years

“Telcos are an endangered species; their traditional business model has come undone, and many operators face a downward revenue/earnings/investment spiral,” Forrester Research analysts argued in 2011.

Revenue shrinkage in triple digit billions was predicted by analysts at Telco 2.0, over a span of perhaps a decade, beginning about 2006.
Whether you agree or disagree with the characterization, not much has fundamentally changed, though the specific tactical recommendations might be different. Now, as then, competition from alternative connectivity providers, IT services firms, and over-the-top providers, all enabled by open regulatory environments, is a fundamental reality. Some of the 2011 recommendations still make sense. Service providers need to “adjust” cost structures from higher to lower. But where earlier efforts focused on headcount or other relatively obvious operating areas, attention now is turning to methods of revamping core network operations and capital spending. That is…

LTE Now Generally Faster than Wi-Fi

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Smartphone users are on average connecting to fourth generation Long Term Evolution  networks at much faster speeds than Wi-Fi, according to Open Signal, a circumstance that might surprise you.
In the past, users connected to Wi-Fi because it provided a faster connection than the mobile network. That might still happen, but, on average, LTE connections now are faster than Wi-Fi.
Open Signal points out that there is “tremendous variance” in Wi-Fi connection quality around the world.
In North America or East Asia, a consumer might see 50 Mbps or better connections on their home or office networks, but then find their internet connection timing out at a local coffee shop.
There’s also a lot of variance in Wi-Fi speeds between countries, with some of the fastest Wi-Fi  speeds in Europe.

Of course, network loading and backhaul availability and cost are key parts of the picture.
Some of the earliest adopters of LTE -- like the U.S., Japan, Sweden and Germany -- are starting to fall behind in t…

Who Leads U.S. Fixed Network Markets? Some Clearly Say "Cable TV"

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Definitions matter. For example, Access Platforms, in an analysis of “overbuilders” in San Antonio, Texas, uses a definition of high speed access provider market I had been unaware of, and illustrates the fundamental nature of the market.
Access Platforms, noting that cable TV service providers have 62 percent high speed access market share in San Antonio, considers AT&T an overbuilder.
My traditional understanding of an overbuilder is that it is a third or ancillary provider of triple play services in a market, in addition to the presumed incumbents, a cable TV operator and the local telco.
Access Platforms defines overbuilder as “Companies (independent telco and municipalities) that build additional systems over existing cable systems in order to provide a competitive service in a market.”
That might apply to virtually any fixed network service--video, Internet access or voice--normally sold by a triple play services provider.
Access Platforms considers all providers other than the …