Archives: Opinion

The future of music

Nokia seems to have set the cat among the pigeons this week, with the promise of a music subscription service that lets users keep their music when they leave. But beyond the soothing words and hints of revolution, the Finnish company has been pretty cagey – and now it seems with good reason.

Global mobile penetration hits 50%

Figures released by industry analyst Informa Telecoms & Media reveal that worldwide mobile penetration will hit 50 per cent – or around 3.3 billion subscriptions – today, just over 26 years since the first cellular network was launched.

Since its birth in 1981, when the first mobile telephony network was switched on in Scandinavia, the now ubiquitous mobile phone has become one of the world’s great success stories.

Shoogle sloshes onto phones

Boffins at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, have come up with a novel way for mobile phone users to interact with their phone.
The Shoogle interface [apparently named after a Scots-English word for shake, although the dictionary reckons it’s more likely to be ‘shoggle’], uses a “vibrotactile display and realistic impact sonification” to tell users what’s ‘inside’ their phone.

Verizon makes a U turn on open access

US mobile operator Verizon Wireless was the company which took the Federal Communications Commission to court over the open access provisions in the 700MHz auction rules, alleging that they were, “arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.”

Clock is ticking on UK broadband

BT, Virgin Media, BSkyB, Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse are among the UK’s telecoms companies meeting with Minister for Competition, Stephen Timms, at a UK broadband summit today. The aim of the get together is to address investment in broadband infrastructure. Although more than half of UK homes have broadband, many other European operators are upgrading their networks to cope with faster speeds, putting the UK in danger of slipping into the internet ‘slow lane’.

Back to the future

With December almost upon us and Thanksgiving taking place in the US, you can already feel the telecoms industry settling down to hibernate until January. With not an awful lot else going on Amazon managed to grab good coverage for the launch of its Kindle electronic book thingy.

Amazon Kindles wireless ebook

It’s not really a core telecoms story, but Amazon’s launch of the Kindle wireless ebook this week is interesting nonetheless. On the surface, the whole ‘subscription free’ model looks like a winner – it works right out of the box and the user only pays for what they use. This element is also interesting for a second reason, and that’s because it rolls the cost of the delivery in with the cost of the product. Essentially, the content provider pays the carrier the transfer costs. Which is really the way it should be.

Can Android succeed?

Well this week was certainly less eventful, and much of the blogosphere continued its analysis of the fallout from some of the previous week’s news.

Naturally, much attention is still being lavished on Google’s Android platform, with Francis Sideco, senior analyst for wireless communication, at analyst iSuppli wondering whether Google’s foray into mobile phones can succeed.

A first look at the EU telecoms review

The Telecoms Reform Package presented by the Commission to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday will change the EU Telecoms Rules of 2002. It is expected to become law by the end of 2009.

The proposals are far reaching and court plenty of controversy, not least with plans to create a European Telecom Market Authority, or “super regulator”, from the existing European Network Information Security Agency (ENISA) and the European Regulators Group (ERG). ETMA would be designed to support the Commission and national telecoms regulators in ensuring that market rules and consumer regulation are applied consistently, independently and without protectionism in all 27 EU Member States.

First look at Android

As promised, the Google fronted Open Handset Alliance lifted the curtain on the Android platform on Monday, with the release of its Software Development Kit (SDK).

Android is a complete mobile platform built on the Linux 2.6 kernel, with an application model that claims to make it easy for developers to extend, replace, and reuse existing software components to create rich mobile services

Never mind the weather, here’s the iPhone!

There’s a mix bag of reports about how well the European launch of the iPhone went on Friday. With all the hype over the past few months, I think the telecoms media expected hordes of people to be queuing up outside Apple stores in the UK and Germany way ahead of the evening launch. But it looks like in most cases, potential punters were outnumbered by extra shop staff and security guards.

Androids, iPhones and WiMAX

It’s been an eventful week in the wild world of telecoms. Google set the pace on Monday with the launch of Android and the Open Handset Alliance, which has been met with mixed reception:

Femtophilia

It seems that the whole industry’s gone femto crazy this week. And it’s largely the fault of the Femto Forum, which after getting off to a bit of a wobbly start three or four months ago, has come up smelling of roses with the backing of the major infrastructure players.

G-bomb goes off in handset industry

It’s finally happened. Google has activated its Android and set its sights firmly on Nokia/Symbian. And it looks like most of the rumours were right – Android is an operating system, middleware, a user interface and a set of applications. And it’s free. It’s got three of the top five handset vendors on board as well as 31 other companies, including hardware manufacturers and operators. For Moto, this looks like make or break time – if Android is successful it could help the company pull its fat out of the fire. For the rest of the handset vendors it looks like they’ll be split into two camps.

Is music rental where it’s at?

The UK is going a bit mobile music crazy at the moment. This morning I went down to Paper in London to watch Girls Aloud at the launch of Omnifone’s Music Station service on the Vodafone network, which coincidentally also signalled the first time BlackBerry users have been able to get tunes onto their devices. Then there was also Nokia’s mobile music shop opening its doors – and all this ahead of the iPhone launch next week.

Does the buck stop with the money men?

It looks like a bad time to be a CFO for a telecoms kit vendor at the moment. Not only have we seen Ericsson CFO Karl-Henrik Sundstrom make a quick exit, after a 36 per cent drop in income for the third quarter, but now, Alcatel-Lucent number cruncher Jean-Pascal Beaufret is off too. Beaufret’s exit […]

How much is a social network worth?

$15 billion, that’s how much. 23 year old Mark Zuckerberg must be a very happy man today, after Microsoft shelled out $240m for a 1.6 per cent stake in Facebook. The social networking hype machine has obviously been chugging away since Murdoch paid out $580m for MySpace and I wonder how much longer before the wheels fall off the bandwagon? eBay’s already admitted it got a bit over eager when bidding for Skype and all this crazy spending is starting to look a bit ’90’s…

Plotting Nokia’s assault on the services space

Nokia has been building momentum in the services space of late – an initiative which has been interesting to watch for two reasons. One, because all this talk of social networking and Moshing is suggestive of the world’s biggest handset vendor shaking off its typically dour, Finnish image. And two, because of the controversial statements coming from the typically dour, Finnish chief executives of the world’s biggest handset vendor.

It’s an iPhone bonanza for AT&T

Well, Steve Jobs probably wasn’t the only CEO rubbing his hands with glee at the success of the iPhone this week. The wonder device may have helped build Apple’s cash pile even higher but it looks like it’s also gone down a treat with exclusive carrier AT&T.

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