Archives: Opinion

An end to iPhone exclusivity

The most interesting thing about Vodafone’s announcement this week that it has struck a deal to sell the Apple iPhone, is that it signifies an end to the exclusivity deals Apple has been so fond of.

One in the eye for net neutrality?

Virgin Media’s decision to become the first ISP to partner with the BBC and launch iPlayer on its own platform this week came as something of a surprise, given the kicking the controversial media player has got in the ISP community recently.

Apples are not the only fruit

Although sales of Apple’s iPhone did not exceed 5.5 million units until 1Q08, its launch clearly changed the dynamics of the smartphone market, raising the bar for user experience by delivering a range of desirable, easy-to-use features

More doom and gloom atop Mt. Moto

Troubled vendor Motorola delivered more pain to its shareholders, with the company increasing its net loss for the first quarter to $194m from $181m in the same period a year ago. Sales also dropped from $9.4bn in 2007 to $7.4bn in the three months to the end of March.

Behind the mask

At the beginning of the millennium, with the fanfare from the 1999 launch of Virgin Mobile UK still ringing in the industry’s ears, it was widely anticipated that an MVNO stampede was imminent in the world’s leading mobile markets. A swathe of consumer-facing organisations, from soft drinks manufacturers and fashion labels to banks and football clubs, were expected to establish some variation on the reseller relationship with network operators, bringing every conceivable brand proposition to a population hungry for mobile services.

WiMAX heating up in Asia

Attending and chairing the WiMAX Forum Congress Asia recently in Singapore provided an opportunity to take the pulse of the WiMAX industry in Asia Pacific.

Copyright debate walks the plank

Content owners ought to collaborate with ISPs.

Content owners’ efforts to get ISPs to disconnect customers suspected of engaging in illegal filesharing activities took a knock last week when the European Parliament voted in favor of stopping European Union legislatures from enacting laws that would ask service providers to do just that.

M-money is an idea whose time has come

In the first of a flurry of recent mobile-money-service announcements, Vodafone said last week that it would launch its M-Pesa mobile-money-transfer service in Tanzania later this month in partnership with Vodacom. Tanzania’s No. 4 operator, Zantel, responded by saying it would introduce its own mobile-money-transfer service, beating the launch of M-Pesa. Then the UAE’s Etisalat, which has a majority stake in Zantel, said it was developing an international money-transfer service with Indian operator Idea Cellular, HSBC India and Mashreq Bank.

A battle for hearts and minds

If there were such a thing as an anti-WiMAX lobby group (and let’s put aside cynical thoughts that one already exists and is headquartered in Stockholm) it would have had a lot of fresh material to work with recently.

Thai operators facing tough choices on 3G plans

Along with giants China and India, Thailand is one of the few major mobile markets in the region that has yet to launch 3G services. But after years of gridlock in the licensing process, Thailand’s 3G market might finally be on the move, albeit at a potentially heavy price to operators.

Backhaul: Smashing the bottleneck

With voice revenues on the slide, data services have long been viewed as the operators’ APRU saviour. Last year finally saw data overtake voice in terms of network load and with many operators now touting the benefits of affordable mobile broadband there is every chance that data volumes will soon dwarf traffic generated by voice. Crucially though, revenues generated from data services show no signs of spiralling upwards.

The great 3G speed swindle

There’s been a load of reports flying around about O2 UK limiting connection speeds for its 3G users this week. So far, I’ve resisted from weighing in on this one because there’s too much about it that doesn’t add up and too many of the reports are anecdotal.

Theories abound on the 3G iPhone

Everyone’s got their own pet theory on when and if a 3G version of the iPhone is going to be made available. But this week, one of the many Apple iPhone hackers out there claims to have found the most solid evidence yet that a 3G version of the device is imminent.

700MHz surprises may still be in store

It was easy to predict the technology and business paths that would be taken by several winners of the US 700MHz auction, but silence from some means that major surprises may yet be in store.

Auction 73 wrapped up on March 18 grossing $19.1 billion and garnering winning bids from 101 bidders.

Phorm continues to court controversy

The controversy over internet ad-targeting platform Phorm continues to drag on, with privacy advocates claiming that the UK’s Information Commissioner has “green lighted lawbreaking”.

Phorm is a behavioural advertising system which has stuck trial agreements with UK service providers Virgin Media, BT and Talk Talk. The platform, which monitors web activity and analyses user habits to better target ads, purports to anonymise the data it collects. But a backlash from industry experts and consumers has forced the service providers rolling out Phorm to make the system opt out rather than mandatory.

Mobile broadband will prove no substitute for fixed-line

Hamid Akhavan’s claim at the CeBIT trade show in February, that there will be more subscribers to mobile broadband than to DSL within a few years will no doubt lead to a rash of reports predicting that fixed-to- mobile substitution will spread from voice to broadband.

Will they or won’t they?

Not even Telus knows for sure…

Rumors have been circulating for months that Canadian iDEN and CDMA network operator Telus is pondering the buildout of an overlay GSM network as well as a migration to LTE. It’s clear that the operator is giving the idea some thought, but no decisions have yet been made.

Attocells make iPhone 3G

Where do you go when you find that picocells and femtocells are too big and clunky? Attocells of course.

Consumers can’t live without Apple

Steve Jobs’ Californian kit maker, Apple, may be a relative newcomer to the world of mobile communications, but one thing it’s got going for it is brand awareness.

Brandchannel, owned by brand consultancy Interbrand, said that Apple swept the board at its annual brandjunkie awards. The maker of the iPhone topped the charts as brand that consumers ‘cannot live without’, which is interesting given that the company’s most famous product is probably the iPod.

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