Archives: A Week in Wireless

It’s outrageous!

It’s a bit of a Daily Mail headline but it captures the sentiment expressed by web giant Google this week after the emergence of a ‘top secret Post-it note’ suggesting the NSA hacked the data links between Google’s private cloud and the public internet in order to access Google-hosted information.

Bitter pills and bellyaches

At Broadband World Forum this week, Ericsson CEO Ulf Ewaldsson predicted – not for the first time, and probably not for the last – that spectrum will one day be more scarce a resource than oil. Perhaps this is why Telekom Austria was prepared to drop more than a billion Euros to stockpile half of […]

Check Mate

Once a conservative manufacturer of raincoats, UK fashion house Burberry decided a few years ago to push for a bit of brand diversity, bringing to market a range of clothes and goods featuring its trademark chequered pattern.

Hip(CEO)s don’t lie

For an industry run for the most part by grey-suited conservatives, it’s curious that the mobile sector never ceases to tire of attempts to hitch itself to trendy bandwagons driven by even trendier bands. What’s more curious however is that none of those collaborations in recent memory (the Informer’s memory hasn’t been that great since the last days of the Grateful Dead however) have amounted to much.

Virtual presence

One of the unintended consequences of an industry news site like is its discovery by consumers desperate to vent their frustration at the poor quality service they’ve received from operators. Stories that mention operator CEOs, of which there are many on—and in particular interviews or profiles of these execs—are sought out by overwrought consumers who post comments about their grievances.

Behind every great man…

The Nokia Microsoft drama went a bit Game of Thrones this week (thankfully without the gratuitous nudity) as accusations of back-room treachery came thick and fast.

Stephen Elop was cast as the villain of the piece, amid suggestions that the sale to Microsoft—and events between that sale and Elop’s arrival at Nokia—were part of a sophisticated, pre-conceived intrigue that has delivered Elop a rich personal reward. And when calls subsequently came for Elop to accept a lesser payoff for overseeing the sale, he reportedly claimed he needed the money to pay for his divorce.

Floppy disks, car phones and beepers

Remember having to hang up the land line to use the internet? Or before that, when hours of entertainment could be derived from a simple game of Pong? Typewriters, fax machines, floppy disks, car phones and beepers were all the rage at some point in time. The Informer, like Pepperidge Farm, remembers.

Under the thumb

The moment she discovered she was pregnant, Mrs The Informer downloaded an app for her iPhone that gave her regular and constant updates on the development of the little clump of cells that would, some 18 months after his arrival, smash the screen of that iPhone, and that of its replacement, and then drop the second substitute into the toilet.

Back to school deals

There’s nothing like easing back into work after your summer holidays, is there? Whatever plans the Informer had for a gentle return were shattered by two of the biggest M&A announcements we’ve seen for some time. Neither depended on the element of surprise for their impact, though, as both had been much anticipated.

Still hungry

The Informer was once told that if you owe the bank £1,000 it’s your problem, but if you owe the bank £100,000 then it’s the bank’s problem. If this is true then Telefónica, which owes in excess of €48bn, surely can’t have a care in the world. Certainly the firm is not about to let the level of debt it’s carrying stop it spending.

Six degrees of separation

It often feels as though the world is getting smaller – a side effect of the increasing density of human networks. The Informer is sure you’ve heard of a popular theory that most people in the world are connected to each other, and Kevin Bacon, by no more than six steps.

Data with Destiny

Bang! Bang! Twelve policemen carrying a huge battering ram barge down the doors. The lead investigator strides in wearing a long beige overcoat –like the one Columbo wears, waving his police badge, declaring: “This is a raid.”

Some of the workers try to flee, but it’s futile – armed officers have the entire premises surrounded. The detective confronts the baddie, and utters a cheesy action movie phrase – something along the lines of: “Today, is your data with destiny.”

Drifting off

Cannes, February 2005; remember that? 3GSM World Congress visited the Côte d’Azur for the last time and Siemens decided to mark the end of an era by hiring a Greek passenger ferry and mooring it out in the bay. An enormous Siemens logo painted on the flanks of the ship gave the firm great brand exposure but the experiment was not wholly successful.

Can’t we all just get along?

The Informer spent much of this week in sunny Amsterdam, basking in the glow of the world’s most advanced LTE networks, as early adopters and keen followers shot the breeze at LTE World Summit. What was interesting, was that the talk on the conference floor was all very heavy and technical, compared to the usual marketing gloss and business-case chat the Informer is used to hearing. Still, whereas the problems highlighted at those kind of gatherings are often identified as technical, the guys responsible for the technology were this time pointing the finger at commercial issues.

The price of loyalty

Dystopian futures almost always feature some kind of omnipotent presence—political, corporate or non-human—beneath whose gaze the masses cringe and squirm. And the power that these entities enjoy often depends, in a nod to the grim realities of the past, on the willingness of individuals to betray one another in return for a scrap of reward or approval.

Central to these scenarios is the suggestion that human beings are complicit in their own subjugation; too quick to divide and invite the rule of tyranny.

Lean and Mean

With summer supposedly fast approaching, many look to trim some fat and get in shape for the sunny months. The Informer has never been a huge fan of gyms; in fact his favourite machine in the gym is the one that sells chocolate. Telefonica’s UK arm O2, is one business that is looking to get lean for the holidays, though, and this week it announced that it is to trim 3,500 UK employees.

The right to be forgotten

What is the NSA going to do with data on this kind of scale anyway? The fact that it’s going to need processing is probably why so many of these companies are happy to hand it over—they can smell a big analytics tender in the offing.

If you like then you should have put a ring on it

“All the single markets! All the single markets! All the single markets! All the single markets!” was the tune Steely Neelie was humming along to this week when she issued a rallying cry calling for the formation of a single EU telecoms market before the next European election.(The Informer notes that the phrase ‘rallying cry’ is used a LOT when Kroes is written about. Google it and you’ll see. It makes the Informer wonder if she has an actual rallying cry; a special sort of bloodcurdling squawk or yowl that indicates the imminence of some kind of sector reform.)

Dishing the dirt

Pearl Harbour is indisputably one of the greatest attrocities the world has ever seen and it stands for all right-minded souls as proof that, however much time might pass, you should never trust Michael Bay. Meanwhile the events the film depicts were popular justification among the WWII generation for taking a similarly ‘cautious’ attitude towards the Japanese.

Very big numbers

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the richest of them all?

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index released this week, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has just edged past Mexican mogul Carlos Slim, who’s lost more than a few pounds since Mexico’s government passed a bill that could quash America Movil’s market dominance.

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