Archive for September, 2009

Google threatens telcos with SMS, payment ‘pricks’

What’s the saying? Death by 1000 pricks?

Telecom service providers are certainly keeping close tabs on Google as a competitor, but it often seems the search giant hasn’t really made one big move that would signal its intentions. They’ve mucked around with spectrum, tweaked telcos at the FCC about DPI and other developments and launched services that seem not-quite-mainstream like Google Talk or Google Voice.

But those pricks add up, don’t they?


OpenRange taps WiChorus for WiMax core

After announcing its first customer last week, start-up 4G core vendor WiChorustoday piled on a second. While smaller than Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), Open Range Communications is one of the largest operators focusing strictly onrural developments, targeting 546 communities in 17 states. more

Moto debuts LTE core, 4×4 MIMO base station

Motorola (NYSE:MOT) todaypreviewed someof the new WiMax and long-term evolutionproducts it will show off at the Yankee Groups’s 4G Worldnext week. First on the list was itsLTE 4G core,a mixture of elements it developed in-house and gateways provide by Starent Networks (NASDAQ:STAR). Secondly it unveiled a newWiMax base station access point that uses a 4-antenna configuration to boost range and capacity. more

AT&T 3G capacity boost going forward–slowly

AT&T’s planned 3G upgrade, which would boost the capacity of its high-speed packet access (HSPA) networks, will be complete by the end of the year–but only in six markets. AT&T (NYSE:T) today revealed that the majority of the network upgrades won’t happen until 2011, right about the time the operator will be launching its first long-term evolution (LTE) networks. more

User trends, loosening rules provide ‘app economy’ insights

It continues to be interesting watching the new “app economy” develop.

As we’ve discussed before, the new mobile application ecosystem — largely the iPhone app store right now but with Android, Nokia, Microsoft, Palm and other app outlets in the offing as well — has the potential to change the telecom playing field (for instance, it seems to be breathing new life into VoIP).

New developments: word of iPhone app ARPU (average revenue per user, a classic telecom metric), more app approvals and some worrisome rhetoric about operators taking it on the chin when it comes to the app ecosystem bottom line.


The battle for SMBs gets a 100-meg player

Comcast is avoiding the war of words over 100 Megabit per second service by launching its new offering in the SMB space, not the consumer market. Earlier this year, when Cablevision announced a 101 Mb/s service, it came under immediate fire from Verizon, which insisted such a service was impractical on a hybrid fiber-coax network, since 101-Meg customers would be eating up the bandwidth shared by an entire neighborhood. For its part, Verizon has been deploying 100 Meg-capable home equipment for years now, but admitting the applications are not yet there for that kind of bandwidth.

The Comcast service, currently only available in the Twin Cities area, costs $369.95 a month, which may limit its appeal to some SMBs as well, especially when you consider that the upstream bandwidth is only 15 Mb/s. A bandwidth-hungry small business, such as a media firm or doctor’s office with large image files, is likely to need upstream as well as downstream bandwidth.

But with Comcast’s push into the SMB space, being able to claim a 100-Meg service is not too shabby. We’ve already begun to see the marketing hype increase for these customers, who at the end of the day often are more lucrative and loyal than residential triple-play customers. Telecom service providers repeatedly tell me they haven’t yet seen the cable inroads into their SMB customer base. That may be the result of SMB concerns that cable won’t be any better at providing customer service that meets their needs than large telecom players often has been.

Cable has made it clear that the business market is not a passing fancy, however, and this is just one more indication of the serious competition ahead. Incumbent telcos would be wise to look closely at how well they are meeting SMB needs and CLECs targeting SMBs should also be wary of cable inroads. This is not a customer base that should be taken for granted. Efforts such as the one by Verizon Business to bring its Verizon Enterprise Center self-help portal to SMBs and now Comcast’s 100 Meg push are upping the ante for everyone.

TenBu uses Bluetooth to prevent theft, forgetfulness

Portable devices, including cell phones and laptops, are great until their portability makes them ripe for theft or accidental disappearance. To help forgetful or paranoid device owners, British company TenBu today unveiled a Bluetooth-powered personal alarm system to ensure no device goes missing. more

Windstream acquires tiny telco

Windstream Communications (NYSE:WIN) continues to nibble away at the RLEC market. Today the company bought Lexcom, a tiny triple-play provider in Lexington, North Carolina, whose 23,000-access-line network is contiguous with Windstream’s own.

Windstream is paying $141 million in cash. According to Stifel Nicolaus, the price is 3.2 times Lexcom’s 2008 revenue, nearly six times its EBITDA before synergies and nearly five times its EBITDA after synergies.

Windstream is in need of some larger M&A than this. more

Sprint helps take Android mainstream

Sprint (NYSE:S) become the second carrier today to get in the Android camp, announcing it will start selling the HTC Hero, based on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system. While all the major carriers have pledged to support Android, Sprint is the second carrier to actually sell a device. To date, only the G1 and the MyTouch 3G are available from T-Mobile (NYSE:DT). With the addition of Sprint, Android will reach a larger audience and could be on its way to the mainstream. more

Google to Gmail users: ‘five nines’ — what’s that?

So Google’s GMail service was down yesterday, apparently due to some architectural issues that failed to isolate failed routers correctly. That follows major outages in February and May. Just ask a telco, a few hours of outages per month can very quickly not a few “nines” off your “ive-nines” uptime guarantees.

That’s not to say that everything is rosy in carrier-land, either. more


September 2009
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