Archive for November 16th, 2009

Will open mobile break online purchase/activation?

So what happens when a consumer purchases and then tries to get started with a new, more open smartphone device on a new, more open mobile network?

If operators aren’t careful, the answer is: chaos.

And that chaos has the potential to not only result in a painful customer (or worst case scenario ex-customer) experience but substantial call center/support costs as well.More...
We recently talked about this topic with Omar Tellez, executive VP and CMO of Synchronoss, which provides back-office platforms to enable service providers and OEMs to help automate subscriber activation, order management and service provisioning for connected devices.

Synchronoss got a big boost when it won the deal to activate Apple’s iPhone online (and then took a hit when Apple and AT&T pulled activations back into their retail locations).

That was more than a year ago. Since then, Synchronoss not only is still doing some iPhone activations (the vendor does 100% of Apple and AT&T Web site-purchased iPhone applications today) but it’s won more deals, including with Nokia USA and a deal earlier this month with Time Warner Cable.

In the end, everything the company learned in its iPhone dealings “is very relevant to the issues we’re seeing in the market today. Many people divide the wireless space into ‘BI’ and ‘AI’ — before the iPhone and after the iPhone,” said Tellez. “What’s happened in terms of OEMs [like Apple] becoming stronger and many more open initiatives on the operating side of the equation is that the whole ecoystem has changed.”

Before, said Tellez, operators controlled the sales channel and customer experience. Today, device manufacturers and even retailers like Best Buy “are taking a much more aggressive role.”

The newest version of Synchronoss’s ConvergenceNow platform is targeted at just these type of connected device retail — and e-tail — environments and has features not just for service providers but OEMs and retailers as well.

As the open mobile value chain continues to evolve, exactly who controls the purchase, pre-qualification, credit check and other processes will continue to evolve and change as well. Overall, though, “you’ll have more parties involved and more marrying or caching of customer information up front.

All of that leads up to a new kind of service activation, where a combination of operator services and apps and content from a variety of other parties are added to the purchase, activated on the phone and delivered via an entirely new type of customer purchase experience, Tellez said.

“At the end of the day, the learning of the past six months is that when this environment enables more players, and not just the operator, to provide for a customer’s needs,” he said. “It’s a very interesting time in the mobile value chain.”

Utah’s Utopia moves forward with user-owned fiber

Utah’s multicity public fiber network, Utopia, is moving forward with a new model in which individual users pay the cost of connecting their homes with fiber.

Late last week, the Brigham City Council approved a $5.5-million plan to extend the wholesale fiber network throughout its streets. The city itself is putting up just $655,384 of that cost, while business and residential customers who want fiber are putting up the rest. more

Droid really does; becomes fastest selling Android device

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With only one week of Droid sales under its belt, Flurry Analytics’ latest statistics on Verizon Wireless’ (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) exclusive Motorola (NYSE:MOT) Droid suggest VZW’s $100 million integrated marketing campaign paid off. Flurry said 250,000 Droids were sold in week one, compared to 1.6 million iPhone 3G S last June and 60,000 HTC MyTouch 3Gs on T-Mobile (NYSE:DT) in August. more

Digital Chocolate: The rise and fall – and rise – of mobile gaming

This post is part of a series leading up to an upcoming Connected Planet feature story on open mobile. Road to Open: Read part 1 HERE, part 2 HERE and part 3 HERE.

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Application stores have created interesting dynamics for the mobile gaming market, according to Trip Hawkins, CEO of social gaming pioneer Digital Chocolate. When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) introduced the first iPhone, there was no app store. It killed the game business for AT&T (NYSE:T), he said, because the customers who had been buying games through MEdia Mall had nowhere to go. When the iPhone App Store launched, gaming came back with a vengeance, but for Apple, not AT&T. more

GIPS brings HD voice to Android

High-definition voice, a relatively nascent technology, is coming to the Android operating system, courtesy of Global IP Solutions (Oslo Børs: GIPS). The company is enabling Android mobile application developers to build voice-over IP-enabled clients with its VoiceEngine Mobile. Free mobile social networking application Nimbuzz will be the first customer to implement the HD technology for free mobile VoIP calls. more

Ethernet, IP VPNs bright spots in data spending decline

The 2% drop projected this year for the US for wireline business data services market is the first decline In-Stat has seen in more than a decade of covering the sector.

Spending on wireline data services (which doesn’t include managed services such as hosted VoIP in In-Stat’s coverage) should stabilize next year before rebounding, reaching $25 billion by 2012 after dropping to $22.4 billion this year.

“Ethernet Services and IP VPN services are among the lone bright spots in the market,” In-Stat analyst David Lemelin said.

Spending on IP VPN services among small and medium businesses should grow 150% between last year and 2012, In-Stat said. And spending on Ethernet services among healthcare firms should triple in that time.

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