Archive for December, 2009

Best of 2009: Defining the year for Connected Planet

For our staff, 2009 was the year of:

Introducing the brand Connected Planet: We came into existence, ending the hundred-year run of Telephony – because of course there’s much more to today’s networks than voice – and charting off to cover the same industry but new territories.


Happy New Year! Thank you for your continued readership. Here’s to a great and prosperous 2010.

Best of 2009: It wasn’t all about Apple

Apple was a catalyst for a lot in 2009, but there are some trends the software giant can’t take credit for:

  •  New “wholesale” markets like CDN and mobile backhaul emerging as hot growth areas
  •  Network equipment vendors overnight turning into outsourced network operators
  •  DPI and policy entering the network in a big way – adding intelligence to the network
  •  Vertical solution areas – most notably smart grids – emerging as key driver of network growth
  •  The acceleration of 4G

The great android v. Apple debate after the break… more

Reading the Google Nexus One tea leaves

The “Google-Phone” — now officially dubbed the Nexus One — looks to be announced next week in partnership with T-Mobile — the Web is adrift with news and rumors, including look-and-feel, availability and even pricing. Here’s our best take on what this important milestone means:


Best of 2009: Things you can (and can’t) blame the economy for

Justified or not, the bad economy was everyone’s favorite scapegoat in 2009:

  •  The fact that service providers can’t out-innovate Web and media companies when it comes to content and applications.
  •  That you didn’t make your sales quote or Wall Street guidance – and your competitor did (there are still good and bad employees and companies, even in a downturn)
  •  Apple can sell smartphones despite the economy, yet no one else can sell them because of it

More after the break, including our readers’ responses… more

Best of 2009: Top feuds

Sometimes competition can turn into all-out feud:

  •  AT&T – Verizon “map” advertising wars. AT&T failed when it tried shut VZW down in court, and the commercials just keep getting juicer.
  •  Verizon CEO to Hulu: “You’ll be dead in 2 years”

More after the break… more

Hacker claims to have the key to GSM code

2010 might just be the year that the cellular phone calls become open to any hacker with the wherewithal to listen in. German hacker Karsten Nohl said this week that he has fulfilled his promise of cracking the GSM encryption code that protects phone calls from eavesdroppers while they traverse the airwaves. And while Nohl claims his publishing of the GSM codebook is purely academic, his project could significantly lower barriers for those with more malevolent intent.

IDG News’ Robert McMillian provides a good explanation of what exactly Nohl and his research team have done: cracking the 64-bit cipher called A5/A1 used to mask most GSM calls and SMS, Nohl has compiled a database of codes which can be used like a reverse phonebook to decrypt conversations and text messages. Using the codebook, antennas, some specialized software and about $30,000 worth of computing equipment, a hacker can crack a call in real-time, allowing him or her to listen in on live conversations. If that hacker is willing to wait a few minutes, a recorded call could be cracked in a few minutes using off-the-shelf computing equipment, according to Nohl.

The ability to listen in on cellular conversations isn’t new–it’s been available to law enforcement (and presumably criminals) for years–but the cost of the specialize equipment have made it prohibitive, according to PC World. Nohl’s codes make those capabilities available to just about anybody.

IBM says Google won’t win enterprise (but what about telecom?)

Interesting and provocative quote from IBM CEO Sam Palmisano (from a Barron’s interview via, essentially claiming that Google — in particular Google cloud services — have no chance to win in the enterprise.


Best of 2009: Web trends service providers shouldn’t ignore

If it’s booming on the Web now, service providers better take note:

  •  Real-time everything – when Google added “real-time search” to its listings in December, the Web moved from static/archive to a living, breathing thing.
  •  Online TV and video – with any business model and from any source.

More after the break, including our readers’ responses… more

Best of 2009: Connected Planet staffs’ favorite mobile apps

In addition to our mobile phones, in 2009 we were addicted to:

  •  Real mobile browsers – starting with iPhone but by year end available on most smartphones (though Blackberry and WinMo browsers still lag) – Editor in Chief Rich Karpinski
  •  Google Goggles – Executive News Editor Ed Gubbins
  •  Seafood Watch – Is the tuna that looks so good at the supermarket actually endangered? – Senior Editor Kevin Fitchard
  •  Words with Friends on the iPhone 3G. It’s not groundbreaking; just free Scrabble on your phone. It has made an honest Scrabbler out of me. – Associate News Editor Sarah Reedy

More favorites from our smartphone holdouts after the break… more

Carrier billing — a telco place in the smartphone sun?

Mobile operators, like their wireline brethren beside them, live in fear of one thing: being relegated to network pipes while others — device makers, OS providers, app makers — collect money working “over-the-top.” This certainly appears to be happening in the case of AT&T and Apple with the iPhone, but some interesting research emerged today that could tell a different story on Android devices. more


December 2009
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