Archive by Kevin Fitchard

Analyst: Mobile Cloud Computing to rake in $5.2B by 2015

As smartphones become more sophisticated and wireless connections become faster, mobile cloud computing services are beginning to penetrate the enterprise at a fantastic clip. ABI Research estimates enterprise cloud services will become in 2015 a $5.2 billion market globally for mobile operators and IT services companies.

“The immediate opportunity lies in leveraging cloud platforms to develop mobile applications, particularly mobile applications that leverage enterprise data,” ABI practice director Dan Shey said in a statement. ”Directly and indirectly, Microsoft and Google are major players both influencing and enabling these developments. Mobile operators have the most to gain through offers of cloud services to the enterprise leveraging their networks, application enablement, and data centers.”

Smartphones and connected laptops are main the drivers of mobile cloud computing services today, but Shey said that new devices–many of which are targeted for 4G networks–such as mobile Internet devices (MIDs), netbooks and smartbooks will further expand the use of cloud services.

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.

Google espionage: Nexus 1 targeting AWS 3G bands

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) may not be saying anything about its top-secret smartphone, but a lot of other people are. Clandestinely shot photos and videos of the Nexus One have begun appearing on blogs, and Google employee tweets are buzzing about the device across the Web. Gizmodo’s Jason Chen has apparently even gotten a sneak peak at the HTC-built device, facilitated by some modern day tech deep throat. Most astonishing, though, is that actual specs for the Nexus have begun emerging, and they reveal that Google may be eschewing AT&T’s (NYSE:T) big audience in favor of its old partner T-Mobile (NYSE:DT).

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Study: Backhaul radio spend down in Q3

Operators are supposed to be busting up their piggy banks to upgrade their backhaul networks in anticipation of increased 3G and eventual 4G data traffic, but a new study from Infonetics shows that one of the key backhaul equipment sectors, microwave radios, was down 8% in the third quarter. The global microwave market brought in $1.4 billion, half of which went to Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and NEC, according to Infonetics. more

Video–A little bit of (twisted) LTE humor

For those of you have been following the VoLGA issue, here’s a video that might amuse–or offend–you. The debate over how exactly to extend bread-and-butter voice and SMS services over the all-IP data network is becoming contentious. On one side are the advocates of IP multimedia subsystem (IMS)-based solutions and on the other are those that favor a more generic solution, utilizing operators existing 2G and 3G circuit-switched infrastructure. Even within those camps there are some big disagreements.

Who says engineers don’t have a sense of humor?

Sprint prepaid guru taking over 4G business

Matt Carter, the brains behind Boost Mobile’s $50 unlimited plan, is moving from prepaid to Sprint’s WiMax group, where he will take on the newly reinstated title of President of 4G. After Sprint (NYSE:S) acquired prepaid MVNO Virgin Mobile last month, Virgin CEO took Dan Schulman took over all prepaid operations, but Sprint has found a new task for Carter: performing the same black magic that revitalized Boost and launched the ‘unlimited wars’ in the US on Sprint’s newest business division, 4G.

Carter is stepping into shows that were originally filled by Barry West, Sprint’s former chief technology and President of 4G, who left for Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) after the two companies’ merger of WiMax assets last year. After the divestiture, Sprint became the controlling stakeholder in Clearwire and began to offer service over its WiMax service as a MVNO. While Clearwire was still in few markets, Sprint kept the 4G President role vacant, turning over 4G operations to vice president of mobile broadband Todd Rowley. But with Clearwire expanding its footprint to 20+ markets, covering 30 million pops, this winter, Sprint appears to be renewing its efforts in WiMax, bulking up its local and nationwide ad campaigns and reinstating the 4G President’s role.

“Matt Carter has led Boost Mobile prepaid service to unprecedented growth in the last year, and he has the executive and marketing skills to maximize Sprint’s industry leadership in 4G,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in a statement.

3G vs. 3G: Whose mobile data network is best?

As Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) and AT&T (NYSE:T) argue on TV whose network is fastest and most ubiquitous, independent performance testing firm Root Wireless has put their claims to the test, mapping out the performance metrics of all of the big four’s 3G networks in seven major metro markets. The findings were surprising. Though AT&T has taken a huge public relations hit for poor coverage and capacity on its high-speed packet access (HSPA) network, Root found that it’s network performed best in almost every single category from average download speed to level of connection failure (See TelephonyOnline’s related analysis of AT&T and Verizon’s networks). Root’s complete market data can be seen after the break. more

Tellabs-WiChorus a done deal

Tellabs (NASDAQ:TLAB) today finalized its acquisition of upstart mobile core gateway WiChorus, making Tellabs the newest entrant into the 3G and 4G core space. Announced just over a month ago, the purchase of the small and privately held WiChorus was a relatively painless process. Meanwhile, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) still has a few more hurdles to overcome in its own acquisition of mobile core vendor Starent (NASDAQ:STAR), which it announced just a few weeks earlier. As a publicly traded and much larger company (Cisco is paying $2.9 billion as opposed to the $165 million Tellabs shelled out for WiChorus), Cisco must has to run a much bigger regulatory gauntlet and doesn’t expect to finalize the deal until the first half of next year. more

AT&T drops VZW ‘map for that’ lawsuit

Though AT&T (NYSE:T) had another hearing in federal court coming up on Dec. 16, it has chosen to drop its lawsuit against Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) over its series of TV ads attacking AT&T’s 3G network coverage. In two separate filings today with the US district courts in Atlanta and New York, AT&T and Verizon Wireless agreed to dismiss the suit as well as VZW’s counter claims against AT&T. more

Aricent to power ADC WiMax core platform

ADC (NASDAQ:ADCT) has tapped Aricent to supply the packet core technologies behind its ever-increasing line of WiMax base stations. Rather than develop a hardware-based access service network (ASN) gateway from scratch, ADC is choosing to partner, either allowing carriers to hang its micro-cell or pico-cell architecture off of another vendor’s packet core or packaging the ASN as a software component in its radio base stations, as is the case with Aricent’s Access Service Node platform. more

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