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?

What happens when all smartphones start looking the same? (Video)

One thing I noticed in traveling the past couple of weeks is that you can’t necessarily judge a smartphone by its user interface. Looking over someone’s shoulder on an airplane or in a meeting, it’s not always clear exactly which smartphone they’re using, especially if they are deep in a calendar or email app, for example.

Chances are the person is swiping to a new screen or tapping on a virtual keyboard, whether it be an Apple iPhone, one of the many Droid phones or an HTC-enriched Windows mobile phone.

One wonders what will make a customer not caught in the daily sturm and drang of our industry choose one phone over another. The answer, of course, is marketing.


Prepaid reaches the high, low ends

Prepaid wireless users are no longer relegated to out-of-date flip phones or the bricks that once symbolized the contract-free market. More and more sophisticated handsets are being introduced by carriers and being embraced by younger text- and Web-oriented wireless customers, according to New Millennium Research (NMRC). more…

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.

Cox, Comcast launch Mozy online backup storage

Cable providers Cox and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are starting to offer online storage services this month with plans to expand them next year. Both are powered by Mozy, the online backup service offered by Decho, a unit of EMC (NYSE: EMC).

Cox Business is launching free online backup this month in two markets — Roanoke and Hampton Roads, Va. — with plans to expand it to all markets next year. Cox, which also launched wireless service in Roanoke and two other markets this week, is offering its small and medium business Internet customers between 2 gigabytes and 10 GB of storage for free, with the storage capacity determined by the customer’s Internet speed. Users can also buy up to 100 GB of storage at prices ranging from $10 to $70 per month, Cox said. more…

Blogging Telco 2.0: Mobile data and ‘voice 2.0′ opportunities explored

Reporting live from Day Two of STL Partner’s first Telco 2.0 event here in Orlando. Read yesterday’s report here.

We’ll follow the conversation throughout the day as it bounces from topic to topic. Up first: mobile data trends and voice 2.0 opportunities.


The Best and Worst of 2009 - Survey

There was no shortage of events, trends, new products and services to remember in 2009 - even some that we’d like to forget. But as 2009 comes to a close, we’d like your opinions on the year past. What were the top technology trends? What was the most unexpected event or most game-changing product? We know our readers have opinions, and we’d like to hear them.

Connected Planet and Telephony Online readers, please take a moment to fill out our survey on the good, the bad and the ugly in telecom for 2009. The first 100 respondents will be entered in a drawing to win a $50 American Express gift certificate.

Take our short survey here: Best & Worst of 2009

Sprint CEO Hesse on 4G pricing plans

Dan Hesse On the same day (and at the same investor conference) that AT&T’s Mobility and Consumer Markets CEO Ralph de la Vega talked about how his company is preparing consumers for usage-based billing models, Sprint (NYSE:S) CEO Dan Hesse shared his own thoughts on the subject.

“When you think about post-paid — and I don’t know what’s going to happen — it’s not just going to be your phone,” Hesse said. “It’s going to be your camera, your iTouch, your gaming device – they’re all going to become wireless, so what’s going to be the right plan for those? As we move into 4G, it’ll be much less about minutes and more about gigabytes (GB) as the main driver of what customers are buying per month, because it’s going to be VoIP-oriented. Minutes will be largely irrelevant. It’s going to be data-oriented. Customers may buy 100 GB of data rather than by month, they may buy monthly contracts or 1- or 2-year [contracts]. We want to have the flexibility — in wholesale and retail, prepaid and post-paid, with multiple brands — to move and morph, because business models are going to change…The biggest growth will come from non-traditional wireless devices.”

Blogging Telco 2.0: A way out of the “valley of death”

I’m spending the next few days in Orlando at STL Partner’s first Telco 2.0 show here in the U.S. The conference has quickly grown in influence as one of the industry’s go-to events for new thinking about telco service and business (and, frankly, survival) models.

As Frontier awaits Verizon lines, cable guys pounce

Competitors are pouncing on Verizon Communications’ (NYSE:VZ) move to sell 4.8 million access lines to Frontier Communications (NYSE:FTR) in 14 states, reaching out to Verizon customers in those areas and urging them to switch providers before the network changes hands.

In particular, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has been targeting customers in Washington and Oregon, according to Donald Shassian, Frontier’s chief financial officer. Those attacks are made easier by the high-profile service problems Verizon customers saw in the Northeast after they became Fairpoint Communications customers, in a similar transaction. Frontier says it knows how to avoid the problems that beset Fairpoint. But in the mean time, while its deal is still pending (perhaps until next summer), Frontier can’t fight back in the markets it has yet to acquire.

“We can’t force [Verizon] to come up with a new promotion or new incentives or change their marketing,” Shassian said at an investor conference this week. “It’s been challenging to compete against Comcast’s campaign like that. We can’t advertise in those markets because we don’t have regulatory approval. That [would be] poking a regulator in the chest. You can’t assume you’re going to get something. You’ve got to sit back on your heels and hope Verizon does their best.” more…


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