Friday, February 27, 2009
It isn't quite the classic that "if operating systems were airlines" (http://ipcarrier.blogspot.com/2007/12/if-operating-systems-were-airlines-part.html) is, but is chuckle-inducing, nevertheless.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
IKallasvuo says the firm is "looking very actively" at the opportunity. His comments appear to confirm long-running speculation that the world's largest handset vendor will diversify into laptops. "We don't have to look even for five years from now to see that what we know as a cellphone and what we know as a PC are in many ways converging," Kallasvuo said.
The vendor is rumoured to be developing computers based on ARM's new 'Sparrow' processor for netbooks and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and is reportedly looking at a 2011 launch.
Spurred by lower bandwidth costs and higher service availability, enterprises of all sizes purchased carrier-based Ethernet to support their business networking applications, according to Vertical Systems.
"Despite a near paralysis of new telecom spending at the end of the year, there were tens of thousands of new Business Ethernet service installs during 2008," said Rick Malone, principal at Vertical Systems Group. "Deployments were most active in the third quarter before many enterprises implemented spending freezes or staff reductions. Customer installations in the fourth quarter consisted primarily of follow-through on in-process network conversions."
Based on retail customer port installations, AT&T maintained its U.S. market leadership in 2008, although considerable momentum by Verizon narrowed the gap. Attaining a position on Vertical Systems Group's 2008 Business Ethernet Leaderboard with 5% or more of the market are eight service providers in the following order by share: AT&T, Verizon, tw Telecom, Cox, Qwest, Cogent, Time Warner Cable and Level 3.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Some 128,000 jobs (or 32,000 jobs per year) could be generated from network construction over a four year period, and each job would cost $50,000, according to Dr. Raul Katz, adjunct professor at the Columbia Business School.
Beyond that, such new broadband facilities are supposed to spur economic development as well. But will it?
Unfortunately, says Katz, research on the productivity impact of broadband indicates the potential for capital-labor substitution and consequently, the likelihood of job destruction resulting from broadband deployment, as well as some incremental job creation. So the issue is whether net job creation exceeds net job destruction, and by how much.
You might think bringing broadband access to any community can only be a plus. As it turns, out broadband creates jobs and destroys them as well.
Since broadband tends to enable the outsourcing of jobs, a potential displacement of employment in the service sector from the area targeted for deployment might also occur, says Katz.
Also, some job creation in the targeted areas could be the result of relocation of functions from other areas of the country, and therefore, should not be considered as creating incremental employment, he adds.
Still, Katz says, the study results indicate that some job creation aside from the actual construction jobs is feasible. “Our estimates indicate that over four years the network effects could range from zero to 270,000 jobs over four years (approximately 67,500 jobs per year), although anecdotal evidence would point to the lower end of this range,” says Katz.
If Siemens results are typical, mid-sized organization personnel might be wasting as much as 40 percent of their available time dealing with communication latencies of one sort or another. Most small businesses probably will not agree, but communications inefficiency obviously scales with organization size.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
"Schumpeterian" times of "creative destruction" seem to be upon us. Note a recent ChangeWave poll on PC purchasing. You wouldn't be surprised to learn that Apple ranks number one in customer satisfaction.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
By 2013, an estimated 52 percent of Internet users will be regular social network visitors, according to eMarketer.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Enabled by these services, content providers can offer the consumer a better user experience, a key objective for much of MEF’s work.
The move is a major step towards creating an entirely new revenue source: business partner revenue streams, while improving end user experience and moving beyond any notion of access networks as "dumb pipe."
At the moment, of the $32 billion worth of revenues in the mobile entertainment industry, about half is based off-portal. The new "smart pipe" approach is aimed at offering those providers the option of features now available primarily to operator-provided services.
Among those features are bulk SMS capabilities, premium billing, short code rental and location look-ups.
Enabling services operators can offer include handset features, user presence information, age verification, "sender-pays" data, user demographic profile, handset application control, electronic wallet, credit status and location.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
And nobody seems to believe that wireline voice will in any way be helped. There is probably less consensus on what will happen in the wireless business, but wireless service providers likely are among the best-placed industry segments during the recession, in part because of greater "flexibility in their cost structure and capex and fixed-mobile substitution," a new report by the International Telecommunications Union says.
And though broadband access demand is believed to be relatively inelastic, that almost certainly will not be the case for fixed voice.
"Telecom services are likely to come under further price pressure, as operators will fight for a more cost-focused customer, resulting in further erosion of margins," the ITU suggests. And that is going to favor mobile operators as well.
"The more flexible cost structure of mobile networks means that mobile operators are winning more of the lower usage end of the fixed services customer base," the ITU says. "This has happened in voice, and 2008 has demonstrated that mobile broadband can substitute for light-usage DSL."
For countries where data services are popular, data revenues could be adversely impacted by a reduction in consumers’ real incomes, ITU says. Also, more consumers are likely to opt for prepaid and flat-rate packages for telecom services to try and control their expenditure.
Unemployment may accelerate fixed-mobile substitution, with consumers preferring to switch
fully to mobile services. Young people may delay decisions to adopt a fixed broadband or voice line in addition to mobile service.
Unemployment will accelerate households’ decisions to give up fixed services, either because they are unaffordable, or because a mobile alternative is cheaper.
"In terms of practical pricing strategy, the economic slowdown will increase pressure on operators to reduce prices," the ITU says. Operators will find it harder to promote value-added services and the adoption of new services such as mobile TV will be affected, ITU believes.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
According to the trade group, that’s a huge and unprecedented shift in corporate travel mangers’ plans from just five months ago.
ACTE’s new survey shows most companies are seeking to spend 10 percent to 20 percent less on travel than they reported in September of 2008.
Using the most conservative figures for estimating the dollar impact of such cuts, ACTE suggests that the 176 member companies responding to the survey will spend about $880 million less on travel this year than they had planned. If the same estimate is applied to the ACTE’s full membership of 2,400 companies, the impact would be more than $2 billion.
That should lead to opportunities for Web and other conferencing services and applications to get more traction, undoubtedly including many users and companies that have not historically relied on conferencing services, especially those with a video component.
Assume just 10 percent of the avoided $2 billion is spent on video-enabled conferencing services. That's a gain of $200 million in service provider revenues.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Carlos Da Silva, Americas Marketing Director, France Telecom
Paul A. Woelk, Sr Manager, Access Strategy, Sprint
Heather Olson, Regional Manager, Telecom Italia Sparkle
Rodrigue Ullens, Co-founder & CEO, Voxbone
click "Related Article" at the bottom of this post to launch the first video segment. Also, if you have the bandwidth, select "Watch in HD." It's better.
That said, a separate forecast by Informa Telecoms & Media suggests the potential for broadband substitution will remain high.
Analysys Mason projects148 million mobile broadband connections in Europe by 2014, when they will account for almost half of all broadband connections in the region.
The potential for fixed-line voice substitution also will remain high. About 40 percent of total mobile traffic was generated in the home environment in 2007, says Informa Telecoms & Media.
By 2013 it is expected to reach 58 percent, with about eight percent of total mobile traffic offloaded to fixed broadband. In 2008, the home environment likewise represented more than 43 percent of total mobile data traffic and will climb to 60 percent by 2013.
That's the danger for fixed services providers, particularly in single-person households, households of non-related persons and households where every person in the household above a certain age has a mobile.
Mobile use at home will represent about 40 percent of total mobile usage, while use at work will represent 30 percent of usage, with nine percent of calls initiated while users are moving. About 21 percent of calls will be generated from other public environments.
"In the same way that voice traffic has moved from old fixed line telephony service PSTN to mobile, there is reason to believe that a significant percentage of Internet traffic generation will move away from fixed personal computers to mobile devices including mobile handsets, mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and connected notebooks," says Malik Saadi, Informa principal analyst.
As more casual users adopt mobile broadband, they typically will do so as a complement to tethered broadband, usually opting for prepaid subscriptions rather than monthly contracts, Analysys Mason forecasts. Prepaid subscriptions will account for 59 percent of mobile broadband connections in 2014, up from eight percent in 2008.
New customers will tend to behave differently from early adopters and users who have substituted wireless for wired connections, many observers believe. Most significantly, use will be casual. So, at some point, continued growth of mobile broadband in the U.S. market likewise will require charging mechanisms better suited to casual users, who will not be inclined to add substantial fixed-fee subscriptions when their anticipated usage is relatively light.
Friday, February 13, 2009
The number of residential and small or medium business broadband connections increased by 322,000 during the quarter to 16.9 million.
Total mobile revenue for the four largest mobile operators increased by 1.5 percent, quarter over quarter, Ofcom reports. Revenue from calls and other charges grew by 2.3 percent, though call volume declined by 0.05 percent, quarter over quarter.
Roaming call volumes increased by 11 percent year over year. The number of outgoing international minutes grew by 14 percent over the same period.
So note that Nokia Siemens Networks now has a new strategy focusing on hardware-independent solutions for core networks. Nokia Siemens Networks has introduced a new, open hardware architecture, where Nokia Siemens software runs on off-the-shelf hardware blades.
The long-term goal for the strategy is to provide an open, multi-application, hardware-independent platform, where the same open hardware platform can be used for a variety of different network elements.
The switch means the MSC Server mobile softswitch, which is currently implemented on the Nokia Siemens Networks DX 200 hardware platform, will run on open and standard blade servers.
“This is the beginning of a major shift in the way we design our core network products,” says Michael Clever, Head of Next Generation Voice and Multimedia, Nokia Siemens Networks. “The future of control servers clearly belongs to pure software solutions that give network operators more choices to meet their hardware requirements.
Operating on blade servers should allow for smaller equipment footprint and smaller power draw than the proprietary approach.
The open hardware approach is already being applied to other Nokia Siemens Networks core network “control plane” applications, such as IP Multimedia Subsystem and the hiQ VoIP application server, which then can be combined with the MSS application.
Just a few weeks earlier, in November 2008, nine percent of Internet users used Twitter or updated their status online and in May of 2008, six percent of Internet users responded yes to a slightly different question, where users were asked if they used “Twitter or another ‘microblogging’ service to share updates about themselves or to see updates about others.”
Good thing the company just raised $35 million more in investment capital. It still is growing really fast.
Hiring growth has been relatively flat of late, with the last five months all being in the 0.2% to 0.3% range. But small businesses added employees every month of 2008, the SurePayroll data shows.
Of course, other data is not so comforting, if lethargic job growth can be called "comforting." A Gallup Poll survey suggests that small-business owners are cutting jobs. About 11 percent of respondents say they have increased the number of jobs at their companies over the past 12 months while 27 percent say they have decreased them.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Today's telecom and cable companies face an increasingly complex and uncertain world in which continual and rapid change is the norm. But different providers face distinctly unique challenges. This panel will evaluate the ways contestants operating in different geographies and customer segments; with distinct business models and products; diverse regulatory and technology environments, evaluate where they are, and where they want to go.
We'll take a look at:
Which challenges contestants believe are most crucial
Which opportunities are most relevant
Which customer behaviors and desires offer the greatest upside
How contestants respond to the competitive environment
Where unique value can be created in their chosen markets
How core competencies can be leveraged to create more growth
Recorded at Voice Peering Forum (c) 2008 Stealth Communications
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The new practice will deliver customized, fully-integrated, application-level solutions to network equipment providers, especially in the wireless space, and including deep packet inspection capabilities.
The move reflects a change in global telecom operations and technology development, which require faster development at lower cost, at a time when virtually all service providers and equipment suppliers have fewer in-house resources to do so, says Brian Wood, Continuous Computing VP.
The new capabilities will accelerate the creation and delivery of carrier-class systems to service providers much faster, in many cases as much as 12 to 24 months faster, says Wood.
The demand for more prepackaged platforms also is part of a broader industry trend to focus on core competencies, while outsourcing lower-level or less-essential functions to business partners.
In part, that is a simple response to the fact that virtually all communications entities now operate with fewer in-house resources. But it also reflects a drive, across the ecosystem to add more value and differentiation.
“At all levels of the value chain, everybody is trying to add more value,” says Wood. “over the last two years we had been at platform level but now we are moving to the systems level.”
“OEMs are moving to software features while operators are moving to the marketing level,” he says.
“Everyone is moving,” Wood says, and the transformational change arguably is greatest for the equipment providers, who have to change the most as headcounts are orders of magnitude lower than in decades past.
There also is an industry-wide narrowing of the gap between enterprise solutions and carrier-grade solutions. Traditionally, enterprise products had a lifespan of two to three years, so costs had to be lower.
Telecom products had lifecycles more in the seven to 10 year range, and were hardened. So development cycles were longer and cost was higher.
These days, the gap is narrowing. Telecom equipment cycles are moving closer to the enterprise lifecycle as everything becomes IP based.
So there is less distinction between enterprise class and carrier class products. Obviously carrier class products require more redundancy, more cooling and other modifications of basic platforms to harden them.
But that is a truly big shift. Differentiation now occurs at the level of software, not hardware or protocols. And enterprise and carrier systems increasingly are produced on a common foundation.
The issue, though, is whether there is a terrible problem requiring that we "study" this matter some more. If one looks at where the United States ranks in telephone penetration, for example, the United States ranks about 16th, as measured by the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation.
One can quarrel with the methodology OCED uses, but for the moment consider simply the well-developed state of landline voice service. Does anybody really think the United States has a problem with wired voice penetration?
And if not, why is a "15th in the world" ranking for broadband access a problem?
A "back-of-the-envelope" forecast by economists at the Phoenix Center suggests that U.S. broadband subscription rates (keep in mind that we are talking about demand for the service, not its availability) will be about 75 percent of the telephone rate in 4.4 years, and broadband will equal the telephone subscription rate in 9.6 years.
There is a difference between "lack of supply" and "lack of demand." The OECD statistics for broadband penetration are a "demand" metric, not a "supply" metric. And yet even on that score the United States demand for broadband already is equivalent to wired voice.
Some things do need to be studied because there are problems of supply. But supply isn't really the issue for broadband. The problem is demand.
In fact, as wired voice demand continues to decline, at least in the consumer market, why would we not see calls for studies of why wired voice penetration is so "low"? The reason we don't hear such calls is because demand is shifting. There is no problem with "supply."
Mapping broadband might be a useful exercise for some. But mapping doesn't change the demand equation, which is the only problem broadband currently faces. One might argue that prices are too high, or speeds too low. But that is a problem only if supply is not being upgraded. And it is hard to argue that is not occurring at a rapid pace. In fact, broadband already has been adopted at rates that surpass nearly all key consumer products of the last 100 years. Only use of the Internet itself is a reasonable candidate for "fastest-adopted" innovation.
There are lots of problems to be solved. Mapping broadband, to pinpoint supply constraints, doesn't strike me as being one of them.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Whole Foods publishes recipes and cooking videos. These companies are producing quality media, just like The New York Times or Discovery Channel.
Comcast, the largest cable operator in the United States, has one of the smallest selections of high-definition channels, Pike & Fischer says. Comcast in some markets is offering less than 40 HDTV channels, although the company's marketing focuses on its large selection of HD movies, TV shows and other content available on demand.
Most providers examined in the study charge a premium price for HDTV service, usually less than $10 per month. But some, including Cablevision and Time Warner Cable, offer a substantial number of HD channels for free.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Recessions can cause people to think more about the effective use of their assets. In bad times, users are forced to see if there are substitute ways of doing things that save money right now. But if the substitutes are good enough, people might not go back to their former preferred ways of doing things.
At a practical level, business buyers in many cases are taking longer to make decisions, so the time lag from proposal to acceptance is stretching out.
But there still is little, if any, concrete evidence that business or consumer users are abandoning key services ranging from broadband access to wireless to multi-channel video. In fact, the evidence so far indicates they are behaving as they have in the past: keeping services but delaying upgrades and adoption of new enhanced services.
What bears watching are signs some customers are behaving in new ways, such as canceling multi-channel video subscriptions in favor of Internet alternatives. A recent poll by researchers at the Yankee Group suggest that one percent of respondents actually have done so.
Then there is the impact of users dropping landline services in favor of mobility, or using Skype instead of their landlines or mobiles, switching to prepaid from postpaid mobile plans, buying hosted business voice in place of new phone switches or buying some forms of broadband access instead of others.
The point is that tougher economic conditions will lead some consumers to experiment with new behaviors that might become permanent changes.
The difference? For a company such as Qwest Communications, the Agriculture Department funds would not be available, because of Agriculture Dept. rural loan program rules. The NTIA program does not operate under those rules, making Qwest eligible to apply.
Essentially, Agriculture Dept. rules ascertain eligibility on a statewide basis, while NTIA would fund on a community basis. As Qwest serves both urban and rural communities in each of its states, it has been ineligible for rural broadband loans that it might otherwise qualify for.
So the reconciliation process will be crucial.
The House version includes more specific references to broadband speeds, while the Senate version deletes those references.
Earlier versions of the Senate bill had talked about providing tax credits for building new capacity in rural and underserved areas would be as much as 40 percent, but only for service operating at 100 Mbps or faster.
A 30-percent credit would be offered for service operating at 5 Mbps or better. The bill also seems to allow 40-percent credits for wireless service operating at 6 Mbps or better downstream and 30 percent tax credits for wireless service of 3 megabits per second or better.
It does not appear that those clauses remain relevant in the new revised Senate "stimulus" bill, and reconciliation with the House bill might reinsert them in some way.
The revised language could be quite important, though, as many investors might balk at the notion of building 100 Mbps service as a prerequisite for getting loans under the broadband program, which in the revised Senate version also would operate under National Telecommunications And Information Administration oversight, not shared with the Agriculture Department as in the House version.
What a chore it has been to read the revised bill, and the original bill before it!
Friday, February 6, 2009
That move, which would indicate Sprint Nextel no longer considers some parts of its network operations to be so important they must be staffed in-house, could affect about a third of Sprint’s network employees.
Sprint spokeswoman Lisa Zimmerman-Mott denied the report, though.
Sprint has said it would cut 8,000 jobs by the end of March. Those cuts include the head of Sprint’s network, Kathy Walker. In addition, former Ericsson executive Sven-Christer Nilsson joined Sprint’s board in November, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.
Cusick estimated that outsourcing network operations would save about 25 percent of expenses in that area.
"Most of the budgetary effects of the Senate legislation occur over the next few years," CBO says. Even if the fiscal stimulus persisted, however, the short-run effects on output that operate by increasing demand for goods and services would eventually fade away."
"In contrast to its positive near-term macroeconomic effects, the Senate legislation would reduce output slightly in the long run, CBO estimates, as would other similar proposals."
"In principle, the legislation’s long-run impact on output also would depend on whether it permanently changed incentives to work or save. However, according to CBO’s estimates, the legislation would not have any significant permanent effects on those incentives."
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
High-speed data revenues rose 12 percent ($429 million) to $4.2 billion, driven by continued high-speed data subscriber growth. Voice revenues climbed 36 percent ($426 million) to $1.6 billion.
The rate of revenue units added slowed later in the year, though. That is in line with past recessions, when customers delayed adding more enhanced services.
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