Showing posts from January, 2010

Fundamental Changes to PSTN: What Would You Do?

Legacy regulation doesn't make much sense in a non-legacy new "public switched network" context. Nor do legacy concepts work very well for a communications market that changes faster than regulators can keep pace with, both in terms of technology and the more-important changes of business model.

In a world of loosely-coupled applications, old common carrier rules don't make much as much sense. Nor is it easy to craft durable rules when rapid changes in perceived end user value, which relate directly to revenue streams, are anything but stable.

Consider the public policy goal of ensuring a ubiquitous, broadband networking capability using a competitive framework, to promote the fastest rate of application creation and development, under circumstances where the government has neither the financial resources nor ability to do so.

The typical way one might approach the problem is regulate intramodally, looking at wired access providers as the domain. The other way might …

Apple is Now a Mobile Company

The iPhone now is Apple's biggest business, and it was a "zero" revenue contributor three years ago. Where Apple had fourth-quarter 2009 Mac revenue of $4.5 billiion, it had iPhone revenue of $5.6 billion, up 90 percent year over year. The iPod contributed $3.4 billion in revenue.

Even if one assumes no Mac revenue is attributable to portable devices, iPhone and iPod revenue from fully mobile devices amounts to $9 billion out of a total $13.5 billion in quarterly revenue, or two thirds of total.

Voice as a "Spice"

Consultant Thomas Howe describes the way voice can work in a new context by calling it the equivalent of "spice." In other words, it might often be the case that, within the context of an enterprise application, voice is a feature used to enhance a process, rather than a stand-alone function or application.

In that sense, click-to-call is an example. Most people would agree that is the case. What remains unclear, at least for service providers who will continue to make signficant revenue selling voice as a stand-alone service, is whether "spice" is a business for them, or not. In some cases, it will be; but in other cases it will not.

To the extent that spice can be an interesting revenue stream for service providers is whether they can figure out ways to combine traditional calling functions with enteprise application features that integrate "calling" with information relevant to the call, that is valuable to the enterprise and is worth paying for, from …

Few Takers for 50 Mbps Access

Time Warner Cable has about nine million high-speed access customers. It has about 20,000 customers for its fastest DOCSIS 3.0 service, which depending on configuration can support speeds up to about 43 Mbps per 6 MHz channel in the downstream direction, or more, if more bandwidth is made available.

All that means is that few customers are willing to pay $100 a month or more to get really-fast broadband access running at speeds of about 50 Mbps maximum.

How Important is AT&T's U-Verse?

AT&T books something on the order of $124 billion a year worth of revenue. In the fourth quarter of 2009, AT&T booked U-verse revenues representing an annualized $3 billion. Some will note that this represents about three percent of AT&T's annual revenues.

By way of contrast, wireless already contributes about $56 billion annually. For the quarter, wireless revenues were $12.6 billion and wireless data was about $3.9 billion.

A rational observer might note that U-verse, AT&T's broadband and TV services effort, represents less revenue annually than mobile data does in one quarter. One might also argue that U-verse is not a revenue contributor that really "moves the needle" in terms of overall AT&T revenue performance.

One might also infer that a rational AT&T executive would not spend nearly the time on fiber-to-customer services that he or she would spend on wireless services, given the relatively small contribution U-verse can make to the ove…

In 2014, 80% of Broadband Access Will Be Mobile, says Huawei

By 2014, 80 percent of the world's two billion broadband users will be using mobile networks for their access, says Huawei. Of those two billion users, 1.5 billion will be first-time subscribers.

Predictions such as that are one reason regulators and suppliers need to be much more cognizant of how much is changing in the global communications business. Policies that relate to broadband access and deployment must reorient to reflect user behavior and supply that will be overwhelmingly mobility-based in just a few years.

Huawei also points out that voice services revenues also are steadily declining."In the past five years, the revenue for fixed voice services decreased by 15 percent, reflected by a decreasing growth rate for mobile voice services in 2009," Huawei says.

If that is a fundamental trend, as Huawei believes it is, then policies cannot be designed on the assumption that voice revenues, traditionally the underpinning for the whole global business, will continue …

Is Verizon a "Wireless" Company as AT&T Is?

Is Verizon now a "wireless company with a wireline business"? Some might argue that is the case. Others might argue Verizon is a company with significant wireless and broadband businesses. At AT&T, it is easier to make argument that the company really now is a wireless company with wireline businesses.

Part of the reason for the difference is Verizon's decision to go to a "fiber to the home" access network, while AT&T has chosen a less-costly "fiber-to-neighborhood" approach. But those decisions are conditioned by the different potential customer bases in each telco's territory. AT&T is less dense, so FTTH is aq more expensive choice. Verizon also has more business customers, and fewer consumer customers, relatively speaking.

Analysts at Trefis, for example, estimate that mobility counts for 34 percent of Verizon's equity value, with broadband access contributing 36 percent. Services to larger businesses and organizations account f…

Mobile Broadband Prices: As Usage Climbs, Something's Gotta Give

Sooner or later, mobile broadband consumption patterns are going to force mobile Internet service providers to better match consumption with usage, for the simple reason that the cost of supplying end user bandwidth probably will grow faster than the cost of infrastructure, on a per-megabit-per-second basis, will drop.

That obviously affects the mobile broadband business case, especially if video comes to represent 90 percent of all bandwidth demand, as Cisco now predicts and as global backbone networks already demonstrate.

At the current average traffic levels of 500 MBytes a month, revenue per MByte outstrips delivery costs for HSPA, LTE and WiMAX at monthly retail prices starting at $20 per month, says Monica Paolini, Senza Fili Consulting president.

At $20 per month, mobile operators operate at a loss for subscribers using more than 1 GByte per month in a 3G network, or for subscribers using more than 5 GBytes per month on a 4G network, Paolini says.

At 10 GBytes per month, data s…

Who are the Media Gatekeepers These Days?

Media business models nearly always are a mix of end-user revenues and advertising or promotion. That likely won't be different as mobile media start to develop (click on image for larger view).

And though much attention always is directed at the role of "access providers" as key gatekeepers, that probably is not an issue in the mobile marketing and mobile media business.

Instead, it is device providers and application providers that are emerging as the key gatekeepers. Consider platforms such as the iPhone, with its App Store, or Facebook.

These days, the App Store and Facebook are emerging as distinct business ecosystems for application sales, gaming and advertising.

That is going to prove something of a shock for "service" providers, but that's just what seems to be happening.

Internet Isn't What it Used to Be

Some time ago, the Internet was "controlled" by standards groups.

These days, some think it is controlled by ISPs.

Increasingly, it is controlled and shaped by ecosystems formed about devices or key applications (Click on image to see larger view).

That means our old notions about the "open" or "neutral" Internet have changed.

To some extent, the Internet still is about the ability of any one user to reach other user. To an increasing extent, it is about domains accessible only to members, users and subscribers.

For content owners, advertising and marketing specialists, users and enablers, that means development and business models are based on discrete ecosystems, not the "Internet" in general. And while much attention is paid to the role of ISPs as "gatekeepers," there are all sorts of gatekeepers these days, and application providers or device manufacturers might be more important gatekeepers than ISPs.

YouTube "Feather" Beta Seeks Lowest-Latency Connections

YouTube, or any video content for that matter, is tough to watch on a  low-bandwidth Internet access connection or even a computer with insufficient processing power, such as some netbooks.

So YouTube is in beta testing of "Feather," a way of optmizing latency performance on limited hardware or low-bandwidth connections.  Feather is said to work by “severely limiting the features" and "making use of advanced Web techniques for reducing the total amount of bytes downloaded by the browser."

The video playback page of Youtube Feather is fully transferred after downloading 52 Kilobytes of data compared to 391 Kilobytes that the standard pages require, some note.

Youtube Feather achieves the better performance by partially by removing standard YouTube features such as posting of comments, rating videos, or viewing all comments or customizing the embedded player.

The Feather beta suggests why strict versions of "network neutrality" might hinder innovation …

Earned Media to Grow Most in 2010, Survey Finds

Earned media spending will see the biggest increases in spending in 2010, a new survey of brand marketing professionals by the Society of Digital Agencies finds. "Earned media" refers to refers to favorable publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising, as opposed to paid media, which refers to publicity gained through advertising. Increasing use of social media accounts for much of the change.

About 81 percent of the brand executives expect an increase in digital projects in 2010, and half will be moving dollars from traditional to digital budgets. Further, more than 75 percent think the current economy will push more allocations to digital formats.

Senior marketers reported that social networks and applications were their biggest priority for 2010, for example.

“Unpaid, earned, proprietary” media spending has seen the sharpest rise, with nearly 20 percent of respondents reporting increases of more than 30 percent.

Apple iPad Will Use AT&T 3G Network

Apple's new iPad will use Wi-Fi and also AT&T's 3G wireless network. Users can opt for using Wi-Fi only, as iTouch users do, or can buy 3G service. AT&T offers a 250-megabyte plan for $15 a month, and an unlimited plan for $30, neither requiring a contract.

Those pricing levels more closely resemble an iPhone data plan than a data card subscription, which costs $60 a month, and typically requires a contract.

Some observers might say the iPad subscriptions represent a "higher-quality" or higher-margin revenue source than is typical for iPhone subscriptions, which also represent $30 a month in fees, because AT&T gets the traffic without having to factor in a subsidy for the devices.

One issue is how much data iPad users will consume. Users of the iPhone typically consume about 400 megabytes a month, where mobile PC card users tend to consumer about 2 gigabytes a month. A reasonable estimate is that iPad usage will fall somewhere between those levels.

Apple Launches iPad: What Don't We Know?

So this is the day we found out, for sure, that Apple is launching a tablet device called the iPad.
Nobody knows how big a market it might create. And that's probably the key: Apple likely intends to create a new market, not simply be " a better Kindle" or a "larger-screen iPod." 
There's no way of telling, yet, what will happen. Apple has launched products before that did not gain mass acceptance, though its iPod and iPhone launches have been revolutionary. The difference this time might be that the iPod basically took a huge existing human behavior ("listen to music" or "voice" and "using the Web") and changed the distribution or the experience. 
It is less clear which major human activity the new tablet will reshape. "TV" is one possibility. "Reading" is another. Down the road, the biggest potential innovation is a way to blend text, full-motion video, music and search in new ways. But that would take some t…

Is There a Need for iPad? If So, Is it a Big Need, and Big Market?

"All of us use laptops and smartphones now," says Steve Jobs, Apple CEO. "The question has arisen lately: is there room for a third category of device in the middle, something between the laptop and the smartphone?"

And that's the question users, application developers, content providers and marketers will have to answer. Is there some clear need for a third device? And if so, what is that need?

Suppliers have been trying to get the features and value right for as much as 20 years, depending on how one wants to characterize the "tablet" market. So far, nobody has proven there is a large consumer market for devices halfway between a smartphone and a notebook computer. 

We do know there is a major mass market for personal music players, personal music players with Wi-Fi access and smartphones with touchscreens that handle native Web applications very nicely. 

What Apple hopes to prove is that there are similar needs for a "device in the middle" th…

E-Book Readers Unlikely to Help Newspapers, Study Suggests

Portable e-readers such as the Kindle are unlikely to win readers back to the newspaper habit unless they include features such color, photographs and touch screens, according to professors of advertising Dean Krugman, Tom Reichert, and Barry Hollander, associate professor of journalism in the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Young adults in particular compared the Kindle DX used in the study unfavorably to smart phones, such as the iPhone or Blackberry.

Skeptics might also suggest that changing the delivery channel for an unpopular product should not be expected to change the demand curve. An unpopular product's problem is its features and value, not its channels.

For younger adults, the Kindle fell short when compared to their smart phones, with touch screens and multiple applications, available in a single small package. The e-reader felt “old” to them, the professors say.

Older adults were overall more receptive to the concept of an e-r…

Newsday Pay Wall Apparently Leads to 47% Decline in Visitors, which has put unlimited access to its content behind a pay wall, is finding what most of you would have predicted: it is losing readers. But Cablevision may be banking on a business model it has used in the past: providing "no incremental cost" access for customers who buy other Cablevision products.

In December 2009, unique visitors declined 47 percent while page views fell 32 percent compared to December 2008.

In December, had 1.4 million unique visitors and 18.9 million page views, according to Nielsen. That was down from 2.7 million and 27.8 million, respectively, for the month in 2008.

December was the second full month where Newsday's policy of charging people $5 a week for unlimited access to the site was in effect. People who subscribe to home delivery of the paper, or receive broadband service from its parent Cablevision, do not have to pay extra.

That provides another clue to the success or failure of "pay walls." Cablevision…

How Important Are App Stores?

Consumers will spend $6.2 billion in 2010 in mobile application stores while advertising revenue is
expected to generate $0.6 billion worldwide, say analysts at Gartner. But app stores might be far
more important than the simple sales revenues would suggest.

There seems little question that the success of Apple's iPhone App Store came as a surprise to just
about all observers, including Apple itself. Perhaps none of us should not have been surprised.

Apple already used iTunes to dramatically reshape music distribution, music formats and relationships within the music ecosystem.

At this point, it is reasonable to look at the similarities between iTunes and the App Store and suggest that the Apple App Store, and other application stores, and wonder if they will not have a similar impact on some key portions of the software business, and further shape the attractiveness of any particular piece of hardware.

For some, perhaps many buyers, the software library could be the factor that p…

Information Technology Industry Council Reaches Common Ground on Net Neutrality

The "network neutrality" debate is becoming more nuanced, with possibly greater understanding by many participants that it is important to find common ground that does not jeopartdize the Internet's future in a misguided attempt to preserve its past.

The Information Technology Industry Council, which includes Microsoft, Ebay, Intel, Apple, Qualcom, Adobe and Cisco, seems to be threading a needle, for example.

Everybody seems to agree that "certainty" is needed or innovation will be impeded. Everybody also seems to agree that innovation "at the edge of the network" likewise should not be impeded.

One way of getting there is by avoiding the temptation to write overly-detailed rules in advance of issues that could arise. That means the ITIC prefers that issues be settled on a case-by-case basis, as needed, rather than by creating new rules in advance of any conceivable set of issues that could arise.

"The FCC cannot posibly anticipate all future cir…

Cbeyond Asks FCC for Mandatory Wholesale Optical Access

Cbeyond has the Federal Communications Commission to reverse its rules on wholesale obligations for fiber-to-customer networks. On copper access networks, competitors have rights to buy wholesale access. The FCC has ruled that on new fiber-to-customer networks, competitors have no similar rights.

Predictably, incumbents say the current rules should remain in place, which allow any voluntary wholesale deals, but do not require incumbents to offer wholesale access. The rules are consistent with rules that apply to U.S. cable companies, which likewise have no obligation to sell wholesale access to competitors.

The Telecommunications Industry Association  and the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council have filed comments opposing the change.

The debate is an old one. Incumbents argue that the business case for FTTH is troublesome, and that they need the ability to profit from FTTH investments without being required to make those faciltities available to competitors who do not have to build expe…

Google Voice Extension for Chrome Browser Now Live

Google Voice now is available as an extension for the Chrome browser. Adding the extension
adds click-to-ccall functionality to Web pages. If there is a phone number on a Web page, or your online address book, it will now have a hyperlink. Click it and Google will open a pop-up window asking which phone you want to use to set up the call, and does.

Google Voice, you will recall, is not an IP telephony or VoIP application n the sense that Skype or Vonage are. Basically, Google uses the Web to set up and complete calls using your existing mobile or fixed connections, adding some interesting call management features.

The extension also adds a small icon in the upper right of the browser. You can type in a name or phone number and call or send a text message from the browser, and read recent text messages and transcribed voicemails (Google automatically transcribes voicemails, usually not all that well).

Many observers think Google ultimately will add softphone functionality, allowing Goo…

Geolocation's Downside

Don't get me wrong. Location services will be really useful. But as with everything else connected with the Internet, there are downsides. This is one of them. UYou may want to use location services. But you probably don't want to allow "broadcasting" of that location.

The Secret Service knows the location of POTUS on the second or third floor of the White House. The rest of us should not.

fring Upgraded for Android and Symbian Mobile Devices

Mobile VoIP provider fring has just released two new versions for Symbian and Android mobile device users, adding user-requested features.

The Symbian version, for Nokia users, lets users notify their friends know if they are online, offline, busy, or just stay invisible if they don’t want to be disturbed; all in the click of a button.

DTMF dialing now is supported as well. Now dialing “#” (“pound”) and “*” sign (“star”) is possible to use within a call through the new fring dialer.

Android users will find increased app stability as well as the ability to hide or show offline buddy presence, hide or show the address book, and manage privacy settings for IM signatures and "mood" messages.

The company also fixed some audio issues formerly experienced on Motorola Droid or Milestone devices and added better support for Google’s Nexus One device.

Improved battery consumption also is new.

The new apps can be downloaded at

U.S. is Key Android Market at the Moment

Worldwide mobile advertising requests from Android devices increased 97 percent from October to December 2009 and the big change since October is that Motorola devices have shown the greatest growth, undoubtedly because of Verizon's Droid launch late in the year.

AdMob says that in October, 98 percent of requests came from HTC devices.  In December, just 56 percent of requests were from HTC devices, 39 percent from Motorola devices, and five percent from Samsung units.

Increased device diversity: In December, seven devices generated more than three percent of requests each: the Motorola Droid, HTC Dream, HTC Magic, HTC Hero, Motorola CLIQ, HTC Droid Eris, and the Samsung Moment.

This is up from only three devices in October (HTC Dream, HTC Magic, and HTC Hero).

 The Motorola Droid is already the leading Android handset in the AdMob network and generated 30 percent of requests in December.

The U.S. market also, at least for the moment, the most-important global Android market. Abo…

Coopetition Model for Cloud App Providers and Telcos?

Discussing the future of apps in the cloud, IBM enterprise initiatives VP Mike Hill and director platform research Peter Coffee said the line between competing and cooperating was becoming blurred, with "coopetition" the likely result.

“The only place we tend to have some level of friction with service providers is when you’re up in to the largest organisations,” says Hill. “We see service providers as a huge platform opportunity for us here, because we’re going to take the platforms that we build in IBM to deliver these services, and we’re going to pitch and sell it to service providers so they have the opportunity to white label services from us; or even white label to start with so they don’t have to invest capital up front.

Coffee says the model provides one example of how application providers and Internet service providers can cooperate for mutual benefit.

“We have our services being re-sold by telecom providers who want to take advantage …

Recession Spurs SMB Shift to Conferencing, Away from Overseas Travel

The global recession seems to have spurred more thinking--and activity--by businesses large and small about the use of conferencing services and applications as a replacement for business travel.

A recent survey of U.K. users by Skype indicates that about a quarter of U.K. small and mid-sized businesses have started using conferencing and communications to displace international travel.

Although 24 percent of U.K. small business executives surveyed communicate with international colleagues on a daily basis, 54 percent say they have had to take unnecessary overseas trips when conferencing would work.

The emergence of more sophisticated technologies is having a clear impact on the way that businesses are opting to communicate and do business.

About 41 percent of respondents says they use instant messaging to avoid some travel. About 40 percent use Skype, while 34 percent use teleconferencing. About 28 percent say they use some form of video conferencing.

Video-based communication likely…

ComScore Hit for "Pay to Play" Plan

"Pay to play" business arrangements are unfortunately all too often a cost of doing business. Grocery retailers get stocking fees from suppliers who want better placement, or placement at all, on retail shelves.

Some industry awards essentially are sold. Firms win awards in some category of business excellence, but have to pay money to "announce" the awards. Other competitions require firms to pay money to apply to win.

Trade publishing often involves some explicit promise of coverage in return for advertising, or more commonly, just an implied obligation. Major conference sponsorships nearly always have some element of "taking care of sponsors."

You can make your own decision about whether this is simply a way of doing business, or something worse.

Now comScore is accused of promoting a version of pay-to-play with its Web traffic ratings by Henry Blodgett at Silicon Alley. He says the new policies are a form of blackmail.…

Android Downloads Explode, Apple Continues High Growth, BlackBerry Leads

Visits to Myxer’s mobile site from users on the Android operating system grew 350 percent in 2009, compared to iPhone, which grew 170 percent, Myxer says.. In total, Myxer delivered seven times more downloads to Android devices than iPhone devices in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Keep in mind that Android starts from zero share, so extremely-high rates of growth are not unexpected. The bigger news would have been Android downloads failing to gain traction.

The analysis was made on Myxer’s 30 million members and their behavior relating to mobile entertainment downloads.

In part, Android growth is driven by the increasing number of Android devices now available, as well as a huge marketing push by Verizon Wireless to support its Droid introduction.

In December 2008 only one handset, the HTC Dream/G1, was operating on Google’s open source Android operating system. By December 2009, Myxer had seen nine different handsets running the Android OS.

• The HTC Dream/G1 remained the leader through…

How Will Global Telecom Revenue Sources Change Over the Next Two Years?

Looking at global telecom revenue sources over the next couple of years, some basic trends can be seen (click image for larger view).

Fixed network services other than broadband continue to decline.

Wireless revenues continue to grow, as does broadband access revenue.
Dial-up access revenue continues to decline.

Keep in mind that these are global, aggregate numbers, buoyed by huge broadband and especially wireless growth in developing regions. The patterns can be quite distinct in specific national markets.

In the U.S. market, it is conceivable that video and content revenues could be a somewhat significant factor over a decade-long time frame. Wireless growth will be highly susceptible to broadband and data services growth, balanced by a certain amount of "harvesting" of mobile voice revenue, which will decline, relative to broadband, over the decade.

It is worth noting that voice revenue trends have been through two fundamental cycles, with a third on the way. At one time,…

Cablevision and Scripps Networks; Fox and Time Warner Cable Deals Have Implications for Telcos and App Providers

Cablevision and Scripps Networks Interactive have reached an agreement that paves the way for the return of the Food Network and HGTV programming to the cable operator’s system. Inability to come to terms meant HGTV and Food Network disappeared from Cablevision after the old contract expired on Dec. 31, 2009 and the two sides could not agree on terms for a new contract.

Separately, News Corp and Time Warner Cable managed to agree on a new deal without a service interruption. That deal meant no service interruption for viewers of the Fox television stations, Fox, Fox Cable Networks and Fox’s Regional Sports Networks.

That deal also covers Bright House Networks sibscribers in Florida.

DirecTV and Versus have not come to terms and Versus has been dark on DirecTV since Nov. 11, 2009.

Contract disputes between programmers and cable operators are not new, and the precedent likely applies to telcos and their application providers and handset providers as well. Which is to say that although a…

More "Middle Mile" Projects Funded by NTIA

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration has announced grants totaling $63 million to expand broadband access and adoption in Massachusetts, Michigan and North Carolina.

Most of that money went to build new "middle mile" regional networks in Michigan and North Carolina.

In Michigan, Merit Network got a $33.3 million infrastructure grant with an additional $8.3 million in matching funds to build a 955-mile advanced fiber-optic network through 32 counties in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

In North Carolina, MCNC: $28.2 million infrastructure grant with an additional $11.7 million in matching funds and in-kind contributions to build a 494-mile middle-mile broadband network passing almost half the population of North Carolina in 37 counties.

Consumer Centric Communications

Live blog of Pacific Telecommunications Council panel on "consumer-centric communications"

Consumer Centric Communications: I was looking forward to this panel, and my expectations were met and exceeded. There’s a lot of great work being done in areas of e-health and remote communications that the title doesn’t accurately speak to. However, e-health is a good representative area illustrating ways and players addressing global human needs, and the technology that supports it.
David  Sawcer: Pfizer model and tele-health used to analyze questions like why mobile has such a potential benefit but not so great adoption? My experience show that all aspects of successful remote collaborative care, remote monitoring and senseing, and remote access to data and resources. Collaborative care: in military, servicemen would get posted to remote locations with limited health care, generally necessary to evacuate them. We set up a satellite link to joint services hospital, we were able to pro…

Live Blog of Voice 2.0 Panel at PTC

Jonathan Rosenberg, chief technology strategist at Skype; Rodrigue Ullens, Voxbone CEO; Frank Fawzi, IntelePeer CEO and Mke James, Metaswitch Networks director of systems engineering kick around "Voice 2.0."

Voice 2.0: Beyond the Hype: Lots of ways people are using voice today, let’s look at changes. Gary Kim moderating discussions from Rodrigue, Mike, Frank, and Jonathan.
Jonathan: Voice 2.0 (see yesterday’s talk): it’s not voice anymore, it’s video. Voice is becoming integrated with other media, part of a broader communications experience. As voice and video permeates the web, everything fits together as interactive content experience with seamless integration.
Frank: interactive video being woven into experience. We’ve seen significant interest by enterprise carriers to enrich end-user experience, trying to reach audience by any means possible (clicking links, sms, etc.). It’s critical that you deliver quality as part of business process. We’ve seen minutes double, 4.5B end …

Ifbyphone Buys Cloudvox to Support Development of New Apps

Ifbyphone, provider of Web-based  voice and phone applications especially for call center type applications, announced today that it has acquired Cloudvox to give its customers the tools they need to build their own open-source, customized phone applications to fit their business needs.

The deal gives Ifbyphone an open applictions programming interface it can use to provides Web developers (even less experienced ones) with all the pieces they need to build working Web-based telephony services.

At the same time, Ifbyphone will still equip them with the technology they need to deploy and scale their newly-built applications.

Developers can build web telephony services to work with any existing software, whether it uses Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, C# or HTTP. They can still build on all the features they need to control every phase of a call with only a few clicks of a mouse — and without adding any new equipment or infrastructure, Ifbyphone says.

The move is an example of the growing impor…

Truphone Becomes a Mobile Service Provider

These days, any company that really wants to become a mobile service provider can do so. Recently Mitel, a provider fo business phone systems and solutions, became a mobile service provider to deliver turnkey communications solutions for its business customers.

Now Truphone has launched "Truphone Local Anywhere," allowing local mobile calling initially in the United States and the United Kingdom, using a subscriber information module (SIM) approach. Addtional markets, including European countries, Australia, Hong Kong and South Africa, will be added in 2010.

Initially, the service will be most valuable for U.K. mobile users who want to call the United States, but the service soon will extended across Europe and other markets U.K. callers may frequently wish to reach.

The new service offers mobile users local rates for voice, data and text services for all countries where Truphone establishes operations, all on a single SIM.

In conjunction with the launch of Truphone Local An…

Amazon Offers Authors, Publishers 70% of Revenues from Kindle Sales has launched a new program allowing authors and publishers who use the Kindle Digital Text Platform to earn 70 percent of the revenue from each Kindle book they sell, net of delivery costs.

The new option does not replace the existing DTP standard royalty option and will be available on June 30, 2010.

Delivery costs will be based on file size and pricing will be $0.15 per MByte, Amazon says.  At today's median DTP file size of 368 KBytes, delivery costs would be less than $0.06 per unit sold.

This new program can thus enable authors and publishers to make more money on every sale. For example, on an $8.99 book an author would make $3.15 with the standard option, and $6.25 with the new 70 percent option.

"Today, authors often receive royalties in the range of 7 to 15 percent of the list price that publishers set for their physical books, or 25 percent of the net that publishers receive from retailers for their digital books," says Russ Grandinetti, Vice Preside…

33% of Users Will Post to Social Networking Sites Such as Twitter

The thing about social or online media is that people use media in different ways. In fact, even thinking about those ways has to be updated from time to time. Twitter and other social networks provide an example. Analysts at Forrester Research have for a couple years used the notion of "social technographics" to describe the different ways people interact with Web content.

Up to this point the focus has been Web sites and blogs. But now social networking is part of the model, as Forrester has added a new category, "conversationalists," to the framework. About a third of people will update their status information on a social networking site or post updates to Twitter.

That is more people than the 24 percent of people who actually publish a blog, for example, while 70 percent read them.

About 59 percent of people maintain a profile on a social networking site or visit social networking sites. About 37 percent post reviews or ratings, leave comments or contribute to…

Skype Traffic Grows 63%

International long distance traffic growth has slowed, while Skype traffic is accelerating, says Stephan Beckert, TeleGeography strategy VP.

Over the past 25 years, international call volume from telephones has grown at a compounded annual rate of 15 percent. In the past two years, however, international telephone traffic annual growth has slowed to only eight percent. To be sure, growth rates always slow for any product or service that has attained high penetration, simply because any additional growth is compared to a larger base of existing users.

There have been some recession-related changes, though overall demand obviously has remained strong. Traffic to Mexico, the world’s largest calling destination, declined four percent in 2008, and aggregate traffic to Central America declined five percent, for example.

While international telephone traffic growth has slowed, Skype’s traffic has soared. Skype’s on-net international traffic (between two Skype users) grew 51 percent in 2008,…

Is Net Neutrality a Case of "Feeling Good" Rather than "Doing Good"?

With typical wit, Andrew Orlowski at the U.K.-based "The Register" skewers "network neutrality" as a squishy, intellectually incoherent concept. It is so nebulous it can mean anything a person wants it to be, and often is posed as a simple matter of "goodness." Which makes people feel righteous, without having to noodle through the logical implications.

Yes, there often is a difference between feeling good, and doing good, and Orlowski wants to point that out.

"As a rule of thumb, advocating neutrality means giving your support to general goodness on the Internet, and opposing general badness," he says. "Therefore, supporting neutrality means you yourself are a good person, by reflection, and people who oppose neutrality are bad people."

"Because neutrality is anything you want it to be, you have an all-purpose morality firehose at your disposal," he says. "Just point it and shoot at baddies."

Beyond that, there are…

412 Million M2M Subscriptions Globally by 2014, Juniper Research Predicts

The number of mobile connected machine-to-machine and embedded devices will rise to almost 412 million globally by 2014, say researchers at Juniper Research. That is one answer to the question many are asking about where service providers--mobile and fixed--will replace lost voice revenues with new services.

Though much discussion logically centers on new services or products that can be sold to end users on broadband connections, the attraction M2M represents is that it frees service providers from a frustrating reliance on selling more things to human beings.

Up to this point multi-service bundles have been a primary way service providers have increased average revenue per user. But there are limits to how much can be gained that way. As industry executives might put it, getting an additional $10 a month revenue from a consumer customer is a big deal, and hard to do.

Enterprise spending on communications is not increasing as much as some might expect, in part because organizations a…

App Store Software Sales $30 Billion in 2013, Advertising Nearly $8 Billion

Advertising-sponsored mobile applications will generate almost 25 per cent of mobile application store revenue by 2013, amounting to nearly $8 billion in revenue.

Consumers will spend $6.2 billion in 2010 in mobile application stores while advertising revenue is expected to generate $0.6 billion worldwide, according to Gartner analysts.

Mobile application stores will exceed 4.5 billion downloads in 2010, eight out of ten of which will be free to end users.

Gartner forecasts worldwide downloads in mobile application stores to surpass 21.6 billion by 2013. Free downloads will account for 82 per cent of all downloads in 2010, and will account for 87 per cent of downloads in 2013.

“Games remain the number one application," says Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner.

"No incremental cost" applications will use other revenue models, she says. Developers will charge for additional functionality, sales of products and services or advertising.

Worldwide mobile ap…

Verizon Offers New Bundle Pricing and Features

Starting Jan 18, 2010, qualifying customers can order double- or triple-play bundles with up to 7.1 megabits per second high-speed Internet access for the same price as bundles with up to 3 Mbps, a $10 per month rate reduction.

Consumers in select Verizon regions can also order quad-play bundles at the new 7.1 Mbps bundle price.

In addition, new voice and high-speed Internet access customers ordering qualifying double-, triple- or quad-play bundles are eligible for their choice of a Compaq Mini netbook or $150 back in the form of aVerizon Visa Prepaid card.

Existing Verizon customers who add either new home voice or High Speed Internet service in a qualifying bundle are eligible to receive a $100 Verizon Visa Prepaid card along with the other incentives.

Bundles eligible for these offers include the triple play featuring "Verizon Freedom Essentials" unlimited local and long-distance calling, up to 3 or 7.1 Mbps HSI and DirectTV's "PLUS DVR" service, including…