Showing posts from July, 2013

Google Becomes Starbucks Wi-Fi Access Provider

For those who anguish or worry about whether application providers might become Internet service providers or access providers, we might as well simply agree that this has happened, and probably will happen on a wider scale over the next decade.

The latest data point: Starbucks’ WiFi will be provided by Google. Starbucks previously had used AT&T as the access provider. 

Google says it will provide access speeds an order of magnitude faster than before, while lucky residents of Google Fiber cities will see speeds up to two orders of magnitude faster. The transition is scheduled to happen over an 18-month period.

So one other way to look at matters is that although Google Fiber operates in just three metro markets currently, it soon will be an ISP and access provider to 7,000 locations scattered across the United States. 

In addition to providing faster Wi-Fi, Starbucks and Google will also work together to co-develop the next-generation Starbucks Digital Network.

You might say the ac…

Samsung Edges Apple in Consumer Satisfaction, in U.S. Market

Samsung has "a home run with its Galaxy S III and Note II," the American Customer Satisfaction Index says.  Samsung’s flagship model for 2012, the S III, got an ACSI benchmark of 84 (on a 0 to 100 scale), beating Apple’s iPhone 5 at 82.  Another Samsung model, Note II, shares the top of list at 84. The rankings undoubtedly provide some "headline" boost for Samsung, but the scores might also be said to be comparable. 

There is no way to determine what the "margin of error" might be, so such consumer satisfaction scores might reasonably be said to be a better indicator of broad sentiment than anything else It's hard to say just what a point or two of ranking actually means.

A difference in the double digits might be a more important indicator.  While U.S. customers give Samsung’s smartphones the top scores, Korean consumers prefer Apple. According to the National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI) in South Korea, which uses the same technology as the ACSI, t…

Why OTT Video Could Help Some ISPs, Harm Others

Ask most telecom industry professionals whether competition from over the top services is a problem, and you are likely to get an affirmative answer. Ask most cable TV industry professionals whether over the top video is a potential problem, and you might also expect to get an affirmative answer.
Perhaps ironically, a new survey by Incognito Software of executives largely from cable TV providers of broadband Internet access suggests a rather strong belief that over the top video services will help more than hurt their existing TV businesses.
Some 86 percent of service providers surveyed (82 percent of the respondents were cable executives) did not report cord cutting as a major threat, for example.
There are several ways to look at the findings. The respondents might not presently view OTT video as a threat, but might, in the future. That response would be rational today: there is not much evidence that over the top alternatives have harmed take rates for entertainment video by any app…

NSA Tracks Browsing History?

A National Security Agency program allows analysts to search through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Officials deny the allegations. 

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the Internet.

XKeyscore provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even U.S. persons without any foreign person of interest ties, for extensive electronic surveillance.

Is Apple Finally Getting into Mobile Payments?

On its latest earnings call, Starbucks executives pointed out that 10 percent of all transactions in its U.S. stores are made with a phone mobile and the Starbucks Card app. In addition, those transactions are enabled by use of Square mobile payments software.
Some observers would say Starbucks is the most successful retail mobile payments service so far, while Square has emerged as the best example of a mobile payments success in the retailer adoption sense or the retailer terminal business.
Some have been waiting for Apple to make a move of its own in mobile payments, building on its Passbook application, which already provides some related functions related to storing coupons, tickets or passes in one place.
Passbook enables users to use a coupon, concert ticket or check into a hotel if a physical coupon or ticket is scanned into an iPhone or iPod touch to Passbook. Passbook also enables such features as automatically displaying passes at a specific time or location, so a user could…

NEC is Getting Out of the Smart Phone Business

NEC is ending the development, manufacturing and sale of smart phones, a move that hardly is surprising given NEC's small market share and declining sales volumes. 

NEC merged its cellphone handset operations with those of Casio Computer Co. and Hitachi Ltd. in 2010 to create NEC Casio Mobile Communications.

The three firms hoped their combined resources would allow them to make progress in the smart phone market. 

But the effort has had no more success than other former leaders have had against Apple and Samsung.

A decade ago, NEC was the biggest player in the Japanese mobile phone handset market with a 23 percent share. 

Which is the Better Mobile Revenue Model, Advertising or E-Commerce?

As Google had built the first big technology company driven by ad revenues, you might argue Amazon is striving to build the first big mobile company driven by e-commerce, even if right now it arguably is focusing not on mobile devices but only tablets.

Part of the challenge, as with any other would-be mobile platform, is creating a sizable appstore and developer community. On that score, some note that the Amazon Appstore earns developers almost as much revenue per active user as they do on Apple’s platform.

The importance of the Appstore success is that it also puts into place the very app ecosystem that would be necessary for any future success of an Amazon smart phone.

For the moment, though, the Kindle Fire is an e-commerce platform for sales of all sorts of Amazon products, ranging from ebooks and music; movies and TV shows and apps. In fact, Amazon aims to convert mobile convert users into buyers in about 30 seconds, as a goal, and boost the percentage of mobile sales from the cu…

Netflix Does Not Cannibalize Linear TV, Study Suggests

A study by TiVo Research and Analytics suggests Netflix does not actually cannibalize linear TV. To wit, there seems to be no significant difference between the amount of reported television viewing in Netflix and non-Netflix households.

In other words, "Netflix is not currently a substitute for traditional television,”  according to Mark Lieberman, TRA CEO.
But Lieberman quickly added that  “the future of television may tell a different story,” leaving open the possibility that, at some point in the future, Netflix subscribers just might watch less traditional TV, in most cases TV that has been delivered by a video entertainment provider.
So video entertainment providers are likely not to be surprised by the findings about current behavior, nor mollified about the safety of their business models in the future.
As there continue to be some debates about the ways use of  digital video recorders could affect the quantity of linear TV watched, and ongoing worries about ad skipping th…

AT&T Home Base is a Facilities-Based Assault on Verizon

AT&T Home Base is a service supplying voice and Internet access using AT&T’s mobile network, instead of its fixed line network. The catch is that AT&T is doing so “out of market,” in Verizon fixed network territories.

AT&T Home Base now is available in Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., all except Kentucky being areas served by Verizon’s fixed line networks.

In other words, AT&T’s third generation and fourth generation networks are the platform for what in an earlier time would have been called an “out of market” assault on Verizon, even though the traditional structure of the landline business, since the AT&T divestiture in 1984, has been based on “exclusive” local service territories.

Critics will argue, with some justification, that mobile broadband, used as a fixed service platform, is not an equivalent offering, especially in terms of price per gigabyte or size of the usage bucket. But custo…

Add America Movil to Catalysts for Europe Consolidation

Telefonica’s move to buy KPN-owned E-Plus and vault itself up into the top ranks of the German mobile market will face several challenges, including regulatory approval and possibly a challenge from KPN investor America Movil, which owns 29.8 percent of KPN, and might not want a major rival to acquire a stronger position in the German market America Movil itself has wanted.
America Movil had invested in KPN in the first place to get a foothold in the German market. If E-Plus is sold, America Movil will have to rethink its ability to enter the German market, and possibly its investment in KPN as well. One might also argue America Movil could consider its own rival bid for E-Plus, with a partner.
Up to this point, America Movil had pledged not to acquire more than 30 percent of KPN. But America Movil now has said it will not abide by that agreement, clearing the way for either a larger investment in KPN, a bid to acquire all of KPN or even a sale of its stake, if America Movil is unable…

Can Google Become a Force in Enterprise Computing?

Though Microsoft long has had a huge presence in business and enterprise computing environments, Apple, which traditionally has eschewed designing for business users, nevertheless has gained traction in enterprise computing environments. The big issue for Google is whether the Android ecosystem can become a significant provider in enterprise environments as well.
By most accounts, Apple is making the most gains in business user environments. A fourth quarter 2012 analysis by Good Technology shows the strides Apple has made in corporate environments.
Looking at new smart phone and tablet activations, Apple devices show the greatest share. Good Technology’s report showed a clear preference for iOS devices, which accounted for 77 percent of all activations and captured eight of the top ten spots on the most popular device list.
But Android activations accounted for 22.7 percent of all activations for the quarter, which were primarily driven by Android tablets.  Windows Phone devices came …

460 Million M2M Connections by 2018?

Mobile machine to machine (M2M) connections are set to reach over 450 million by 2018, according to ABI Research. That likely will be important for mobile service providers anxious to drive revenue and connection growth once sales to people saturates.
Other analysts have M2M forecasts in the same general range. Juniper Research, for example, a year ago forecast 400 million M2M connections in service by about 2017.
In the United States, The mobile M2M market will reach 114.7 million connections by 2016 with a compound annual growth rate of over 36 percent.
The largest business-to-business vertical market (most of the revenue likely will be B2B, some would argue) is the transportation vertical, with over 40 percent market share.
By 2015 more than 40 percent of M2M connections in the United States could be running on 3G, 3.5G or 4G networks. That also suggests that much of the demand for M2M connections will not rely much bandwidth, as 60 percent of M2M connections will use 2G networks.