Thursday, October 31, 2013
Comcast is far bigger than Netflix in terms of average revenue per user, while HBO is vastly more profitable, in terms of profit margin.
HBO probably has margins in the 33 percent range, while Netflix margin is in the five percent range. Also, Comcast has average account revenue above $80 a month. Netflix has average revenue per user of about $10 a month.
Some think the growing popularity of Netflix is one reason Comcast recently launched an antenna basic plus HBO package that offers consumers a low price and access to HBO, seen by some as a competitor to Netflix, in many ways.
"Our customers can receive Netflix in a number of ways, so it’s not really a high priority for us," said Smit. "We’re open to putting apps on our X1 platform. We have, for example, Facebook and Pandora there now."
But at this point, Netflix does not seem likely to get such treatment from Comcast. Some might speculate that Comcast has designs for a streaming video service of its own, at some point, so that might explain some of the apparent reticience.
Nor does Comcast want to use the Netflix content delivery network, either, said to be a condition for Netflix doing such deals.
Though AT&T might wind up not making a bid, it could not move before the closing of the Vodafone sale of its Verizon Wireless stake, expected in early 2014.
Conceivably, that would allow a tier-one mobile service provider in one country to create a new network in another country by purchasing radio access services from a third party. Likewise, some firms with popular brands, end user scale and data center and backbone network assets (think Google, Apple, Microsoft, Ford, Mercedes, Amazon) also could become MVNOs in a new way.wi
Also, the longer a customer remains with a particular supplier, the more likely it is that the customer will have learned how to use a product, and will have fewer questions about value, billing or "how to use the product."
That is not to say the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is especially direct. In many industries, even satisfied customers can churn at significant rates. That especially can be the case when the leading suppliers all offer comparable experience and value for money offers.
In such cases, satisfied customers might well change suppliers for a relatively modest price advantage, for example.
That is one "hard to quantify" advantage of customer loyalty. Customers with longer tenure tend to cost less to serve, aside from the likelihood that such customers also spend more than newer customers.
The bad news for travel suppliers is that the reverse pattern tends to occur. Customers who have two years experience tend to rank customer service lower than when they were "new" customers.
One might suggest there are reasons for those findings as well. There are relatively fewer things a travel experience supplier can do to make a customer interaction more satisfying, when the chief source of customer service inquiries have to do with something that went wrong.
Clearly, seat comfort, meals and baggage fees also are issues. People are not generally too happy about those attributes of the travel experience, so the odds of unhappiness with customer service systems is likely to be weighted in a negative direction.
So the caveat for service providers might be that experience with your product should, with longer customer tenure, lead to higher satisfaction with your customer service. That is, unless the core experience is not so good.
In those cases, customer service satisfaction might drop over time, a reflection of general dissatisfaction with the primary experience of the product.
A disproportionate share of customer contacts will be about cancelled flights, late flights, flight delays, lost reward program credits, redeeming reward program credits and billing issues, for example. There is a high probability that consumers will be interacting under conditions where they are unhappy.
That is one reason why airlines tend to fare worse than other segments of the travel industry.
But Sprint ought to be able to dramatically increase its LTE top speeds, once it activates the former Clearwire spectrum.
In the 1.9 Ghz band, Sprint says it is seeing LTE provide 6 Mbps to 8 Mbps on a consistent basis.
In areas where LTE now is avaialble on the 2.5 GHz band, Sprint is seeing 50 Mbps to 60 Mbps peak speeds. The difference is simply that Sprint can use bigger channels on the 2.5-GHz spectrum.
Parenthetically, Sprint majority owner SoftBank saw its revenue jump 44 percent in the most-recent quarter, suggesting SoftBank will have capital to fuel an expected Sprint assault in the U.S. market.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
In fact, a rational person might conclude that Nextel was the problem all along, as the Sprint side of the business has not fared badly.
In most recent quarters, Sprint has added net customers even as Nextel has bled them.
The biggest single hit came in July 2013, when Sprint shut down the entire Nextel network, losing about 1.3 million customers. Still, going forward, Sprint without the drag of Nextel should surprise to the upside in the subscriber growth area.
Granted, Sprint still is losing customers overall, and still lost money in the third quarter of 2013. But it is making progress, and has yet to unveil precisely what it plans to do with the now-consolidated Clearwire spectrum and SoftBank assets.
Some observers, though, will note there are advantages and disadvantages for the 2.5-GHz Clearwire spectrum.
The higher frequency means signal reach is less than at 700 MHz and 800 MHz frequencies that Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless have in greater abundance. Signals at 2.5 GHz do not penetrate walls as well as the lower frequencies, either.
In terms of network infrastructure, that lessened propagation distance means Sprint needs 13 to 15 tower sites, at 2.5 GHz, to cover the same area as a single 700-MHz macrocell.
On the other hand, precisely because of the higher frequency, 2.5-GHz signals are capable of delivering more data, compared to 700 MHz or 800 MHz signals, using any particular coding technique. As a rough rule of thumb, 2.5-GHz networks, using the same coding, can deliver as much as three times to four times more data, using the same bandwidth as a 700-MHz or 800-MHz signal.
But there are some new variables, including the tendency for users to consume as much as 80 percent of their smart phone or tablet data at home, when they are able to use fixed network Wi-Fi.
Also, in some cases, as in dense urban environments, it might be quite feasible to use small cells or Wi-Fi to offload even much out of home data consumption.
So except in rural areas where signal reach is a real advantage, Sprint might find its high-bandwidth network very useful in urban areas, which increasingly are seeing scenarios where small cells covering small distances are quite useful.
At least in principle, Sprint might be able to use its trove of spectrum to provide the "fastest" service in many areas, if not perhaps ubiquitously across the country. The reason is simple: Long Term Evolution is limited principally by the amount of bandwidth allocated for it.
Channels of 20 MHz provide much faster experiences than channels of 10 MHz, for example.
SoftBank might also be able to bundle applications (especially video-related apps) with its faster access in ways that create uniqueness, much as Dish Network is expected to emphasize video entertainment as a distinguishing feature of its would-be LTE network as well.
The ubiquity of the banking infrastructure is another example. The way consumers pay for retail purchases is another key underpinning realities.
Put simply, mobile banking is shaped by the fact that "access to banks" is not generally a problem. Nor, generally speaking, is "paying for retail purchases." So many would note one requirement for retail mobile payments success is adding new value to a process that is not fundamentally broken.
Likewise, as ecosystem participants scramble to gain influence and control over the new processes, communication methods are seen as a way of gaining such influence. Some observers have confidence in near field communications, while others think other approaches might win the day.
You can count Forrester Research senior analyst Denee Carrington as among those who are skeptical about NFC. Carrington says she does not expect NFC to ever takeover the mobile wallet space.
NFC might well be crucial for other retail applications and experiences, though.
Others will say that probably is a combination of experiences that might prove exceptional useful as U.S. communications policy adapts itself for an IP-based communications environment that transcends historic regulatory boundaries, faces new forms of competition and calls for major investments in next generation infrastructure.
But in most markets, over the next half decade, there is likely to be significant consolidation in the mobile business, with many markets moving from four providers to three suppliers. That will be a serious issue for most regulators.
Hutchison Whampoa Limited, for example, wants to buyTelefonica's 02 Ireland unit.
The acquisition would quadruple the market share of Hutchison's subsidiary, 3 Ireland, to 37.5 percent, behind market leader Vodafone.
The European Commission already has said it is concerned about a reduction of competition in Ireland, as the deal will cut the number of mobile phone operators from four to three. That was an issue Hutchison faced in its acquisition of Orange Austria in 2013 as well.
Whether four competitors actually works "better" for consumers than three competitors remains to be seen. There are any number of inputs that collectively represent better consumer outcomes.
Lower prices, innovative services and devices, higher speeds, more and better applications, many ways to buy and use, and more robust service all are parts of the value competition is supposed to deliver.
You might instinctively argue that four competitors leads to lower prices, and that likely is generally true, at least in the short term. What is less certain is the longevity of such price benefits, over the long term, if the smaller contestants cannot stay in business.
And that's the long term issue: capital intensive businesses might require high levels of investment on a continuous basis that a small competitor, competing on price, simply cannot afford to make. In that case, consumer benefit is less than it might otherwise be.
Many observers might point to the inter-modal competition between cable TV operators and telcos as an example of significant competition and consumer benefits even when there are only two providers in a capital-intensive business.
Others might counter that the history of intra-modal competition with just two providers, in the mobile business, suggests clearly sub-optimal benefits for consumers.
So the key question is how widely regulators and anti-trust officials will conclude that reasonable and effective levels of competition can be promoted if a mobile market is lead by three providers, instead of four.
Intel recently had said it was looking for partners, including Samsung, Amazon, Liberty Media, and Netflix, but a report suggests Intel Media has failed at that effort as well, and is exploring a sale of its assets to Verizon Communications, which already owns part of the Redbox Instant streaming service operated as a joint venture with Redbox.
Qualcomm earlier had launched a mobile video service called MediaFLO, but wound up closing the service and then selling the spectrum to AT&T after abandoning the effort.
MediaFLO did better than Intel, at least in terms of securing content rights. In the U.S. market, for example, MediaFLO offered a set of 14 basic channels:
- 2.FLO (6 am to 10 pm) — Original made-for-mobile reports and concerts
- Adult Swim (10 pm to 6 am)
- ABC Mobile
- CBS Mobile
- Comedy Central
- ESPN Mobile TV
- Fox Mobile
- Fox News Channel
- MTV Mobile
- NBC 2Go — A mix of MSNBC, NBC, CNBC, and Bravo networks
- Disney Channel
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
New are full size backups and background sync for Google+ on Apple iOS.
Google Photo now also recognizes and groups objects--over a thousand different objects at the moment--ranging from sunsets to snowmen, grouping them in user libraries.
Auto Enhance improves each photo added to Google , and users can dial the enhancements up or down. If users already processing your images elsewhere, they can choose to exempt an album entirely.
Google also has added editing apps. For editing on the go, use Snapseed and its new HDR (high dynamic range) Scape filter.
More sophisticated editing can be done using Analog Efex Pro, part of the Nik Collection ($149).
Hangouts for Android now supports location sharing and SMS. Users can send a map of their current location, send and receive text messages.
Broadcasters can now schedule Hangouts On Air, then promote them with a dedicated watch page. Once live, Control Room lets users moderate the conversation with eject and remote mute.
In both cases, the video calling experience is significantly improved, Google says. It's now full screen across mobile and desktop, and it fixes and enhances webcam lighting automatically.
About 30 percent of tablets come equipped with mobile network capability. About 15 percent of tablets presently have a mobile data plan.
That will grow. But between personal hotspots and home wi-fi, many do not need a separate data plan.
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Residential customers in Los Angeles who subscribe to the Ultimate 50 tier are being automatically upgraded to Ultimate 100 at no extra cost.
Ultimate 50 residential customers in New York City and Hawaii will be upgraded by year’s end.
By early 2014, all customers in these markets will have access to Ultimate 100, with more TWC markets to follow in 2015.
Credit Google Fiber with the new incentives for Time Warner Cable to upgrade speeds.
Price of 10 MHz
Price of 10 MHz
2.5 GHz FDD
2.5 GHz FDD
2.5 GHz FDD
2.5 GHz FDD
2.5 GHz TDD
2.5 GHz TDD
2.5 GHz TDD
2.5 GHz FDD
2.5 GHz FDD
2.5 GHz TDD
2.5 GHz FDD
2.3 GHz WCS
Price of 10 MHz
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