Press Clippings: August 2006

Major Industry items you might have missed

Thursday, August 31, 2006

China Telecom in talks with foreign companies.

Source: TeleGeography.

According to the Financial Times, China Telecom has admitted to being in talks with five - as yet unnamed - overseas telecoms groups with a view to one of them taking a strategic stake in the company. China Telecom, the country’s largest fixed line operator, is the only one of the mainland’s ‘big-four’ telcos to have not already teamed up with a foreign company.

Posted by Judith — 9:45 AM

Vonage takeover accelerates VoIP consolidation.

Source: The Register.

Vonage has taken over the distribution and customer base formally belonging to VoIP outfit Freetalk.
With its acquisition, Vonage will provide an adapter that allows customers to plug their normal phone handset into their broadband internet connection to make VoIP calls without needing a PC or any technical skills.

Posted by Judith — 9:18 AM

Verizon drops DSL fee after US FCC pressure.

Source: Reuters.

Verizon Communications Inc. said on Wednesday it had dropped a surcharge for high-speed Internet service after U.S. regulators questioned whether the No. 2 U.S. telephone carrier was following truthful billing practices.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission sent Verizon a letter last week questioning a new fee on digital subscriber line (DSL) services which the company introduced in place of a fee the federal government ended earlier this month.
Verizon’s decision follows a similar move last week by BellSouth Corp., which scrapped plans for a surcharge after pressure from regulators.

Posted by Judith — 5:36 AM

Ryanair to allow mobile phone calls.


The widespread use of mobile telephones on passenger aircraft could become a reality next year, after Ryanair, the European low-cost carrier, announced plans to equip its fleet with an onboard mobile service.

Posted by Judith — 4:40 AM

EC moots telecoms super-regulator.

Source: The Register.

The concept of a European super-regulator has been considered in a report from the European Commission, looking at ways in which competition could be increased in the telecommunications business.

Posted by Judith — 3:38 AM

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wi-Fi Alliance near new wireless standard.


An industry group of wireless networking companies said on Tuesday it will start certifying next-generation routers and network cards in 2007, a year before official standards are expected.
Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, said that without a certification program, the market could have been fragmented by the growing number and variety of pre-standard “Draft N” or “Pre-N” products claiming faster speeds and greater range. The products take their names from the 802.11n standard.

Posted by Judith — 5:40 AM

AT&T eyes municipal Wi-Fi deals, 1st in Illinois.

Source: Reuters.

AT&T Inc. on Tuesday said Springfield, Illinois, picked it to offer wireless Internet access to residents and businesses, and said it was eyeing up to a dozen more such deals with U.S. cities.
In its first such deal, the country’s biggest phone company said it planned to build a Wi-Fi network for Springfield to offer a free, ad-sponsored service of limited speed of 250-260 kilobits per second as well a paid service with a faster speed of up to around 1 megabit per second.

Posted by Judith — 5:32 AM

Xfera asks for termination fee cut; plans launch in seven cities in December.

Source: TeleGeography.

Xfera, the Spanish 3G start-up recently taken over by TeliaSonera, will launch mobile services in seven Spanish cities in December, according to local paper Cinco Dias. Xfera Chief Executive Johan Andsjo reportedly told the paper that the company had asked regulator, Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT), for a 40%-60% discount on termination fees to allow it to make up ground on its more established rivals.

Posted by Judith — 5:28 AM

Ericsson confirms position as lead supplier for Vivo GSM overlay.

Source: TeleGeography.

Ericsson has confirmed recent rumours that it has signed a contract with Vivo for the rollout of a new GSM network. The Swedish vendor will supply Vivo with the core voice and data network for the BRL1bn (US$410mn) GSM overlay, including a mobile softswitch solution for IP telephony.

Posted by Judith — 5:11 AM

VSNL boosts Asia subsea capacity.

Source: Light Reading.

With demand for telecom services booming across India and other Asian countries, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) is investing more than US$600mn to upgrade its 20-terabit international submarine network with additional capacity.
In a move that will have equipment suppliers like Alcatel and Fujitsu Ltd. rubbing their metaphorical hands, VSNL said last week it plans to spend US$600mn on building two new submarine cable systems — one connecting India with Europe, and another connecting Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan — and today its international subsidiary in Singapore expanded on its plans for the intra-Asia cable.

Posted by Judith — 4:00 AM

HP to provide integration services for Cisco systems wireless products.

Source: TechWeb.

HP will provide systems integration services for a new range of Cisco Systems wireless products, according to an announcement by the firms Tuesday.
The new applications to be addressed in the new partnership include VoIP, security, guest access and location-based services.

Posted by Judith — 1:42 AM

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Universal backs free music offer.


Vivendi Universal, the world’s biggest music group, has signed a deal to make its music catalogue available on a free legal downloads service.
Under the agreement, Spiralfrog will offer Universal’s songs online in the US and Canada.

Posted by Judith — 8:47 AM

Windows update for mobile phones?

Source: The Register.

The Open Mobile Alliance has published its Firmware Update Management Object (FUMO): a standard which allows mobile phones to be updated over the air - from fixing a spelling mistake to changing the whole OS, all without bothering the user at all.
Operators have been very reluctant to support proprietary technologies for fear of having multiple platforms running, and being locked into a specific supplier. So without an industry standard the technology has been stalled.
Now the standard has been published testing can start, which will begin in September. So some time next year we can expect to see handsets conforming to the standard becoming available.

Posted by Judith — 4:14 AM

China gains important ally in 3G phone fight.

Source: BWCS.

Korean mobile giant, SK Telecom is to assist in developing China’s own, domestically developed 3G standard, according to reports from Seoul. The Chinese government has apparently signed an alliance with SK Telecom which will see the Korean company trial and develop the Chinese TD-SCDMA standard for next generation mobile phone services.

Posted by Judith — 3:37 AM

EBay gambles on Google partnership for success of Skype, the internet phone service.

Source: NYT.

EBay is hoping its new partnership with Google will help it find new ways to make money from Skype, its Internet calling service. But experts wonder if enough people are willing to make the switch from traditional phones to talking through their computers.
A critical aspect of the deal announced yesterday is that Google will introduce a feature that allows users to talk to advertisers by way of Skype, instead of just clicking through to the advertisers’ Web sites. Users of this feature, called click-to-call, would also have the option of using Google’s own Google Talk system or standard telephones.

Posted by Judith — 2:47 AM

TeliaSonera launches IP fixed-mobile telephony service.

Source: Digital Media Europe.

Danish telco TeliaSonera has launched an IP mobile telephony service in Denmark.
The service, called Home Free, allows users to use one telephone with both a fixed-line number and a mobile phone number.

Posted by Judith — 2:25 AM

Monday, August 28, 2006

Google to offer services for businesses.

Source: NYT.

Further extending its efforts beyond search technology, Google plans to announce on Monday that it will offer software providing a range of online services for business users.
The company, which has gradually been adding to its arsenal of services, says it will offer a package of software including its e-mail, calendar and chat programs and a Web site development tool for companies and organizations looking to avoid the high cost of providing such services on their own.

Posted by Judith — 11:31 AM

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Vodafone gets ready for £2bn Swiss disposal to cheer investors.

Source: TimesOnline.

Vodaphone, the troubled mobile group, is gearing up for a £2 bn (UD$3.7bn) sale of its stake in Swisscom Mobile, the Swiss mobile operator, in its latest effort to win over disgruntled shareholders.

Posted by Judith — 4:38 AM

Friday, August 25, 2006

Belgacom to buy Vodafone out of Proximus.

Source: TeleGeography.

Belgacom, Belgium’s dominant telecoms operator, will take full control of its wireless subsidiary Belgacom Mobile, which offers services under the brand name Proximus, after agreeing to buy Vodafone’s 25% stake in the operator for EUR2bn (US$2.55bn).

Posted by Judith — 5:37 AM

Satellite stokes emerging wireless markets.

Source: Light Reading.

In Columbia an alliance between optimization solutions provider Verso Technologies Inc. and Israeli satellite company Shiron Satellite Communications Inc. has resulted in the first cost-effective deployment of a GSM cellular-over-satellite solution.
Verso’s NetPerformer GSM-optimization technology reduces the bandwidth requirement for the cellular backhaul traffic by up to 65 percent, according Verso vice president of global accounts Greg Kustudia — offering comparable dollar savings on network capital expense and operating costs.

Posted by Judith — 5:03 AM

Microsoft/Citrix deal sets up Cisco showdown.


The two companies’ partnership to offer a branch office box appliance shows that Microsoft is getting ready to challenge Cisco.
Microsoft’s expanded partnership with Citrix Systems to deliver a joint branch office box appliance, announced on Aug. 23, signals a brewing battle with longtime partner Cisco Systems.

Posted by Judith — 4:32 AM

Hutchison’s 3 loses customers in UK.

Source: The Independent.

3, the “third generation” mobile phone business, has been hit by fierce competition and the loss of customers in the UK, contributing to a delay in profitability at the 3G businesses owned by Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate.
Hutchison’s 3G businesses, which are spread across nine countries, made a collective loss of HK$12.0bn (£820m), before interest and tax, for the first half of the year.

Posted by Judith — 4:27 AM

Thursday, August 24, 2006

DoCoMo to sell Japan’s first HSDPA mobile phones.

Source: Reuters.

Japan’s NTT DoCoMo Inc. said on Thursday it will begin sales of a new mobile phone that lets customers download music and video clips about 10 times faster than existing models.
DoCoMo will sell Japan’s first HSDPA, or high-speed downlink packet access, handset made by NEC Corp. from August 31, becoming the first operator in the country to offer the faster wireless network. DoCoMo will first offer HSDPA connection in major cities and aims for nationwide coverage by March 2008.

Posted by Judith — 8:39 AM

Skype rejects Ofcom call for new rules on web telephony.

Source: TimesOnline.

Ofcom has proposed a mandatory code of practice for providers of internet calls (VoIP — voice over internet protocol) that would force them to alert consumers to possible limitations. Customers could be warned, for example, that if their power cuts out then their phone line will go dead. Under the plans, internet phone companies could also be forced to pay an effective charge of £1 per customer to put labels on to their hardware detailing possible problems.
But in a statement to Ofcom, Skype, which has 120 million registered users, condemned the proposals as a form of “super consumer protection” that no other telecoms provider had to contend with.

Posted by Judith — 8:01 AM

Ericsson to upgrade Airtel mobile network.

Source: TeleGeography.

Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel has awarded Ericsson a three-year contract for the expansion and upgrade of its GSM/GPRS network and managed services. Under the agreement, which is estimated to be worth US$1bn, Ericsson will manage the design, development and deployment of Airtel’s network, including capacity and coverage, enabling the operator to expand its footprint in rural India. The vendor will also provide new mobile softswitches based on its Media Gateway and MSC Server platforms.

Posted by Judith — 7:53 AM

Net neutrality task force formed.


With the net neutrality debate raging on the other side of the pond, the US Federal Trade Commission has formed an Internet Access Task Force to take a look at the issues at stake.
The FTC expressed caution in its approach, warning that broad regulatory mandates that employ a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy always have unintended consequences. In this case, the authority questions whether net neutrality or similar legislation could have the effect of entrenching existing broadband platforms and market positions, as well as adversely affecting the levels of future innovation and investment.

Posted by Judith — 7:34 AM

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cisco aims for broader recognition.

Source: The Globe and Mail.

After setting records for profit and revenue, Cisco Systems Inc. is taking on a challenge that may be more formidable than pleasing Wall Street: The networking gear provider plans a consumer advertising push aimed at getting average Internet users — not software programmers and hardware administrators — to recognize and even embrace the brand.

Posted by Judith — 9:55 AM

AT&T: Hold the MoCA.

Source: Light Reading

AT&T Inc. today made it official that HomePNA version 3 will be its choice technology for in-home networking to support its fiber-fed U-verse data and television services, and its copper-fed AT&T Yahoo DSL high-speed Internet service.
This is noteworthy because AT&T was using MoCA, the technology developed to allow home networking equipment to connect using coaxial cable, at the beginning of its trials for Project Lightspeed. Now the carrier has shifted to the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) ‘s technology, which allows the use of either the home phonelines, or existing coaxial cable, as the transmission wire for sharing data and video inside the home.
“There’s not much press about HPNA out there,” says David Deas, VP of networks and services at AT&T Research Labs . “The more press there is, the more operators will consider it and look at it.” That publicity push, Deas contends, will drive costs down and make it cheaper to use all around.
AT&T’s decision not to use MoCA wasn’t a diss to the technology. “MoCA works fine,” Deas says. But, in the field, AT&T doesn’t always have access to the shared coaxial cable that wires many apartment buildings and townhouses - a key demographic for the carrier’s U-verse and high-speed data services.

Posted by Judith — 9:40 AM

Orange first mobile giant off the mark with Linux program.

Source: The Register.

Ever since NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone lent their support to Motorola and Samsung to create an open Linux handset architecture, the open source platform has gained new credibility as the likely leading operating system for smartphones in the next generation.
For the first time, Linux seemed to be gaining not just the political positioning, but the technical resources and unity, to be adequate in fighting off Microsoft Windows Mobile and possibly sidelining Nokia-backed Symbian.
But Orange has leapfrogged those giants, becoming the first tier one mobile carrier to launch a Linux initiative, as opposed to supporting some isolated handsets.

Posted by Judith — 9:26 AM

Big rise in broadband connections.

Source: BBC News.

Nearly 73% of British homes used broadband in June, up from 54.4% in the same month last year and 18% in 2003.

Posted by Judith — 9:23 AM

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Verizon surcharges DSL customers.

Source: The Inquirer

US Telco Verizon is set to surcharge its DSL customers just as they were set to get lower phone bills.
For a long time, Verizon had been lobbying the US government to deregulate DSL and to drop a tax on the technology. The outfit finally won and its customers were expecting to see a drop in their bills any day soon.
However in a notice to customers, Verizon said that it would begin imposing a surcharge of its own.

Posted by Judith — 7:27 AM

AOL CTO resigns in privacy flap

Source: TechWeb.

AOL Chief Technology Officer Maureen Govern resigned on Monday and two other employees were fired in the online release of personal information on hundrends of thousands of subscribers, a snafu that sparked condemnation from privacy advocates and calls for government regulation.

Posted by Judith — 7:24 AM

BT claims win on German net access.

Source: TimesOnline.

BT CLAIMED a victory in a key market yesterday when the European Commission backed plans to force Deutsche Telekom to open up its high-speed internet network to rivals.
The British telecom group said that it welcomed comments by Viviane Reding, the Information Society Commissioner, that Deutsche Telekom should be forced “without further delay” to open its network.
The Commission also said that the proposals should be extended to broadband products for businesses.
BT, which offers telecoms services to businesses in Germany, has previously hit out at a tendency towards “protection” of the German giant.

Posted by Judith — 7:11 AM

Hong Kong group fails to win UK broadband buyers.

Source: TimesOnline.

PCCW, Hong Kong’s dominant telecoms player, is facing a second humiliation in Britain after picking up only 14,000 customers in two years for its revolutionary broadband technology.
The group had hoped to go head-to-head with players such as BT when it launched its wireless broadband service, NOW. It claimed that the service, which did not need a phone line, would “open up the web” to consumers in part by offering super-fast speeds. However, it has won just 14,000 customers, against BT’s 3 million, and still offers speeds of just 1 Megabit per second.

Posted by Judith — 7:06 AM

BT disconnects Euro1net customers.

Source: The Register.

Customers of ISP Euro1net have been cut off. When punters attempt to connect to the internet, they are redirected to a BT page informing them their broadband retailer hasn’t paid for its IPStream service.
BT’s wholesale department confirmed it had suspended Euro1net’s IPStream due to “repeated non-payment”. The telco said it was liasing with Ofcom on the matter, and added that the service could be resumed if Euro1net pays its bills.

Posted by Judith — 6:33 AM

Monday, August 21, 2006

China Mobile admits to flexing its muscles .

Source: The Inquirer.

In a very telling remark made in an interview with the FT, China Mobile’s chairman - Wang Jianzhou - admits that his company can throw its weight around with suppliers and get a 50 per cent discount.
Another startling admission for WiFi fanatics. China Mobile actually covers an impressive 97 per cent of all Chinese people - even the rural areas and expects to hit 98 per cent by Q1 2007.

Posted by Judith — 11:20 AM

Deutsche told to cater for rivals.

Source: BBC News

The European Commission has said Deutsche Telekom should open up a 3bn euro (US$3.9bn; £2bn) high-speed internet network to its competitors.
The Competition Commissioner backed plans by Germany’s own telecoms regulator to address what it sees as Deutsche Telekom’s market dominance.
Deutsche Telekom insists that with new products like internet TV the service should not be forced to open up
and has threatened to cease development of the service if it is subject to official regulation.

Posted by Judith — 9:37 AM

UK city to launch WiMax services.

Source: BWCS.

UK ISP Pipex is to launch a WiMax service in Milton Keynes to supply high-speed wireless broadband to residents. The company claims this will be the first city in the UK to be covered by the new technology.

Posted by Judith — 9:18 AM

Safe Wi-Fi could be on your doorstep soon.

Source: The Register.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has officially announced Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) in an attempt to to make safe Wi-Fi easier.
WPS is the name for its upcoming consumer ease-of-use program, formerly code named “Wi-Fi Simple Config”.

Posted by Judith — 9:00 AM

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Qualcomm spends US$18mn. on Qualphone purchase.

Source: RCR Wireless.

Qualcomm Inc. will spend US$18mn. to acquire Qualphone Inc., a provider of IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) software for mobile devices and interoperability testing services.
Qualcomm said the acquisition, expected to close this month, will help it accelerate the delivery of multimedia-capable, 3G solutions that reside on top of IMS and multimedia domain (MMD) architectures to W-CDMA and CDMA2000 markets.

Posted by Judith — 4:50 AM

eBay UK gets mobile with O2.

Source: The Register.

Users of O2’s Active service are able to access eBay using their mobile phones for the first time today.
O2 Active subscribers can login to the auction site, search, bid, and keep an eye on items they are selling or considering bidding for.
eBay has been available on i-mode since January this year, but will now be accessible through the main O2 mobile portal.

Posted by Judith — 4:18 AM

Friday, August 18, 2006

Boeing shuts down Connexion.

Source: RCR Wireless.

Boeing Co. grounded its money-losing, in-flight communications offering known as Connexion, saying it plans to “facilitate an orderly phase out” of the service.
“Over the last six years, we have invested substantial time, resources and technology in Connexion by Boeing,” said Jim McNerney, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Boeing. “Regrettably, the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected.”

Posted by Judith — 6:49 AM

Ofcom to regulate switching ISP.

Source: The Register.

Ofcom announced proposals today to make the often knotty process of switching broadband provider more consumer-friendly.
The plan is to force ISPs to supply Migration Authorisation Codes (MACs) at the customer’s request. The codes are needed to ensure continuity of connection when switching providers, but are currently dished out at the firms’ discretion.

Posted by Judith — 5:13 AM

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Internet domain agency renews U.S. contract

Source: NYT.

The agency that supervises Internet domain names, Icann, has renewed its contract with an arm of the United States Department of Commerce to administer the technical workings of the global computer network.
Icann, a nonprofit organization based in California, was formed in 1998 at the request of the Clinton administration. It manages Internet addresses by matching up computers with their technical names and numbers to allow communications to flow quickly. Icann has control over the master database to do this, as well as over who can distribute generic and country-specific domain names, like .org and .fr.
Icann’s relationship with the United States government has been a continuing source of friction for other countries, some of which protest that the link politicizes what is essentially a neutral global computer network. The United States government has said for years that it intends to sever its ties to Icann and to privatize the agency.

Posted by Judith — 4:52 AM

Google is everywhere in headquarters town.

Source: Reuters.

Google Inc. has turned the Silicon Valley town where it is headquartered into a showcase for the advantages of free, citywide wireless Internet access.
The Web search leader said on Tuesday that it is now making a Google-supported wireless Internet network generally available to the 72,000 residents of Mountain View, California, along with the town’s office workers, daily visitors and the more than 1,000 Microsoft Corp. employees at the Google rival’s 24-acre Mountain View campus.

Posted by Judith — 4:26 AM

Providence leads private equity bid for NTL.

Source: Independent.

NTL, the cable television and broadband company, is in talks with a consortium of private equity companies that could result in Europe’s largest-ever private equity takeover.
Sources close to the situation said the private equity companies involved include Providence Equity Partners, the Blackstone Group, Cinven and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Providence is said to be leading the bid. Talks between NTL and the private equity companies began at the start of August but no price has yet been agreed.

Posted by Judith — 3:51 AM

Court puts kibosh on Earthlink petition

Source: TechWeb.

A federal appeals court in Washington has issued another setback to longtime attempts by some Internet service providers to utilize lines of major telephone firms like Verizon Communications and AT&T Inc.
In a decision reported Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied an EarthLink petition that sought to overturn a FCC ruling that withheld some access by smaller firms to the large firms’ high-speed lines. EarthLink had argued that the FCC’s rule was a blow to competition.

Posted by Judith — 3:14 AM

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Private firms to make fresh ntl takeover bid.

Source: TeleGeography.

Four private equity groups are preparing a GB£10bn. (US$18.9bn.) bid for UK cable group ntl Incorporated, according to The Times.
The approach, which is understood to be dependent on ntl’s share price falling below its current level of US$24.42, would represent one of the UK’s largest ever private equity buyouts.

Posted by Judith — 9:37 AM

NTT to bundle fixed/mobile services under new government plan.

Source: TeleGeography.

The Japanese government plans to allow national fixed line operator Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) to bundle packages combining cellular and fixed line phone services.

Posted by Judith — 9:34 AM

Disney scraps UK mobile plan.

Source: The Register.

Disney has ditched plans to start a UK virtual mobile network (MVNO), blaming adverse changes in the retail environment for its decision.
O2, which was to provide the service for Disney, said Disney content will still be made available, but there won’t be Mickey Mouse phones in the foreseeable future.
Part of Disney’s problem is that, in the UK, the brand is more associated with young children; official government advice is that children under 16 should only use a phone for “essential” calls.

Posted by Judith — 9:14 AM

Efonica registers 400,000 VoIP users in 2 months.

Source: Converge.

The new Efonica VoIP service from Fusion Telecommunications International has registered more than 400,000 subscribers since launching two months ago. The company said it has added an additional 150,000 subscribers in the last two weeks alone.

Posted by Judith — 8:51 AM

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tiscali reaches for mobile saviour.

Source: TimesOnline.

Tiscali, the loss-making Italian internet group, is in talks with Vodafone and 3 to offer a mobile service as it struggles to shore up its position in the European internet market.
The group, which has resorted to fresh funding from SilverPoint Finance, a hedge fund, at a rate of 11 per cent, is gambling on a move into triple and quadruple play services to improve its prospects in an increasingly ferocious internet market.
News of the potential mobile deal, which is likely to involve Tiscali leasing network space from an existing operator, comes after the merger at the weekend of Tiscali’s UK division with HomeChoice, the UK broadband television player.

Posted by Judith — 6:14 AM

C&W to revise bid for Bermuda’s KeyTech.

Source: TeleGeography.

UK-based Cable & Wireless plc (C&W) is expected to table a revised offer for Bermuda’s largest telecoms company, KeyTech, after an earlier offer to buy the company for GB£113mn. (US$213.7mn.) was rejected last month.

Posted by Judith — 5:47 AM

Trolltech offers fully reprogrammable mobile phone.

Source: Reuters.

Norway’s Trolltech AS has demonstrated the first fully reprogrammable mobile handset to help phone designers innovate as fast as their counterparts in the personal computer industry have done.
A major divide that separates PCs from mobile telephones is that while designers can freely reprogram a computer’s software, most of a phone’s are fixed at the factory.

Posted by Judith — 5:08 AM

New specs edge NFC standard towards reality.

Source: The Register.

The Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum today published the four data-exchange formats of its burgeoning short-range radio standard, intended to turn a mobile phone into a wallet, a set of keys, and a handful of credit cards.
But while the technical standard is rapidly coming together, the business model remains a mystery.At the moment, NFC is largely the preserve of banks and handset manufacturers, but it will need to demonstrate how network operators can make money out of it to progress beyond trials and cool demonstrations.

Posted by Judith — 4:17 AM

Monday, August 14, 2006

MVNO bubble about to burst in the US?

Source: The Register.

The much hyped bubble in MVNOs in the US is close to bursting, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.
It has found that many of the best funded MVNOs have misunderstood their core target markets, and that, while the better established, youth oriented outfits like Virgin Mobile, Tracfone and Sprint Nextel’s Boost have thrived, the new breed - such as EarthLink/SKT’s Helio, Disney Mobile and Mobile ESPN - have adopted more ambitious business models but have failed to capture the consumers’ imaginations.

Posted by Judith — 6:12 AM

Ericsson seals major GSM expansion contracts in China

Source: TeleGeography.

Ericsson has finalised a number of major GSM expansion contracts with China Mobile Communications Corporation (China Mobile) during the first half of 2006, collectively worth more than US$550mn.

Posted by Judith — 5:49 AM

Vodafone looks to reverse mobile-only strategy

Source: The Register.

It seems increasingly likely that Vodafone Germany’s wireline unit, Arcor, is no longer up for sale but will instead be incorporated into the giant cellco’s first major experiment with fixed mobile convergence.
Vodafone, in its recent reorganisation, made it clear that it must join the FMC race to sustain its margins over time and avoid being sidelined into a large but increasingly pressurised mobile-only niche.

Posted by Judith — 4:19 AM

Verizon is rewiring New York, block by block, in a race for survival

Source: NYT.

Building a whole new state-of-the-art network is a laborious and expensive process that Verizon says it must undertake to fend off rivals like Comcast and Vonage, which are moving fast into the phone business. As Verizon replaces more of its old copper network with more durable fiber lines, the company also expects to save billions of dollars in maintenance costs.
Verizon will spend about $20 billion by the end of the decade to reach 16 million homes from Florida to California. But it is in New York City where Verizon has the most at stake, the company plans to spend about $3 billion to reach the city’s 3.1 million homes and apartments.

Posted by Judith — 4:14 AM

BT to advise TOT on 3G rollout.

Source: TeleGeography.

The board of Thai state-owned telco TOT Corp have endorsed in principle a plan to hire the UK’s BT Group to advise it on the rollout of a 3G mobile network.
The consulting deal is worth THB30 million (US$805,000).

Posted by Judith — 4:02 AM

Friday, August 11, 2006

I.B.M. to buy Content Software Maker for US$1.6bn.

Source: NYT.

I.B.M. announced yesterday that it planned to pay US$1.6bn.for FileNet, a maker of software that helps companies manage documents and other digital information.
The planned purchase, analysts said, is a move by I.B.M. to strengthen its position in the fast-growing market for so-called content management.

Posted by Judith — 8:43 AM

IPWireless disappointed by Sprint decision.


Sprint Nextel’s decision to run with 802.16e WiMAX for its mobile broadband offering comes as a major blow to the proponents of rival technologies. One vendor which has expressed its disappointment at the decision is IPWireless, the UMTS TDD specialist which at one point looked like it was in the running for the deal.

Posted by Judith — 8:38 AM

T-Mobile USA continues aggressive play.

Source: RCR Wireless.

T-Mobile USA Inc. is dominating the Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum auction after three rounds in terms of sheer dollars, with US$226.6m. in bids so far. The carrier is the high bidder on 25 spectrum licenses covering 235 million potential customers.

Posted by Judith — 8:32 AM

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Sony announces Mylo.


The US will be the first to get a taste of Sony’s first wifi communications gadget it says will allow users to chat, send text, browse the internet and listen to music.
Dubbed ‘Mylo’ for ‘My Life Online’, Sony’s device is around the size of a PSP and is designed specifically to work in wifi hotspots.

Posted by Judith — 3:33 AM

Nokia tunes in with Loudeye deal.

Source: BBC.

Nokia has bought Loudeye, holder of a major digital music catalogue, for US$60m. (£31.4m.) as it seeks to offer mobile owners a full range of music services.
US-based Loudeye, which bought the British music download service OD2 in 2004, administers a licenced catalogue of about 1.5m. tracks.

Posted by Judith — 3:28 AM

NTL open to offer as customers drop off.

Source: TimesOnline.

NTL, the cable company, declared itself open to an £8bn. private equity bid yesterday after suffering a sharp drop in customers.
The group, which last year rejected an unofficial takeover approach from a consortium thought to have included Apax Partners, Cinven and Permira, said that it would be open to any project that maximised shareholder value.
The Nasdaq-listed group, which has tied up with Virgin Mobile to become Britain’s first single provider of fixed and mobile telephone, digital television and high-speed internet access, rejected the previous approach — thought to be for around £8bn. — claiming that it was nowhere near its true worth. A deal that size would be one of the largest leveraged buyouts.

Posted by Judith — 3:23 AM

Photo messaging is ‘on the rise’.

Source: BBC.

Sending pictures over the mobile phone network has seen a boost in the US and Europe in recent months.
Analysis revealed photo messaging in the US has risen by 32% since February, while the UK, France and Germany saw increases of between 16-20%.

Posted by Judith — 3:18 AM

Monstermob rings up gain on bid approach.

Source: Independent.

Shares in Monstermob surged 25 per cent yesterday after the mobile phone content developer said it had been approached about a takeover. Although it did not reveal the identity of the interested party, analysts said an opportunistic industry player could be behind the move.

Posted by Judith — 3:12 AM

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

OnAir enters partnership with Inmarsat.

Source: Telecom Asia.

In-flight communications provider OnAir will become the first distribution partner for Inmarsat’s new SwiftBroadband service.
The Mobile OnAir service, which is broadband satellite-enabled, supports in-flight SMS, voice and email services over passengers’ mobile phones and other devices, such as the BlackBerry or Treo.
The SwiftBroadband service from Inmarsat will give passengers in-flight Internet access through their laptop computers.

Posted by Judith — 5:10 AM

Google searches and finds MySpace deal.

Source: Independent.

News Corporation has chosen Google to manage advertising on its wildly popular MySpace networking website, in a three-year deal that will finally help MySpace generate significant revenues. Google beat Microsoft’s MSN division to land one of the web’s most keenly awaited business deals.

Posted by Judith — 5:01 AM

Affiliates fail with legal challenge.

Source: TeleGeography.

Sprint Nextel has won a legal battle with two of its affiliate companies relating to the merger between Sprint and Nextel which was completed twelve months ago. The affiliates, Horizon and Bright, claimed that the tie-up violated the terms of their agreement with Sprint and breached confidentiality provisions, but the Delaware Chancery Court has ruled in Sprint Nextel’s favour on both counts.

Posted by Judith — 4:50 AM

Monday, August 7, 2006

Cable and Satellite TV set their sights on airwaves.

Source: NYT.

In the telecommunications business, it seems everyone wants to do everything. Now the biggest names in cable and satellite television are poised to get into mobile phone and wireless data services.
On Wednesday, Time Warner, Comcast, Cox Communications, EchoStar Communications and DirecTV, a unit of the News Corporation, will be among the 168 qualified bidders in the government’s multibillion-dollar auction of radio spectrum.
But these companies are not necessarily planning to use those frequencies for TV signals. Rather, they appear to be preparing to battle AT&T, Verizon Communications and other companies that sell traditional phone lines, broadband connections and wireless services — and are now diving into television.

Posted by Judith — 4:44 AM

Beijing prepares to issue 3G licences.

Source: TimesOnline.

China is preparing to issue its first 3G mobile phone licences ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, in a move that will trigger tens of billions of pounds of investment by network equipment makers.
The long-awaited green light for 3G could come as early as the end of this year as China comes under pressure to have the technology running in time for the Olympics.

Posted by Judith — 4:40 AM

Phone group sale reaps bumper £1.24bn. reward for Caudwell.

Source: TimesOnline.

The founder of Phones4U, the mobile phone chain, is to reap £1.24bn. (US$2.38bn.) after his private company was sold for a higher-than-expected £1.46bn.(US$2.8).
John Caudwell sold the group yesterday to Doughty Hanson and Providence Equity Partners, the private equity firms.
Under the deal, Providence will acquire Phones4U, which has more than 350 stores across the UK and Ireland. Doughty Hanson will take control of 20:20 Logistics Distribution, a handset distribution division, which will be renamed 20-20 Mobile Group.

Posted by Judith — 4:34 AM

Future is Orange for mobile phone ads.

Source: Independent.

Orange has signed up major advertisers including Jaguar, Peugeot and Sony’s Xbox to put interactive advertisements onto to its mobile internet portal. It is the first major attempt by a mobile telecoms company to use the ubiquitous mobile handset to open up a lucrative new revenue stream that could turn the global advertising market on its head.

Posted by Judith — 4:32 AM

Broadcaster makes mobile move in 3 network deal.

Source: TimesOnline.

ITV1 will become the first of Britain’s traditional free-to-air channels to be broadcast live to mobile phones from this autumn after a deal with the mobile network owner 3.
The television channel initially will be available to 3’s customers for a six-month period, while the service is developed. However, the advertising breaks will not be available for viewing until early next year.

Posted by Judith — 4:25 AM

Telstra pulls plug on high spend internet plan.

Source: TeleGeography.

Telstra has announced that its proposed AU$4bn. (US$3.1bn.) FTTN project has been scrapped. The telco argued that it could not justify going ahead with the scheme under the regulations proposed by the competition watchdog. Telstra’s shares immediately lost 2% of their value, prompting fresh doubts over the government’s plan to sell its majority share in the operator. Communications Minister Helen Coonan expressed her disappointment at the news, but stated today that she believed neither the announcement nor the declining share value would delay a decision on the sale.

Posted by Judith — 4:04 AM

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Sprint to deploy Revision A this year.


US carrier Sprint Nextel Thursday announced expansion plans for its high speed wireless service and an agreement to carry VoIP traffic for Time Warner Cable.
Sprint plans to begin its roll out of the 3G upgrade technology known as EV-DO Revision A during the fourth quarter of this year with coverage expected to reach more than 40 million people by year end.
In a second announcement, Time Warner Cable said it will soon utilise Sprint Nextel’s IP Network to offer VoIP services across most of its footprint of approximately 28 million homes.

Posted by Judith — 3:56 AM

Searching for a mobile interface.

Source: BBC.

Nearly a quarter of phones returned for being faulty are working properly, a recent survey suggested. The problem is people just cannot figure out how to use them.
Handset design has changed little but supports ever more functions.
As manufacturers struggle to pack in more features, mobile phone users struggle to get them to work.

Posted by Judith — 3:51 AM

‘Amp’d powered by Telus’ hits Canadian subscribers.

Source: RCR Wireless.

Canadian telecommunications company Telus has announced a partnership with mobile virtual network operator Amp’d Mobile Inc. in which Telus subscribers will have access to Amp’d services and content and Telus will manage most of the business operations.
Telus and Amp’d Mobile explained that the relationship is not a typical MVNO relationship, in which Amp’d would essentially lease space on Telus’ network. Instead, the brand will be called ‘Amp’d powered by Telus’ and ‘customers will have a direct service relationship with Telus, and access to premium Am’d services and content via Telus.’

Posted by Judith — 3:30 AM

Google agrees to pay wire agency for news content.

Source: Independent.

In what might be a breakthrough victory for traditional news media nervous about the emerging power of Google News, the pioneering search engine company has agreed to pay Associated Press for some of its news stories.
AP, one of the world’s biggest news agencies, has tied up a deal to provide Google with stories, features and other pieces for inclusion on the its site.

Posted by Judith — 3:25 AM

Friday, August 4, 2006

AOL to cut 5,000 jobs in Web Access Business.

Source: NYT.

AOL will eliminate at least 5,000 jobs over the next six months — more than one-quarter of its work force — as part of its plan to scale back its Internet access business, the company said yesterday.
AOL said on Wednesday that it planned to reduce annual expenses by at least US$1bn. — largely by eliminating jobs — to compensate for the loss of revenue cased by the decline in its base of paying subscribers. The company is trying to compete with Yahoo and Google by offering free, advertising-supported services.

Posted by Judith — 4:28 AM

IBM to buy MRO Software for US$740m.

Source: InformationWeek.

IBM has announced that it has agreed to buy MRO Software Inc. for US$740m. in cash to expand its business of helping companies manage computer systems and equipment.
Based in Bedford, Massachusetts, MRO provides software and consulting to help companies buy, maintain and retire assets such as production equipment, facilities, transportation and information technology hardware and software.

Posted by Judith — 4:19 AM

Napster Mobile to go live next week.


The now legal peer to peer file sharing network, Napster, Thursday announced on Thursday its first deployment of Napster Mobile.
US regional operator SunCom Wireless, which operates a GSM network in the Southeast US, will offer over the air downloads of music to handsets and PCs from next week.

Posted by Judith — 4:18 AM

Apple and 3 Automakers plan alliances on iPod use.

Source: NYT.

Apple Computer said on Thursday that it was teaming with General Motors, Ford and Mazda to integrate the iPod into car audio systems.
The alliances mean that the iPod will be compatible with more than 70 percent of the new 2007 model vehicles sold in the United States.

Posted by Judith — 4:04 AM

Alcatel buys Fujitsu’s stake in Evolium.

Source: RCR Wireless.

French news organizations reported Alcatel Inc. has confirmed that it bought Fujitsu’s remaining 34 percent stake in the UMTS joint-venture, Evolium, which the two companies formed in 2000.
Though financial details have not been disclosed, the purchase is interesting because Alcatel has been rumored to be in talks with Nortel Networks Ltd. as the Canadian equipment vendor considers whether it should sell off its UMTS business.

Posted by Judith — 4:01 AM

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Telefonica targets SMEs with EUR139m broadband investment.

Source: TeleGeography.

Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica Group says it will invest EUR139m. (US$177m.) in expanding broadband services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Latin America. Telefonica will make the investment through its corporate services unit Telefonica Negocios. Negocios has nearly 1.5m. customers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru.

Posted by Judith — 4:46 AM

neuf Cegetel in ‘exclusive talks’ to acquire AOL France.

Source: TeleGeography.

French alternative fixed line and internet access provider neuf Cegetel is in exclusive talks to acquire AOL’s internet access business in France. It is understood that a deal would include AOL France’s dial-up and broadband internet services, and its customer services centre in Marseilles, but would not include the American-owned firm’s internet portal operations, which instead would be offered to neuf Cegetel customers via a partnership agreement that is being negotiated by the two firms.

Posted by Judith — 4:32 AM

Apple, Google join mobile standards group.


The Khronos Group, an industry consortium focused on the creation of open standards, has announced that Apple, Dell and Google are amongst the latest companies to join the group.
Khronos aims to define open standards for the authoring and acceleration of dynamic media on a range of platforms including embedded systems and mobile phones.

Posted by Judith — 3:56 AM

Free AOL: Too little, too late?


One of the worst kept secrets in the business world finally became official Wednesday: AOL is now going to offer many of its services for free to broadband customers.
AOL said the free products would begin to be available in September. The company also said that people who’ve left AOL during the past two years will also be able to get their old e-mail addresses back for free.
Finally, AOL, contrary to some market rumors, also said that it’s decided to continue offering dial-up access (for a monthly fee) to existing dial-up subscribers.

Posted by Judith — 3:53 AM

Nortel to sell out of GSM business?


Canadian vendor Nortel Networks is reportedly planning to hive off its GSM business for up to US$1.9bn. (£1bn.) and Alcatel is in the picture as the buyer.
Nortel is not a strong player in the GSM infrastructure market in comparison to Ericsson and Nokia, and the vendor has so far been left out of the mega-merger activity because of its financial troubles.

Posted by Judith — 3:45 AM

UK’s largest community wireless network goes live.


The UK has switched on its largest free community wireless network providing free wireless broadband to the city of Norwich.
The pilot system is funded by the East of England Development Agency has surpassed its original goals. The network was intended to give a boost to local economic development but has been extended to provide free access to council employees and the public.
The network was built in a joint operation between Synetrix and Telabria and covers 30 square kilometres.

Posted by Judith — 3:31 AM

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Pressure on Vodafone chief builds over US link.

Source: TimesOnline.

Arun Sarin, the embattled chief executive of Vodafone is expected to come under greater pressure from investors as Verizon gave the strongest indication yet that the US$50bn. wireless partnership between the two companies is not likely to be unwound in the near future.
Angry investors in Vodafone, who have tried to oust Mr Sarin, have been trying to get the company to sell its 45 per cent holding in Verizon Wireless, which is said to be worth between US$38bn. (£20bn.) and US$50bn. But Ivan Seidenberg, the Verizon chief executive, indicated yesterday that the partnership would remain intact for at least the next two or three years.

Posted by Judith — 5:10 AM

Comcast VOIP rollout spurs Verizon FiOS.

Source: Light Reading.

Clearly feeling the heat from Comcast’s accelerating rollout of VOIP and discounted “triple-play” bundles, Verizon Communications is stepping up its own deployment of FiOS broadband data and video services around the country to counter its growing loss of phone access lines.
In their second quarter earnings call with analysts this morning, Verizon executives indicated that they are rolling out FiOS faster than expected this year, at least partly because of heightened competition from Comcast and other cable operators plunging into IP telephony.

Posted by Judith — 5:05 AM

Vodafone to launch Apple-friendly HSDPA modem.

Source: TeleGeography.

Mobile operator Vodafone UK has revealed plans to launch a new modem allowing Apple computer users to utilise its newly launched HSDPA network.
Vodafone’s current laptop datacards can only be used with PCs. So far Vodafone’s networks in Greater London (within the M25), Glasgow, Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Tyneside have been upgraded to HSDPA, with a nationwide rollout covering Vodafone’s entire W-CDMA footprint, equal to around 75% of the population, scheduled for completion by summer 2007.

Posted by Judith — 4:29 AM

EDS to move more jobs to low-cost locations.


EDS is to accelerate shifting of its workforce to India and other low-cost centres, echoing a broader intensification of the offshoring wave at a time when the pressure to raise productivity in the labour-intensive IT industry has increased.
Michael Jordan, chief executive officer, said yesterday that EDS planned to increase its workforce in low-cost centres by 50 per cent over the next “couple of years” to 45,000. The Texas IT services company’s overall workforce is expected to fall over the same period, he added, implying cuts of more than 15,000 in the number of workers it employs in the developed world.

Posted by Judith — 4:15 AM

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Verizon steps up battle for subscribers.

Source: TeleGeography.

Verizon Wireless has dropped its monthly fee for its music download service as it steps up the battle to win new subscribers. The company, a joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone, dropped the US$15 monthly charge at the same time as it launched a new music-centric handset dubbed ‘Chocolate’ from LG Electronics.

Posted by Judith — 5:00 AM

BT takes on rival operators with £200m. cut in call tariffs.

Source: Independent.

BT, the UK’s largest residential telecoms company, has slashed its prices amid intense competition from a host of rival suppliers. However, some charges will rise with BT reintroducing “per minute” pricing for day-time calls.
The cuts represent the largest ever reductions to BT’s call packages and could collectively save its customers up to £200m. It follows the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom’s decision to free the company from regulation after 22 years of price caps.

Posted by Judith — 4:44 AM

China Mobile expands Huawei contract.


The rapidly expanding Huawei has won a contract with China Mobile to expand its GSM contract to provide mobile softswitch with a 30m. subscriber-capacity and more than 30 thousand TRXs in the second half of this year.
The pair cooperated previously on the world’s first 3GPP R4 mobile softswitch network.

Posted by Judith — 4:43 AM

Cingular to raise prices for users of older phones.

Source: Reuters.

Cingular Wireless, a venture of AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp., said on Monday it would start charging customers with older phones an extra $4.99 monthly fee as early as September unless they upgrade their phones as it moves toward using a single network technology.
The biggest U.S. wireless service, said the fee would apply to about 4.7m. subscribers, or about 8 percent, of its 57.3m. customer base unless these users upgrade their phones.
It is part of Cingular’s plan to phase out phones based on older TDMA and analog technology, the technical standard for the first cellphones produced more than 20 years ago.

Posted by Judith — 4:25 AM

VoIP quality getting worse.

Source: Light Reading.

A recent study has found the quality of VoIP calls declining steadily over the past two years, and points to network congestion and lack of service prioritization as the culprits.
Brix Networks Inc. has come up with a clever way to study the quality of VOIP calls — a portal called where consumers themselves place dummy calls. Brix says the site has generated nearly a million test calls since it launched in March 2004.
Brix says almost 20 percent of those calls rated “unacceptable” against a long-used quality testing algorithm called the “E Model.”

Posted by Judith — 4:16 AM

iPass inks roaming deal covering 1,000 Telstra hotspots.

Source: TeleGeography.

Global wireless internet access provider iPass has signed a deal with Australian incumbent Telstra giving its users access to more than 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. Telstra’s hotspot coverage is concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne’s central business districts as well as parts of other state capitals including Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Brisbane and Darwin. ‘Our footprint will grow from just over 700 global fixed and wireless roaming broadband connections to near on 1,800 locations,’ said iPass.

Posted by Judith — 3:57 AM

Telenor wins Serbian cellco auction.

Source: TeleGeography

Over eight rounds of bidding Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor outbid Mobikom of Austria, Orascom of Egypt and a consortium of Austrian investors to take control of Serbian wireless operator Mobi 063. The winning EUR1.51bn. (US$1.9bn.) bid outstripped even government expectations.
Telenor - which already has a presence in neighbouring Montenegro - has won 100% ownership and a 10-year operating licence.

Posted by Judith — 3:55 AM

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