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Archive for the ‘Telecom’ Category

NexusOne1Google has performed a u-turn on its strategy to sell its own-brand Android smartphone, the Nexus One. In a statement yesterday, the company announced that Vodafone will from this Friday start selling the device in the UK via its stores, online and over the phone. “Soon after,” Google said, it will be available via SFR in France, as well as via Vodafone’s other subsidiaries in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. More operator launches look to be on the horizon, as Google noted that Vodafone is the “first European partner to distribute the Nexus One.” The move is a direct contrast to Google’s original retail model for the device; when it launched the high-profile phone in January Google surprised many industry watchers with plans to only sell the product via its own online store. Such a move broke heavily with traditional mobile industry business practices, bypassing the mobile operator retail stores that serve as a key distribution channel for mobile phones. Meanwhile, US operator Verizon Wireless has been dropped as a partner for the device; despite being touted as an initial partner at launch, Google is now advising customers to instead “pre-order the Droid Incredible by HTC, a powerful new Android phone and a cousin of the Nexus One that is similarly feature-packed” and available in stores on 29 April. The Nexus One remains available to T-Mobile USA customers.

Reports have been quick to cite analysts as stating that the actions represent a setback for Google’s plans to carve a role for itself in the mobile business and to redefine industry practices in the process. The move is also likely to fuel speculation that Google has been forced to change its strategy due to less-than-stellar demand for the Nexus One; analysts believe Google sold about 150,000 Nexus One devices in the first quarter. By contrast, Apple sold 1 million iPhones in the first 74 days after releasing the gadget in 2007. However, earlier this month Google’s CFO Patrick Pichette said Nexus One is “a profitable business for us”, whilst Jeff Huber, SVP for enginnering, added that the company is “very happy with the device uptake and the kind of impact that’s had across the industry in terms of raising the bar for what devices can do.” Huber added that Google’s Android system is powering 34 devices and that more than 60,000 Android devices are sold and activated each day. Android also had 38,000 apps in the previous quarter, up 78 percent from the last quarter.

Source: GSMA Daily

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Results of poll by China Internet Network Information Center released this week.

Most young Chinese use mobile phones to access the Internet as these are cheaper and easier to obtain than desktop computers, according to a survey by a government-linked body.

About three-quarters of China’s 195 million web users under the age of 25–roughly half of its world-leading online population–surfed the Internet using a mobile in 2009, up from 50% from a year ago, the poll revealed.

The finding marked the first time that mobile phones emerged as the top platform for Web use among China’s youth, according to the poll by the China Internet Network Information Center, which was released Monday.

The poll offers further proof of the importance of the burgeoning mobile Internet market in China, which has the world’s largest number of mobile phone subscribers at more than 765 million, according to government data.

Nearly 70% of young Internet users still use desktops–implying that many Web-savvy youth are using both methods to get online.

The center said more young people in the countryside had opted for mobile Internet than their urban counterparts, as the handheld device “provided youths in areas where computers are hard to get with an alternative.”

Young Chinese primarily use the Internet to listen to music, play games and watch video clips, the center said.

Source: Total Tele

Gartner predicts that worldwide sales of smartphones will grow by 29 percent year-on-year to reach 180 million units in 2009, overtaking notebooks in total unit terms. The research firm adds that it expects smartphone sales revenue to reach US$191 million by 2012, higher than end user spending on mobile PCs, which is forecast to reach US$152 million by the same point. Currently smartphones account for 14 percent of overall mobile device sales, but Gartner expects by 2012 they will make up around 37 percent of global handset sales. However, it adds that the PC vendors’ cumulative share (Apple excluded) of the smartphone market has remained static at around 1 percent and is unlikely to rise above 2 percent during the next three years, highlighting the challenges faced by PC vendors looking to tap into smartphones.

“PC vendors will find it difficult to simply use existing supply chains and channels to expand their presence in the smartphone market,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “The smartphone and notebook markets are governed by different rules when it comes to successfully marketing and selling products.” Gartner notes that PC vendors have traditionally introduced smartphones based on the Windows Mobile platform, which have mainly attracted business users. But it adds that PC vendors will face extreme challenges in having to adapt and base their smartphone offerings on a consumer-focused value proposition based on short life cycles, fashion design, hardware and software platform diversity.

Comviva, formerly known as Bharti Telesoft, has launched the virtual SIM and handset concept in Cameroon eight months ago, which is likely to increase mobile penetration like never before, helping people without the financial ability to afford a handset, to have mobile connections.

In the 21st century, mobile telephony is scripting a new chapter that underscores its billing as the economic change agent for under-privileged masses in Cameroon. A virtual mobile SIM works this way: a potential user approaches any mobile operator, registers for a SIM and is allotted a number. The user can top up that number by an affordable amount and receive or make calls from any phone. The user can also have all other facilities like SMS, content, weather updates or any other value-added service as in any regular mobile connection.

Once the virtual number is inserted into any handset, the user’s ‘personality’ resides in the gadget as in a dual SIM format, and the user can receive or make calls from that handset. Once a call gets ended, it depends on the users to delete the number residing in that handset, or retain it there if more calls are expected on that handset.

Sangeet Chowfla, Chief Strategy Officer of Comviva says, “The concept dramatically increases the affordability of a mobile connection for the economically underprivileged. For someone with a low disposable income, the cost of even a $50 handset can mean 180 days’ savings. The virtual SIM concept can cut that by a factor of six.”

This concept was introduced with an aim of catering financially marginalized population, but later on it has also appealed to unintended user groups, including businessmen who prefer to have a different SIM to use while speaking to a certain group of their contacts, and youngsters who prefer to have dual numbers to interact with different friends’ circles.

The virtual SIM is being considered as a boon for low-income families that cannot afford multiple handsets. Family members can top up their personal virtual numbers with payment upfront, feed their numbers into the common handset and receive and make calls from the same handset without having anyone else to bear the tariff for their personal usage.

Success in the Cameroon venture, where virtual SIM users are learnt to be making five million calls per month, has stirred Comviva to launch the facility in partnership with local operators in different markets, with East Africa, Bangladesh and India to be the early markets for launch.

Source: SI

voice_logoIs Google Voice a traditional phone service or a Web application that in no way competes with LECs? That’s the question that lies at the heart of the Federal Communications Commission probe of the service, and the subject of much opining since the FCC launched its probe on Friday. Google was quick to weigh in on the matter.

The FCC wrote a letter to Google Inc. after a bipartisan group of lawmakers requested the probe, and after AT&T Inc. lodged a complaint claiming Google Voice has an unfair advantage over traditional companies by being able to block calls to some rural exchanges that charge high, margin-killing termination rates. Phone companies in contrast are banned from all call-blocking – a policy AT&T itself has protested many times. This is an issue, AT&T argued, because Google Voice should be seen as a competitive threat to regular calling services, and subject to the same regulations.

AT&T Senior Vice President Robert Quinn said: “Google casually dismisses the bureau’s order, claiming that Google Voice ‘isn’t a traditional phone service and shouldn’t be regulated like other common carriers. But in reality, Google Voice appears to be nothing more than a creatively packaged assortment of services that are already quite familiar to the commission.”

That’s a claim Google has now refuted resoundingly, answering the FCC with a statement claiming that Google Voice is not a phone service. Rather, it enhances existing communications by offering a single portal through which to access those landlines, mobiles, IM, texts and other modes. Google’s Richard Whitt, senior counsel, also noted that AT&T and other LECs charge for their services and are the beneficiaries of Universal Service Fund subsidiaries. In contrast, Google Voice is a free application that cannot afford to remain so if it must pay “exorbitant” termination rates for calls to certain exchanges.

Those exchanges, Whitt argued, have higher-than-usual termination rates because they have profitable relationships with adult chat lines and free conference calling services. The result is a large amount of expensive traffic. That reality, Google said, arises from outdated carrier compensation rules that should be fixed.

Depending on the FCC findings, the case could result in any number of free Web services, like Skype, for instance, being regulated as traditional landline or mobile services. That’s a turn of events that Whitt warned would end up slowing innovation significantly. AT&T in turn looks at it as leveling the playing field. Free IP-based services have been steadily cannibalizing a segment of its bread-and-butter voice services, helped along by a lack of competitive regulation.

In its letter, the FCC asked Google to answer some questions by Oct. 28, including how Google thinks the service should be regulated, why there’s an invitation-only policy for the trial service, and how Google decides what calls to block and how it blocks them.

source: VON Magazine

Cisco yesterday announced it is buying mobile packet core specialist Starent Networks for US$2.9 billion (US$35 per share). The price represents a premium of 21 percent over Monday’s closing share price. Founded in 2000, Starent completed an IPO in 2007 and reported revenue of US$254.1 million last year, a 74 percent improvement on the year prior, and net income of US$60.5 million. Earlier this year Starent scored a major win with US operator Verizon Wireless for deployment of LTE networks. Cisco expects the Starent deal to close in the first half of calendar year 2010. Upon completion, Starent will become the new Mobile Internet Technology Group led by Starent’s president and CEO, Ashraf Dahod, within Cisco’s Service Provider Business which is led by Pankaj Patel.

The move comes only days after Cisco announced the US$3 billion acquisition of Norwegian video conferencing specialist Tandberg. At the time, Cisco chief executive John Chambers said the firm would be “more aggressive” over the next 12 months in pursuing other acquisitions.

  • Enters into sale agreements for Optical Networking and Carrier Ethernet Businesses with Ciena for US$390 million in cash and 10 million shares of Ciena common stock
  • Agreements include the planned sale of substantially all assets within the Optical Networking and Carrier Ethernet businesses globally
  • Sale of businesses is best path forward for the future of Nortel’s Optical Networking and Carrier Ethernet customers and employees

Today is a significant day for Nortel Metro Ethernet Networks.  Nortel announced that it has entered into a “stalking horse” asset sale agreement with Ciena for its North American, Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) and Asian Optical Networking and Carrier Ethernet businesses, and an asset sale agreement with Ciena for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) portion of its Optical Networking and Carrier Ethernet businesses for a purchase price US$390 million in cash and 10 million shares of Ciena common stock.

You can find the news release on Nortel.com by clicking here.

These agreements include the planned sale of substantially all the assets of the Optical Networking and Carrier Ethernet businesses globally.  If successfully completed, this transaction with Ciena:

  • Provides for the transition of substantially all of Nortel’s Optical and Carrier Ethernet customer contracts.
  • Includes substantially all of Nortel’s Optical and Carrier Ethernet product portfolio and related services business, including the OME 6500, OM 5000, CPL, and all other optical/Carrier Ethernet platforms, as well as our industry-leading 40G/100G technology.
  • Includes all patents and IP that are predominantly used in the Optical and Carrier Ethernet businesses.

This transaction will not include the Nortel Multiservice Switch (MSS and formerly called Passport) business. There are no changes to Nortel’s plans to develop the MSS platform and actively support our broad base of MSS customers globally. The MSS business remains a strong, profitable contributor to Nortel’s overall business.

We believe that today’s announcement provides a step towards clarity for our customers, and is the best path for Nortel to preserve the optical innovation and customer relationships that we’ve built as a leader in the optical industry over the last two decades.

This transaction is subject to a court-approved “Stalking Horse” process (or 363 Sale) that allows other qualified bidders to submit higher or otherwise better offers. We will endeavor to complete this transaction as expeditiously as possible. If Ciena emerges as the successful bidder, under the terms of Ciena’s “stalking horse” bid, we would target being in a position to close the sale in Q1 2010 provided all court, regulatory and other closing conditions have been met.

Source: Nortel’s Analyst Communication