Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Triple play pricing diverges widely

Triple play bundles vary widely in content, and hence in price too. That is pretty convenient, but newcomers may want to provide some clarity in order to stiumulate churn. Just a number of data points:
  • Versatel (= Tele2) still has to add a TV package. The dual play (4 Mbps + VoIP) + soccer comes at 40 EUR/mo.
  • Main competitor KPN charges 70 EUR/mo for a comparable dual play 'InternetPlusBellen' (4 Mbps + unlimited national VoIP). Add KPN TV (the DTT product from Digitenne), and you are at 78 EUR/mo. KPN will introduce the full triple play in 06Q1.
  • UPC Netherlands has 41 EUR/mo for the 3 Mbps + VoIP (free unlimited fixed call off-peak) dual play. Add basic TV for 16 EUR/mo or digital TV with services for 18 EUR/mo to come at a triple play for 57 or 59 EUR/mo. A quadruple play is possible by adding UPC Mobile - prepaid only for now. National calls are all charged at 18 c/min, SMS is 9 cents.
  • Wanadoo (+ Orange) in the Netherlands have a triple play without IPTV: ADSL2+ ('up to 20 Mbps) + VoIP (free unlimited national fixed calling) + mobile (free unlimited national calls to fixed networks). Add to that 10 c/min for on-net mobile and 20 c/min for all other mobile calls. Next year IPTV will be added though the Livebox.
  • Telecom Italia's 'Alice Home TV' (basic TV + 4 Mbps + VoIP activation) will start this Friday at 46 EUR/mo (including modem, STB, remote control). Add soccer for 11 EUR/mo.
  • Verizon's triple play costs 100 $/mo: 35 $/mo for FiOS TV (includes digital and HDTV channels), 35 $/mo for FiOS internet (5 Mbps) and 30 $/mo for VoiceWing VoIP (includes unlimited fixed calling in the US. Of course, Verizon Wireless can be added for the quadruple play.
  • Light Reading, in a recent report, calculates the price of an American telco triple play to be around 120 $/mo, but that includes VoD, DVR and HDTV. Without those, it's 88 $/mo.
  • Other triple play offerings I will add at some later date: Iliad/Free and France Telecom; FastWeb; Telefonica's Imagenio; Swisscom; PCCW's now; Yahoo! Broadband TV; Verizon's DirecTV offering and SBC's DISH-based triple play; Comcast.

Google Book Search: pending in Courts

Several digitization projects have started.

*Google Book Search:
-- Publisher Program: books from numerous international publishers
-- Library Program: books from 5 US and British libraries
* Yahoo!: launched the Open Content Alliance (OCA) for scanning out-of-copyright books or works submitted by Creative Commons
* Microsoft: MSN Book Search (out-of-copyright books only) and joined the OCA
* Look Inside the Book (now Search Inside the Book), for-pay only, in accordance with publishers
* Project Gutenberg: public domain books only
* Internet Archive: out-of-copyright books, part of the OCA
* Random House: pay-per-view
* US Library of Congress:
-- American Memory Project (Americana)
-- Global Gateway (documenting the ties between the US and Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain)
-- World Digital Library (Asian and Islamic documents from 10-16th centuries)

Google arguably stretches the meaning of ‘fair use’ under copyright law the furthest with its Google Book Search project.

Let’s look at the pros and cons and try to figure out where this is going.

Pro Google:
*Only 20% of all books are in print and 20% are in the public domain, so 60% are out of reach. Google makes them accessible.
*Searches return only some lines or pages for copyrighted works and no more than 20% of an entire book after multiple searches (without printing option), full book only after explicit approval from the author in the Publisher Program. Authors can opt-out of the Library Program.
* Could help spur sales. Google refers to online retailers (for no fee).
* No ads in the Library Program. Ads in the Publisher program only if the publisher gives permission, in which case they receive the majority of the shared revenue.
* Google gives a second version to the libraries, for archiving and preservation.
* Meets the needs of students, whoe are moving online and out of libraries.
* Search engines make copies of web pages without consent from their authors. Nobody has a problem with that.

Contra Google:
* Security could be questionable, which raises questions about piracy.
* Google is appropriating material that it doesn’t own for commercial reasons.
* Authors cannot be assured of Google’s future plans.
* Copyright holders will have no way stopping others.
* There is a distinction between books and music piracy: taking part of the value that this releases (book search) v. protecting yourself against losses produced by new technology (music piracy).
* Claiming that Book Search will increase sales is speculation at best.

I suppose new developments will focus on two elements:
* ‘Fair use’ is what it is all about, but also how far a judge is willing to adjust the understanding of this term to the present internet age. Can the common cause prevail?
* Will Google be allowed to scan at all? Do the disclosing policies (opt-out; small parts of books on display only; no print facilities) have anything to do with that?

T.I.M. diary for December 2005


* AT&T (formerly SBC) ticker change to T (Dec 1), kicks-off campaign
* Verizon closes MCI acquisition
* Spin-off fixed from Alltel decided
* BPL: ETSI decides on OPERA-standard

Wireless - cellular:
* French regulator is set to fine mobile operators for price-fixing (Dec 1)
* Denmark re-auctions fourth 3G-license (Dec 2)
* Deadline for offers for Telsim (Turkey) (Dec 5)
* eircom closes Meteor acquisition
* Millicom launches ‘Tigo’ in Bolivia, BeST launches in Belarus, Amp’d Mobile (MVNO on Verizon Wireless) launches, Mobile ESPN (MVNO from Disney on Sprint) launches
* Cingualr starts video with Real

Wireless – long-range broadband:
* Ireland issues third license
* WiMAX: Ikatel (FT) launches in Mali, Mauritius has nationwide coverage, Yozan launches in Tokio (with Airspan), Intel starts trial in the Filippines

IP, convergence:
* TI/TIM launch videocalling
* TV-o-DSL: TI launches ‘Alice Home TV’ (Dec 2), China Telecom launches, KPN starts trial
* IPTV: Het Net (KPN) intros ‘’, AOL intros ‘TMZ’ with Warner (entertainment, news), Yahoo! launches video player
* VoIP: deadline RfP from CableLabs for VoIP peering (Dec 14), KPN launches ‘InternetPlusBellen’ dual play, Skype and Pacific Internet launch cobranded version
* wVoIP: BT launches Fusion handset; Japan decides on regulation

* FTTx: City of Helmond (Netherlands) advises over FTTH

* Belgacom offering period for Telindus (Dec 5-20)

* IPO: Eutelsat (subscribing ends Dec 1), Telecom Egypt (pricing Dec 7, trading Dec 14), So-net (Sony Communications Network; pricing Dec 8, trading Dec 20), UOL (trading Dec 16)


Web 2.0:
* Deadline for submissions to MTV’s ‘Digital Incubator’ vlog program for ‘mtvuÜber’


* VNU trading statement (Dec 14)
* Nielsen starts issuing DVR ratings (Dec 26)
* Wolters Kluwer closes NDC-IM acquisition

* FCC to decide on Adelphia sale to TWC/Comcast

* Microsoft launches Xbox 360 in Europe (Dec 2) and Japan (Dec 10)
* Sling Media intros Windows Mobile version

* Legal P2P: Mashboxx starts test, Grokster relaunches

* Premiere (Germany) launches HDTV

* Theater releases: Narnia (Disney, Dec 7 in London and Dec 9 in N-America), Big Momma’s House 2 (Fox/Regency, Dec 16), The Producers (Universal, Dec 21), Munich (DreamWorks, Dec 23), The Exorcism of Smiley Rose (Sony)
* DVD-releases: Dukes of Hazzard (Warner, Dec 6)

* Wegener AGM for restructuring finprefs

Wednesday Telecoms Digest

* Licenses: Kosovo plans second, 06Q1; Zimbabwe revokes TeleAccess’ for failing to start op’s
* DSL: Tele Greenland orders ADSL2+ from Siemens; Free trials F-ADSL (ADSL2+): 120 Mbps at 1.8 km (max 174/18 Mbps); Verizon trials upgrade to 7.1 Mbps
* FTTx: DT willing to share new FTTN network (no timing, pricing); House of Rep’s Netherlands questions funding of Nuenen muni FTTH; French regulator warns against monopoly on new FTTx network from FT
* BPL: Linz AG causes interference and has until Dec 10 to end this; ARRL asks FCC to shut down Manassas (no info to public BPL database by deadline Nov 19); PLC Network Solutions (= Trimax) receives order form Dancom Pakistan (74 offices)
* DOCSIS: Net Servicios intros naked broadband up to 8 Mbps

Wireless – cellular:
* Licenses: Slovakia plans third operator 06H1, Montenegro pkans third license (3G) 06H1
* 4G: Belarus plans trial by new entrant, with Siemens and Ericsson
* MVNO: Tommy Telecom launches in the Netherlands on Telfort (= KPN), 15 c/min and 5 c/SMS
* Budget: Vodafone prepares ‘Tango’ label for Germany
* 3G: 6 operators China (China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, China Netcom, China TieTong, China Satcom) cooperate on TD-SCDMA trial
* TV: Vivendi asks for regulatory clarity (frequency band); deal 3 UK with ITV to add content to MobiTV; 3 Italy acquires DTT-license holder Canale 7 for DVB-H launch mid 2006
* Push email: Vodafone intros in the UK (technology from Visto)
* P2T: trial 3 Scandinavia with Nokia in Sweden

Wireless – short range broadband:
* WiFi: Netgear settles false speed claims

Wireless – long range broadband:
* WiMAX:
-- Pipex trial progresses with Airspan (NLOS, 1 km; 8 Mbps by March 2006)
-- New Zealand Telecom cancels buy of license, Callplus has positive trial results (N-Zl)
-- Croatia awards 10 regional licenses, Switzerland plans 3 more licenses, Thailand plans intro 2006
-- Ikatel (Mali) orders from Alvarion
* WiBro: TI plans trial with PDA’s from Samsung at Winter Olympics
* BWA (BFW): deal First Avenue (bought ART and Teligent assets) with Comcast: access tot PoPs, fiber for backhaul

IP, convergence:
* NGN: Algeria Telecom orders from Huawei
* VoIP: Telfree (SA) launches; Net Servicios (Brazil) and Thailand plan intro 2006; Cisco acquires IP-PBX unit from Digital Software, $15m; Speakeasy expands home area for unlimited calls to 22 countries (80 $/mo including unlimited local and NLD)
* IPTV, triple play:
-- TI launches Dec 2; Tiscali starts trial in the Netherlands (to PC); plan Net Servicios + Embratel (Brazil)
-- PCCW orders HDTV, MPEG-4 for ‘now’ from Tandberg; China Telecom orders form ZTE for 100k homes in Jiangsu; SureWest selects Amino for HDTV STB
-- EC plans heavy regulation for pull (broadcast) and 3 basic rules for push (video clips) (ban on racial hatred, protection of minorities, advertsing disclosure)
* wVoIP, UMA, FMC: TeliaSonera Denmark completes lab trial UMA, intros field trial with Motorola; Motorola intros FMC handset for Oi (Brazil); Telus merges fixed and mobile units; BT plans flat-fee unlimited wVoIP over WiFi/WiMAX before Christmas (rumour); Aperto claims more buyers apply wVoIP

* Belgacom’s offer for Telindus runs December 5-20, FT and Getronics rumoured to counterbid

* 3 Italy acquires DTT license holder Canale 7 (for DVB-H)
* Digital TV subs Netherlands +21% yoy (cable + 64%, DTT + 21%, DSB +6%) to 1.04m (of which DSB 56%) as of Sep 30
* LG intros PM 80 for DMB-T

* FTTH: Nuenen funding questioned; BellSouth restates opposition to Lafayette plan
* WiFi: Westminster plans extension to residents; Abuja (Nigeria) plans launch Nov 30
* BPL: Manassas disputed by ARRL for not complying to FCC-rules (info filing in BPL database)

* IPO:
-- 20% Telecom Egypt Dec 14 (pricing Dec 7: EGP 14.80)
-- 30% Palestine Telecom planned in Abu Dhabi
-- UOL (Brazil) Dec 16
-- Sony Communication Network (SCN, ‘So-net’) Dec 20 (pricing Dec 8), raise up to $257m
-- Ukraine plans selling 92.86% of Ukrtelecom
-- 3 Italy delayed to 06Q1
-- Eutelsat plans 73.2m new shares (34%) at EUR 11.75-12.75, raise EUR 860m, closes Dec 1
* For sale: Alltel fixed unit, EDT (Colombia), Bitel (Kyrgyzstan)
* State holdings: put up for sale at DT and Swisscom; Spain cancels ‘Golden Share’; Switzerland opposes foreign acquisition by Swisscom (66%)

Wednesday Internet Digest

* Visitors online classifieds +80% (Pew)


* Online sales US Holidays:
-- Nov: Wal-Mart same-store sales Nov +4.3%
-- Week as of Nov 19: comparison shopping +25% yoy (HitWise)
-- Thanksgiving +12% to $144m
-- Black Friday +22% to $305m (comScore); total retail sales Black Friday -0.9% to $8 bn (ShopperTrak RCT); visitors +77% yoy
-- Thanksgiving weekend: spending offline + online +21.9% to $27.8 bn from 145m shoppers (+9%), average 302.81 $/shopper (survey NRF/BIGresearch)
-- Cyber Monday online: traffic at work +35% to 15m, at home +23% to 15.7m (NetRatings); Visa-card spending +26% to $505m; traffic (= eBay) +26% to 3.4m
* (= Telegraaf) plans Professional franchise

Web 2.0: user-generated content, sharing:
* Craigslist plans journalism 06Q1
* Kaboodle (collaborative search, social tagging, social bookmarking) launches
* Premiere Radio Networks (= Clear Channel) launches vlogs from ‘Russ Limbaugh Show’ to iPod Video

OS, browser, Office:
* Mozilla plans mass-marketing for new Firefox 1.5 browser (release Nov 29)

* IPO: lowers range to $10.50-12.50 (from 11.50-13.50) (TRFC.O)

Wednesday Media Digest

* MPEG-4: DirecTV starts, target 1500 local and 150 national channels by 2007
* Regulation: EC plans clearance for product placement; FCC plans endorsing a la carte cable subscriptions (source: WSJ)

STB, DVR, Home Gateway:
* TiVo and 5 ad firms (Interpublic, OMD (Omnicom), Starcom Media Vest (Publicis), Richards Group, Comcast Spotlight) plan commercial search, bid for placement spring 06; TiVo plans launch in Taiwan with TGC
* IT’s Logic launches LamaBox (P2P files downloaded and played on TV or burnt to DVD), EUR 280
* Google speculated to work on Google Cube (source: I, Cringely)
* Apple rumoured to work on new Mac mini (‘Kaleidoscope’) with Front Row 2.0 (place-shifting), DVR and iPod dock (source: Think Secret)

* IPO: plan Opus Media ( portal with movie rights; streaming technology) early 2006 in London (raise GBP 50m)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Deutsche Telekom: leading altnet in E-Europe

Deutsche Telekom's Magyar Telekom takes over Orbitel, Bulgaria's largest altnet, for EUR 8m. Magyar Telekom wants to be a leading altnet in Southeast Europe.

Smart move from DT. PTT's in Poland (France Telecom) and the Czech Republic (Telefonica) have not been great investments, suffering the same kind of erosion that occurs at Western European PTT's. Also, broadband in the east is much less developed than in e.g. France, where Telecom Italia is focused.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mauritius will be first again - WiMAX this time

In 1989 Mauritius was the first country on the southern hemisphere to have a wireless network. In 2004 it was the first nation in Africa to have UMTS. And this year it will be the first country in the world to have nationwide WiMAX.

Cyber Island, started in June, will be a reality at the end of this year.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

ErinMedia v. Nielsen Media Research: email dirt?

A judge recently denied Nielsen Media Research' motion to dismiss a case brought forward by erinMedia. This means, we can expect the case to actually go to court.

NMR kind of holds a monopoly on TV ratings in the US, much to the frustration of a number of different interested parties. A settlement doesn't seem likely at this point, as the parties are to entrenched to back out now.

Let's try to figure out where this is going.

First, NMR has wide industry support and its ratings are the de facto currency for the US TV market. At the same time, its monopoly position is constantly attacked, from the sector's regulatory body (Media Rating Council), from the News Corp supported Don't Count Us Out group and from politics, where bills for regulatory oversight are pending. Adding these two (support and attacks) suggests that this is a disputed but accepted monopoly. It's not perfect, but it's the best there is.

Second, erinMedia claims its method is by far superior to NMR's. ErinMedia plans to use set-top box data (from potentially 60% of the population), while NMR uses a sample of households (8k). In other words: erinMedia uses to the full population of a large subset (40% of households don't have a set-top box, as they watch through an arial or through analogue cable), whereas NMR measures the habits of a representative (or so it claims) sample of the entire population. Doesn't seem to be stuff for a judge to decide.

Third, erinMedia claims to seriously want to enter the market. However, it doesn't have a deal yet with a dataprovider (cable or satellite company) or a potential buyer (broadcaster or advertising agency). Or can erinMedia come up with some email, proving that Comcast really would like to do business with them, but unfortunately they are restricted by their NMR contract? Also, erinMedia needs to show that NMR expressly worked on preventing erinMedia from entering the market. Again, this seems to require some kind of email message or so.

Fourth, erinMedia needs to prove abuse of the monopoly position NMR has. NMR supposedly bought (potential) competitors, lured clients into extremely long contracts and used predatory pricing. This seems a tough point to make, as both antitrust authorities and clients aren't clearly protesting.

Fifth, NMR's stranglehold on the market supposedly stifled innovation. However, if we look at two of the most important innovative features (DVR and VoD), the facts seems not to favor erinMedia. NMR is rolling out DVR-measurement and VoD is actually taking off.

Conclusion: erinMedia has a tough case, but we are looking forward to any Balmereske email ('we're gonna f** bury these guys').

Friday, November 25, 2005

Friday Reader's Digest

Update to WiMAX entry (below): from
The big picture in this article on Billing World, no technicalities.

Robert Cringely takes the GoogleNet one step further in this column.

In-building coverage:
One of these nasty bottlenecks. Read Dean Bubley on DVB-H for mobile TV and this article on ElectronicsWeekly on HSDPA.

This article on Wi-Fi Planet sums up the elements of the certification process, currently in happening in Spain. It also has a link to the white paper that it is based on. The first batch of products could be certified by the end of the year, expect mobility in 2007.

Murdoch's passion for news

Rupert Murdoch, in an utterly unreadable 'interview' with Hollywood Reporter, displays his 'passion for news'.

THR: Have you used news as a catalyst for change?
Murdoch: No, I just think that if people know, objectively, everything that's happening -- if they know alternative views about what's happening -- then the democracy wins.

The piece reads more like an hagiography, which is interesting because The Hollywood Reporter is owned by VNU. VNU also owns Nielsen Media Research, which News Corp battles through the 'independent' Don't Count Us Out group.

One thing could be of interest. Murdoch states he will not consider a telco merger or takeover, as he has DirecTV/Sky. For two-way connectivity he hails Sprint Nextel for its WIMAX-related spectrum assets.

I suppose adding Sprint Nextel would land him the quadruple play, but how would that combine with the Sprint/cable deal? A combined cable/satellite assault of the Bells?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Eurekster's Swicki

Just created a swicki (search + wiki) social search engine, T.I.M. Search, using Eurekster's technology (beta). Check out the link to the right and the search box way at the bottom.

It uses preferred sites, site recommendations and key words (I included 170). In the future, it will add sponsored search.

Seems to work just fine. A search on the term 'tower' (not included in my 170) returned generally very relevant results. Pretty amazing. Is this the end of Google?

UPDATE: How about this for locking-in users?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wednesday Media Digest

* P2P: i2hub shuts down; NBC Universal deal with Peer Impact (= Wurld Media); Bram Cohen (BitTorrent) settles with MPAA
* AOL, IAC, Hearst, Allen & Co, Accel Partenrs and General Catalyst Partners fund Brightcove $16.2m in Series B VC round
* TiVoToGo extends transfers to iPod Video (Apple) and PSP (Sony)
* Microsoft launches Xbox 360 in the US

* Blu-ray Disc Group denounces HP technoloy (DRM, interactivity)
* Thomson plans digital cinema in France, UK, Belgium
* 20th Century Fox (News) content on Movielink, 7th studio (adds 1200 titles)

* Major broadcasters US: DVR recording is good for advertisers
* Cisco buys Scientific-Atlanta, $6.9 bn
* Microsoft partners with CableLabs for HDTV in Windows Media Center (on PC, Xbox 360, etc.), available late 2006
* Analogue-digital transition: delayed in the Netherlands (proposed 2006); House US approves date Dec 2008, $830m for converter subsidies

* DreamWorks Animation deal with Activision; Liberty Media buys 51% of Fun Technologies
* Microsoft launches Xbox 360 in the US

* Newspapers US: 47.3m visitors (+15.8%) in September, penetration 31.9% (Q3: 41.5m = 27.7%), time spent 38m08s (NAA); Top 10 sites +11% to 39.3m in October (penetration 25.8%) (Nielsen//NetRatings)

* 10 publishers (Elsevier, Pearson, Princeton UP, Wiley, Sage, Thomson, Chicago UP, American Psychological Ass, Houghton Mifflin) sue copy shops (Gnomon Copy, Copycat Print Shop)
* Open access: BioMed Central will publish ‘Geochemical Transactions’ form American Chemical Society as of January 1, 2006

IPO: Endemol
M&A: Liberty Media/Fun

Wednesday Internet Digest

* Online sales US 05Q3: +26.7% yoy and +5.7% qoq to $22.32 bn = 2.3% of total retail sales (+8.5% yoy and +1.8% qoq to $957.86 bn) (Commerce Dpt; excludes travel, tickets, financial)
* 52% expect more online shopping because of: 24 hrs (81%), time saving (76%), crowd avoiding (75%), research options (54%), comparison shopping (52%), free shipping (50%), high gas prices (49%), but overall holiday budget -7% (survey of 6239 by AOL)

* email: usage 52% of internet users (Pew survey of 1577)

* Yahoo, AOL, MSN sold out display ads
* Online ads US 05Q3: +33.9% yoy and +4.7% qoq to $3.1 bn (PwC, IAB)
* Holidays US: expected +24% to $19 bn, year total +24% to $82.7 bn (excluding travel, auctions) (comScore)

* Personalisation: Eurekster intros swicki (learning)
* Desktop: FAST intros ‘Personal Search Platform’; X1 Technologies and SoonR intro desktop search through mobile
* Shopping: Google plans Froogle Local
* Usage: 41% of internet users in Sep/Oct (Pew survey of 1577)
* Unique visitors Oct: Google 75m, Yahoo! 68m, MSN 49.7m, Ask 43.7m, AOL 36.1m (comScore)

User-generated content, sharing:
* Blogs: Yahoo! adds Gawker Media to Yahoo! News; Six Apart’s Typepad suffers outages; AlwaysOn plans GoingOn network early 2006 (blog-network-in-a-box for corporates)
* Podcast: IBM intros ‘IBM and the future of our cities’
* Vlogs: Het Net (KPN) plans intro on December 2005
* Photo sharing: AOL relaunches AOL Pictures, free; Google rumoured to bid for Riya
* Sharing: Bram Cohen (BitTorrent) settles with MPAA; i2Hub shuts down; deal Peer Impact (= Wurld Media) with NBC Universal

* IPO: plan Liquidity Services (auctions), raise $86m; plan, 4.2m shares at $11-13

Wednesday Telecoms Digest

* LLU: BT lowers connection charge 40% to GBP 100; T-HT (Croatia) sues regulator for tariff reductions (to 7 EUR/mo/line from 10.50); Jazztel sues Telefonica for slow provisioning; TI court ordered to provide Tele2 with 41k lines; Magnet Networks plans ADSL2+ and FTTH network Ireland with Industria
* DSL: KPN starts VDSL trial; Telenor increases ADSL-prices and lowers pricing (4 Mbps for 550 NOK/mo to 6 Mbps for 500 NOK/mo); BellSouth intros 6 Mbps service at 47 $/mo
* FTTx: Bundesnetzagentur calls on DT to open planned FTTN network; city of Helmond (Netherlands, 85k pops) plans FTTH, to be managed by BBned (Telecom Italia), investments (EUR 40m) from BBned, city and Nacap; Verizon extends FiOS in NJ and FiOS TV to Herndon, Va; muni plans Fairfield from LISCO (loan from Dpt of Agriculture); Capitol Infrastructure (= Capitol Broadband) orders fiber from Corning for extension from 50k to 200k homes in NC, SC, Fla and Geo; plan Magnet Networks in Ireland
* BPL: order Dancom Private (Malaysia, Pakistan), Pointe of View Developments/Belleview Communities (3 towers in Copper Square in Phoenix, Az) and The Plaza Residences to PLC Network Solutions (= Trimax): BPL, rev sharing, royalties

Wireless – cellular
* MTA: reductions Netherlands (KPN -12%) as of Dec 1
* 2G: tender for 6th license Bangladesh (bidders: Warid, Omniah)
* 2.5G: BTC (Bahamas) orders EV-DO from Lucent
* 3G:
-- EV-DO Rev B (up to 74/27 Mbps)is ready for commercial launch in 06Q1; Lucent works with Datang Telecom Technology on TD-SCDMA
-- Licenses: Lithuania plans tender early 2006; Ireland awards 4th license to Smart
-- sunrise plans GPRS/EDGE/UMTS (max 384 kbps) launch Dec 1, 2005; Globe Telecom plans intro 2006; Vodafone Malta autumn 2006; Smart orders from Huawei
* 3.5G: plan T-Mobile Netherlands
* Data: StarHub intros i-mode
* TV: Alltel intros MobiTV; SFR intros with Streamezzo technology; Vodafone Italy plans with Mediaset via DVB-H
* Push email: Nokia buys Intellisync, $430m; Digitel Mobile (Filippines) plans with
* MVNO: SBC plans AT&T Wireless on Cingular; Vodafone wants to host 10 MVNOs in Japan in 2 years; Cirkle K Stores launches ‘Talk-and-Go Mbile’ on Cingular (prepaid, 20 c/min; MVNE Ztar)
* Budget operator (SIM-only, online): plan Mobistar
* Kids handsets: Cingular intros FireFly
* Licenses: Denmark plans re-auction 4th 3G license (originally Orange) Dec 2
* CPS: intro India
* MNP: intro India

Wireless – short range broadband
* WiFi:
-- Pan-Canada roaming deal among Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless and Telus Mobility (with Syniverse Technologies); roaming deal Telefonica (1500 hotspots), PT (790) and TI (800)
-- launches nationwide (1000 m^2) in Macedonia with Strix; Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) launches in San Francisco subway; Mountain View ordes network from Google
-- American Biophysics plans January launch of smart ‘Mosquito Magnet’ network (sucks in insects), attracts $15m VC from Ritchie Capital

Wireless – long range broadband
* WiMAX: Liberia plans nationwide network with Motorola (Canopy), build-out 2006-2008, launch June 2006; Taiwan invests; Airspan acquires Radionet (Finland, $1.9m) for WiFi access and roaming; Alvarions expects 802.16e ratification 06Q1; Hokkaido STS extends network with Alvarion; Cablenet (Bulgaria) receives license (new brand name Max Telecom); Mikkelin and Savonlinnan plan network in Savo (eastern Finland) with Alvarion and Intel
* WiBro: KT plans launch June 2006
* UMTS TDD (IPWireless): netZAP wil start a trial in January in Jakarta, with Alcatel

IP, convergence:
* VoIP:
-- BroadVoice elected No 1 by Wired Mag
-- Wanadoo UK leads the market (80k subs in 8 mos)
-- i2Phone plans move to NASDAQ
-- launches; yakForFree (Yak Comms) launches; Sony launches IVE (VoIP + video) with GlowPoint; KPN commercially launches dual play (ADSL + VoIP); MetTel launches in NY and NJ with UTC Associates and BroadSoft, plans to go nationwide
-- bill US to impose USF charges
-- Skype has deal with Pacific Internet (PacNet, Singapore) for co-branded service, including SkypeOut; Skype distribution deal with RadioShack (for starter kits, headsets and cordless handsets)
* IM: Reuters links messaging system to MSN and AIM; AOL intros AIM Triton (with VoIP and address book)
* IPTV: Ericsson rumoured to plan bid for UTStarcom or Harbor Networks; Smart plans with Sky (‘Sky by Wire’); Guangdong Telecom orders from Huawei; China Telecom plans intro Dec 2005 with UTStarcom and Redback
* Triple play: Verizon intros FiOS TV in second town (Herndon, Va)
* IMS: IBM intros solutions, builds 6 labs worldwide
* WiFi/cellular: Cicero launches platform for roaming
* US government (Defense, Postal Service, Housing, Energy) issues RfP for Networx (15k locations)

* FTTH: plan Helmond, Fairfield
* WiFi: launch in Macedonia, Mountain View orders from Google
* WiMAX: plan Liberia, Taiwan invests

* FCC: K. Abernathy (R) leaves as of Dec 9
* New-Zealand plans new rules 2006

* M&A: SBC/AT&T closes, Alltel/Midwest, Sprint/Alamosa, CSL/NWM
* IPO: plan PT Bakrie Telecom early 2006; plan Econet Wireless

HSDPA fixed-line replacement?

HSDPA is generally welcomed for its speed and latency. However, one thing remains underexposed: spectrum limitations.

Cellular technology is based on sharing capacity. A huge succes of data services could easily congest the system, because mobile operators useually have only 5-10 MHz of spectrum. One solution would be to add base stations. BWA providers useually have a huge advantage. Sprint Nextel, for instance, owns 90 MHz of spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band.

HSDPA is probably fine for bursty applications, but not for mass-scale video.

CableLabs issues RfI for VoIP peering

CableLabs issued an RfI on several levels for VoIP peering and set a 14 December deadline. It is seeking information on architecture, standards, management and solutions.

A short time table, which could give cable VoIP another boost.

Finally some support for Nethercomm

Nethercomm is still looking for VC and a trial partner. EarthLink is looking at its BiG-technology: UWB conducted through gas pipes.

Now, West Technology Research Solutions has issued statements endorsing the technology. The full report is $4,000. It could prove useful for attracting future partners.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Net neutrality is about choice of ISP

Martin Geddes' opinion on net neutrality, followed by David Isenberg's response and Geddes' reworking, misses one element that I believe has something to do with it: choice of physical access medium.

There must be some sort of consensus about the undesirability of having the streets dug open all the time. Operators are supposed to share the local loop, at least in Europe. This will give ISPs the power to block if they wish (like Zen does in the UK). If you don't like the ISP's blocking or prioritising policies, you simply churn to another. That is why LLU is so important.

Now, of course the US is an entirely different market. Without the obligation to share, Ed Whitacre can dream of charging Google (as Geddes puts it). But here I agree with Isenberg. Users simply have very little choice, with cable not covering the whole nation and having no obligation to share either. So, net neutrality is preferable.

This may change, once BPL, BoS, WiMAX, 4G or BiG become ubiquitous. Only then should everybody owning a local loop be allowed to manage the network as he pleases. But BPL is not realistic as an access medium, as the FCC seems to be dreaming of.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Show me the value!

With VNU abandoning the IMS takeover, one could wonder: why not split up all those media conglomerates?

Apparently, there wasn't enough synergy to justify the takeover price. But how much synergy is there in keeping the units of B2B conglomerates like Reed Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer, Thomson Corp, McGraw-Hill etc. together? Of course, divisions share IT, HRM and billing functions, but that is merely saying that scale matters. That is not true synergy.

So far, several B2C conglomerates have been splitting up: Viacom will be next, Time Warner sold Warner Music and put AOL on the block; DreamWorks spun-off the animation unit; Emmis Communications spun-off the TV business to concentrate on radio; Clear Channel will off-load the events business and the outdoor activity; Susquehanna sold its cable business to Comcast and the radio unit to Cumulus.

The telecoms arena hasn't seen many split-ups lately (apart form Alltel, Sprint and XO selling-off local/fixed divisions). In the internet realm it's IAC and Cendant spinning off online travel stuff.

Split-up those conglomerates and create focused pure-play companies. Show me the value!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday’s Reader’s Digest

xMax technology:
Read Dean Bubley’s reservations.

Ajax technology:
Articles in the Wall Street Journal and on Wired News.

Web 2.0:
Tim O’Reilly’s ‘what is’, Nicholas Carr’s ‘amorality’ and Om Malik’s dwelling on the subject.

Social networking:
An amusing story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

From an advertising angle, in BusinessWeek Online.

STM publishing:

Stevan Harnad’s response to SSHRC’s consultation, calling for the ‘green road’ to OA publishing.

Wal-Mart and DVDs

Slate ran an article on Wal-Mart’s reason for supporting Hollywood’s policy of maintaining a movie release schedule which allows for physical DVD sales to prosper. Only 45 days after being available at retailers are movies allowed on PpV systems. Cable is at least 4 months later.

Wal-Mart represents 30% of the DVD retail market.

Mark Cuban tries to collapse the window by having his movies (from HDNet Films) out simultaneously in theaters (he owns Landmark Theaters), on cable (HDNet) and on DVD.

BusinessWeek Online ran a coverage of the Netflix success. How Wal-Mart shut down its service, how Blockbuster is struggling and how still hasn’t entered the US market. Netflix could be a takeover candidate.

Recently, Wal-Mart was rumoured to be preparing in-store kiosk downloads. I wonder who could be their technology partner.

Search: how to lock-in

Nicholas Carr concluded search is a commodity. There is little one can do about that. Carr mentions only three tricks:

  • Embed a toolbar on the desktop.
  • Personalize, the way Yahoo! works My Search 2.0.
  • Embed the search engine in a portal.

I suppose one could think of a few more ways:

  • Marketing: boast your index size. Google quit doing this, apparently after having been leap-frogged by Yahoo! in August.
  • Advertising: probably a last resort.
  • Relevancy, for both organic (algorithmic) and sponsored results. Google so far is winning this game. Personalization + AI could add to this. By the way, Google has its Personalized Search also.
  • Loyalty points: maybe a strategy for the future.

Solid if minor steps ahead by KPN

  • KPN starts an interesting win-back campaign. What more can you want besides a digital camera?
  • KPN buys bankrupted photo chain ‘Kral’ in the Netherlands for ‘a few million euros’. Shops will re-open by December 1, and subsequently will be turned into new multimedia shops. Makes sense, as consumer confusion will only grow once new services hit the market. The number of outlets rises form 100 to 160.
  • Such as VDSL. KPN starts a 3-month trial, as stated before, in Zoetermeer. 20-30 Mbps.

Only on the Virgin Islands

BPL provider COMTek calls on ICC to sell the Virgin Islands Daily News. ICC controls not only this newspaper, but a radio station, a TV station and the local phone company, a.o. things. The paper supposedly discredits COMTek as its sister company’s competitor, without disclosing its ties. Also, the paper “turns a blind eye to the many controversies surrounding the business dealings of ICC head Jeffrey Prosser”. Google turns up Belize and Virginia, to name a few.

Only in America

Clark, Texas (population 125) renames itself DISH, in exchange for 10 years of free DISH satellite TV from EchoStar.

What lies beneath churn – Quality

Customer inertia (laziness) limits churn. But I believe quality has a lot to do with it. That is where incumbents have a natural advantage.

Consider these three recent developments, from seamingly completely different sectors.

1. Newspapers have widely reported problems. US circulation is down 2.6%. API is investing $2m to help newspapers into the next decade. However, readership of US newspaper websites is up 11%, outpacing the overall internet. Visitirs are up 15.8% to 47.3m in September, which is a 31.9% penetration. Time spent is is up to 38m08s. Link that to the recent Web 2.0 discussion, to which Nicholas Carr contributed a much quoted article. He describes Wikipedia with words such as unreliable, appalling, garbage. Newspapers on the other hand ‘can employ editors and proofreaders and other unsung protectors of quality work’, he claims.

2. A recent survey among researchers showed that open access publishing is slowly encroaching on traditional journal publishing. However, peer review remains the cornerstone. In other words, scientists, who are infamously inert when it comes to embracing new business models, so far have little reason to switch. Even if proponents of OA archiving never stop defending the green road model.

3. VoIP has taken ages to become a threat to tradional voice calling. Only when Skype mastered the QoS problem could it grow into a serious threat. Now, by the way, BroadVoice is supposed to be the best.

P2P VoIP offerings exploding

From recent days:
  • Sony starts IVE (pron. 'Ivy') - Instant Video Everywhere (there is an earlier business version). Unlimited free VoIP + video = VoIP Plus, technology from GlowPoint. PC-based, software pre-installed on Vaio BX laptops. Video is interoperable with other standards-based offerings. Operator supported. Add-ons available for 10 or 20 $/mo.
  • Yak Communications launches yakForFree. Free unlimited on-net VoIP (yackety-yack) with calling features and video. PC-based softphone, but adapter available. Paid services for calls to fixed and cellular (unlimied US-calling for 20 $/mo, prepaid calling for 2 c/min).
  • Fairytel launches in Austria. Monthly subscription for 1 euro. Free on-net, 1.5 c/min to Austrian fixed lines, 15 c/min to Austrian mobiles, 2 c/min to Western-European fixed lines and 6 c/min to the East. Adapter-based, into which the regular phone plugs in.
  • For several months in beta now: VoipBuster. Free on-net. During the trial, off-net to fixed lines in several countries (Europe and US) is free for one minute. Once it exits beta, off-net will be free and unlimited, as long as you have deposited EUR 10.
  • BroadVoice was elected No. 1 VoIP provider by Wired Magazine for its quality, price, free features and convenience.
  • Finally, iPhone2 wants to move to the NASDAQ. VoIP + video, softphone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wednesday Media Digest

Music, film:
* Distribution: Universal Music on Vodafone live!; Warner Music deal with Snocap (legal P2P); Warner starts ‘Cordless Recordings’ label for sale online, via mobile or legal P2P; AOL and Warner start ‘In2TV’, online video on PC or TV, high-quality with AOL Hi-Q format (P2P software from Kontiki, sponsored by GM); Wal-Mart plans in-store kiosks for film-downloads

Video, time/place-shift:
* Deal TiVo with Yahoo! (internet content to TV, remote programming)

* Newspapers: circulation Independent on Sunday +13.3% since tabloid launch (mid-October), +7.3% yoy; Sunday Telegraph (2 new mags Nov 6) -4.0% mom and -3.5% yoy, Observer (Berliner format in 2006) +3.1% mom and -0.3% yoy, Sunday Times (free books, DVDs) +2.1% mom and +2.9% yoy (Audit Bureau of Circulations)

* M&A: Knight Ridder for sale

Wednesday Internet Digest

* Travel: SideStep provides travel search; PriceGrabber intros PriceGrabber Travel
* Video: Blinkx adds academic lectures and events with University Channel (= Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs = Princeton University)
* Sponsored: Yahoo! trials pay-per-call with Ingenio (rumour)

* Classifieds: Dig intros (free)

User-generated content, sharing:
* Blogs: IBM intros ‘Public Image Monitoring Solution’ (search obv OmniFind; track image)
* Podcasts: intros Audible WordCast (for-pay; track, insert ads); Podtrack Inc intros services (free; track, ad inserts)
* RSS: Pheedo intros analytics service
* Social networks: bought by ITV [GBP 200m]

Wednesday Telecoms Digest

* New licenses: third to Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA); UAE plans second license 2006
* LLU: Tiscali Germany trials, build-out from late 2005
* DSL: UK Online intros ADSL2+ (advertises 22 Mbps for 30 GBP/mo); West Kentucky Telephone (18k lines) intros ADSL2+
* WLR: UK lowers tariffs 9% for residents, 8% for businesses
* FTTx: Telstra plans FTTN, FTTP; BBned (TI) expects 2 new deals Nov/Dec 2005
* NGN: Telstra invests AUD 10 bn with Alcatel (IP, FTTN, FTTP)
* FTTx: BT protests new governments plan for no open access to DT’s new FTTN network
* BPL: Amperion (vendor; BPL for backbone, WiFi for last mile) aligns with SpanPro (construction)
* BiG: EarthLink studies Nethercomm’s technology

Wireless – cellular:
* 2.5G: Azercell intros EDGE

* 3G: Indigo (Tajikistan) plans W-CDMA with Siemens and Ericsson; Telstra plans W-CDMA with HSDPA from Ericsson nationwide in 2008
* 3.5G: O2 intros HSDPA in UK 06Q3 (3.6 Mbps, in 2008 7.3 Mbps, 10.2 Mbps late 2009); trial HSDPA at Vodafone Portugal
* Data: E-Plus intros Skype for flat-fee laptop users (40 EUR/mo); alliance of Vodafone and Universal Music Group (ringtones, music and videos on live!); Elisa intros video calls 18 November; Cingular intros radio service with Music Choice and MobiTV
* TV: Finland plans fourth digital broadcast license, dedicated to TV-o-W
* MVNO: Faith plans Voce on Cingular network Nov 2005 in NY and LA, aiming at high-end, 10 markets in 2006 (MVNE: Visage Mobile)
* Licenses: Japan plans 3 extra licenses for Softbank, eAccess and IP Mobile; Malaysia receives 3 offers for third 3G-license; Jamaica re-auctions fourth license
* Auction: MTC, Vodacom and Virgin plan bids for Vee Networks (Nigeria)

Wireless – short range broadband:
* WiFi: Cisco intros mesh networking gear (Aironet 1500); Tropos intros indoor self-install AP/CPE (MetroFlex\r\n2200, with multi-antenna technology BeamFlex from Ruckus)

Wireless – long range broadband:
* WLL: providers Pakistan threaten exit if mobility is outlawed
* WiMAX:
-- Irish Broadband launches in 14 cities with Alvarion for businesses and residents (up to 12 Mbps NLOS up to 5-8 km); Via Net.Works (= Solution24) launches in Geneva; Belarus starts trial late 2005 with Siemens and Ericsson; order M-Taiwan (mobilize) to Intel, $1.12 bn
-- over 150 trials and commercial deployments (WiMAX Forum); 13 commercial deployments (Intel)
-- Venturi launches ‘Fetish’ (all-electrical car) with Alvarion and Intel for M2M communication
-- Airspan, Aperto, Redline, Picochip, Sequans, Axxcelera, Wavesat demo interoperability in Beijing
* WiBro: Samsung intros handsets; plan trial TVA Sistema de Televisao (Brasil) with Samsung 06Q2
* UMTS TDD (TD-CDMA, 3G): license Japan to IPMobile in 2 GHz band, intro from October 2006 at maximum 5.2 Mbps, nationwide 2012 (8500 base stations) with IPWireless

IP, Convergence:
* F/M: Stoke Inc proposes software (in 2 trials) for linking handsets to cellular, WiFi or WiMAX, series B round VC from Kleiner, Sequoia, Pilot, Integral and Presidio (Sumitomo); TeliaSonera trials Ericsson’s Mobile@Home (VoIP over WiFi and cellular)
* VoIP:
-- IM use +19% (AOL survey)
-- Microsoft and Intel join ICE (Interactive Connectivity Establishment) for SIP-based VoIP interoperability
-- Skype intros SkypeIn with local numbers in Germany with Telefonica Deutschland, 34.50 EUR/yr or 11.50 EUR/q
* wVoIP: Samsung intros OfficeServ Wireless for the 2.4 GHz band
* IPTV: China Telecom orders mVision from UTStarcom

* WiFi:

-- Folsom is advised to deploy a WiMAX backbone, and let entrepreneurs build their own WiFi; Cisco enters mesh market, Tropos intros self-install CPE with outdoor coverage
-- Hartford, CT, issues RfI; Macomb County, Mich, issues RfP; San Francisco issues formal RfP (26 interested)
-- Temecula selects WFI and Tropos for WiFi mesh
-- Google intros free service in Mountain View

* US Broadband Transmission Services (BITS) Act, draft 2, reduces video franchise negotiations and fees, current restrictions (must-carry, telco/cabel cross-ownership) subject to FCC for review and possible elimination, net neutrality
* SBC asks Illinois CC to classify local voice as competitive
* Bush nominates Deborah Tate (Rep) to fifth FCC position
* New German government (as of Nov 22) exempts DT’s new FTTN network form sharing for 2-3 years

* M&A: Swisscom/eircom, MTN/Mascom, Tele2/Lipetsk, Vimpelcom/URS, Kingston/Carlyle, FastWeb/Sky?, Telefonica/China Netcom, IDT/Net2Phone

Monday, November 14, 2005

Curious convergence

Convergence has all sorts of appearances, but look at these two. It's fixed/mobile, in a way.
  • Nethercomm's broadband-in-gas (BiG) technology combines a fixed network infrastructure (gas pipes) with a wireless technology (UWB). I wrote about it before, after Forbes picked it up. Now ZDNet writes about it. The sad thing is, there is no venture backing and there are no licensing deals, even after Nethercomm ran a BiG conference in August and a seminar in September. Still, EarthLink apparently is taking a look.
  • Amperion uses a fixed network (power lines) technology (BPL) for backhaul and a wireless technology (WiFi) for last mile connections. Reminds of the WiMAX (backhaul)/WiFi combination for muninetworks, which comprises fiber as well, for that matter.

WiMAX should still be able to make a difference

With different technologies from a number of vendors, and WiMAX certification still out, competition is heating up but being standards-based and using dedicated licensed spectrum are still a major positives for WiMAX.

Recent developments:
  • IPMobile will start as a new 3G data provider in Japan in 2006, using IPWireless' UMTS TDD technology.
  • Samsung is pushing WiBro. It now has handsets and a deployment planned in Brazil.
  • Qualcomm bought Flarion for its Flash-OFDM technology and will probably start pushing it soon.
  • Everybody is questioning xG Technologies' xMax invention.
  • A number of pre-WiMAX vendors (Aperto a.o.) showed interoperability in Beijing last week.
  • XO Communications will focus on BWA after selling its wireline assets + its name to Elk Associates (all are owned by Carl Icahn). Under its new name it could compete with First Avenue (formerly Teligent) and IDT (which includes WinStar), as well as Clearwire, which uses NextNet pre-WiMAX equipment. XO has massive spectrum (1150-1300 MHz in 59 markets, 150 MHz in 15 markets, 400 MHz in 1 market, 100-300 MHz in 10 markets) but still has to pick a vendor.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Newspapers: headed for a rapid decline

Monday's US newspaper circulation numbers showed a 2.6% decline over the six months to September.

Hardly surprising and not even so bad, if compared to line-loss at telcos (Verizon -6%). Moreover, the number was dragged down by the San Francisco Chronicle, which dropped 16.4% because it ended some subsidized sales. Excluding this paper, the decline was 2.1%.

The more remarkable about the whole thing is Tom Fiedler's (editor at the Miami Herald)response on Editor & Publisher. 'Circulation will continue to drop until there will be a plateauing, then I expect a rapid decline. Newspapers will become supplemental reading for a very elite audience,' and the online edition 'will be where the popular press lives.'

Wednesday Media Digest

* circulation US 6-months as of Sep 05: -2.6% (2 up among Top 20: NYTimes +.05% and Star-Ledger NJ +0.01%; worst performer San Francisco Chronicle 16.4% as it ends subsidized circulation) (Audit Bureau of Circulations)

* results Oxford Open (since July 1, 2005): author-paid OA adopted by 9 of 21 journals, 9% of authors, only in Life Sciences and Medicine

* VoD: Comcast adds CBS-shows (CSI, Survivor, etc) at 99 c/show; DirecTV adds NBC Universal programming
* Place-shift: Brightcove hires ad executives, works with Publicis on business model
* HDTV: BBC plans trials mid 2006
* Analogue-digital transition: FCC requires small TVs digital as of March 1, 2007; Senate confirms date (Apr 7, 2009) and budget for subsidies ($3 bn)

* Grokster closes

Wednesday Internet Digest

* keyword prices October +1% mom and -6% yoy to average $1.45 (Fathom)
* (Telegraaf) starts drop-off store Speurders Store (rev sharing: 64/36 owner/Speurders)

* click fraud: Optimal iQ intros (stats and info)

User-generated content, mash-ups (blogs, podcasts, vlogs):
* IBM intro podcasts

RSS, tags, sharing:
Microsoft buys FolderShare (share docs, pictures) from ByteTaxi

* Microsoft works with British Library (13m books): 100k books = 25m pages in 2006
* Amazon plans Amazon Pages (online access to (part) of book) and Amazon Upgrade (online access extra for physical book buyers)
* Random House (Bertelsmann) plans placing books online (for-pay)

Wednesday Telecoms Digest

* Flat fees:
-- intro by KPN at 6.75 EUR/mo and Tele2 at 5.75 EUR/mo for unlimited off-peak in the Netherlands
-- Verizon intros 2 options at 30 $/mo for nationwide of 35 $/mo including 3 features
* LLU:
-- Infostrada (Wind) intros full LLU Nov 1
-- Carphone Warehouse plans intro market UK (1000 exchanges = 67% of pops at 35-45k GBP/CO)
-- Amsterdam proposes Citynet, to be built with BBned (TI)
-- EC checks Appingedam project for state-aid
-- Paris intros in 15th arrondissement (triple play: 49 EUR/mo for 20 Mbps or 59 EUR/mo for 100 Mbps and extended TV offering)
-- Foothills Rural Telephone intros (overbuild all 16k lines)
* UPLC asks FCC to throw out petition from ARRL which seeks to end Manassas deployment
* DOCSIS: Cablevision upgrades (to 15 Mbps) and introduces 30 (15 $/mo for digital phone subs) and 50 Mbps service (no pricing yet)

Wireless – cellular:
* 2.5G: LG (Korea) and KDDI (Japan) plan launch EV-DO late 2006
* 3G: 3GPP approves TD-SCDMA standard
* 3.5G:
-- Vodafone KK intros HSDPA with Ericsson in Tokyo
-- NEC readies HSDPA equipment
-- Motorola publishes Euro trial findings
* Budget, SIM-only, online: intr easyMobile in Germany on T-Mobile network
* Data:
-- Google intros Google Maps Local for mobiles
-- Yahoo! plans Nokia-handset for Cingular; Disney acquires Living Mobile (games developer)
* TV-o-W:
-- intro full-length movies by 3 Italy Nov 7, 9 EUR/movie, streaming
-- Nokia launches N92 (with DVB-H)
-- Sling Media plans Windwos Mobile OS version late 2005
* P2T: Sprint Nextel intros pictures over P2T

Wireless – broadband short range:
* WiFi: Dayton (Ohio) RfP for muninetwork, Houston plans

Wireless – broadband long-range:
* BWA: Sprint Nextel + MSOs explore use of 2.5 GHz spectrum
* LMDS: XO focuses on spectrum in 28 GHz and 31 GHz bands in 70 US markets (sells fixed and name to Icahn)
* WiMAX:
-- (Netherlands) plans 802.16e service using Versatel’s license
-- Sequans and Wavesat stimulate CPE developmen
-- ITC (Saudi-Arabia) starts trial with Redline, Cisco
-- Johannesburg (SA; with Alvarion) and Duesseldorf plan muninetworks
-- Golden Lines and Barak (Israel) request trial licenses for business market
* WiBro: Reigncom plans iRiver game-player
* xG Technologies demos technology 1000 times more efficient than WiMAX (1 station v. 98 for WiMAX for the same performance; 7.4 Mbps/MHz/Watt v. 0.0058 for GSM and 0.0085 for EV-DO), expects commercially ready product 06H2
* UMTS TDD: Sprint Nextel joins Global Alliance (IPWireless, T-Mobile CZ, Maxis)
* DAB: analogue-digital transition Netherlands in 2015

IP, convergence:
* IMS: BellSouth orders from Lucent for VoIP over DSL
* VoIP:
-- IPO Cbeyond, Vonage plans IPO or selling out
-- Microsoft acquires (applications for unified comms)
-- Dutch regulator OPTA approves KPN’s cost-based VoIP tariffs, plans intro 05Q4
-- VON Coalition starts ‘Internet Voice Campaign’ (EarthLink, Google,, Sonus, Skype)
-- United Online intros ‘NetZero Voice’ (VoIP over dial-up narrowband)
-- Verso Technologies scores trial at Tier 1 Chinese mobile operator
-- Yak Communications plans worldwide intro with client from CounterPath (formerly Xten)
-- Level 3 provides Cable One
-- FCC relaxes E911 demands (no cut-off after 28 Nov deadline but no new sign-ups)
-- Accton launches WiFi handset ‘SkyPhone’ (no PC needed), plans WiFi/GSM handset
* IM: intr video add-on for Google Talk by Santa Cruz Networks
* UMA: Nokia completes trial calls (data and voice)
-- TI intros Alice in France
-- HomeChoice (= Video Networks) plans to go to other metro areas, coverage from 10m to 40m homes
-- KPN plans trial December 2005, intro 06Q1
-- SBC receives state-wide franchise license in Texas
-- Telegraaf plans intro (narrowcasting)
* Quadruple play, unified messaging, BWA: plan intro 2006 by Sprint Nextel + 4 MSOs (Comcast, TWC, Cox, Advance/Newhouse)

* BT acquires TNS

* FTTH: plans Amsterdam, Appingedam, Paris
* WiMAX: plans Johannesburg, Duesseldorf
* WiFi: RfP Dayton, plan Houston

* State:
-- Telefonica withdraws from Tunisie Telecom auction (35%)
-- Jordan plans sale of remaining 41.5% stake, FT is interested
* Auctions: Kazakhstan plans third mobile license 2006 in 1800 MHz band
* IPO:
-- Cbeyond @ $12, starts trade at 12
-- 3 Italy (December 2005, valuation EUR 12 bn, raise EUR 2.5 bn) rumoured to plan delay, 3 UK rumoured to be delayed or sold to T-Mobile
* Chapter 11: McLeodUSA

E-Plus launches Skype

Originally planned for October, but here it is: Skype-over-laptop-over-cellular (UMTS), or wVoIP. On-net calling is free and comes with a free headset (promo). Naturally, the client is free too. The offer is for flat-fee data subscribers: 40 EUR/mo.

It's a first for VoIP-over-cellular and sounds like the long-term smart move for E-Plus (KPN). Forget about voice, try to lure your subscribers into (flat-fee) broadband subscriptions.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bubble 2.0

From the Google story in Sunday's New York Times: new economy, zero inflation, endless economic growth:
  • "a huge reduction in inefficiency everywhere"
  • "reward consumers with lower prices"
  • "open up opportunities for new companies"
  • "Google is the realization of everything that we thought the Internet was going to be about but really wasn't until Google"

(Remember the "remove friction" claim in the eBay/Skype story?)

Deutsche Telekom exempted from sharing fiber? reports that politicians seem inclined to surrender to Deutsche Telekom's US-style extortian.

On September 1 Deutsche Telekom planned a fiber push, extending fiber from the central offices to the street cabinets. Late October the company added that it would only do so if it were exempted from sharing this FTTN network. Else it threatened to invest the money abroad.

So now politicians, negotiating a new cabinet, seem willing to grant Deutsche Telekom what it wants, at least for a limited time, in order to entice it to make the investment.

The problem is that installing DSLAMs in central offices is one thing, but adding the equipment at street cabinets is physically simply impossible. It would therefore be a big set-back for companies such as United Internet, HanseNet, Versatel,, etc. They would be limited to providing ADSL2+ services, whereas DT could move on to VDSL.

Monday, November 07, 2005

VoIP is coming

Some telling news around VoIP:
  • The VoIP market is gaining traction, according to KPN in its Q3 report (see slide 24). The new InternetPlusBellen product (ADSL + VoIP) is now ready for launch, since the regulator allowed it to be priced at cost level and because KPN has ironed out some quality wrinkels. Multi-channel launch December 2005, full commercial launch 06Q1.
  • SBC's Ed Whitacre would like to charge Google and Yahoo! for access to his pipes, according to this BusinessWeek interview. He seemed to have been misquoted. He doesn't want to share his new fiber network (which regulators have already granted). Or does he mean that he wants to block third-party VoIP as soon as he readies his fiber network?
  • Richard Stastny points out that it is not Google et al but the customer using these applications. And this customer is paying for this.
  • Jeff Pulver points to the facts that broadband applications in general drive the uptake of DSL connections. Whitacre should be grateful. But Pulver warns that the Bells may replicate the LD-for-UNEP game: once regulation disappears altogether (so far, DSL and fiber do not need to be shared), unaffiliated VoIP providers can be targeted for being freeriders. he advises Whitacre to keep his mouth shut for a few months, or else he would simply be making the case for regulation.
  • The SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI mergers were allowed on the condition of 'net neutrality': hands-off applications such as VoIP.
  • United Online managed to build a VoIP product that works on narrowband connections, 'NetZero Voice'.
  • BT some time ago reduced its (promo) price to below Skype levels.
  • Dean Bubley warns that VoIP will have an even greater impact on the wireless industry.

WiMAX killer xMax - demo this week

Slashdot reports a potential WiMAX killer. Technology from xG Technologies supposedly is much more power and spectrum efficient. This xMax thing needs one base station, as opposed to 90 for WiMAX to cover the same area and it could run on a watch battery. It can produce a 7.4 Mbps/MHz/Watt signal, versus 0.0085 for EV-DO.
Interestingly, the technology could also be used to boost DSL performance.

There should be a demo for the US press this week.

Cablevision goes to 50 Mbps

Cablevision, competing with Verizon in the New York area, plans a 30 and a 50 Mbps broadband service. The lower one will cost just 15 $/mo extra. The higher one is not priced yet.

This sounds like DOCSIS 3.0, that may even go to 100 Mbps. It remains to be seen if this is enough to compete with FTTH.

Google Talk: with video

Santa Cruz Networks introduces Festoon: video and application sharing added to Google Talk.

By now video and voice is added to the IM majors. No they only need to be linked together to be a serious threat to international telcos.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Open access - the jury is out

The Oxford Open 'field trial' from Oxford University Press, started July 1, 2005, reports some unimpressive results. From 21 participating journals, only 9% of authors (publishing in 9 journals, solely in the Lifesciences and Medicine disciplines) used the author-paid OA model. Scientists pay 800 pounds per article. 19 More journals will join the model from January 1.

Another unspectacular finding concerning OA publishing, came from the Kaufman-Wills report. It showed that 41% of OA journals lose money and 24% break even. Proponents of OA journals easily warded off the attack, saying that the system needs more time. And of course, excessive profits are by no means the goal of OA - rather, 'excessive profits' form commercial publishers are the reason for starting OA journals.

Pixar could be headed for a good Disney deal

If newspaper reviews are any sign, today's extremely negative story in the New York Times on Walt Disney's 'Chicken Little' could be a positive sign for Pixar.

So far, Disney has a distribution deal for Pixar movies, but this will end after 'Cars', to be released next summer. Both companies are probably working out a new deal, possibly to be announced at Tuesday's earnings release from Pixar. Disappointing box office results for 'Chicken Little' could prove that only Pixar, not Disney, knows how to make great CA-movies.

Also, next Tuesday Pixar will probably detail its movie release schedule after 'Cars'. Possibly, 'Ratatouille' is next for 2007.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Wednesday Media Digest

o HDTV: ProSieben intros a European first
o Analogue-digital transition US: planned for Dec 31, 2008 (House)
o Comcast expands content offering for VoD
o VC for DivX from Insight Venture Partners ($17m)
o 1m downloads iTunes since start (12-31 Oct)

o Legal: Rusty Rueff (ex Electronic Arts, PepsiCo) CEO of Snocap as of Nov 4

Wednesday Internet Digest

o Technology: LookSmart intros 161 vertical search engines

o 627m shoppers worldwide = penetration 10% (ACNielsen survey of 21,100 in 38 markets; nr 1: Dld, UK; nr 1: books; nr 1: cc)
o spending on content US 05H1: 987m (+15.7%) (comScore/OPA)
o Holidays US: +18% to 26 bn, full year $79 mrd (Jupiter)

Blogs, podcasts, vlogs:
o intro vlogs by for iTunes video
o launch of Revver (attaches ads to vlogs)

RSS, tags, sharing:
o AOL intros video RSS feeds in video search
o intr MSN Messenger Buddy by Volkskrant

o MSN joins Open Content Alliance (with Yahoo!, HP, Adobe, Libraries)
o Google intros interviews from Academy of TV Arts on Google Video; resumes scanning for Google Print Library

Wednesday Telecoms Digest

o LLU: eircom opposes migration to full LLU from WLR and bitstream; Croatia lowers tariffs 32%
o FTTx: Verizon extends FiOS into Delaware
o NGN: order China Netcom to Alcatel; order Mongolia to ZTE
o DSL: Belgacom must provide open access as of 06H1; DT must lower interconnection rates 6%; Telus orders ADSL2+ from Nokia
o BPL: plan Rochester city (Minnesota; muniBB); Ramada Inn, Cornwall, Ontario upgrades to 205 Mbps (vendor PLC Network Solutions = Trimax), averaging 20-30 Mbps

Wireless – narrowband:
o 2.5G: intro EV-DO by Sprint Nextel, Vivo (Brasilcel, with Nortel), Bell Canada
o 3G: EMT intros UMTS in Estonia, Vodafone intros UMTS in Australia
o 3.5G: plan HSDPA trial at China Mobile late 2005, plan HSDPA launch by T-Mobile Hungary 06H1
o MTA: plan tariff cut Luxembourg
o Handset subsidies: S-Korea abolishes restriction for subs after 3 years at 1 provider
o MVNO: name change SK EarthLink to Helio; plan Virgin in SA with Cell C, in France with Carphone Warehouse and Orange or SFR; plan Disney in France (with Orange or SFR) and UK in 2006 (rumour); Virgin Mobile extends to the rest of Canada on the SaskTel network
o Data (music): Helsinki free trial of CoolZone (Bluetooth, later WiFi) by Nokia in Free Record Shop and Robert’s Coffee shops for ‘bFree’ service (in-store downloads from EMI music, ringtones, wallpapers, video); intro music downloads by Sprint Nextel
o TV-o-W: intr Sky Mobile TV op Vodafone (over 3G)
o GPS: intr iKids door KPN
o Multi-brands: intro by Sonofon (Telenor) as of Nov 1
o Budget, online, SIM-only, prepaid: intro by Debitel (14 c/min, 7 c/SMS); TeliaSonera lowers tariff (subscription 59 SEK/mo, 0.59 SEK/min to all mobile); intr Tele2 Champion in Netherlands (prepaid; 14 c/min, 7 c/SMS)

Wireless – broadband short range:
o WiFi: Cisco plans mesh; deadline muniwifi Portland (bids from Qwest, EarthLink); BelAir offers mesh system to MSOs and muni’s, Comcast invests in BelAir; Minneapolis shortlists US Internet and EarthLink, Portland shortslists EarthLink, MetroFi, MobilePro, US Internet, VeriLAN, Winfield Wireless; Enertel intros WiFi for schippers (WiMAX backhaul)
o Bluetooth: Nokia intros CoolZones for 'bFree' service (in-store downloads)

Wireless – broadband long range:
o WiMAX: plan Qwest; alliance Motorola and Intel to advance standard; order Intracom Middle East (Saudi-Arabie) to Redline (‘RedMAX’, with Cisco); plan intro self-install CPE by Aperto 06Q1; plan intro Racsa (state ISP Costa Rica); Via (= Solution24) gets Swiss national license, plans other European networks
o UMTS TDD: intro by Neltes (Lithuania; with IPWireless)
o BWA: Bulgaria awards 3 B-licenses (BTC, Orbitel, Nexcom)

IP, convergence:
o VoIP: plan intro by Brasil Telecom Dec 1 and Intelig 06H1; plan Qwest 2006 nationwide; peering deal Level 3/Cogent extended
o F/M: intro by TI/TIM: video calls, SMS, MMS fixed/UMTS Dec 2005, tariffs Nov 2005, F/M handset (ADSL/WiFi + GSM/GPRS/EDGE based on UMA) 2006
o IPTV: intro by TI Dec 2005 (also internet, email, HDTV; 21 cities at first; with DVB-H for mobile in 2006 with Mediaset); plan intro by BT 06Q3 with Philips (STB with PVR), with VoD, HDTV, videocalls, IM, games, t-commerce; Siemens intros Surpass Home Entertainment portfolio

o M&A: New World (mobile HK) wants merger [with CSL]
o State: sale of 55% of Turk Telecom to Oger approved; Pakistan cancels sale of 26% of PTCL to Etisalat (no down payment)
o Auctions: 12 bidders for 5th mobile license Bangladesh (oa Warid Telecom (= Dhabi Group), MB Telecom, Ericsson, National Telecom, Concord Progati Consortium, Dominox Technologies, Ranks Telecom, Global Suppliers, TM Int, Civil Engineers); Palestine plans 2nd GSM license
o IPO: Eutelsat abandons plan; Cbeyond (VoIP) lowers range to $12-13 from $13-14 from $16-18 (6.1m shares)
o M&A: Telefonica bids for O2; Level 3/WilTel; Trinsic/Sprint Local; Vodafone acquires 10% Bharti; acquisition of Q-Telecom by Apax; Matav (Israel) plans bid for Partner (wireless); mergers progressing (SBC/AT&T, VZ/MCI, Tele2/Versatel)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Solid internet statistics

ACNielsen drew from a survey that 627m people worldwide are online shoppers. That's a stunning 10%. Germany and Britain come in numbers 1 and 2. Books are the largest category and the cc is the favorite payment method.

A study by comScore Networks for the Online Publishers Association (OPA) reveals that spending on online content in the US grew by 15.7% during 05H1. Not a shocking number, until you dig down a little deeper into the report. Entertainment/Lifestyle grew by 45% (thanks to music sales - and video at iTunes showing good early signs), Personal/Dating by 7.6%, Business/Investment by 2.7%. These three still constitute 68% (from 67%) of the total. News was actually down (-14%), as were Directories (-6%) and Sports (-4%).

JupiterResearch now predicts a 18% rise in this year's Holiday sales in the US to $26 bn. As usual, I believe, this excludes travel, auto, auctions and drugs.