Friday, February 24, 2006

More MTA cuts coming in Germany

Heise reports the Bundesnetzagentur is aiming for mobile termination charges of less than 10 c/min. Current levels are at 11 c/min (T-Mobile, Vodafone) and 12.4 c/min (E-Plus, O2).

The pressure in the mobile space is on: from WiFi, WiMAX, picocells and VoIP, from international roaming.

MTA cuts haven't reached the end yet.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

XM banks on impulse buying

XM Satellite Radio launches two new MP3 players (from Samsung and Pioneer) facilitating interactive transactions.

The beautiful thing is how this makes buying a song easy and tempting. All it takes is bookmarking while listening, and docking the player when you get home. The download and purchase are done automatically, through a deal with Napster.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wednesday Telecoms, Internet and Media Digests

This week in:

Telecoms: M&A, new competition and new services.
Examples: Takeover speculation around KPN and eircom, consolidation in wireless. Many developments in FTTx, BPL, muniwifi and WiMAX, but also in VoIP, IPTV and TV-over-wireless.

Internet: Convergence.
Example: Yahoo! extends its DSL content to the wireless space, cooperating with AT&T and Cingular on AT&T Yahoo! Go Mobile.

Media: Convergence.
Example: AOL wants to compete with News Corp's MySpace, which is cooperating with the Helio MVNO for mobile blogging.

Ruling against Google displaying thumbnails

A federal judge ruled that Google infringes on Perfect 10's copyright by displaying thumbnails on Google Image Search, according to AP. A trial is not scheduled and both parties are ordered to come to some sort of agreement.

This could be potentially interesting, especially for the pending cases against Google Book Search and Google Book Library.

Power companies enter the market with fiber and BPL

James Enck signalled Troms Kraft's press release, planning a FTTH network. "Troms Kraft is striving to become a ground-breaking utilities company."

Heise reports that the Open PLC European Research Alliance (OPERA) issued a white paper, defining BPL based on DS2 technology, up to 200 Mbps.

New competition in the physical layer is coming, from both cities (fiber, wifi, wimax) and utilities (fiber, bpl).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fiber coming to Singapore

Om Malik reports FTTH plans from the Singapore government, last week.

Thanks to Dirk van der Woude for the full article text from the Straits Times:

More Competition Among Telcos Likely

By Bryan Lee
Telecoms Correspondent

A SPANKING new ultra-fast national broadband network may be sweet music to the ears of Internet users but it could sound the Last Post for the cosy duopoly enjoyed by SingTel and StarHub.

The new network is expected to supersede existing infrastructure owned by the two telcos and could change how they earn their keep.

While scant details are known about the new network
announced in last Friday's Budget, the industry is already abuzz with talk of
intensifying competition, new players coming in and lower margins.

Shares in both telcos saw a knee-jerk reaction yesterday: StarHub
fell nine cents to $1.95, while SingTel lost one cent to finish at $2.65.

'Any financial assistance provided by the Government may make it
easier for new players to enter this area,' said Credit Suisse analysts Lim Keng
Hock and Clarice Khoo.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told
Parliament during his Budget presentation that the network was basic
infrastructure needed for Singapore to be competitive.

He said
private companies will be involved in the project over the next several years.
More details will be revealed by the Committee of Supply in Parliament next

Experts see Mr Lee's statement as a signal that fibre-optic
cables will be extended to every home in Singapore - a move that could cost as
much as US$1.2 billion (S$2 billion), said Frost & Sullivan analyst Foong
King Yew.

While Singapore has an islandwide fibre-optic network
owned by SingTel, links from that backbone infrastructure to homes are via
SingTel copper wires and StarHub cables.

These older generation
links, which are also used to transmit voice and pay TV services, will be made
obsolete by fibre-optics which boast much faster speeds, analysts said.

It certainly will not spell the end of SingTel and StarHub as
Internet service providers but they will not continue to enjoy the advantages
that come from owning these 'bottleneck' links. Would-be rivals have complained
about the pricing and inflexibility of leasing these lines.

we still don't know what SingTel's role will be in this new network, I'd be very
surprised if it is excluded entirely from this project,' said Mr David Kennedy,
a Melbourne-based senior analyst at telecoms consultancy Ovum.

Experts said the new network will probably incorporate existing
fibre-optic infrastructure and SingTel's widespread network will likely be part
of it.

StarHub will likely continue as a broadband provider by
leasing capacity from the new network.

Mr Paul Budde, who runs a
telecoms consultancy in Australia, said control of the network is unlikely to
fall solely in the hands of SingTel or StarHub.

He said regulators
must ensure the new network can be accessed by any telco and that preferential
treatment or pricing is not granted to any one company.

intervention is also necessary, he said, to ensure the network is rolled out to
every home.

SingTel and StarHub will also have to learn to compete
differently, focusing more on marketing and customer service, for instance.

They will also likely need to contend with new players or old
rivals like Pacific Internet, which had been curtailed by SingTel and StarHub's
dominance over infrastructure.

AACS agrees down-conversion

Video Business reports the AACS companies (Disney, Warner, Sony and others) reached a deal on requiring hardware makers to down-convert signals that are sent over analog connections to displays.

The down-conversion reduces a HD signal (1920x1080 lines) to a near-SD signal (960x540) in order to discourage piracy, but only if a digital flag (Image Constraint Token) is inserted into the file.

As many sets still use analog connections, this isn't contributing to HD adoption.

Friday, February 17, 2006

IPWireless' TDtv is coming to Europe

Despite some drawbacks of the new revolutionary technology, IPWireless got a first trial customer for its TDtv solution in Europe: Orange.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Wednesday Telecom, Internet and Media Digests

This past week, in:

  • Shedding local lines, either voluntarily (Sprint, Trinsic) or not (BT, FT).
  • Check out all the cellular developments (including yet another RIM/BlackBerry new competitor, this time no less than Vodafone).
  • Also: regulatory measures related to termination, international roaming and SMS termination will send revenues down over an extended period.
  • TeliaSonera and Telenor working on their portfolio abroad.
  • Tunisie Telecom and Jordan Telecom: coming up in March.
  • Skype is doing lots of stuff at the same time.
  • WiFi, WiMAX, IPWireless, xMAx: all headed for a showdown later this year. Will News Corp make an offer for Clearwire?
  • Cool New Product: the hybrid BPL solution from Motorola.

  • Google winning market share and diversifying.
  • Cool New Product:

Of special interest: Time Warner v. News Corp v. 'old Viacom'. What to think of conglomerates? I believe scale matters less, as focus is needed when old businesses adapt to the digital age. Still, the Viacom break-up makes no sense to me; in pleading a Time Warner split, Lazard/Icahn/Wasserstein/Biondi want to keep TV and film together. However, distribution outlets need content (still king!). How do you leverage content optimally? In an entertainment conglomerate?
Further points of interest:
  • Some background reading on MTV.
  • Check out the video news, especially MovieBeam, but all my favorites are there too: Akimbo, Sling, Brightcove, Blinkx (only Orb was not featured).
  • Cool New Product: NewspaperDirect.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Video distribution: technology divergence

Look at this harvest of video distribution technology and content developements of recent days. No convergence here.

· Disney: plans TV-show downloads at with ads
· MovieBeam (Disney) relaunches in 29 cities, starts HD movie delivery, movies from 6 studios (not Sony), Linksys (Cisco) box $200 + $30 activation fee, $5 for new HD movie, $4 for new SD, $3 for older HD, $2 for older SD
· CBS: adds Showtime Networks content to iTunes videostore, 2 $/show
· Brightcove: order from New York Times: distribution of video content on NYT sites and affiliate sites
· Sling Media: Hercules Technology Growth Capital joined previously announced $46.6m funding; launches PAL version of Slingbox 06Q2; works on Mac version (previously announced)
· ATEME (video compression technology) attracts EUR4m funding from XAnge and Ventech
· Blinkx will develop player for ITN and includes ITN content in searchable database
· Sony sets wholesale price of Blu-ray DVDs at $23.45 for new films (aimed at 15-20% premium to traditional DVDs), $18 for catalog, first to be released early summer
· AT&T claims MPEG-4 patents, warns Apple, CyberLink, DivX, InterVideo, Sonic Solutions for unlicensed use
· NTL teams with BitTorrent and Cachelogic for trial of high-speed video delivery in UK
· Opera includes BitTorrent (search) into preview version Opera 9 browser
· IPWireless and MobiTV collaborate, combining unicast with multicast (TDtv), MobiTV will develop H.264 player, IPWireless expects commercial TDtv roll-outs mid 2007
· MobiTV teams with NBC for Winter Olympics content
· Verizon Wireless trials two-tier service (lower tariff for service with ads)
· Nokia plans pilot in Indonesia with Elang Mahkota Teknologi Group 06H2
· Philips launches solution (BGT215 chip) for DVB-H handsets
· Virgin plans launch ‘Virgin Mobile TV’ mid 2006 on DAB network from BT (with Microsoft)
· TIM plans launch June 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Now the DoJ can monitor what you are reading

NewspaperDirect launches Reading Map technology, in order to 'monitor the exact amount of time each reader spends reading their chosen newspaper, down to a space roughly the size of a postage stamp'. 'An analysis report provides details on the most-read sections, most popular articles, highest-viewed photographs and advertisements, most-read pages -- all vital pieces of information for understanding readership and ultimately the value of specific sections and pages to advertisers.' 'We are currently working on tools to answer questions such as 'which sections do women read the most,' 'how old are the most avid readers of the international section,' and 'do readers in the USA spend more time in the travel section than in Europe.''

So now the DoJ can demand data from whomever uses the technology in order to identify all sorts of would-be criminals, just the way they asked Google to come up with records.

Skype over WiFi, WiMAX

The new collaboration of Skype and Intel, aimed at increasing functionality of Skype voice and video on dual-core processors, explicitly includes readying WiFi and WiMAX chipsets for Skype.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wednesday Telecoms, Internet and Media digests

Company news and sector trends are ready.

Most notable are PT/Sonae and FON/Google/Skype.

Some email developments and the net neutrality hearings come to mind.

Again, interesting developments in video (place shifting).

Brightcove lands New York Times deal

Another deal: the New York Times. Distribute video content on NYT sites and affiliate sites. Remember that NYT bought

Earlier deals include Reuters and AOL (including funding). They seem to be leading the pack (Orb, Akimbo, Dave).

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Client meeting in Rotterdam

Client meeting in Rotterdam

Walter Groenen, director of the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, is interviewing director Han Jie before a showing of his movie 'Walking on the Wild Side', last Saturday.

Han Jie won the Tiger Award for this film.

Walter was on a panel discussion at a series of client meetings, staged by the Robeco Group, which sponsorod of the festival. Besides Walter, Robeco fund manager Sebastiaan de Bont was on the panel, as well as myself.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fiber coming to Rotterdam

Dirk van der Woude conveys a message from the Rotterdam City Council. Today it approved the construction of a citywide fiber network, 'Glazen Maas' (glass Maas, Maas being the name of the extended Rhine river running through the town).
It wil be built over a three year period, primarily for government workers (schools, etc), but citizens can also be hooked up. For the latter, the city seeks cooperation of housing corporations.

Therefore, a first step, but another one in a long string of announcements.

Here is the original Dutch:

Rotterdam, 1 februari 2006

College akkoord met aanleg van glasvezelhoofdstructuur

Het College van burgemeester en wethouders heeft een belangrijke stap gezet in de aanleg van glasvezel in Rotterdam. Met een akkoord voor de uitvoering van het plan van aanpak Realisatie Glazen Maas zal de gemeente, samen met partners, in drie jaar tijd een glasvezelhoofdstructuur ontwikkelen. Instellingen uit het onderwijs, de zorg, de creatieve sector en de gemeentelijke overheid krijgen toegang tot dit glasvezelnetwerk.

De glasvezelhoofdstructuur, die in 2008 gereed moet zijn, zal tevens geschikt zijn voor aansluiting van bewoners. De gemeente neemt de regie bij de totstandkoming en inrichting van het stedelijk netwerk dat via een Europese aanbesteding gerealiseerd zal worden.

Voor grootschalige aansluiting van bewoners op glasvezel is een samenwerkingsverband met bijvoorbeeld woningcorporaties onontbeerlijk. Daarom probeert de gemeente in de komende tijd woningcorporaties en marktpartijen te interesseren voor deelname in de aanleg van glasvezel. Bovendien wordt gekeken of de aanleg van glasvezel te combineren is met de aanleg van het netwerk dat huishoudens zal verwarmen met overtollige warmte van de industrie. Tot slot wil de gemeente dat drie nader te selecteren bedrijventerreinen in 2008 toegang hebben tot het glasvezelnetwerk.

Met het glasvezelnetwerk beoogt het College de regionale economie te stimuleren. Een goed toegankelijke, toekomstvaste communicatie-infrastructuur is voor Rotterdam even belangrijk is als een goede aansluiting van de stad via water, weg en spoor. Een glasvezelnetwerk blijkt een belangrijke vestigingsfactor te zijn voor jonge professionals, kennisintensieve bedrijven, havengerelateerde bedrijven en bedrijven in de medisch-technologische sector. Ook voor culturele instellingen is een hoogwaardig netwerk voor communicatie- en dataverkeer onontbeerlijk.

Eerder is Rotterdam gestart met de aanleg van glasvezel in de wijken Nesselande en Lloydkwartier. Via de glasvezelnetwerken in deze wijken kunnen de aangesloten bewoners en bedrijven inmiddels diensten als supersnel internet, telefonie, digitale televisie en dataopslag op afstand afnemen.

DirecTV and EchoStar in WiMAX? brings WiMAX closer to reality, if the rumoured DirecTV/EchoStar deal holds any truth.

KPN preparing FTTH?

Among all fiber plans from Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, TDC, Telefonica, France Telecom, one generally well-run company is still absent: KPN.

That makes this press release somewhat intriguing. KPN is ordering 'upgradeable copper telecom cables' from Prysmian. The 'copper core can be removed in situ allowing optical fibres to be blown into the remaining 'tube''. However, only 'new subscriber connections will be realised in this manner'.

February Diary in Telecoms, Internet and Media

Auctions, meetings and hearings, plus a preview of Cars during this month.

Wednesday Digests

Company news and Sector trends as of January 31 in Telecoms, Internet and Media.