Tag Archives: ims

3G brings Mobile Broadband at last

I just discovered this interesting graph in Brough Turner’s post 3G’s biggest success is as a dumb pipe.

The graph highlights two main points: 1) 3G data trafffic has increased more than 10 times in Finland, and 2) 92% of that traffic is Internet Access from PCs. UMTS modems and Data Cards in combination with emerging data flat rates are making mobile broadband a reality. Another reading from the graph is the comparatively low growth from Symbian devices, mainly due to the poor usability of its handset browsers.  iPhone’s Safari and Android’s WebKit based browser will surely outpace Symbian in data traffic when they reach Finland.

Skype and IMS should benefit from true broadband IP access. Once there is a proper wireless pipe, IMS becomes key for telcos to own the subscribers and provide value-added services. For the users, IMS brings a richer communication, Skype-like, only that this time carrier-grade.

Skype service is absolutely great, but would you rely purely on it as a replacement of your mobile line? Wouldn’t you trust an Skype-like service (with presence, IM, network address book, high-def videocall, file-sahring, etc) if offered by AT&T, Vodafone or Telefonica instead?

 

IMS Vs. Skype

IP Multimedia Subsystem or IMS is an architecture standardized by 3GPP, 3GPP2 and TISPAN, that is the choice of telcos to implement not only VoIP, but also other multimedia services, such as videcalls, presence, instant messaging, push-to-x, videosharing, on-line address book, etc.

As an user, you can envision IMS as a service similar to what Skype offers today but standard-based, with assured quality of service and fully inter-operable among different telcos.

IMS software clients will run on different devices including handsets, PC/laptops and IPTV Set-top-boxes.

AT&T U-verse Voice is already based in this kind of technology.

But, if Skype is already free, why do we need IMS?

1) To avoid ending in a monoploy situation with Skype. As telcos adopt IMS, users will be able to choose their favorite service provider, and that will not impact what buddies you can talk to. E.g., you can not access Yahoo IM or GTalk users from Skype. Once Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have all IMS, you will choose your preferred operator, say AT&T, and still reach your buddies at Verizon and Sprint.

2) Quality of Service. IMS provides for guaranteed bandwidth. This will enable Hi-Def (1080) video calls, that best-effort Internet can not sustain.

3) Carrier grade service, including Emergency Services, not available from Skype.

4) Access from multiple devices and network access. Coupled with IPTV and Femto cells, as an example, you will be able to receive SMS, IM or calls on your TV screen or on your PC, even if you have been called on you cellular. With Femto cells, your presence info could be automatically updated when you reach home. Other services bundled with IPTV would include video conference from the TV, or having a voice, video or chat session open with friends on TV while watching the Super Bowl.

5) Open architecture, including a SDE (Service Development Environment) for developers to add Applications blended with your IMS Service. Applications such as those available in Facebook, could be made available on the IMS Service, bringing to power of Social Networks and Web 2.0 together with IMS.

Skype is a great service, but the potential is bigger with IMS, mainly because of the competition it would generate among telcos, that would drive more innovative applications and a better service at the end of the day.

How much is Skype worth?


eBay announced results, and Skype was part of them. Skype revenues have increased 61% year-on-year to reach $126M. Skype added 33M new users for a total of 309M. Skype makes most of its revenue with SkypeOut, where the tariffs barely cover the interconnection costs to finalize the calls in the telco’s networks. So even if revenues grow, the margins are still slim, and there is no outlook that the margin will improve unless there are new (paid) features or the business model changes.

Even if the number of users would grow exponentially, that would also have an impact is cannibalizing SkypeOut, as some users move from traditional phones to Skype, making SkypeOut not required to reach them.

Being optimistic we could forecast net profits in the range of $10-$30M per year, that at a Price-Earning Ratio (PER) of 15 would value Skype at a maximum of $450M.

As a user, Skype rocks. Technically it is superb: very wise P2P concept, high voice quality with bandwidth adaptation, very decent videocalls, IM, file sharing, SkypeOut…  Even with a proprietary technology, non-IMS compliant, it delivers all that IMS promises to deliver. Absolutely great.

But the value to the user is not necessarily related to the market value of the company. eBay is aware of that, and according to GigaOM, expect news over the weekend. TechCrunch predicts that an alliance with Google could be coming.

Mobile World Congress 2008 Barcelona

Next week in Barcelona we have the yearly Mobile World Congress, the biggest event of the Mobile industry. The theme for this year is “Ubiquitous Mobile Services”, but could have been well re-named as “Ubiquitous transformation”, as the industry is more than ever in a continuous change.

What are the main axes on which the industry is transforming, on which there will be a focus in Barcelona?

- Universal Broadband:Wimax, Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 4G. Femto cells as part of the Digital Home
- IP Transformation: “all-IP” networks are a reality for the transport and the Core Network. Evolution to IMS to enable Multimedia Services blended with Internet and Web 2.0
- Mobile Entertainment: Broadcast Mobile TV, Interactive TV and Advertisement. Monetizing the knowledge of your customers. Enabling UGC
- New business models: MVNO, wholesale, RAN sharing
- New handsets: convergent smartphones (mp3, phone, camera, PDA, video, wifi, email…) with iPhone as a reference, as well as future Android. Also new terminals for specific use bundled with applications: health-care, metering, surveillance, automobile, or Amazon Kindle

Mobile Operators are threatened by smarter phones, and by Internet players, to become dumb pipes or pure Mobile Connectivity Service Providers (MCSP). Many MSPs will show in Barcelona how they are transforming, or planning to, to avoid becoming MCSPs. We will report it from Barcelona next week.

Operators vs. Media companies


In GigaOM’s guest column, Mr Chetan Sharma writes an interesting article on the battle between operators and media companies to deliver mobile entertainment to the end-user.

Although Media companies are in better position to bring their content over agnostics IP networks – like the ones of mobile operators are becoming-, operators have still powerful arguments to leverage:

1) Billing relationship. Operators have a trusted billing relationship with operators, that puts them in good position to charge for premium content delivered over their networks

2) Customer ownership. Operators have access to plenty of information about their customers behavior. With proper Service Orchestrator software solutions, marketing campaigns can easily be tailored to match each user profile

3) Bundling services. A subscription fee for a mobile TV channel that also give access to a premium website, are easy options to add to the phone bill and give operator more room for promotions and cross-selling.

4) QoS : Quality of Service. With IMS deployed, only the mobile operators can control QoS. A guaranteed QoS enables carrier-grade VoIP and other real-time conversational services, like high definition video calls and video sharing, that Internet players can not deliver with best-effort Internet QoS.Once the operator controls the real-time services, then it is in a strong position to bundle presence, location, user profile and IM with conversational services. Without this bundling, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are even in better position than operators to provide applications based on presence, location or user profile (including advertisement).

On the content delivery side, similarly the battle is not lost for operators if they show the determination and courage to play their cards. See KDDI example of a music service that competes head to head with iTunes in Japan.

Related articles in tech-talk.biz:
http://tech-talk.biz/2007/12/15/iphone-friend-or-foe-can-mobile-operators-avoid-turning-into-pipes/
http://tech-talk.biz/2008/01/02/will-2008-be-the-year-of-mobile-advertisement/
http://tech-talk.biz/2008/01/12/kddi-lismo-best-mobile-music-service-in-the-world/

Telecom, Internet and Media in 2008

Robosapiens 2008 Robosapiens 2008 Robosapiens 2008

Technologies that will transform our lives in 2008

Telecom

Wimax. Asia will lead in 2008, where greenfield operators will deploy Wimax networks in Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Malaysia. Wimax has strong support for end-devices, with Intel and Taiwanese vendors among others, and the spectrum efficiency is superior to 3G. Incumbent wireless operators will still invest in 3G evolutions, as HSDPA, but will be pushed to more compelling end-user offers by competition from new Wimax players.
For many end-users, “broadband on the go” will be a reality in 2008.

IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). IMS enables rich services like Presence, Instant Messaging or intelligent call routing, under the Operator control. With IMS as the obvious choice for Wimax network, 2008 might see initial IMS commercial offerings. Open mobile handsets like iPhone and Android will accelerate the evolution to IMS for incumbent wireless, as these devices enable multimedia applications that Operators will prefer to control.

Android direct impact will be small in 2008, but the indirect impact in the industry is huge, setting the trend to open handsets, and anticipating the power of the innovations that Google can bring.

IPTV keeps steady subscriber growth worldwide, delivering features that are exclusive to IPTV: HDTV, Catch-up TV, TV communication services (SMS, Videoconference and voice) and Interactive TV applications, including Interactive Advertisement.

Mobile TV Broadcast trials will turn into commercial in Europe, following Italy and Finland. DVB-H and DVB-SH are the preferred technologies. Expect many technology trials in 2008. Mass market in 2009.

Internet and Media

Social Networks. New applications will come on top of existing platforms, with attention to Google OpenSocial as an enabler for these new apps. Special emphasis in how to monetize the knowledge provided by social interactions, and translate it into targeted advertisement.

Internet TV. 2007 was the year of Youtube. Content owners are quickly adapting and re-positioning. 2008 will see more content owners embracing YouTube and others as a channel.

Death of DRM for Music, as Amazon recent deal with Warner Music illustrates. Music industry transformation is unstoppable. They will find ways to survive.

Console fight is not over yet. Wii surprised us in 2007, but PS3 and Xbox360 have still more to say as new games fully use their technological powers.

Digital Home. Increasing demand for NAS (Network-Attached Storage) at home. On one side as a back-up for media libraries (pictures, music and videos), but also as an always-on low power server, with BitTorrent support, and a shared storage for the family members personal laptops. On the other had, the battle for the definitive set-top-box / Home Theater PC / Media Center/ Jukebox / Media Extender is far from settled. So far my take is a Mac Mini for HW and LinuxMCE for Software. But 2008 will bring more options and some light.

Linux and Open Source are winning on the Server, but Desktop not occupied yet. 2008 should be the year of the final attach to the desktop by Ubuntu and maybe other partners.

Global warming and others:

In general, the global climate concerns will translate into demand from conscious consumers for lower power consumption, as we already see in Servers moving into Blades and the appearance at home of low power NAS boxes, replacing the desktop PC as always-on home server.

But, wait a minute… what about Robots? Will 2008 bring any news beyond Roomba, Robosapiens and Aibo? Watch out.