Tag Archives: wireless

WiMAX and Emerging Markets

Although many predict WiMAX failure almost before it is born, the reality is that WiMAX is far from dead.

Emerging markets (Africa, India, South East Asia or Latin America) have such a lack of proper fixed broadband that WiMAX becomes a cost effective alternative to ADSL, with the additional value of mobility.

It is true that in developed markets (US, Europe, Australia, Japan…) there might be no room for WiMAX, due to the extensive offering of multi-Mbps broadband and HSDPA mobile broadband plans. But emerging markets still need to fill the digital divide gap, and WiMAX is an effective way to do it.

Intel recently announced that Centrino 2 will have built-in WiMAX support. The initial availability, though, will only be for 2.5 GHz band, which leaves some emerging markets with 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz licensees, waiting some more months before enjoying the ubiquity of WiMAX support that the Centrino platform will bring to laptops.

Intel delay for some of these markets is not delaying commercial launch and as an example Malaysia already enjoy commercial WiMAX, thanks to Packet One.

The PC penetration in these markets is still low, but cheaper laptops and specially affordable netbooks as the Asus Eee PC are rapidly increasing the number of computers.  And for people owning a laptop, instead of a desktop, wireless broadband with mobility is a much better deal than ADSL.

Kindle is to ebooks what iPod is to mp3

Amazon Kindle

Amazon, as usual, has got it right and Kindle is a great device. Once you get to know the detailed specs, you realize it is not just  another ebook reader. Kindle is to ebooks what iPod is to mp3.

Not only the official features are impressive. CNET blog Underexposed by Stephen Shankland unveils that, after some reverse-engineering,  Kindle hides a few surprising secrets, including a picture viewer, a minesweeper game, and most interesting, CDMA-based location technology!

TechCrunch reports this finding too: “Amazon’s Kindle knows where you are

Still the feature that impress the most is not hidden: did you know that Kindle brings EVDO Wireless Connectivity? did you know Amazon takes care of the EVDO charges to Operators. No EVDO subscription is required!

Thanks to EVDO free connectivity, you can download ebooks in a minute wherever you are. Not only that, you can also keep updated online on newspapers, magazines and blogs!

See the video from Jeff Bezos and others in this link. You will be amazed.

As blogger Guy Kawasaki says: ” this is a no brainer”.

Will 2008 be the year of Mobile Advertisement?

Mobile Phones are personal devices we always carry on with us. As their media capabilities increase, mobile handsets become ideal for brands to get across their message to consumers through personalized multimedia campaigns.

So far, Operators have used their knowledge about customers mainly for SMS-based marketing, with a high risk of annoying the user with spam. As more powerful and open handsets appear – iPhone, Windows Mobile and Android-, and as Operators adopt flat-fee data plans, other promising technologies are emerging for a better user experience and ad effectiveness:

Mobile Web. Banners and contextual links are ready to take off, with Google and others occupying that space, probably bypassing Operators. Apart form the personalized targeted ads, features like click-to-call can make Mobile Web even more effective than Internet, with higher click-though rates.
Mobile TV / Video. Be it interstitial ads before clips or new formats embracing interactivity, this segment, still in its infancy, will develop intensely: Broadcast Mobile TV (DVB-H/DVB-SH) will raise users awareness and will enable broadcast channels mass distribution.
Downloadable content/apps. Many brands will see interest to sponsor downloadable content specifically targeted to a segment, with interstitials shown between games.

All these new models will require a 3G network and handsets to make them compelling. 3G handsets are lowering their cost and becoming affordable for teenagers. Teenagers are today the key segment for ring-back tones, logos and game downloads, using their 2G phones. No doubt teenagers are the ones likely to first embrace new types of advertisement. Simply wait for them to get a 3G phone.

Mobile advertisement market size in 2011 is estimated between $5 and $18 billion, depending on which analyst is consulted.

How will this market split among the different players in the value chain is still to be seen. Operators risk to be bypassed by Internet players, but let’s not forget that Operators are the ones owning the scarce resource of spectrum. If operators decide to charge data on usage, instead of flat-fee, this can be a showstopper for the mobile ads party.

NewTeeVee recently posted their “outsourced” predictions for Video Advertisement. Even if focused on Internet TV, most of the comments are also valid for Mobile Video Advertisement. Worth reading.

iPhone applications for Starbucks. Where is the cake slice for Wireless Operators?

Forbes report that Apple is filing some patents that will enable innovative applications, such as ordering a Starbucks coffee from a mobile phone to bypass the customer line. Some months ago, Apple and Starbucks launched a Wifi Music Store, so that iPhone users could press a button when at Starbucks and download a song to enjoy their latte.


Starbucks in iPhone keynote, in January 2007

While these might not be killing apps – you need to queue anyway to collect your coffee-, it shows that Apple does not need the Wireless Operator to bring new apps over their networks. Apple only counts on Operators as mere IP pipes.

All this is transparent to us consumers, and even beneficial as the variety of mobile applications increases. Nonetheless it is a major threat for Wireless Operators as they lose control and revenue from Data Services.

Do not forget that the latest entrant in mobile phones, Google, is offering 10 m$ prize for 3rd-party developers that bring best apps on Android.

iPhone: Friend or Foe? Can Mobile Operators avoid turning into pipes?

There are two major conflicting trends in Telecommunications :

1) Internet driven: the intelligence and applications move to the end-devices (Smartphones, laptops, Servers…)

2) Telcos driven: Operators need to retain control of the Services delivered through their networks

On example of these two trends are: Skype vs IMS.

Skype corresponds to trend 1). The application is running on PCs or handsets, and the Service is offered directly by Skype, independently of the Operator that provides simply IP connectivity.

IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) is standardized by the telco industry – 3GPP and others-. It aims at providing multimedia services over an IP network, with the Service fully controlled by the network Operator that guarantees reliability, interoperability with other Operator’s networks and Quality of Service. Something that Skype can not offer, due to the nature of Internet.

So far, Mobile Service Providers (MSPs) have fought to retain control of their services and to own the customer, while opening their networks to Applications partners.  MSPs have been relatively successful in monetizing all premium content services delivered through their networks, including: ring-tones, games, wallpapers, logos, videos, TV-shows televoting and other SMS premium services. This business model is based on revenue sharing with Application/content partners.

While MSPs have successfully keept Service control, the usage of mobile Data Services has not gone into mainstream yet, mainly because the data capacity offered by GPRS/EDGE was too limited and charges were too high.

With 3G and HSDPA widely commercial in many markets, MSPs re-position their Data Services as Mobile Broadband with flat fees, volume capped to avoid congested spectrum.

Some Operators see the increase in data capacity as an opportunity to sell more premium content than before, including bandwidth intensive video applications, or music -e.g. KDDI selling music, Testra launching a Rich Media video service for 3G-. But some other MSPs seem to be giving up, as they accept a mere Internet Pipe role and give away the applications to Internet players, losing any option to monetize those applications offered through their networks. e.g. MS messenger, mobile Gmail, Google maps or even Skype for VoIP… and iTunes for Music.

Mobile Operators have a trusted billing relationship with their clients which should enable them to easily monetize any Services accessible through the mobile to the clients they own.
That was the theory over the past years. In reality, today Internet players are also building a trusted relationship and do not need the Operator anymore.

MSPs worldwide rush to sign exclusivity agreements for iPhone launch, but apart for the short-term gain of signing-up the higher-ARPU subscribers that will own an iPhone, Operators are giving Apple the full control of the applications .


iTunes songs will be sold over the MSPs networks, same as it is in fixed broadband today. What revenues will the MSP get from those songs sold by Apple? Zero.

With iPhone, Windows Mobile and Android coming into the picture, the situation is not likely to improve for MSPs.

Mobile Operators will get a higher demand for flat fee Data Access, which is already  good, but they can start forgetting about monetizing premium content, unless they seriously invest to reverse the trend.

Fixed Broadband operators with IPTV, are showing that the trend can be reversed. As Telefonica’s Imagenio IPTV Service illustrates, the Operator can play a key role in content distribution over their networks. Again, it requires vision and determination, as Telstra, KDDI or Telefonica have, to transform themselves and become a player in the entertainment industry.