Friday, May 26, 2006

Telcos could lose out on mobile IM

Instant messaging has a bright future on mobile phones, analysts say, but handset vendors and existing IM giants have a big lead on the telcos.

I thought that this was interesting and pertinent, due to the development of IT/t-com. I've seen this happen a lot in ISP's and secondary t-coms in the SEE/CEE region. To wit: they either do, or don't, make the big turn into value added services, which is where the big money lies, after the devlopment hits the end of the first phase. Contact man.

Analysts have warned that mobile operators may fail to capitalise on the full benefits of instant messaging (IM), which has the potential to overtake text messaging in popularity in the mobile space. "The main replacement for SMS will be mobile IM," Ovum’s John Delaney said on Wednesday. Citing a "faltering of growth" in the SMS market -- outside the UK, at least --- Delaney told delegates at the Global Messaging Congress in London that mobile IM "does it better, but if operators price it right it doesn’t do it any cheaper". He later told ZDNet UK that he believed "IM will gradually take over from SMS in the next five years in Europe".

Delaney's views were echoed by Paolo Simoes of Portuguese carrier TMN, who said: "IMS-enabled IM/SIP messaging on convergent devices will be the predominant mobile messaging technology of the future, replacing all others."

But James Enck, an analyst with Daiwa Securities, believes operators could lose out in mobile IM because of their traditional approach to interoperability.

"If implemented in way that carriers typically do, which is to pretend that the rest of the world doesn’t exist, then it’ll be a big failure," he said on Thursday.

Enck also pointed to IM’s capacity for showing other users’ online status as one of several discouraging factors for telcos.

"Presence in IM is certainly very compelling to the end user but, if you think about the revenue model for cellular operators, a lot of their money is made from a lack of transparency," he said, highlighting the revenues gained through roaming and voicemail. He added that the likelihood of widespread flat data rates in the near future would also make the proposition unattractive, as "SMS is the most profitable product in the history of telecoms".

The main efforts towards interoperability were being made by "IM giants", and "independent players who have a solution on the software side", said Enck.

The last year has seen IM interoperability agreements between MSN and Yahoo, and -- through Google’s recent investment in AOL -- between Google Talk and AOL’s client.

Handset vendors were also an "important wildcard", said Enck, who suggested Nokia’s decision to open up its new series of mobiles to third-party softphone client developers indicated it had lost patience with carriers’ ability to take the initiative.

Nokia also teamed up with Google on its recent 770 Wi-Fi tablet, which has no GSM capability but now supports VoIP (it comes pre-installed with Google Talk) and Jabber-based IM.

Operators such as Orange, Vodafone and T-Mobile did agree earlier this year to work towards interoperability for any proprietary IM clients, but observers have suggested browser-based clients could prove more popular because of their large existing communities.

More competition to own-brand clients could come from social networking operations such as MySpace, which recently soft-launched its IM client and earlier this year went mobile in partnership with new US phone brand Helio.

"It’s not just the major usual suspects [such as MSN], but community interests and social networks who’ve got a major lead on the carriers in this space," said Enck.

Delaney insisted to ZDNet UK that the success of mobile IM would require "the co-operation of the operators and [having] them involved in revenue participation".

However, he acknowledged his prediction was "optimistic" and predicated "on the operators deciding to embrace IM in a way that they haven't been thus far".

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Thought Prodder

Internet's first ever global forum outlines plans

The blueprint for the internet's first ever global forum to be held in Athens this October has been released.

Following a meeting of 48 net luminaries from government, industry and civil society in Geneva this week, the format of the first four day meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has been decided. The forum will consist of four general sessions, each covering a main topic. Those topics will be (in order): openness, security, diversity and access.

he first day will kick off with an opening ceremony, and outline of the forum's approach. The second and third days will see each topic given three hours in the main hall. The plan is to offer a mix of presentations as well as panel and floor discussions.

Each session will be web-cast and transcribed in real-time in six different languages, and those on the net will be able to interact through both instant messaging and blog posts - some of which will be compiled and reported on at a "recap and review" session at the end of each session.

Everything will be summed up on the final day with a review, an open mic session, and closing ceremony.

The hope is that the IGF will be the global talking point for issues thrown up by the internet, and a place where the world's experts in different topics can congregate and thrash out ideas and solutions. Widely expected to get the most attention is spam and cybersecurity, although the developing nations are very keen to press the cost and availability of internet access in poorer countries.

Other topics are more controversial, so issues such as the US government's current control of the internet, free speech, and open source software have been pulled from the main agenda and will instead take place in workshops elsewhere during the meeting.

The expected location for the first IGF is the luxury resort of Astir Palace, in Athens, though the annual meeting will take place in a different country every year. This year's forum runs from 30 October to 2 November.

Contributions to the forum are welcomed up to the deadline of 15 July, so if you have a solution for a pressing internet problem and you want to draw the world's attention to it, now is your chance.

More information about the IGF can be found at its website. The Greek government has set up a specific IGF Athens website here.

Source: The Register

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Motorola's mega WiMAX gamble

Motorola has taken a huge gamble on the freshly minted mobile WiMAX standard (802.16e), committing to rolling out a nationwide network in Pakistan based on this new and untried technology.
At Broadband World Europe yesterday Motorola announced that it had been selected as primary supplier to Wateen Telecom, part of Warid Telecom International, to plan, design and deploy a nationwide wireless broadband voice and data network with initial deployment to be completed by the second half of 2006.

Tariq Qureshim, general manager of Wateen Telecom, was reported saying that 193 base stations would be deployed by the end of 2006 and 600 by June 2007. The announcement co-incided with the launch of Motorola's WiMAX 802.16e technology, the MOTOwi4.

Wateen Telecom will deploy a MOTOwi4 WiMAX access network and subscriber units backed up by a core IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Network (itself a new and relatively untried technology, also to be supplied by Motorola) and will offer broadband data services covering residential and corporate voice, Internet access, corporate IP virtual private network (VPN) and public hotspots.

According to Tariq Malik of Wateen Telecom, "We are committed to deploying Pakistan's first nationwide network - the largest 802.16e WiMAX network in the world with over one million users".

Launching the MOTOwi4 at Broadband World Europe, Motorola said it would operate at both 2.5 GHz and 3.5GHz and used "advanced antenna techniques to provide greater coverage range and building penetration" It is designed to support fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile applications".

Stuart Corner

Bulgarian cable operator Eurocom in talks to buy Plovdiv-based pee

Local cable operator Eurocom Cable Management Bulgaria has asked the nation's telecom regulator to approve the acquisition of Plovdiv-based peer Evrocom Plovdiv.

The deal will give Eurocom Cable Management Bulgaria direct control over 4 companies owned by Evrocom Plovdiv: Evrocom Bulgaria, Gigabit Net, Eurocom Kuklen and Eurocom Karlovo.

'The negotiations with Eurocom Cable Management Bulgaria are still in progress. The opinion of the telecom regulator is solicited as a condition for their continuation,' Evrocom Plovdiv managing director Georgi Barbudev told Dnevnik.

If the acquisition takes place, the combined market share of the 2 cable operators will not exceed 15%, said Barbudev.

Another acquisition on the Bulgarian cable market was announced last week when CableTEL, the Bulgarian cable TV, Internet and voice company, said it had reached an agreement to buy a majority stake in local peer Evrotur Sat TV.

CableTEL's market share is estimated at 12-13% while that of Evrotur Sat TV is over 10%.


WiSpry's RF-MEMS Capacitors Among AeA's Award Finalists

IRVINE, Calif., May 23 /PRNewswire/ -- WiSpry, Inc., developer of low-cost,
high-performance radio frequency micro-electro-mechanical systems (RF-MEMS)
tunable components and modules for the wireless industry, today announced
that its RF-MEMS capacitors were finalists in the 13th annual American
Electronics Association (AeA) Orange County High-Tech Innovation Awards &
Technology ceremony in the Innovative Product -- Semiconductor category.
Each year the AeA Orange County Council honors the county's top technology
companies and executives for excellence in innovation and leadership.

Utilizing the Company's core competency in radio frequency
micro-electro-mechanical systems (RF-MEMS) technology, WiSpry's products
create revolutionary wireless architectures enabled by the cost-effective
integration of reconfigurable RF front-ends in cellular phones. The
Company's high performance, MEMS-based RF capacitors use its innovative
silicon MEMS technology. These RF applications include mode selection,
antenna tuning and diversity selection facilitating the creation of
re-configurable front end modules for current generation and next generation
"global" phones, mobile wireless subsystems and wireless base stations.

"Being recognized as a finalist for this prestigious award among our peers
in the Orange County business and technology community represents another
significant step in the validation of this cutting-edge technology," said
Jeff Hilbert, president, CEO and co-founder of WiSpry. "It is an honor for
an organization, such as AeA to recognize the value of WiSpry's RF-MEMS
capacitor devices."

"In its thirteenth year, the AeA High Tech Innovation Awards have attracted
some of the most distinguished technological innovations that the county has
to offer," said Timothy Jemal, executive director of AeA Orange County
Council. "It is the outstanding advances being made in Orange County
combined with this tremendous interest that enables AeA to accomplish its
mission of uniting the brightest minds in the technology community and
honoring the outstanding achievements of companies and executives."

WiSpry was recognized alongside other finalists in the category of
Innovative Product at an awards ceremony held at The Westin South Coast
Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. on Thursday, May 18, 2006. The AeA Orange County
High- Tech awards as sponsored by Deloitte, Silicon Valley Bank, Mercer,
Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, Fragomen, Aetna, St. Paul Travelers, Marsh
and The Orange County Register.

About AeA

AeA is the nation's largest high-tech trade group, representing more than
3,000 U.S.-based technology companies. Membership spans the industry product
and service spectrum, from semiconductors and software to computers,
Internet, and telecommunications systems and services. With 18 regional U.S.
councils and offices in Brussels, Tokyo, and Beijing, AeA offers a unique
global policy grassroots capability and a wide portfolio of valuable
business services and products for the high-tech industry. For over 60
years, AeA has been the accepted voice of the U.S. technology community

About WiSpry

WiSpry, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., designs and markets hardware
components and modules to radio frequency (RF) system manufacturers of voice
and data communications and acquisition products. Utilizing the Company's
core competency in radio frequency micro-electro-mechanical systems
(RF-MEMS) technology, WiSpry's products enable system designers to achieve
the architectural innovation required for the growing diversity of mobile
and fixed electronic applications and networks. Principle investors of
WiSpry include Blueprint Ventures, American River Ventures, Sid R. Bass
Associates, Shepherd Ventures, In-Q-Tel and Tech Coast Angels.

contact: the guy on the ground