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Posts from March 2012

Cable Operators Are Your Next Telco

Image representing Comcast as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Earlier this month Comcast announced their moves into the business and enterprise market with VoIP, all based upon their prior acquisition of NGT and the fact that they have pretty much updated their patchwork network they inherited from their may cable company acquisitions that seemed to be put together with spit, chewing gum and bailing wire in some places. The long time coming, one network architecture doesn't happen overnight, especially when you look at some of the companies they bought along the way and how those cable operators came to be, and where they were. With the "one" archtecture and all the same technology in the network Comcast, which is the nations largest network, can now begin to roll out the services that change the game and make them different from the local telco.

With the all IP network what they can do is start to offer free mobile like services to their landline customers including text messaging/SMS to smart devices like iPhones and iPads, Androids and more, as well other services to Xfinity Mobile app. This OTT type play is exactly what pal Dean Bubley referred to in a recent report he authored that was applicable to both mobile operators and telcos, including the cable MSOs.

With the free service bundled into the Xfinity app, as well as the contagiousness of iOS and Android devices, Comcast is seeking to once more use the dumb pipes of the mobile operators for both smarter usage and to take away services from them. Now with landline SMS you can expect to see more calls going to the PC via a softclient, greater integration to the TV screen/monitor and the one thing the mobile operators won't like...loss of SMS revenue, especially on an international level. With the free offer from Comcast comes the ability to "send text messages to anyone, anywhere in the country, as well as more than three dozen countries, including China, Brazil, Canada and, coming soon, Mexico, all for free."

On top of the text messaging, Xfinity is also offering YouMail/PhoneTag like transcription and delivery of voice mail that previously was trapped in the telcos network, right to your email box.

These types of service are not "new" to early adopters, but they are new to the mass market. Given Comcasts marketing clout with all the TV time they could ever want available to them to promote, expect to see more adoption more rapidly of new services by the masses.

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Drug Dealing Model Comes to Wireless Data

CLEARWIRE LOGO.pngCLEARWIRE LOGO.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NetZeroNetZero (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image representing Niklas Zennstrom as depicte...Image via CrunchBase

Some in marketing call it the razor blade strategy, where you give away the razor and make the customers buy the blades. On a more urban level, the idea is cruder, but every bit as effective. It's called the drug dealer strategy where the first hit is free, then you get hooked on drugs. It's not a tough model to put out in public, and based on the moves that Clearwire is making with FreedomPop and NetZero, we have what is going to be the makings of the Crips and Bloods about to hit wireless data.

Yankee Group's Richard Karpinski calls them the "Skype's of Data" implying the disruptive nature of the business model. And, he's not far off as one of the backers of Freedom Pop is Niklas Zennstrom, founder and profiteer from Skype.

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We Need More Wired Access

Image representing Level 3 as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

In an Op-Ed type of guest column in Forbes, founder and CEO of Level3 Jim Crowe has called out the FCC, AT&T and Verizon in what could become the firestarter of a battle in Washington, D.C. over wired and wireless access. It's a far reaching but clear "slap in the face" to get a fight going.

Basically, Crowe has used the facts that the two large incumbant carriers, AT&T and Verizon, use predatory pricing schemes to provide access to the wired networks as a way to force wireless carriers to be locked into them. 

Crowe further alleges that the two are thus keeping costs higher for the end user of mobile technology and in essence is calling for another break up of the system. 

The piece is very well written, lays out a cogent argument and clearly states the case, much like what MCI did back in the 80s to open up the market for alternative long distance carriers to have access to the phone system directly. The op-ed piece also has enough in it to get others on board with him, and has the makings of a rallying cry.

We'll see if anyone joins him... 

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Skype is Out of Business

Over the last few months, and actually as far back as last year the signs that Skype was getting out of the business market were painfully obvious to many of us long time Skypewatchers.

Fist was the discontinuation of Skype for Asterisk. Then was the abrupt departure of David Gurle who had been hired to build out a unified communication business around the P2P technology. There was then the awkwardly handled and recent departures of Christopher Dean, Jason Fischl, Jonathan Christensen and now business markets business development pro Perry Teevens who let the community know he left this week with very private and personal emails.

After doing some digging it seems that Skype is also not so quietly moving anything that was about "business" over to Microsoft Lync, because Microsoft has assured the Mobile operators and large global carriers last summer that Skype is really nothing more than a company they will own, and will have it operated with it's own team, and under it's own direction. Believe that and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to anyone who buys that line as far as they can throw a boulder.

So where will Skype go to grow? On the web. The bright light remaining is the father of SIP Jonathan Rosenberg which sources tell me is gaining lots of internal strength, as he and Bates both have those Cisco roots binding them.

What's more Rosenberg's smart are dead on that peer to peer only works for the media path, which is why Skype has been deploying servers all over the world to really be the supernodes to keep up with all the growing traffic they are seeing.

Net net Skype out of business, but in the consumer market and that leaves a nice opening to connect the dots.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Why Video is the Next Voice

Pal Jon Arnold has written a killer post about cloud based video, citing the rationale of clients Vidtel and Telesphere and why they have invested in the space, but also going more deeply into why, how come and what will make companies with their video calling heads in the clouds worth something. Jon was very thorough bringing to light all the players in the space but singling out Vidtel and Blue Jeans Network as the leading pure-play video cloud players.

Jon's comparison to the ShoreTel purchase of M5 Networks also is right on the mark as it communicates the value that video will bring to the market overall. Give Jon' authoritative post a close read....

P.S. I also enjoyed Jon's reference/inuendo/perspective and opinion about Vidtel copycat Blue Jeans Network. Vidtel was out first a good year or more ahead of Blue Jeans Network with cloud based video, something often overlooked by the Silicon Valley echo chamber, but Jon's steel trap memory didn't miss it.That's why Jon's insight about why they're different in approach, what Vidtel offers, and why Vidtel is positioned better is equally spot on.  



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