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Posts from July 2012

Expect to Pay for Voice over LTE Soon

I don't think anyone needs a crystal ball to know this, but I fully expect AT&T, Verizon Wireless and others in the USA to join in on what is going to be a when, not an if. It's about paying for calling over mobile data networks vs. the free ride we now have.  Look at what just happened in South Korea. This will only happen more as LTE rolls out, as the quality of calls on LTE is vastly better than over first generation GSM 3G or CDMA, and markedly better than on HSPA+ networks due to spectrum allocation and better handsets and tablets.

We already know about TeliaSonera's efforts, the blocking of VoIP and Skype on Yoigo in Spain and the way Skype is blocked on GoGo flights in the air. The technology is out there, and now operators are saying, "you can talk, just pay for that" as the call revenue is erroding away from their overall minutes.

This is clearly, the shape of things to come and I don't see anything wrong with it. Just do the math, see if you really save money, make more use of WiFi and you'll end up ahead....don't do the math, burn up your data plan and avoid WiFi and you'll see how much you lose.


Skype Competitor Adds Social Features in Asia

Over in Asia Skype has lots of competion, and Engadget is reporting that Line, a service that started in Japan and how is growing nicely, already with 45 million users, is adding some very useful, and social components to their service.

When I look back at Skype and their developer relations and API efforts all the potential was there, and still is, but what it has become is simply a cheap calling and IM service with some added capabilities like screen sharing and video. Nice but, it could have been so much more.


Global Roaming Glitch Or Signs of A Bigger Problem?

Ten days ago when I landed in London my Blackberry wasn't getting any connection to the BB network, nor could I BBM my colleagues and friends, surf the web, Facebook, Tweet or anything. It took a few days, and divine intervention (i.e The PR agency route) to get someone who helped get me back online as there was a glitch in T-Mobile USA network that needed to be fixed. It wasn't RIM's fault, nor mine, but something with some setting. The person I dealt with in the executive support team was awesome, and I'm thankful to Mercedes for her help. But, the global roaming bug reminded me of an outage years ago with my cable operator, Cox, and then with some outages I've seen with hotspots, as operators one by one roll out "upgrades" only to see the problems come to light with other operators later on.

Today I read where Telecom New Zealand is having a global roaming outage. Hmm. Makes me wonder as the concentration of service providers, NEPs and network operational software is pretty much all supplied by a handful of global vendors. If that's the case, then the idea of a global cloud supplier who see's the problem first, see the solution first, and can deploy first, means these problems both come faster, but also go away much faster.

Just like with VoIP where Broadsoft is the leader in supplying softswitches to telcos, when it comes to mobile its Alcatel-Lucent, NSN (Nokia Siemens) and Ericsson who are in the middle of most of the mobile operators. Then companies like Neustar, Mach, Syniverse all play key and crucial roles, replicating what they each do across the thousands of GSM operators and local networks, all interconnecting and integrating.

When one breaks though, it cascades across the world...and that's what may have impacted Vodafone and those connected to it.. Ouch!


Gartner Study Says More Employees to BYOD

eWeek and others are reporting on the results of the recent Gartner study regarding BYOD (bring your own device). BYOD, not to be confused with BYOB (bring your own bottle-something I'm known to do with wine) is a growing trend that further underscores why Symantec purchased former Comunicano client Nukona.

The stats in the Gartner supplied slideshow tell a very interesting picture, and one that shows BYOD as having impact globally, and where actually, the USA is lagging behind. My view is that businesses will allow more personal devices, as long as they can manage their portion of it, have control of the data, apps and content that touch their networks, and have the management capability to remote wipe or remove data and information from it. This also signals a greater decline of the traditional desk phone, increased opportunity for video calling using tablets and smartphones, plus the reduction in desktop PC sales and likely over time, even impacting laptop sales as well.

This is a boon to cloud communications companies, and those which virtualize services in the cloud, like VMWare, RackSpace, Joyent and Oxygen Cloud to name a few, but it also means companies in telecom like Verizon with the acquisition of TerreMark and others have already made their entry points into this market.

Personally, I'm finding the I make use of real cloud services like BaseCamp and Yammer, the greater use my iPad gets. Toss in Google Apps for good measure and a few others like Co-Mapping, and as HTML5 rolls out fully, we'll begin to see less need for the laptop in most situations, and greater use of lightweight tablets like the new Google Nexus 7. A long time ago, I predicted the price point needs to be under $200.00 for growth to reach the tipping point. With the Nexus 7 tablet that ships this month, that point has been reached so you'll be seeing even more tablets in the workplace that don't come from the company.


Vonage Wants Numbers

Vonage wants to have direct access to numbers directly from the pool that makes up the North American Numbering Plan Administration, something that they currently don't have reports Fierce Enterprise Communications yesterday.

It's a hotly contested subject, and one that carries with it certain rights and repsonsibilities, but also one that will help separate the perception that Vonage and Skype compete, which they don't if you talk to Skype folks because Skype's not a carrier. Vonage wants access to the numbers to be on the same playing field as AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink, along with a bunch of regional telcos and CLECs. Currently Vonage has to go through third parties who have access to the numbers.

My experience with Vonage in the past was mixed when it came to my number that I ported to them. When I decided to move the number away, I ported it to Junction Networks in advance of my annual contract expiring. I cancelled the contract, and my number was already working over at Junction Networks where today it is tied to OnSip. A year or more later Vonage ported it back to themselves only to be red faced when presented with the proof it had been moved away and was never theirs to claim. That said, alot has changed since then, and Vonage has become much like the cable MSO's a legitimate competitor to the telcos, and thus wants to be on a more level playing field.