Conferencing Services Aligning With The Mobile Operators-All About Net Neutrality

This statement in the ComputerWorld article about Sprint and AT&T Mobile offering next generation conferencing services from UberConference and Cisco is really all about. Net neutrality and parity. 

Because of this over-the-top services debacle, the net neutrality debate takes on greater meaning. If carriers can offer their own content and services on their own networks, they don't have to worry as much about whether they are throttling somebody's else's third party service, and they don't have to levy a higher charge on that third party to give its service greater priority on a busy network.

What this also means is interconnection agreements between the carriers and the mobile operators also need to be honored. Thus if data traffic between Sprint and AT&T have to be treated the same as if they were on each other's owned and operated network, a call to Uber Conference from AT&T over the mobile app (if Uber offers this) would have to be as if it was ending up on AT&T and vice versa. This is a very important point and fact as we migrate from circuit switched voice to LTE Voice and VoLTE.

 


The Comunicano Daily for Tuesday November 18, 2014

 
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Today starts WebRTC World in San Jose, CA. Already Cisco has made news at their own event a few hundred miles south in Los Angeles with a new service called Project Squared (see a few stories down)....Nokia is back and at the Slush Conference in Helsinki with an Android based tablet to rival the iPad....Technology has moved so fast that some are claiming the smartphone is now passe and connected devices are the new "IT" thing....Better image recognition is alive and well, so watch for new cameras to hit the market that show even more.....NYC Lync's Up with gigabit hotspots resurrecting an idea from another era but now which just may work...New services come to life so you can pay where you are or whomever you know, all part of the mobile payment extravaganza...Those stories and more...all, are just waiting for YOU...

 

 
 
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Nokia surprises with Android tablet

Nokia is launching an Android-powered tablet, marking the Finnish company's return to consumer electronics. The surprise launch pits the firm against Microsoft, which completed its takeover of Nokia's previous mobile-devices business in April. The N1 tablet is due to go on sale in China towards the start of 2015, ahead of other countries.
 
 

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The internet of Things is still in its infancy, and while more and more devices in our homes, cars and on our bodies are getting connected, one has to wonder just how much longer our phones and tablets will be the connective tissue or the network becomes even more attachable.....

 

 
 
 

Giants have to move quickly as smartphone era ends

 
 

The smartphone's day in the sun was a comparatively brief one in the end. Compared to PCs or landline telephones, the smartphone era could be dated to just seven years, from the iPhone launch to the end of 2014, when two giants, Samsung and Intel, admitted that they needed to look beyond handsets for growth in devices.

 
 

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If this works in New York City I would expect to see more hotboxes around the world popping up. Think of all the Red Phone Booths in London just beaming away....as WiFi and GigaBit connectivity become common place...(go back to the story about IoT)

 

 
 
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The Plan to Turn NYC's Old Payphones Into Free Gigabit Wi-Fi Hot Spots

New York announced the winning bid to transform the existing payphone infrastructure. LinkNYC will bring free gigabit Wi-Fi connectivity to some 7000 street towers. It'll be the largest and most ambitious Wi-Fi network of its kind in the world.

 
 

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Video imagery is getting batter and better. When you see how small cameras are today and just what they can do, plus what the software behind them is capable of you just have to SMILE....

 

 
 
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Hi-tech camera takes surveillance into third dimension

Banks on the mainland are testing an advanced surveillance camera technology that could be installed at key sites including Tiananmen Square and Beijing airport, according to the start-up company behind the system.
 
 

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Researchers Announce Breakthrough in Image-Recognition Software

Two groups of scientists, working independently, have created artificial intelligence software capable of recognizing and describing the content of photographs and videos with far greater accuracy than ever before, sometimes even mimicking human levels of understanding. Until now, so-called computer vision has largely been limited to recognizing individual objects.

 
 

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Cisco rolled out two new products yesterday and one, Project Squared seems to feel a lot like a corporate update and roll up of all their services to me.....

 

 
 
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Cisco launches new telepresence system, Project Squared mobile app

Cisco is busy retooling its collaboration portfolio with a telepresence system that uses less bandwidth and power and Project Squared, a mobile app that offers video conferencing, document sharing and other tools. Cisco on Monday launched a new three-screen telepresence system designed to cut costs on bandwidth and deployment as well as a mobile collaboration effort dubbed Project Squared.

 
 

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How we pay and what we pay with is changing and so is the whole payments industry. ApplePay and Google Wallet are only the tip of the iceberg. PayPal and others started the revolution, but the new players are far from all known yet...Everyone wants their piece of the action....

 

 
 
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Alibaba launches in Australia with Alipay

Alibaba founder and billionaire Jack Ma's payment offshoot company is eyeing aggressive expansion in Australia. Alipay, already China's largest third-party online payment solution company, is opening an office in Sydney targeting local small and medium-sized businesses.

 
 

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Snapchat to Let You Send Money to Friends, Thanks to Square

Snapchat unveiled Snapcash on Monday, a new payments feature that allows users to send and receive money from friends through the app's private messaging service, CEO Evan Spiegel told Re/code. The new tool is powered by payments company Square, which operates its own similar service called Square Cash that allows people to send and receive money through its Cash app or email.
 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Monday November 17, 2014

 
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You can always tell when the news cycle is starting to slow down. It's when dirt, rumors and soft news starts to take hold. That's what this morning feels like as I scanned looking for stories. The holiday period is here and the next few weeks will be more about Cyber Monday, Black Friday and all the offers, deals become very visible.  

The first story is really revealing about Facebook, and how they basically build their own technology after looking at everything else when they can. It helps them maintain a market lead, and they don't provide a vendor the ability to then sell things to the competition.

 

 
 
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Facebook's New Data Center Is Bad News for Cisco 

As it announced that the Altoona data center is now serving traffic to some of its 1.35 billion users, the company also revealed how its engineers pieced together the computer network that moves all that digital information through the facility.

 
 

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Facebook recognizes that it is in a battle with other social networks including LinkedIn and Twitter. As Facebook begins to be part of everyday life and as people cross lines between work and play, Facebook is launching At Work to address the market.

 

 
 
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Facebook is making 'Facebook at Work' so you can Facebook at work

You already Facebook at work, so here's "Facebook at Work." Facebook is working on extending its network beyond the social realm and into the professional world, according to the Financial Times . The company's new, enterprise-focused product will be similar to the functionality of its current site, with a newsfeed, groups and messaging capability.
 
 

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Acquisitions usually lead to changes within the company acquired. The much heralded NEST purchase of Dropcam is now showing the signs of how things really can be as the founders of the aquired company are not always as happy once they become employees.

 

 
 
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Unrest at Nest Labs

Sitting on stage last week at a San Francisco conference, Greg Duffy, the 28-year-old co-founder and CEO of Dropcam, which makes Internet-connected video cameras, fielded questions from an audience of startup founders. It should have been a time to celebrate. After all, last June, Duffy sold Dropcam to Nest Labs for $555 million.
 
 

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Country music icon Garth Brooks has always listened to the beat of his own drummer when it comes to his brand. His attempt to use the Internet has been frought with challenges and of late things are not really going his way.

 

 
 
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How Garth Brooks took on the internet - and lost

"This is where I make my stand." So Garth Brooks proclaims in the opening lines of the new album, Man Against Machine, his first collection of new original material since 2001. He isn't just flexing his muscles.
 
 

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The net neutrality issue is becoming an everyday news item in light of the recent comments from President Obama. More and more the argument is about the have's and the have nots, but the reality is what the Internet was designed to be and what broadband is about are two different things now and we need a whole relook at the opportunities just what the Internet is and what broadband will be.

 

 
 
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Wolff: Obama punts on net neutrality

President Obama's decision to advocate the reclassification of Internet broadband services as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act - that is, making broadband subject to all the laws that regulate telephone service - seems particularly Obama-like: squirrelly and lofty at the same time. It's squirrelly because it will never happen.
 
 

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Apple and Google are shaking up payments. Now that they are in the whole mobile payments world is expected to grow. This will create new opportunities on a variety of levels for suppliers of new technology.

 

 
 
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U.S. Mobile Payments Market to Boom by 2019, Research Firm Says

Just a few years ago, the idea of paying for things at the checkout counter with your smartphone seemed like a technology company pipe dream. That dream, according to payments industry experts, is beginning to become a reality.
 
 

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A new fund to help fuel growth of companies started by people who are not as well entrenched in the "Silicon Valley" scene is launching. This is one more step on the path to greater democratization of opportunity and certainly a welcome addition.

 

 
 
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Unshackled, a New Angel Fund, Forms to Back Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Some of the U.S.'s most successful tech companies, including Intel Corp. and Google Inc., have been built by immigrants, and many people who come to the U.S. aspire to work in or start tech companies. Without work visas, though, they don't get far.
 
 

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Down under in Australia, there's lots of geography that's not populated enough for wired or even wireless broadband. But Google and Telstra have a potential solution, using hot air balloons. Guess you don't need to be a Balloonatic after all to see that there's more than hot up there.

 

 
 
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VIDEO: Google's Bal-LOON-y trial gets QLD Telstra spectrum

Google is extending trials of its broadband-by-balloon project entitled Project Loon, and while it has already previously conducted some tests off the coast of Queensland, it is partnering to trial 20 more balloons in Western Queensland in late December.
 
 

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Robotics, drones, and IoT (Internet of Things) are nowdays a part of everyday conversation and in some cases, a safer work environment may come from it all.

 

 
 
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Knightscope's Autonomous Robots Will Take on Security Jobs Normally Held by Humans

As the sun set on a warm November afternoon, a quartet of five-foot-tall, 300-pound shiny white robots patrolled in front of Building 1 on Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus. Looking like a crew of slick Daleks imbued with the grace of Fred Astaire, they whirred quietly across the concrete in different directions, stopping and turning in place so as to avoid running into trash cans, walls, and other obstacles.

 
 

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My good friend Manrique Brenes, longtime Skype hardware guru is out on his own with a very interesting startup, Blossom. Yesterday he launched his rewards campaign on Kickstarter . It's all about water, your lawn or garden, the environment and saving people money. Given the drought conditions in California that we're all living through, his idea is timely. Even if you don't have a lawn, helping his campaign, either by telling someone about it, or puchasing a Blossom, would be a move in the right direction.

 

 
 
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Blossomâ„¢: The Smart Watering Controller

Blossom is raising funds for Blossomâ„¢: The Smart Watering Controller on Kickstarter! Automate your sprinklers with real-time weather data and complete control from your phone to lower your water bill up to 30%.
 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Friday November 14, 2014

 
 
 
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It's always nice to wake up to see Comunicano clients in the news. Today, GigaOm's David Meyer captured the news about Temasys launching the All AWS (Amazon Web Services) based Skylink for WebRTC developers. In essence, if someone is building services on Amazon's Web Services platform they can now quickly and easily use Temasys' technologies quickly and easily.

 

 
 
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Temasys wants AWS users to embed WebRTC comms using its platform

The WebRTC company Temasys has released a platform called Skylink to help other firms build real-time communications into their apps and services. Because it is entirely built on the AWS stack, Skylink should work particularly well for providers who are also using AWS as their foundation.
 
 

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The rules of the game for investing are changing and Angels List, like OurCrowd is at the forefront of changing those rules. Now they are letting institutional investors jump in early. Where this really changes the game is in the area I like to call "diagonal marketing" where relationships that exist between companies, people and organizations can be leveraged to shorten time to market, broaden distribution, supply pieces, parts and technology, form alliances, etc. This is all good as long as they all stay far away from the potential anti-trust, monopoly or insider trading regulations. I see this as a ripe opportunity for new regulation to come to be...hopefully for the good.

 

 
 
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A disruptor shakes up angel investing

One recent evening a group of institutional money managers was ushered into a backroom at San Francisco brasserie the Cavalier via an unmarked secret entrance that most customers would mistake for an emergency fire exit. Their host was Naval Ravikant, a wildly successful angel investor-Uber, Twitter, etc.-and serial entrepreneur who wanted to pitch them on his latest venture.
 
 

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If it walks like a duck....BlackBerry Meetings sounds a lot like iotum's Pronto to me, which Comuicano helped launch many years ago at DEMO winning a DemoGod Awardin the process. Fast forward nine years and now BB has Meetings that does much of the same thing, but possibly with different technology.

 

 
 
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BlackBerry announces BBM Meetings, a cross-platform conference call tool for $13.75 per month

BlackBerry continues to expand upon and flesh out the features of its BBM messaging service. The company today hosted a BES event to unveil a new a new app called BBM Meetings that it says will address the shortcomings of current collaboration solutions.
 
 

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 If you need a lift to work now there's Lyft for Business. Fortunately, for the Comunicano team, we all are usually WFH (working from home) but if we do need to go somewhere more and more we use Uber and other ride sharing services. (Personally I'm a huge fan of Uber X)....The idea behind Lyft for Business is that companies can set up accounts for their employees, but also what Lyft is doing is setting up some car-pooling systems for co-workers. It's a neat idea and one that may just put more cars in the car pool lanes.

 

 
 
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Lyft Becomes An Employee Perk With Launch Of 'Lyft For Work'

On-demand ride-sharing service Lyft is announcing a new program that will allow businesses to give Lyft credits to employees as a perk. The new Lyft for Work program, which launches today, is aimed to boost adoption of the service while also providing a better commuting experience for company employees.
 
 

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"I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" was a song by Nick Lowe, and for some in the industry there may be some joy in Mudville over the nay saying, barb throwing aspects of the story below about Google Glass' future not being so bright. I take a different view, and thing that as with all early adopter programs that are over-hyped, there's a period of dissillusionment before the dam burst for the idea. Given we work so much with early stage ideas and companies, I'm a bit more tolerant but also like to caution our clients on not telling the whole story too soon. Google Glass is one where the whole story isn't really yet known.

 

 
 
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Google Glass future clouded as some early believers lose faith - The Economic Times

After two years of popping up at high-profile events sporting Google Glass, the gadget that transforms eyeglasses into spy-movie worthy technology, Google co-founder Sergey Brin sauntered bare-faced into a Silicon Valley red-carpet event on Sunday. He'd left his pair in the car, Brin told a reporter.

 
 

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Back to School Daze..BlackBoard, which wants to be the supplier of all things educational except keeps rolling up vertcially aligned companies with their latest purchase, ParentLink. 

 

 
 
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Blackboard shells out an undisclosed sum to acquire ParentLink

The shopping spree continues for District-based Blackboard. The education technology company has paid an undisclosed sum for Provo, Utah-based ParentLink, a company that connects school districts with parents through social media, mobile apps, phone calls and e-mail. Blackboard executives said Thursday that the purchase reflects the company's growing focus on selling technology to elementary and secondary schools.

 
 

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This sounds like something that would happen to me. And actually I'm surprised it didn't on a flight back from London on a test flight on Virgin Atlantic where WiFi was offered (It was slow and useless). That said, there are faster services coming to the global airlines, and hopefully, better pricing than this.

 

 
 
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Man gets $1,171 bill for using in-flight WiFi

When it comes to offering Wi-Fi in the sky, airlines enjoy a situational monopoly. Still, this takes the cake: a Singapore Airlines passenger stepped off a plane, looked at his phone and discovered this bill for $1,171.46: As the passenger, Jeremy Gutsche, explains on TrendHunter, the eye-popping total came about as result of ordinary internet use - sending emails, uploading documents and such things.
 
 

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From the "don't try this at home department" of viral videos, take a look at the CEO of a company that builds armor plated limos and how far he has gone to prove his product works......

 

 
 
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Texas Armoring Corporation CEO Lets Employee Shoot Car With Assault Rifle While He's Inside 

A Texas-based company posted a video on YouTube showing one of its employees firing at an SUV with an assault rifle while his boss is inside the vehicle, MSN has learned. The video is a promotional material for Texas Armoring Corporation, a company that retrofits everyday vehicles with protective armor.

 
 

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Microsoft Brings Back Skype For Business-Sort Of

Extra-Exta read all about it, Skype For Business is coming back...well it is soft of. Basically, Microsoft has recognized that the Skype name has more credibility than Lync does so they're renaming Lync, Skype for Business. That's the crux of the story, that's untold in my view. Given that, this is as much a marketing decision as it is a business and engineering one. At the end of the day this looks like a defensive move to counter Google Apps and give Office and Office365 users from jumping ship. To me this may be the right move, but it may be too late.

Since Lync already offers instant messaging and audio calling with Skype users, something had to be added to make it interesting, so Skype for Business will add video calling and the Skype user directory making it possible to call any Skype user on any device so let's hope this works the otherway too.

The big hook though is how Microsoft is using Office 365 and its own Lync/S4B integration going forward. It's designed to thus rival Google Hangouts, which means Office365 needs a Switch like service to marry up to it. Basically, Skype is that service, sort of.

To me this makes me think that Lync for Mobile, becomes Skype. And with LTE, the mobile enterprise extension is created best via Office365 adding Lync/S4B vs. a premise installation, as MSFT will keep the updates flowing (yes we know how often they happen.)

 


My Deskphone is My Chromebook

Back in April I posed the question "Is the Chromebook Your Next Deskphone" and now that Firespotter, the team behind UberConference has put Switch in the market, the value of my Chromebook as a regular part of my daily workflow just went up.

Two simple Chrome extensions plugged in is all it takes, and given the audio quality found in the Dell Chromebook, the question I posed is now answered. The quality of the calls on Switch is high, the interface clean and easy and the ability to move a call from laptop to mobile easy. Ironically, Gizmo was the first to have that feature back in the heyday of it hoping to rival Skype. 

When you look at the prices of Chromebooks, adding Switch makes it a very useful phione in addition to being a very good personal computer, especially if you lead a GoogleCentric life.


T-Mobile's CEO JohnLegere Gives A Damn About Social Media

Love him. Hate him, but give T-Mobile USA's CEO John Legere credit as he is astutely aware of social media and the power it has. And, he doesn't duck and hide like his peers at the competition. He rises to the challenge, takes the reins and engages. More importantly, when a problem rises, he's on it. Instead of the usual CEO ducking and hiding style and pushing things off to the PR team, Legere and team took action, got to the bottom of the problem(s) and now have a fix. Legere to his credit has been engaging with me this morning via Twitter. 

As a result of my post of last night  a call first thing this AM from his SVP of Customer Service came in. And on that call I didn't get the usual soapy, syrupy apologies and silly excuses. I got facts. Action and promises of things being made right. Try that with AT&T or Verizon and see what you get. Crickets would be the first thing you'd hear...nada, nothing...and maybe even more of the silent treatment, ignoring the customer. That's all old school telco. Legere and team and new school mobile and know that the GenX and Millenial market wants solutions, fixes or they're GAWN FAST.

This is now the second time in a few months where I've seen how well T-Mobile "listens" to their socially aware customers. Each time the person responsible for the issue, not the Customer Service team, dealt with the problem, owned it, and managed it. Honesly, in over 30 years of having a mobile phone, I've never seen such transparency, honesty, candor and a willingness to immediately correct the problem that wasn't mine, but which impacted me.

Hat off to John Legere and his team..they clearly get the point that your customers who care, don't hate you, they help you.

 

 


T-Mobile USA's John Legere Makes A Claim His Company Can't Fully Back Up

Today the news broke about AT&T locking the new Apple Universal SIM once a customer activates it. Over Twitter T-Mobile's charismatic and always pugnacious CEO John Legere tweeted:

@WaltBTIG iPads bought in Apple Store with apple sim, if activated on @ATT it locks, if @TMobile it doesn't..it stays flexible.

Upfront I've been a fan of what Legere and his team have done with growing the business, outfoxing AT&T on a merger deal, acquiring spectrum, buying up MetroPCS, refarming their spectrum to be more universal and roaming friendly, offering all kinds of "FREE" connectivity, staging promotions, pulling pranks and basically providing value to the customers. Under Legere T-Mobile's numbers are up and candidly, his style is refreshing in a industry that is stodgy at best, and where innovation on all levels comes from outside.

But, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, and today, with his comment above Legere kicked sand in the face of AT&T while not yet having his own house in order. Here's why...

After picking up my new Apple iPad Air2 and reading about the AT&T move to lock the SIM and Apple's reaction to say "you can buy another Apple SIM" with the teenie weenie issue of them not really being available yet for sale (minor and created by AT&T's move no doubt) I made the decision to simply go with T-Mobile, thus giving Legere and the team there another net add (new subscriber addition.)  I got home, went through the activation sequence, got to the cellular data page, selected T-Mobile, and then went to the Doubler Your Data option, as an already existing subscriber to T-Mobile with a share plan. 

The Double Your Data deal means that for $10 a month more I can add 5GB to my existing plan and use that on the iPad vs. pay $30 per month through January, and then pay $40 a month for the same 5GB of data, but it seems to do that, you need a T-Mobile SIM...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The double your data plan would be in line with the Tweet above as to me the flexible nature of the Apple SIM is I can go just about anywhere, get LTE data without having to stand in line, buy a local SIM card, get top up, etc. But even with Mr. Legere's best intentions aside, if you're a T-Mobile customer you can't add the iPad to your existing T-Mobile account with the Apple SIM and get the deal. No matter what you try to do or who you talk to. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself. After three attempts of going through the on device activation, and receiving a sorry message, I followed the instructions/directions and called into T-Mobile support. The first person said to take advantage of Double Your Data he needed the phone number associated with the SIM. Well, given that it wasn't activated I couldn't provide what I don't have so he transferred me to activations, which operates out of a call center over in India or somewhere.

Once on the line with activations group they (wrongly) told me I already had too many devices on my share plan and they needed to refer me to another department to remove one. Forget the fact that I really didn't, and that one of the lines was a non-revenue on demand device that is long out of service as it was a 4G non LTE device that was replaced when T-Mobile upgraded to LTE and a new number created. That was back in the era where net adds meant higher valuation when Legere and the team were trying to sell T-Mo...but I digress again.

Once we agreed which number to deactivate I then was told I had to have the transaction approved by the Customer Retention Department. There I was transferred to a nice lady, now the 4th person I spoke to in Salem, Oregon who complained about my call quality. Funny, but I was on my iPhone6 using T-Mobile's WiFi service here at my house (100 megs of connectivity), and the issue wasn't the my call quality, but the fact that the call has been bounced all around the globe and back on T-Mobile contact center network. I even switched off WiFi and it only improved a bit, with awful latency, delays and packet loss, and that happened while the call was on T-Mobile's own LTE network to their switch, not because the network is bad here (it's not) but because the way the call was being handled, routed, and the way the media gets degraded with each handoff. When she called me back the call quality was perfect..But I digress more.

As she removed the on demand number from my account, she then said "I can't do anything about activations and wanted to transfer me back to that group, but after hearing that I had an Apple SIM--which she, like most of the people I spoke to at T-Mobile had no clue about, checked with an inside support person who instructed her to send me to Apple to get it resolved because the issue was the Apple SIM not T-Mobile's platform..well he was half right. It was good to send me to Apple because there I got someone who was a good sounding board and looking to eliminate the Apple SIM from the problem..as was I.

Over at Apple, Will became as perplexed as I, but we walked through the onboarding/provisioning process and I suggested when we were out of options that we try activating it as a Pre-Paid SIM on T-Mobile, which meant creating yet another account. With that, it makes T-Mo's PrePaid numbers and subscriber numbers look better, even though it really means one subscriber has two accounts, vs. another device on the network, but from an existing subscriber. Yes, I do remember that course in college too call stat 101, which those of us also named "how to lie with statistics"...and I never took it.

It worked, and T-Mobile now has me paying $30.00 vs. what should be $10.00. I then was transferred back to T-Mobile and spoke to Ceasar who insisted he knew what the problem was, that I didn't need to have taken any devices off (I know) and that he would explain to activations about it and the problem would get handled by them.

Honestly, at this point I felt like I was in the middle of "Who's On First" skit by Abbott and Costello. The call went back to Asia and there no one had a clue, but one person of the 12 or so people I must have spoken to said "we don't think the Apple SIM can be used with an existing account." Now this was two and a half hours into the ordeal when I should have been enjoying dinner with friends. At that point I asked for a supervisor in the USA, got transferred another know nothing in Asia, who then transferred me to someone who couldn't hear me in the USA, and where the DTMF tones also didn't work likely due to the number of transfers and the shift of the call off net to Apple and back most likely.

So I called back, worked my way up to a supervisor, explained the ordeal and got a very sincere we're sorry but still no resolution but was still being given a lot of partial knowledge from a "supervisor". I then said "how about this. Until you guys can figure it all out, how about a $20.00 credit on my monthly bill" which he did along with the promise of a Manager level call on Monday.

To me, he was the first person who came close to understanding the problem, but even his solution was also counter to Legere's slam at AT&T. To correct the situation at first he wanted me to put a T-Mobile SIM in the iPad so I could link it to my account. That's not really in line with "flexible" and the Apple SIM or T-Mobile's own value proposition that they have spent the better part of 18 months or so driving home externally as well as in theory internally.

Like I said, "people in glass houses......"

To me, Legere's comment about flexible today applies if you want to pay more for that opportunity, to make his subscriber growth in pre-paid look good, but in reality I don't think that's the way he really wants to go.

My honest view is he really wants to offer the flexibility that the Apple SIM brings to the market, but his company has let him down by not removing the offer for double data on the activation page or having the mechanisms in place to make it so. But the big falling down is the number of people working at T-Mobile who have so many different ideas of wrong, took so many of the wrong steps and all the way thought they are being helpful. 

This whole ordeal isn't over yet. But I for one don't like the idea of paying more than I have to.....especially when the online offers and claims made indicate I don't. Neither should you. Call up T-Mobile and ask for your discount if you have the same problem....

 


The Case For Wi-Fi Calling

I'm on the move. Well, in reality, I move around, alot. I have been a global nomad for more years than I can count, and I've also been a road warrior as well as a telecommuter since I was 14 when I started working in pro sports PR, dealing with the press and media at training camps, on the road at games, inside the press box, press room and from just about anywhere. Team buses. Hotels (my first office was in the late, lamented City Line Avenue Marriott in Philadelphia), so the idea of working in places where phones weren't always readily available, nor accessible, always challenged my ability to get the job done.

Knowing where the phones that could make a long distance call, a credit card call no less, was usually the first thing I tended to do when I arrived somewhere, and knew I needed to be in touch with the team's PR director, Sy Roseman (whom I credit with teaching me more than he ever knew he did) and then the media.

It didn't matter that at 14 I had a phone in my room, and at 16 my own phone with a very massive answering device from Bell of Pennsylvania that allowed remote access back in 1976, to me, the ability to phone from anywhere and stay connected to any of 30+ media outlets at any given time was paramount and drove my entire day as a high school student, and then as a college student, learning where every payphone was on campus before I was able to convince some friendly faculty members (thank you Dr. Michael Jackson at Temple University) to let me use their office at times as my own (in exchange for providing their graduate students internships under me and others at the Flyers while I was till an undergraduate.

You see, my life was never exactly, normal, and the work I was doing, what today would be called an embedded reporter or publicist, was really farther ahead of its time than I ever understood. I just did what was at the cutting edge, and still tend to.

That's why I need to state the case for WiFi calling so clearly.

For starters, for the next week or so I'm residing in a high-rise in Miami, 44 floors up. From my work in the past with BridgePort Networks, started by now F5 Wireless and Mobile Operator head Tom Carter, I know that unless a highrise installs a DAS, carrier specific or neutral, the chances of mobile service working really well that high up is limited. So while the mobile operators are doing their best to flood the coutry with LTE coverage and soon LTE-A, including in my own neighborhood, the challenges mobile network operators have is far greater than a wired network build out with Wi-Fi on the edge of it.

So while it may be ten years later, the vision that Tom Carter had is now a reality, and people like me who understand the value of Wi-Fi handover and network convergence are taking advantage of it.

On the 44th floor of the ICON Brickell, or even the 32nd floor of the Intercontinental Hotel in SF where I stay on average of two to three nights a month, and work out of, depending which side of the property I'm on, or how much traffic is driving by causes the Totem Pole effect for mobile networks to dictate just how good (or bad) my coverage is, and in turn the connectivity. And, for data, that is a big, big challenge. Thankfully the apartment here in Miami has its own HotWire provided fiber connectivity, and while it's only 50 megs down and 10 up compared to my own home of 100+ down and 20 up, its more than enough for working the way I do. 

Most importantly, using T-Mobile's recently upgraded Wi-Fi calling is working perfectly for me. It's giving me the constant connectivity on my iPhone 6 and basically preventing the dropped calls I'm seeing on my AT&T iPhone 6 Plus and Verizon iPhone 5. The one bar that I have on T-Mobile's mobile network means nothing to me. Nor does the sometimes two bars on the other two carriers which fades to one bar from time to time which has could cause calls placed or made to drop. Heck, I'm even answer calls on my iPads using the handover so once Yosemite comes out on the Mac I'll have the same fucntionality of people using Rogers One Number (powered by CounterPath which now has all of the BridgePort Networks IP in their offerings.)

To me, Wi-Fi calling has arrived, and in time. How this impacts global roaming is anyone's guess, but if past behavior on T-Mobile and Blackberry devices that had WiFi calling using a prior technology from Kineto called UMA at work, the need for local SIM's will be reduced, and the need for better, more stable Wi-Fi and broadband will only increase. 


Time To Switch To Switch

Take a little bit of GoogleVoice, throw in some Bandwidth.com, hook in some UberConference as the spice and you get--->SWITCH. perhaps the UBERphone for businesses of all sizes and the service that in my mind will wreck havoc with the likes of 8x8 and RingCentral to name a few. Right now it's in private beta and they are taking requests. To me, their "we're here" blog post explains a lot, and TechCrunch's Ryan Lawler has more details.

So with Switch Craig Walker, Vincent, T.R. and the gang have taken a swing at three of the giants in one time at bat. Let me tell you.....

Why (to) Switch?

For starters the guys and gals behind SWITCH know Voice and mobile very well. They have been doing it together since their DialPad days, and really did change the way people use phone numbers with GrandCentral. So, from a pedigree perspective, they get it. They also have funding from Google Ventures and A16Z, so together their collective insight into cloud, Google Apps and opportunity is well known inside the business. Lastly, and most importantly, the changes inside Google with GoogleVoice and Hangouts, as well as the API's around Google Apps, make this a timely market entry with a really well thought out mobile PBX play.

For starters, Google Apps/Works adoption is growing, and the defections are coming from the world of Microsoft Exchange thus making Switch (an awesome name by the way) a formidable rival out of the gate to Lync. What's more when you look at how many services via IFTTT and ZAPIER can interoperate with GoogleApps and then bring in SWITCH the degree of eco-system competency they will have is astounding, trumping Lync and Exchange out of the gate. But there's more reasons for this.

For starters Google Voice is limited to one user. Switch overcomes this in spades. How? imagine porting your GV number over to Switch and making it possible to transfer calls over between colleagues...next is the addition of video conferencing without hardware using Hangouts. To me, after Microsoft feels the pain comes the hurt to Polycom. For years Polycom has been chasing the ITSP to sell their solutions. They've partnered with Broadsoft for a cloud solution that was so expensive it was cost prohibitive to both the ITSPs and their customers  it was so costly that not many of the ITSPS really sell it much, and those that do aren't making any money. That makes the next loser Broadsoft. Can you call this move by the Firespotter team has made "the Broadsoft disConnection (a pun I came up with after talking to a now former Broadsoft partner.) That's three strikes to the competition all in one pitch.

So for Firespotter founder Craig Walker, who loves to coach his son in Little League skills, the opportunity ahead for him with SWITCH may just end up being his perfect game!