Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The popularity for the download video rental model is justified on account of its convenience and cost effectiveness. It again all boils down to consumer ease.
The download video rental model is projected to account for half of all online pay video streams in the medium term.
What will come of this model with the increasing move towards DRM free content is an interesting aspect to ponder over.
Download rentals are all the rage
by Leila Makki, TelecomTV
Download video rentals will prove more popular than download-to-own and subscription offerings in the coming years, according to ABI Research. While all three models will see significant growth, the research firm expects the greatest number of downloads will be through rental, particularly online movie rentals.
ABI predicts pay video streams online will increase from 215 million in 2008 to over 2.4 billion in 2012, with online video rentals accounting for half of these numbers. “Distribution offerings for movies that are in attractive release windows and that offer easy viewing on a TV or portable screen will see the greatest success,” says research director Michael Wolf.
The report, “Broadband Video and Internet TV,” also outlines the challenges that remain for the online streaming rental market, particularly competition from legacy Video On Demand (VOD) services as well as unattractive ownership and rental terms offered by the studios.
Cable and IPTV service providers are offering impressive VOD libraries to consumers through their traditional pay video services, and increasingly video service providers such as US cable company, Comcast are expanding into over-the-top streaming. Additionally, over-the-top rental terms are unattractive as the studios dictate the same rental terms to all distributors, even iTunes, states ABI.
“Studios are locked into the same 24-hour ‘once-started’ viewing window and similar pricing for all online rental partners,” said Wolf. “We believe that over time they will begin to offer greater flexibility, in particular as DVD and other physical media continue to mature and new consumer Internet-to-TV hardware expands their audience of consumers.”
Last throw of the dice for WiMAX
21/01/2008 by CommsDay
Like it or not, this is the year that will prove whether there is a business case for mobile WiMAX. If it doesn’t take off in a substantial way in 2008, I think you can safely proclaim it another broadband wireless niche platform that has come and gone, similar to the likes of LMDS, MMDS and some of the proprietary stuff that came before it. It will live on for providing fixed “DSL-equivalent” broadband in remote areas and emerging markets, but it will have missed its chance of becoming a ubiquitous broadband technology for the roaming masses.
If it hasn’t solidified its base by the end of the year, then it will be because carriers have chosen to stick with HSPA and wait for LTE, which will by then be just around the corner. And that will mean that WiMAX has been pushed down to become yet another footnote in wireless broadband history at the expense of the GSM juggernaut. (And the same goes for the other proposed 4G standard, Qualcomm’s UBM, by the way.)
Of course, it could be that WiMAX really does prove itself in 2008 and there are already some encouraging signs. In Japan late last year, the government awarded two licences in the 2.5GHz band to consortia headed by KDDI and another to Willcom, with equipment vendors already lining up to provide gear. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that in the case of KDDI, trials are only expected to kick off in February 2009.
Similarly, 2009 is expected to be the year that another potential WiMAX market, Taiwan, really gets underway. Taiwan also sees itself as a major supplier of WiMAX equipment to the world, and it is interesting that there are already grumblings over there about the cost of WiMAX compliance testing.
According to Digitimes sources, it will cost about US$25,000-31,250 for the makers to complete the certification testing of a single fixed WiMAX item. In addition, the WiMAX Forum is charging US$10,000 per mobile WiMAX product to use the WiMAX Forum certified mark compared to US$5,500 per fixed WiMAX model. The news report also noted that a fee of up to US$200,000 is being estimated for the testing of some items.
The WiMAX camp also got a generally favourable report from Juniper Research last week suggesting that the mobile WiMAX 802.16e market will grow to $23 billion by 2013, with half of that total coming from Asia. However, that will still only represent “a single digit proportion of the Asian mobile broadband base by 2013,” according to the report.
The Juniper report also warns that both the availability of suitable devices and the awarding of licences will be important factors in determining the success of Mobile WiMAX 802.16e, both in Asia and globally.
Interestingly, it also tips licences in India and Thailand as being crucial to the WiMAX camp.
Warning bells should ring right there, given the two countries’ notoriously slow licensing regimes. In the case of Thailand, you can almost guarantee that it won’t be issuing licences for WiMAX this year, given the political environment and the need to create a new regulatory body.
When it comes to devices, one of the WiMAX camp’s trump cards is the backing of Intel, which will see it become standard in every new notebook computer, much the same as Wi-Fi is today. The only problem with this is that if there is no network to connect to, it doesn’t really matter if the notebook is WiMAX-enabled or not.
In contrast, if the push to include HSPA in new devices takes off, the HUGE advantage they have is that the networks and service are widespread already. And the momentum to include HSPA chips in notebooks is likely to happen this year. Throw in all the HSPA-capable mobile phones, and the economies of scale certainly don’t favour WiMAX and won’t any time soon.
Despite some vendor claims to the contrary, WiMAX needs the Sprint rollout in the US to succeed, and it will need to succeed wildly in 2008 if it is to give any vote of confidence to carriers in the rest of the world wanting to roll it out. If it doesn’t, then the GSM/HSPA/LTE camp will have won the battle for mobile wireless broadband supremacy for the foreseeable future.
Another bumper month !
India Telecoms Update @ Dec07
- 8.1 mn subscriber additions taking total telephony base to 273 mn and overall teledensity to 23.9%
- 8.2 mn wireless sub adds taking total to 233.6 mn
- Fixed telephony continued to register negative growth with total down to 39.3 mn
- Broadband subs base up marginally to 3.1 mn
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Applications based on the Android smartphone operating system from Google are now up and running on the High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) Qtek 9090 Linux smartphone, according to developer a la Mobile Inc.
Google's Android Gets Smart
January 14, 2008, Unstrung
The San Ramon, Calif.-based Linux developer claims an industry first with the demonstration of the following applications based on the open source Google platform: a browser, phone dialer, audio player, calendar, contacts manager, calculator, tasks manager, mapping application, and collection of games.
The Linux-based platform developed by startup Android, which Google acquired in 2005, comprises an operating system, middleware, and key mobile applications. It also includes an HTML Web browser. Handsets and services based on the platform are expected to be available in the second half of 2008.
The Google Android software development kit has been available since November. Developers that Unstrung spoke to at the CTIA show last week, however, suggested that many of the major announcements of Android-related code will be made at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain next month.
Nonetheless, Google is making the mobile news so far in a week that could be dominated by Apple Inc. and Macworld in San Francisco.
Speaking of which - the search giant has also just updated its iPhone software. The interface is now configured so that updates to a user's iGoogle homepage also transfer to the same screen on the iPhone.
The Mac-o-sphere, meanwhile, is ablaze with speculation that Apple will launch an ultramobile -- or tablet-style -- computer at Macworld. This could be a logical extension of the computer firm's work with touch-screen interfaces. Ultramobiles, however, haven't generally proved to be top sellers over the past couple of years: Witness the short and sorry life of the Palm Inc. Foleo as evidence.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
From unprecedented subscriber growth to the lowest tariff and highest MoU in the world to stifling competition to murky and ever changing regulations, we have it all !!
India: Licensed to Thrill
January 16, 2008, Light Reading
India's service providers are planning network expansions, potential mergers or acquisitions, and rearguard actions following the recent spate of fixed and mobile license awards by the country's telecom authorities.
The sector has already been rocked this week by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) 's IPO plan, which is fueled partly by the need for more expansion capital, and there are plenty of others now figuring out how to capitalize on their new assets and India's massive growth potential.
Reliance preps GSM blowout
Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) , a major player in India's fixed sector and its CDMA mobile sector, is preparing to put its nationwide GSM expansion plans into action now that it has been handed some new spectrum.
The carrier issued a request for proposals for GSM network equipment in late 2006, and now, according to reports, is set to place orders with a number of vendors for the rollout of between 80 million and 100 million GSM connections nationwide.
Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson AB, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Motorola Inc., and Nokia Siemens Networks are all believed to be in contention to win some Reliance rollout business, though the carrier says it's "not in a position to comment" on such suggestions at present, or say whether contract awards are even imminent.
Reliance already has about 5.5 million GSM customers, but that's just a fraction of India's total GSM base of 172 million (at end of December 2007). Its strength is in CDMA, where it had nearly 34 million customers, a majority of the country's total 55 million CDMA subscribers, at the end of November.
Shyam shifts into national gear
CDMA minnow Shyam Telelink Ltd. , which offers its Shyam Internet fixed ISP and mobile services in just one of India's 23 telecom regions (or circles), now has the ability to become a national player following the award of licenses for the provision of fixed and mobile services in 21 additional circles.
Shyam has 260,000 CDMA customers in the Rajasthan circle, but now has the chance to compete on a much broader scale with the new licenses and the backing of its new majority owner Sistema JSFC, which now holds a 51 percent stake.
Sistema says it has guaranteed $520 million of the total $630 million Shyam has to pay for obtaining the new licenses. Further, Sistema tells Light Reading that a business plan to support Shyam's network and service rollout plans is set to be discussed and possibly finalized at a board meeting next week.
HFCL ponders future
"HEELLLPPPPPP!!!!" says HFCL Infotel Ltd.
The one-circle CDMA operator is considering its options after its application for nationwide licenses was refused on the grounds that it failed to meet the government's requirements for minimum net worth.
According to reports, the operator is working on a merger with Videocon Group subsidiary Datacom Solutions, which did receive licenses to become a national player. Videocon is also serving as the joint venture partner for Verizon Business 's long-distance licenses.
A merger would allow HFCL Infotel to remain competitive, rather than get left behind as the only regional operator that didn't receive the go-ahead to expand. The carrier's share price has fallen almost 15 percent this week, from a close of 46.60 Indian Rupees ($1.19) at last week's close to INR40 ($1.02) today.
At the end of December, HFCL Infotel had 375,000 CDMA subscribers and 156,000 fixed-line customers in the Punjab region.
Unitech goes fund-raising
One of India's largest real estate firms, Unitech, is said to be planning a bumper INR50 billion ($1.27 billion) private placement of 80 million to 90 million shares, in part to finance its foray into telecom. The company has received approval for licenses in 22 circles, which it applied for through eight different subsidiaries. Once it receives spectrum to start up mobile services, Unitech intends to consolidate the units into one holding company.
The company is reportedly conducting a road show abroad for institutional investors and expects to complete the placement by next week. Its board last week approved a proposal to issue up to 200 million shares.
Bharti in rearguard action
Bharti Airtel Ltd., which provides wholesale, fixed access and GSM mobile services countrywide, has seen its stock slide since investors realized the mobile operator had failed to secure any new spectrum and now faces a welter of new competitors.
A week ago the operator's share price stood at INR972.55 ($24.75) on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Now it stands at INR864.85 ($22.01), a fall of more than 11 percent.
Reports in the Indian media say Bharti Airtel, which has more than 50 million GSM subscribers, is trying to settle investors' nerves by suggesting that the Indian government's Department of Telecommunications is likely to follow the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and award additional spectrum to the country's established operators.
With the proliferation of fixed and mobile broadband, the opportunity is definitely going to get larger.
Online video market charts record growth in ’07 – Google's YouTube clear leader
18/01/2008 - by Andrew Beutmueller, TelecomTV
Internet marketing research firm comScore’s latest figures on online viewership in the US indicates that 2007 will be remembered as the breakaway year for online video with a whopping 75 per cent of US Internet users who streamed or downloaded nearly 9.5 billion online videos in November, equivalent to more than three hours of programming per person.
According to the report, total online viewership for this month is up 29 per cent in comparison to January last year. YouTube put Google in the lead with three billion videos viewed for a 31.3 per cent market share comprising a two per cent increase in the last two months of 2007.
Coming in a distant second is Fox Interactive Media at 4.4 per cent of the market with 419 million videos viewed during the test month followed by Yahoo! with 328 million or 3.5 per cent and Viacom Digital with 304 million, a 2.6 percent market share according to the comScore survey.
Microsoft and surprisingly Disney were far down in the rankings with 1.9 and one per cent of market share at 181 and 96 million video hits respectively.
In total, 138 million Americans – approximately three in four U.S Internet users – viewed online video in November. Google Sites also captured the largest online video audience with 76.2 million unique viewers, followed by Fox Interactive Media with 46.3 million and Yahoo! Sites with 37.3 million.
On the Web2.0 front, MySpace claims that 43.2 million people viewed 389 million videos at a rate of nine videos per viewer. In general the average online video duration was 2.8 minutes. The average online video viewer consumed 69 videos.
Basic premise being subscriber is willing to sacrifice to some extent on the accuracy front for usage in indoor and dense urban environments where GPS typically tend to go on the blink.
GPS struggling in indoor and dense urban environments isn't a major problem for sat-nav applications, but as LBS develops, it limits services and deteriorates the user experience.
WiFi with its micro coverage offers higher accuracy (50-100m) over macro cellular coverage based location technology (1-1.5 km).
Constraint though clearly is the need for ubiquitous WiFi coverage, which currently is a big challenge.
What is really interesting about this, and other alternative location technologies, is that it is neither a stop gap measure nor competitive to GPS in the long term. Wi-Fi location can be combined with GPS to offer high accuracy in all environments, and in some case enhance GPS performance outdoors.
Is IPhone's Wi-Fi Based Location Finder Better Than GPS?
This week, Steve Jobs announced that the iPhone will feature Skyhook Wireless' Wi-Fi location technology in a joint development with Google. It is easy to write this off as a stop gap solution for GPS, but for me, this is a first step towards the next generation of cellular location technology.
Patrick Connolly, Senior Research Analyst at IMS Research, said, "While GPS is a more accurate technology, when you start moving into inner city urban canyons and indoors, just getting a fix with GPS becomes the issue, not accuracy, as anyone with autonomous GPS will reluctantly admit. GPS fundamentally struggles in these environments, as it was not initially designed for this use case. This isn't a major problem for sat-nav applications, but as LBS develops, it limits services and deteriorates the user experience.
Well implemented Wi-Fi offers the best of both worlds in this environment. Provided there are enough Wi-Fi access points in range, this will not only give you a fix, but comparable accuracy too, at sub 50m. However, it is not all conquering, as WiFi access points are required. This largely limits the technology to urban areas, where Skyhook has a database of access points in place, hence the Google partnership.
This brings me to the title. Really it is a trick question as the answer is C, both. But what is really interesting about this, and other alternative location technologies, is that it is neither a stop gap measure nor competitive to GPS in the long term. Wi-Fi location can be combined with GPS to offer high accuracy in all environments, and in some case enhance GPS performance outdoors. I can think of one or two GPS/Wi-Fi enabled handsets that are already positioned to benefit from such a technology. IMS Research expects a minimum of one other handset vendor to launch a GPS/Wi-Fi hybrid solution before the end of the year.
Skyhook is very well positioned to benefit, having already established a large access point database and partnerships with the likes of SiRF, Navteq and Intel. However, it is not the only company developing this technology. One of its biggest competitors is Mexens Technology's Navizon. This is based on a similar concept, however, the Wi-Fi database is user generated, offering rewards to end-users to map access points. There are already 310,000 users signed up to this service, some of which are iPhone users!
Looking beyond Wi-Fi, there are a number of other compelling technologies out there, capable of solving this problem. IMS Research's report compares these solutions under key parameters, outlining future uptake in cellular handsets. Looking longer term, as GPS handsets proliferate, mapping content grows and LBS moves to pedestrian navigation and urban-based services, these technologies will become a must for a robust user experience and more importantly, ARPU."
In IMS Research's report package, "Worldwide Market for GPS in Cellular", a focused report is provided on the major complementary/competitive location solutions to GPS, for cellular implementation.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
With basic features like maps, navigation, city guides, etc. a given; search, advertising, communities and user generated content is what in my opinion will take context to the next level and mass market.
GPS devices balloon with features
Navigation Is Just Part of the Story With Feature-Jammed New GPS Devices
BRIAN BERGSTEIN and MAY WONG, AP News
Jan 08, 2008
They can plumb the Internet for the latest movie times, news headlines, stock figures and gas prices. They'll even help you skirt traffic, find a parking spot or make a phone call. Oh, and they'll navigate for you, too.
The latest global positioning system devices on display at this week's International Consumer Electronics Show are roving information portals — well beyond the first turn-by-turn GPS guides with maps and directions.
Now practically taken for granted, GPS technology is available for tracking hikers, boaters and pilots and it's routine in cars, sports watches and cell phones. As a result, plain vanilla portable navigation devices have plunged below $200, forcing manufacturers to fight for ways to continue commanding premium prices. Their response: to cram as many extra features on the devices as possible.
At CES, Garmin Ltd. announced the Nuvi 880, which debuts in the second quarter for $1,000, and the 780, out next month for $800. Both get real-time information from Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Direct system, which requires a subscription of $50 per year or $130 for the life of the device. The more expensive model has speech-recognition so drivers can bark their commands.
As useful as the Microsoft system is, it provides one-way communication only, from the Internet to the device. Other new navigation units are harnessing cellular networks to let users send information back upstream.
For example, the French company Mobile Devices showed a unit that helps drivers find a nearby parking lot and query whether it has an open spot.
The upcoming Dash Express GPS device will let users conduct Web searches for locations or products, movie times, or the cheapest gas — and then it will direct them to the destination.
The $600 gadget by Dash Navigation Inc., created in partnership with Yahoo Inc., also makes the ambitious promise that it can combine data from conventional traffic-monitoring systems with the power of user-based intelligence. The Dash Express will send its users' speed and location data over the Internet, allowing the company to calculate up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and suggest alternate routes. Monthly service fees starting at $10 will be required for the connected features.
Magellan Navigation Inc., which is partnering with Google Inc. to provide local business listings on a $1,300 car-navigation unit, expects to eventually let users send contacts and calendars to their devices. The systems could automatically route you to your 9 a.m. appointment, or understand where to direct you when you say, "Tim Jones' home."
"We want the portable navigation device to be relevant to everyday life instead of just turning it on to get directions," Magellan CEO Nelson Chan said.
In the meantime, even basic maps benefit from all this connectivity. Now maps and landmarks can be updated after a device is purchased, reducing the chance a motorist will get foiled by such earthly matters as road changes and construction.
Sony adds Skype to PSP
Japanese electronics giant Sony beefed up its PlayStation Portable (PSP) gaming device on Monday, with confirmation that it is to add Skype VoIP functionality later this month.
From January 24, Sony will make a firmware update available for the PSP-2000 series of devices, which includes the Lite and Slim models, containing the Skype internet telephony application.
Users will then be able to make VoIP phone calls when connected to a wireless network.
Later this month, Sony will also make extra peripherals, such as microphones, available, to exploit the new functionality.
In instant retaliation, a team of homebrew developers, who make unofficial third party software for the PSP, announced their own open standard, SIP-based VoIP app.
Furikup, created by NoobZ, has been made available as a beta download and works with all variations of the PSP.
But this is not the first time Sony has thought about taking the PSP into the telephony arena. Last summer, the company struck a deal with UK carrier BT, to turn the gaming device into phone.
The two companies have signed a four year contract to develop a raft of extra features for the handheld gadget, adding wireless broadband communications functions, including video calls, voice calls and messaging.
Initially, the partnership intends to integrate BT's existing Broadband video and VoIP into the device, sending the traffic over the carrier's next generation 21CN network.
Previously, a patent application, filed by Sony Ericsson in 2006, popped up on the US Patent and Trademark Office website. The accompanying diagrams show a device that looks very much like a PSP with a rotating display, which is designed to be used as a mobile phone, TV or gaming console depending on the configuration.
Expect them to get accentuated as the technology gains traction.
Will Wimax Deliver on its Royalty Promises?
One of the major advantages claimed by the WiMAX community over their cellular cousins is that WiMAX will come with a far lower average royalty rate than either LTE or UMB.
A favorite phrase among the WiMAX OEM community is that WiMAX has effectively "democratized" the 4G space. Although ABI research applauds the move to a more widespread intellectual property holding in the 4G realm, it could be argued that this democratization of IP will result in more, not fewer, IP royalties.
As ABI Research director Stuart Carlaw points out, "The diversification of IP holdings in 4G technologies and especially WiMAX is something of a double-edged sword. On one hand, the number of companies with vested interests in the technologies' success is far greater; on the other hand, the number of companies likely to succeed in any market is apt to be far smaller than the number of companies that hold IP. The only vehicle left for them to recoup R&D dollars is to look for revenue from licenses."
Considering that Ericsson and Qualcomm are not supporters of WiMAX and hold IP that is highly relevant to all 4G technologies, it is most likely that there will be little difference in the royalty rates experienced in all 4G standards. More importantly, 4G technologies are likely to see similar royalty rates to those for 3G devices no matter the efforts of NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks), EU legislation and similar initiatives.
According to Carlaw, "The industry should be braced to expect royalty rates for 4G technologies in the range of 4.8% to 7.7%, with the best position being somewhere around 3.2%."
So no prizes for guessing who the award would go to in 2009 - LTE !
WiMax in my opinion will see more traction in the portable and fixed services segment while LTE will hold sway in the mobile arena.
GSA Survey Confirms HSPA as Global System of Choice for Mobile Broadband
166 HSDPA networks launched in 75 countries
January 8, 2008: According to a new survey published today by GSA – the Global mobile Suppliers Association, 68 HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) networks commercially launched during 2007, representing annual growth of 69%. GSA’s latest HSDPA Operator Commitments survey confirms there are 166 commercial HSDPA networks in 75 countries. HSDPA-enabled mobile broadband services extended to 24 new countries during the year. A further 38 networks are committed to HSDPA rollout, to reach a total of 204 HSDPA Operator commitments in 89 countries.
HSDPA is now widely commercially available throughout the APAC region (35 networks), Western Europe (61 networks), Eastern Europe (34 networks), Middle East and Africa (20 networks) and the Americas and Caribbean (16 networks).
HSDPA is the first evolution of 3G/WCDMA, a 3GPP standard delivering advanced mobile multimedia services with typical user throughputs of 800 kbps to 3.0 Mbps, depending on individual networks and device capabilities. WCDMA is deployed in 70% of all commercial 3G networks globally, and almost all have evolved to HSPA as the de-facto system of choice for delivering mobile broadband services.
This latest survey highlights the key trend how networks are quickly evolving to fast mobile broadband speeds. 103 commercial HSDPA networks i.e. 62% of launched networks, support downlink data speeds of 3.6 Mbps peak or higher, including 35 networks which support 7.2 Mbps peak.
An evolution is also taking place in uplink data speeds. 51 operators have committed to HSUPA – High Speed Uplink Packet Access, and 26 networks have commercially launched HSUPA service in 22 countries. All the HSUPA launches took place during 2007, with 24 launches occurring in the past 6 months.
Almost 60% of HSPA operators combine with GSM/EDGE for service continuity and the best user experience.
WCDMA and HSPA are part of the evolutionary roadmap for GSM and the natural evolution path followed by GSM network operators worldwide. GSA calculates there are over 1.026 billion GSM, EDGE and WCDMA-HSPA subscribers in commercial HSPA-enabled networks worldwide.
HSPA - Key Facts:
204 HSDPA Operator commitments in 89 countries/territories
166 commercial HSDPA launches in 75 countries; 69% annual growth
Over 62% of commercial HSDPA networks have launched with downlink capability of 3.6 Mbps peak or higher data speeds
114 HSDPA networks evolving to 3.6 Mbps peak fast broadband speed or higher, of which 103 networks supporting 3.6 Mbps peak or higher downlink speeds have commercially launched in 52 countries
35 HSDPA networks supporting 7.2 Mbps peak or higher have commercially launched in 24 countries
51 operators have committed to HSUPA with 26 HSUPA networks today commercially launched in 22 countries
122 of 204 HSDPA networks (59.8%) combine with GSM/EDGE for service continuity and the best user experience
94 of 166 commercially launched HSDPA networks (56.6%) have also commercially launched EDGE
Over 1.026 billion GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA and HSPA subscribers in commercial HSPA-enabled networks
HSDPA is commercially available on 166 networks in the following countries/territories:
Americas: Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, USA
APAC: Australia, Cambodia, HK, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, NZ, Philippines, Singapore, S. Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan
Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech R, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, IoM, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak R, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, UK (HSDPA is launched in 26 of the 27 countries comprising the European Union)
MEA: Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania, UAE, Uganda
Malt Madness !
Actually, I'm much more than merely 'interested' in single malt whisky; you could say that I'm quite getting passionate about them and picking up all the tit bits I can about them
If you are a curious novice taking your first shaky steps in the confusing world of malt whisky, there is this website you definitely should look up @ http://www.maltmadness.com/
Here you can find a Beginner's Guide to single malt whisky with all the information you need to fully appreciate the 'water of life', the Distillery Data section with details on all malt whisky distilleries in Scotland and Liquid Log with tasting notes for more than 2,000 different whiskies. There's also the mAlmanac (a virtual pocket guide that might come in handy during your next shopping spree) and a Hot & Hit list including all time favourites.
Cheers and the next one is on me !
Its a real mess and a shame that even after the learnings from the years of wrangling between GSM and CDMA lobbies in India, which was in large measure due to Govt. flip flops and succumbing to lobbies, we still haven't learnt our basic lessons yet and continue to commit the same mistakes.
There is no method to this madness in my personal opinion and this is definitely bound for litigation. Licenses and spectrum cannot be allocated in an arbitrary manner on a first come first serve basis and thats not to say there is a firm goalpost as the policy keep evolving to put it diplomatically !
I just hope the GSM lobby can keep their nerve this time.
Indian Gov't Grants Mobile Licenses
January 11, 2008, Light Reading
Faced with a stack of applications for mobile licenses and months of squabbling between carriers, India's Department of Telecom has decided to grant them to everyone who got their paperwork in by last year's deadline.
A total of 46 companies had applied for universal access services licenses (UASL) by October 1, after which point the government said it wouldn't accept further submissions. But now the Department of Telecom says it's using September 25 as a cutoff point, and any applications received after that will be considered at a later date.
Of those companies, which included not just telcos but industrial conglomerates and real-estate developers, nine have been declared eligible for licenses in some or all of India's 23 telecom "circles," or regions.
In a statement, the Department of Telecom said it had accepted the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) 's recommendation that "no cap be placed on the number of access service providers in any service area" to encourage increased competition and quality of service. Each circle is presently being served by three or four mobile operators.
Among the telcos, IDEA Cellular Ltd. , Spice Telecom , Shyam Telelink Ltd. , and Tata Teleservices Ltd. have received so-called letters of intent, which require them to pay a license fee before they can get in line for wireless spectrum.
New entrants include real-estate developer Unitech, Swan Communications, S Tel, BPL Mobile subsidiary Loop Telecom (formerly known as Shippingstop.com), and Datacom -- part of industrial conglomerate Videocon, which has formed a joint venture with Verizon for long-distance services. Of those companies, Swan received letters of intent for 14 circles, while the others each received 21 or 22, effectively paving the way for them to become national operators.
A universal access license means that Tata Teleservices will be able to join fellow CDMA operator Reliance Communications Ltd. in offering GSM-based services. Universal access licenses allow the operator to launch mobile services on either GSM or CDMA networks, and also offer VOIP and Internet services.
IDEA Cellular, which operates in 11 circles, stated in an announcement to the Bombay Stock Exchange Friday it's received approval to enter nine new markets. The carrier added that it "intends to roll-out services in all the above Service Areas as soon as spectrum is made available."
Spice Telecom, which operates in the states of Punjab and Karnataka, had applied for licenses in 20 circles but according to its stock exchange filing received only four on the grounds that it failed to meet net worth requirements. Telekom Malaysia, which holds a 49 percent stake in Spice, has asked the government to take another look at the applications taking its larger net worth into account.
Operators will have to pay INR16.5 billion (US$419.9 million) for nationwide licenses, and less for a smaller number of circles. Once the fee has been paid, they will receive spectrum on a first-come, first-served basis. Reports suggest that as well as sending out the letters, the Department of Telecom has allocated spectrum to IDEA Cellular, Vodafone Essar , Aircel Ltd. , and Reliance, which have been waiting in line for months.
However, one way to rationalise this would be by keeping in mind that this is an increasingly commoditised business wherein all that matters is scale and consequently cost efficiencies.
Bharti ignites new price war
Global Mobile Daily
The new year has sparked off a fresh round of tariff cuts in India with leading operator Bharti Airtel recently reducing local outgoing prepaid call rates to INR1 (US$0.03) per minute. Second-ranked Reliance Communications has followed also with a INR0.99 per minute promotion for local outgoing prepaid calls.
"We expect other operators to follow with similar plans quickly," says Credit Suisse. "We estimate that this move could bring down local call tariffs by 30-50% across operators and tariff plans."
While earlier industry price cuts have focused on bringing down entry costs for consumers, the latest cuts by Bharti and Reliance focus only on reducing charges for usage, which Credit Suisse says is a clear sign that the two operators are trying to persuade existing users to talk more.
"This is interesting in the context of weak minutes of usage [figures] that we saw in September," adds the bank. "Clearly the usage elasticity of old customers was not enough to compensate for the low usage of new customers. "Companies are trying to tackle this issue by reducing prices."
Vietnamese Operator Wants to Switch from CDMA to GSM
Vietnam's HT Mobile is reported to have requested permission from the Ministry of Information and Communications for permission to migrate its network from CDMA to the GSM standard. Citing an unnamed source, local newspaper, VietNamNet Bridge said that government officials met last week to discuss the request from the mobile operator.
HT Mobile was established in 2003 as a CDMA2000 joint venture between Hutchison Telecom and Hanoi Telecom.
According to figures from the Mobile World, HT Mobile launched its services early last year but had only secured around 185,000 customers by the end of September. The country has 34 million phone subscribers, of which nearly 28 million are connected to other operator GSM networks, and remainder are on CDMA networks, S-Fone (3.7 million) and VP Telecom (2.5 million)
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
- 40% of the users are from Tier-II cities
- 1 million page views a day
- Measures to increase the community and create stickiness like integration of music along with video
- 80% of users are between 16-27 yrs
What's still missing is how they propose to differentiate themselves.Bigadda.com asserts high popularity among Indian users
Indiantelevision.com, 7 January 2008
The Reliance ADA Group's youth networking site Bigadda.com has announced that it has become the fastest growing Indian youth networking site.
Since its launch on 13 August 2007, it is claiming a user base of 1.24 million; a whooping 15 members every single minute on an average said an official release.
Bigadda.com is eyeing a goal of 10 million users in India by 2010. Within India while top 20 cities account for 50 per cent users, 40 per cent of the users come from tier-II towns like Tuticorin, Bhilai, Amritsar, Guwahati, Surat, Nasik etc. The site gets almost 10 per cent of users from countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and from Indians from Dubai, US and UK.
Reliance Entertainment president Rajesh Sawhney said, "We already have a million plus users and get a million page views a day. We add 12-15,000 users a day. In 2008 competition will emerge but we are confident of the innovations that we will be doing."
BigAdda COO Siddhartha Roy added, "Getting a user base of 1 million users in a short time is an achievement for BigAdda. There is a growth of 240% in the number of unique visitors per month for youth networking websites. BigAdda.com aims to evolve a youth community, inclusive and inspirational and create a youth culture that will be cool and inspirational for them."
BigAdda is targeting to connect 10 Mn Indian youth by 2010. They are looking at taking networking originating from the web onto the mobile by the first quarter of 2008. and would introduce Music very shortly thereby increasing the current user interest portfolio beyond Videos and Photos. Going forward over the next 2 quarters we will launch major innovations in the access area across Wireless and Broadcast channels.
The 78 per cent of the users of Bigadda.com are between 16-27 years. 79 per cent are single and average looking Indian spending over 16 minutes onsite per session and 44 per cent working in IT, finance and services sector, 15 per cent in manufacturing and media.