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Showing posts from December, 2013

New Sprint Nextel Business Offer Might Combine Fixed, Mobile Access

Anybody in the mobile business can attest how expensive and how difficult it is to create differentiation around a mobile brand and offer. Speed, price and coverage tend to be the concrete tactical sources of differentiation. 

Creating value through branding always is more tricky, but Sprint might try something that is interesting, for the small business customer segment. Apparently, Sprint is considering relaunching Nextel as a small business brand, with one interesting twist.

The proposed Nextel offer would combine both fixed broadband access and mobile service, a byproduct of Sprint's ownership of the former "Clear" fixed wireless network. In essence, Sprint would create a fixed network plus mobile service bundle. 

Some might say that only matches what AT&T or Verizon might be able to offer, but perhaps that is the point. In at least some markets, Sprint might be able to compete more effectively in the small business segment with a fixed broadband plus mobile offer, …

How Much has the Internet Harmed the Telecom Business?

Has the Internet harmed the telecom business as much as it apparently has reshaped many other retail and consumer businesses?
You might think the answer is fairly simple. It would, after all, be possible to argue that the Internet has affected virtually every business in a way that reduces friction (and hence distribution cost), provides price transparency (driving prices towards the lowest cost producers) and creates new alternatives to existing services and apps that reduce demand for the legacy apps.
To use the most obvious example, over the top mobile messaging and over the top voice apps have displaced some amount of calling and text messaging, while arguably having the more important impact of reducing or capping prices for legacy services.
Of course, matters are more complicated. The Internet also creates the need for fixed and mobile network data services, which add revenue. So any assessment would have to include actual lost revenue from reduced legacy services, abandonment o…

What Device Sales Indicate About Next Era of Computing

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If in fact we are moving towards the next era of computing after the “PC era,” it should not come as a surprise that the types of computing devices also are changing. Tablets, which derive much of their value from cloud apps, content and storage, provide one example.
But the best example is a Chromebook, a device that relies nearly exclusively on cloud-based computing to provide value. To a growing extent, smartphones provide value by use of cloud-based content and apps as well.

Virtually everyone might agree that something important in computing architecture is happening, namely the transition from an older ear to a newer era.
Some of us prefer to call the earlier eras of computing “mainframe, minicomputer, PC,” followed by the current era, which seems not to have a universal appellation.
Others might say the eras are “mainframe, personal computer, web era, device era.” Some might specify the eras as corporate, personal, ambient.

10 things not to buy in 2014

Of the "10 things not to buy in 2014" cited by MarketWatch, cable TV is number one on the list. Ouch.

Landline phone service is number two on the list. Ouch, ouch.

Two-year mobile phone contracts are number six on the list.

Net Neutrality is Part of an Older Pattern of Technology and Media Warfare

We sometimes forget how much legal wrangling has occurred as the home video market was born. Sony released the Betamax digital video recorder in 1975. But not until 1984 was its use deemed fully lawful. Only because of that important decision was it possible to later see the rise of Blockbuster Video and Netflix.
It might seem odd, but it once was illegal to “own a copy of a movie.” So the notion of an “at home video market” was nonsensical. All media was consumed either outside the home or using devices that could receive but not store content.
Some level of conflict between proponents of technology and owners of content has been a rather common feature of the content business, though. Cable TV operators were at times denied the riight to import a distant TV signal and show those signals to local customers who could not otherwise get over the air TV service.
Later, the content industry tried to outlaw the rental of videos, music and software. The industry also tried to ban other new t…

Which Revenue Opportunity is Bigger for Mobile Service Providers: Entertainment Video or OTT Messaging?

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Will over the top messaging, or video entertainment, will be a more important revenue source for mobile service providers? And, to the extent revenue is earned, will it be a direct or indirect contributor?
Your answer likely would be different, based on which market is considered. Countries at immediate risk include the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Russia.
At moderate risk are Canada, the United States, Italy, Poland, Australia, Austria, France, and Hungary, according to analysts at McKinsey.
At low risk are most countries, where voice and text messaging remain staples, and where mobile data access adoption remains low, at least for the moment.
Conversely, markets where consumers have eagerly embraced social messaging, where smartphone adoption is high or text messaging tariffs are moderately high are most exposed.
Informa Telecoms & Media has predicted that mobile operators will generate a total of $722.7 billion in…

"Near Zero Pricing" for Voice is Not the Problem it Appeared to be, in 1993

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Perhaps for every problem there actually is a solution, though perhaps sometimes the answer is not what we might prefer, expect or want. Back around 1995, I ran into one of those problems.

The context was voice pricing trends. To make a long story short, the problem was a confluence of trends that all seemed to suggest voice revenues were headed south. The process of deregulation and privatization of former monopoly networks was one such early trend.
But in addition to competition, technology trends all suggested prices would drop. Among those trends: optical fiber, microwave transmission, Internet Protocol, client-server architectures, Moore’s Law and declining microprocessor and storage costs. I cannot recall whether I believed at the time that mobile communications would put pressure on voice pricing as well.
But in 1993 the United States had not yet passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which would for the first time allow multiple competitors into the fixed network local tele…