Kris Szaniawski

MWC: “It’s the network, stupid!”

If there is one broad theme that sums up this year’s Mobile World Congress for me it is the idea of ‘the network as asset’, and the perception that CSPs could and should be doing a great deal more to leverage this their prime asset.

Customer experience also figured highly in the briefings and presentations I attended, but by contrast with last year’s heavy CEM-software product focus, this year customer experience was discussed just as much in the context of network performance and the need to make more effective use of network intelligence.

Camille Mendler

Telcos and APIs: Got an Ology?

British Telecom TV ads of the ‘80s are fondly remembered. Their star, suburban housewife Beattie (geddit?), encouraged a nation to talk. In one famous ad, Beattie comforts her hapless grandson about his dismal exam results. Discovering he’s at least passed sociology, she exclaims: “You get an Ology, you’re a scientist!” Many telecom operators think the same about [...]

Pamela Clark-Dickson

One million users for SKT Joyn but is ‘free’ enough to tempt subs away from KakaoTalk?

Almost twelve months after Vodafone Spain became the first mobile operator to officially launch Joyn, South Korea’s SK Telecom has announced a fairly impressive one million users for its Joyn.T service, just 50 days after it was launched in December 2012.

Julian Jest

HTC hopes latest smartphone is the One to grow market share

HTC’s latest handset, the HTC One, is undoubtedly a striking device, with an industrial design rivaling any handset previously released by the Taiwanese company, and the current crop of high-end smartphones on the market.

Francesco Radicati

Vodafone’s Kabel Deutschland buy would remove DT’s leverage

In the eternal chess match that is the German telecoms market, Vodafone may be readying a move to take its king out of check, by buying cable player Kabel Deutschland (KDG). If press reports are accurate, and Vodafone really does buy up Germany’s largest cable provider, it could break out of the fixed-broadband stalemate it finds itself in currently while jumping far ahead of incumbent Deutsche Telekom in the increasingly important TV market.

Kris Szaniawski

Billion-dollar managed services deals shake up Indian market

Last week Indian operator Reliance Communications announced a $1bn eight-year managed services deal with Ericsson, transferring network operations and management to Ericsson in Northern and Western states of India.

This follows hot on the heels of a parallel $1bn eight-year managed services contract announced in January with Alcatel-Lucent, transferring network operations and management to Alcatel-Lucent in Southern and Eastern states of India.

Mike Hibberd

After sales, service

A while ago I was told by an executive from one of the big network equipment vendors that he had seen proof that a Chinese competitor was spoofing network performance in a competitive trial to try and win business. One conclusion can be drawn from this accusation, valid or not: Things are getting desperate in the infrastructure supply sector. Falsifying performance data would be a drastic act, after all—but then so would slandering the opposition.

Gareth Sims

Improved traffic distribution indicates that operators are managing assets more effectively

There are likely to be a few last-minute adjustments to slides before this year’s Mobile World Congress, given that the industry’s most popular traffic forecasts were downgraded. Last week, Cisco released its latest mobile data forecasts, which show a significant decline from previous estimates. The company has lowered its figures by more than 30 per cent in the period 2012-2016 compared with their figures published this time last year.

Matthew Reed

Microsoft’s Africa project highlights the continent’s importance to technology players

Microsoft’s new drive to target Africa – the 4Afrika initiative, as the software giant’s marketing people have styled it –
highlights the growing and deserved importance of the continent to global technology players.

James Middleton

Changing times: Oracle, Cisco move deeper into telco sector

If a clear indication was needed that IT and networking firms are looking to extend their reach beyond mere IP specialisation and get deeper into the telco vertical, it came this week when Acme Packet said it had agreed to be acquired by Oracle.

Dawinderpal Sahota

MWC: all about networking?

It’s that time of year again. The time that industry professionals know only too well, as we see our schedules for the final week in February rapidly running out of space – we’re all preparing ourselves for the exhausting experience that is Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Well, unless you work at Microsoft or RIM, it seems.

Dimitris Mavrakis

Is telco SDN the new IMS?

It feels like 2006 once again: vendors are creating fanciful and colourful presentations about SDN and operators are discussing about the need to move from silos to horizontal platforms and networks. In a way, almost the same story was told six years ago for IMS, but deployments were far smaller than expected. So is SDN following the footsteps of IMS?

Malik Saadi

BlackBerry Z10 is innovative but will users connect?

Sales above three million units of BlackBerry Z10 in the first three months on sale will send BlackBerry shares sky high, but anything below one million will not be well received by investors.

Julian Jest

UK retailers recommend Samsung products ahead of Apple

According to the latest research from Informa Telecoms & Media, sales staff at leading UK retailers are more likely to recommend a Samsung device ahead of an Apple one despite Apple’s widespread marketing and advertising campaigns.

Mike Hibberd

EE puts LTE in January sales

Last year, with a deft move that left its competitors fuming, Everything Everywhere became the first UK operator to offer LTE services. This week, as Ofcom’s LTE spectrum auction got underway, Everything Everywhere has become—rather less auspiciously—the first UK operator to slash its LTE retail charges.

Guillermo Escofet

UK banks show a clearer vision on mobile payments than the cellcos

Whilst UK mobile operators have yet to fully unveil their plans for a mobile wallet joint venture, dubbed Project Oscar (Weve), the UK’s Payments Council has been quietly working with leading banks and payment networks to roll out a nationwide mobile payments service next year in which the operators appear to have zero input.

Tony Brown

China’s green light for MVNO’s opens market for OTT giants

I was in a hotel bar in Hong Kong when I got one of my first major tipoffs as a budding telecoms journalist. It came from a well-lubricated telecoms-industry executive whom I never saw again.

“Look, I shouldn’t really be telling you this, but something big is about to happen in China,” he said. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Yes, sure,” I replied.

“Well, this really is top secret, but the deal is almost done so it can’t do much harm now,” he said. “Virgin Mobile is going to launch as an MVNO in Shanghai. Unbelievable, isn’t it?”

James Middleton

OPINION: Pulling power

The biggest external threat to operators today are the OTT players hooking consumers on devices, platforms and non-operator messaging apps. But as China looks to begin a two-year trial of multiple MVNOs, says James Middleton, local OTT players seem the most likely candidates. Could there be a lesson in here for operators elsewhere in the world?

Andy Castonguay

Godspeed next generation mobile networks, lots of speed

The annual circus that is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has become the most important mobile tech conference outside of Mobile World Congress and a fascinating lens into upcoming trends. With more than 150,000 attendees this year, the event continues to attract an international audience of impressive scope across mobile devices, applications, home media and all measure of things in between. While most of the major announcements focus on short-term product releases, some of the more fascinating details are those with longer term implications. This year’s CES provided a few gems with some truly interesting potential.

Dawinderpal Sahota

Should you Joyn the club?

The GSMA-backed rich communication service initiative Joyn has split opinion among the industry’s forecasters. Some are encouraged by the strides the service has made, whereas others believe this is too little a step taken too late. Nonetheless, Joyn now seems to be gaining momentum; in recent weeks, Spain’s big three operators have thrown their weight behind the cause as well as SK Telecom in South Korea.