What a difference 70 years makes

Telecoms is an industry so fast-moving that even reflecting back on how things were a decade ago evokes sepia-tinged images of people from the past walking unnervingly fast to the soundtrack of frantic piano. “I remember when the point of mobile phones was to make phone calls,” sneer parents everywhere to their digitally native children.

An Apple a day don’t keep the Dr away

“Get rich or die tryin’,” is the motto coined by rapper Curtis “50 (“fiddy”) Cent” Jackson and subsequently linked to rap culture worldwide. This week another famous rapper and producer, Dr Dre, became the richest of the rich – to the tune of $3bn – and is still very much alive.

A strange sense of familiarity

There is a stereoptypical portait of the London taxi driver as a bubbling cauldron of anger and resentment, white-knuckled hands clenching the steering wheel, scowl alternating between the road in front of him and the passenger in the rear view—a passenger now cast as an audience of one to a spittle-lipped tirade about how UKIP’s immigration policy is too liberal. Many cab drivers would take issue with such a narrow-minded portrait, which is ironic, as nobody loves a bigoted stereoptype like a London cabbie.

Forget me not

The Informer this week found himself having several conversations about mobile dating app Tinder, a kind of local-lonely-hearts that has claimed something of a reputation for facilitating casual trysts lasting no longer than a Vine video. In a world where consumption of everything has become so rapid fire, it stands to reason that relationships would eventually fall under the hammer of transience. Figuratively spun up and spun down after the required time period like so many virtual machines, waiting to fulfil their as-a-service destiny.

Fantastic 5

Poor old Mobistar. The Belgian operator was probably bristling with pride this week after becoming the first in its market to complete a test of LTE Advanced technology. In partnership with Huawei it aggregated 1800MHz and 800MHz spectrum to drive throughput of more than 200Mbps. The firm’s chief network officer heralded “the future of high-speed mobile” upon the trial’s completion.

Crowded house

As the Informer was routinely deleting his morning email today he overheard one of his colleagues exclaim that they had just downloaded “a really great album of Crowded House covers.” Now the Informer is not normally one to judge but that’s a sentence he never expected to hear. The only real exposure the Informer has had to the Aussie chart toppers is those two songs that everybody knows and that was only because an ex-housemate, who had the worst music taste in the world, had a big crush on them.

Arachnophobia

The Informer once spent a month in Costa Rica. What a beautiful place it is; spectacular jungles, intricate river networks, active volcanoes, perfect, deserted beaches. Admittedly the presence of MASSIVE spiders everywhere made for a holiday that wasn’t unequivocally relaxing. More than once the sights and sounds of the Informer high-stepping at full tilt like an NFL wide receiver, while shrieking like a B-movie scream-queen, disturbed the tranquility of the forest.

Off the clock

The Informer has often thought that it would be fun to work in France. He is full of admiration for the two-hour lunch; the 35 hour working week and the Gallic shrug. Well the country has gone one better this week, bringing in rules to protect employees from being disturbed by work email when outside of office hours.

The heat is on

Just eleven days into his role as CEO, Brendan Eich looks like he is waving goodbye to the company he co-founded 15 years ago. Eich, best known for developing the Javascript programming language has resigned from his post as CEO of Mozilla Corporation as well as leaving the board of the non-profit organisation which owns Mozilla Corp over an equality row.

Right before your eyes

Social media darling Facebook this week had an eye on the future as it announced the acquisition of virtual reality technology provider Oculus for a hefty $2bn.  CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that the decision to acquire Oculus was made to place the firm in a commanding position for the future, as it expects immersive virtual [...]

It’s an Out(r)age!

It’s a funny old world, isn’t it. One minute you’re riding high as the Best Network in the UK and the next you’re sending sheepish text messages to your customers, apologising for a 13-hour service outage. That’s been the story this week for UK operator EE, whose network fell over on Wednesday evening, less than a week after it issued a press release proclaiming its status as the number one mobile network in the market.

Ups and downs

Of the three mobile operators that had been operational in Uzbekistan over the past few years, one has now had its spectrum licence revoked and the other two are facing criminal investigations. On Wednesday, European operator group VimpelCom announced that it had received a letter from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) informing the operator that is conducting an investigation into the NASDAQ-listed group. Its headquarters in Amsterdam were also visited by Dutch authorities, including the Dutch public prosecutor office, who told VimpelCom it is the subject of a criminal investigation. The operator said that the investigations appear to be focused on its business in Uzbekistan.

No such thing as a free lunch

A reclusive, 64 year old Japanese man was chased from his California home this week by rabid reporters, after a Newsweek article outed him as the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of the Bitcoin protocol. The chase ended at a nearby sushi restaurant, where Nakamoto denied having anything to do with Bitcoin and just “wanted his free lunch”.

Another one bites the dust

For all the industry’s current focus on virtualization there are some things, it would seem, that you still have to do in the realms of the physical world. One of these, according to more than 85,000 industry folk, at least, is Mobile World Congress. This was the attendance figure published by GSMA at the end of the show and it’s an awful lot of bodies.

Be careful what you wish for

On Monday, Mark Zuckerberg will stand in front of the operator community that has fought to stem the negative impact of OTT messaging services on their revenue. And he will deliver a keynote just hours after whacking a staggering $16bn (rising to $19bn) on the table for one of the world’s most popular OTT messaging services, WhatsApp. The Informer would not be surprised if his keynote was a simple: “Take that, suckers.”

All you need is love

That’s what John Lennon said, at least. The Informer’s not sure Lennon is an entirely reliable source, however. After all, this was a millionaire who entreated us all to imagine no possessions. And let’s not forget that he also claimed on at least one occasion to be a walrus. The Informer thought of Lennon when he saw the news that Vodafone was attempting, in this most romantic of weeks, to woo Ono; the Spanish cable and TV provider.

The Ken Burns effect

Facebook turned ten in early February and, like all ten year olds, it is prone to over sharing. The Informer has long lurked on Facebook, a silent voyeur struck by an often morbid curiosity to click on the banal and fatuous items in his newsfeed. And if your newsfeed looked anything like the Informer’s in early February, it was chock full of people sharing their ‘life story’—Facebook’s gift to the world after a ten-year social bender.

Sowing seeds of distrust

Germany’s opposition to security agency eavesdropping was in the news again this week, with Deutsche Telekom outlining the opportunity to liberate citizens being monitored by national spy agencies and encouraging European operators to focus on providing data security and data privacy.

Do you see what I see?

Google Glass has been in the news this week. A cinema goer in the US was dragged out of a screening of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (which sounds like a blessed relief to the Informer) after theatre managers called the five-O in fear that he was using his Google Glass to record the film. It became clear, after the police had been through the contents of his glasses, that he wasn’t recording it and, in an amusing twist, he was given some cinema vouchers by way of apology.

The price of freedom

The big news this week came Tuesday and Wednesday, with the mass hysteria that followed the decision by the US Court of Appeals to “kill off net neutrality”.

@telecoms