Leaving Las Vegas

All eyes were on the US of A this week as 2014 began in earnest with annual gadget fest CES. The consumer show is famed for transforming Las Vegas into a futuristic wonderland, but this year wasn’t just about robot butlers and TV screens that are larger than your living room; the nation’s operators also used the show as a platform to announce new initiatives, stirring controversy in the process.

Ice, ice, Baby

Just after last week’s edition of AWIW went to press it emerged that the mystery winner of the recent Norwegian spectrum auction was in fact the company behind the market’s specialist operator Ice.net, Access Industries. Ice.net has thus far focused on M2M as well as fixed wireless data solutions in the rural areas of Norway, preferring to leave the traditional operators to fight for the right to party in the towns and cities.

Brazil nuts

Brazilian operators are missing out on revenues totalling R$40bn because they are not satisfying the coverage requirements of customers. And it is claimed that the prime reason they are not satisfying those coverage requirements is because the government is making it prohibitively difficult for them to do so. Yet the regulator has warned operators that if they do not begin satisfying customers, it will fine them and take their spectrum licences away. That must feel like a right kick in the Brazil nuts.

To baldly go…

The Informer was in Tokyo recently. While there he paid a visit to Sony HQ in the hope that he might get a glimpse of the future in some of the tech on display. Regrettably he didn’t see anything that wasn’t already public domain – not even the PS4. At least, not that he was aware of. This week the Informer realised that the very latest in wearable tech might have been hidden in plain sight the whole time, because Sony has applied for a patent related to a Smart Wig.

Big exit

The end of the year is fast approaching and the world is full of people who have just about had enough. Some are choosing to make their own exit, looking for greener pastures in the New Year, while others are having the door help open for them by judgmental colleagues, investors or even the government.

Popularity contest

On Wednesday this week Nokia announced with pride that it had amassed one million Twitter followers. This, according to Twitter Counter, makes it the 1,373rd most popular account on Twitter. Is it a good thing to have lots of followers on Twitter? Is this something that Nokia should be celebrating? One interpreration of the news is that there are a lot of people out there indulging in post-purchase rationalisation, joining the tribe in a bid to convince themselves of the merit of a decision they’ve already made. This theory might be supported by the fact that Blackberry has 3.6 million Twitter followers.

Clown cars, gold mines and Happy Meals

There’s plenty of stuff in this world the Informer doesn’t understand and how companies that make no money can rake it in from a stock market floatation is one of them. The Twitter founders buzzed the bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday and released 70 million shares to the frenzied masses. Despite opening at $26, the market closed at almost $45, with the company reflecting a market value of more than $31bn. The company’s valuation ahead of the IPO was closer to $17bn.

It’s outrageous!

It’s a bit of a Daily Mail headline but it captures the sentiment expressed by web giant Google this week after the emergence of a ‘top secret Post-it note’ suggesting the NSA hacked the data links between Google’s private cloud and the public internet in order to access Google-hosted information.

Bitter pills and bellyaches

At Broadband World Forum this week, Ericsson CEO Ulf Ewaldsson predicted – not for the first time, and probably not for the last – that spectrum will one day be more scarce a resource than oil. Perhaps this is why Telekom Austria was prepared to drop more than a billion Euros to stockpile half of [...]

Check Mate

Once a conservative manufacturer of raincoats, UK fashion house Burberry decided a few years ago to push for a bit of brand diversity, bringing to market a range of clothes and goods featuring its trademark chequered pattern.

Hip(CEO)s don’t lie

For an industry run for the most part by grey-suited conservatives, it’s curious that the mobile sector never ceases to tire of attempts to hitch itself to trendy bandwagons driven by even trendier bands. What’s more curious however is that none of those collaborations in recent memory (the Informer’s memory hasn’t been that great since the last days of the Grateful Dead however) have amounted to much.

Virtual presence

One of the unintended consequences of an industry news site like Telecoms.com is its discovery by consumers desperate to vent their frustration at the poor quality service they’ve received from operators. Stories that mention operator CEOs, of which there are many on Telecoms.com—and in particular interviews or profiles of these execs—are sought out by overwrought consumers who post comments about their grievances.

Behind every great man…

The Nokia Microsoft drama went a bit Game of Thrones this week (thankfully without the gratuitous nudity) as accusations of back-room treachery came thick and fast.

Stephen Elop was cast as the villain of the piece, amid suggestions that the sale to Microsoft—and events between that sale and Elop’s arrival at Nokia—were part of a sophisticated, pre-conceived intrigue that has delivered Elop a rich personal reward. And when calls subsequently came for Elop to accept a lesser payoff for overseeing the sale, he reportedly claimed he needed the money to pay for his divorce.

Floppy disks, car phones and beepers

Remember having to hang up the land line to use the internet? Or before that, when hours of entertainment could be derived from a simple game of Pong? Typewriters, fax machines, floppy disks, car phones and beepers were all the rage at some point in time. The Informer, like Pepperidge Farm, remembers.

Under the thumb

The moment she discovered she was pregnant, Mrs The Informer downloaded an app for her iPhone that gave her regular and constant updates on the development of the little clump of cells that would, some 18 months after his arrival, smash the screen of that iPhone, and that of its replacement, and then drop the second substitute into the toilet.

Back to school deals

There’s nothing like easing back into work after your summer holidays, is there? Whatever plans the Informer had for a gentle return were shattered by two of the biggest M&A announcements we’ve seen for some time. Neither depended on the element of surprise for their impact, though, as both had been much anticipated.

Still hungry

The Informer was once told that if you owe the bank £1,000 it’s your problem, but if you owe the bank £100,000 then it’s the bank’s problem. If this is true then Telefónica, which owes in excess of €48bn, surely can’t have a care in the world. Certainly the firm is not about to let the level of debt it’s carrying stop it spending.

Six degrees of separation

It often feels as though the world is getting smaller – a side effect of the increasing density of human networks. The Informer is sure you’ve heard of a popular theory that most people in the world are connected to each other, and Kevin Bacon, by no more than six steps.

Data with Destiny

Bang! Bang! Twelve policemen carrying a huge battering ram barge down the doors. The lead investigator strides in wearing a long beige overcoat –like the one Columbo wears, waving his police badge, declaring: “This is a raid.”

Some of the workers try to flee, but it’s futile – armed officers have the entire premises surrounded. The detective confronts the baddie, and utters a cheesy action movie phrase – something along the lines of: “Today, is your data with destiny.”

Drifting off

Cannes, February 2005; remember that? 3GSM World Congress visited the Côte d’Azur for the last time and Siemens decided to mark the end of an era by hiring a Greek passenger ferry and mooring it out in the bay. An enormous Siemens logo painted on the flanks of the ship gave the firm great brand exposure but the experiment was not wholly successful.

@telecoms