Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Google free WiFi in their city

It happened again - swiftly and without much digs "After a beta period chock-full of Skype use among the nerd-elite, Google has finally opened up their free WiFi network t o the 72,000 residents of Mountain View, CA. Speculation still abounds in regards to Google's eventual plans for world domination via municipal WiFi, but for now they claim their main reasons are to inspire other network providers, and so they can work on interoperability with WiFi devices. Google is a bit ahead of schedule with the network, which cost them $1 million to build, and covers 12 square miles with 380 light pole-mounted transceivers. Bandwidth tops out at 1 megabit per second, and Google is prepped to add more capacity if Mountain View types end up being heavy Google Video users. Google says their early launch was spurred by the positive feedback they received during the beta, and that they've been inundated with requests to join. There's no telling yet how Google's Mountain View network will compare to the relatively massive Google/Earthlink plans in San Francisco, especially since they're probably hoping to make a bit of cash back on the latter, but for now Google is at least requiring a Google ID to join the party in their hometown of Mountain View."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Google's wifi phone service - what is the bigger picture?

And all our prophecies fall in place!

Google announced it's partnership with Nokia for wi-fi phone service. A threat to cellular service, as we'd predicted last year, will leverage VoIP for making cheap calls using Google Talk (VoIM).

We will have to wait till end of this year for the rollout.

I have some concern about the limitations. An initial service using nokia's tablet costing $360 will be only accessible between users of Google Talk on either end. A user based in SF area needs a wi-fi hotspot and atleast one device in the communication channel.

Secondly, as a connected consumer, I have to use another GSM phone either locally (without hotspots or non-wifi phone end users), or, if trotting outside SF. And, what about the impending WiMax technoglogy or even HSPA that will conquer most of the wifi issues? The mobile operators will likely address ubiquity and device/billing management issues.

Consumers are sick of carrying multiple phones and paying the hefty amounts for phone calls. Although, convergence was sought in UMA phones, nothing much is being said or done about it. There are issues about connectivity and telco's egotistical views. Why would anyone surpass their infrastructure they build painstakinly over years. Though most of them succumbed to MVNO and VoIP deals worldwide(eg. Hutch's deal with skype in Europe was openly chided by other telcos). Having said that, wonder why Nokia didn't use UMA technology for addressing the bigger picture or are they saving it a for another experiment?

Skype which is already tasting success in UK, for example, is also planning a similar service somtime later in the US.

Amidst all these developments, a community wi-fi with astronomical speed of 600kbps was recently unveiled in Austin, Texas. Now, don't we need wi-fi phone service to complement this resource?

Skype, want to give it a try?

Friday, May 12, 2006

wireless this week

"The US National Security Agency was forced to confess that it had been trying to log every telephone call in the United States, creating the biggest database in world history with the assistance of AT&T, Verizon, MCI, Sprint-Nextel and essentially everyone else but without getting a warrant. Whether or not this was actually illegal, as opposed to merely terrifying, remains to be seen.

But those concerned that the spooks are eavesdropping on them do have an option short of retiring to a bunker in the woods with a machine gun and five years' stock of biscuits. They can cancel their current service and take their trade to Qwest Communications or T-Mobile USA, both of whom refused to turn in their customers without a warrant.

T-Mobile's UK division, meanwhile, was trying its best to prevent any outbreak of public sympathy that the affair might have triggered. This week, the carrier announced its HSDPA datacards were going on sale, for £58 plus £40 a month for unlimited data service and access to T-Mobile WLAN hotspots. It sounds a cracking deal, but sadly, no! The carrier is threatening to cut off anyone caught using VoIP, supposedly because it is concerned that the VoIP will not be good enough. "It's not yet of a consistent or high enough level of quality to offer a good customer experience on the T-Mobile network," said a minion.

That's right, it's all for your own good and NOTHING WHATEVER to do with dishing the competition. Funny, then, that competitor 3UK is actively encouraging mobile Skype, and that when T-Mobile itself switched on its OFDM-FLASH whizzynet in Slovakia senior execs promised there would be no port-blocking.

O2 was faced with that prospect this week, as its contract to supply 3 with the GPRS stepdown from their 3G network was not renewed. Under the national roaming contract, when a 3 subscriber stepped out of UMTS coverage, their gadget would move "seamlessly" onto the O2 network. It brought in a reliable £100m a year, but now Orange is to latch onto it after outbidding O2 in an auction (presumably a Dutch auction, but you never know). Orange has 99 per cent population coverage in the UK, compared to some 88 per cent for 3, so it's clear there's money in it.

O2 that was begat of BT is planning to get a fixed-line service. And, forsooth, BT is speaking of mobiles.But whatever O2 does about it, strange to tell, its traffic will be travelling over the same copper wires that once belonged to O2 in the days of BT Cellnet and now belong to BT."

More money of spectrum is in the works.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

global convergence

Analogy for 'ww paralysis' is lack of globalization. Be global or get wiped out.

Is there any better way to operate than connect with 6 billion minds at any one point of time? Is it the www, a glocal mindset, convergence or is it just me??

It is all of the above..YES, next couple of decades see officeless organizations ---- one economy, hundred billion men and a single device! No, not a computer/TV/mobile...something fresh. Let the minds think....

g' night and goo(d) glo...

cross-border mobility

When 60 minds from a headcount of 6 billion formulate a message to mobilise economies and propagate globalization, the end product is.....6 billion minds!

.....I need a copy now.

Monday, February 20, 2006

hutch catapults skype!

While UMTS providers continue to offer their wireless internet service over smartphones, VoIP provider (skype) has already carved it's little space for cheap broadband calls. The high-speed 3G networks realize this with an open-mind and opt for a symbiotic existence, just like how operators acquiesce to the MVNO's segmented markets.
Hutchison's '3' announced partnership with Skype recently. Although controversial for several operators (such as Vodafone, who owns even powerful high-speed HSPA network), this ready-to-cannibalize-mobile-plan offers a new streak for integrating VoIP over 3G network.

and what were those UMA providers talking about last week - end of VoIP??

I got to make a choice now - 3G phone(with VoIP), UMA phone, a wi-fi handset or plain CDMA?

Monday, February 13, 2006

stay tuned GSMers

(source - 3GSM Congress)
The first day at 3GSM saw it's first day today. Due to failing communications channel on the first day (as reported by Rueters), the news flash was limited to a few events - HSDPA developments, MS's venture with Voda that threatens Blackberry's push e-mail, VoIP dominant strategies et cetera.
More news and announcements to be made this week by the biggest and hottest mobile companies. I can't get much of it on telecoms site or even technorati.

The next 3 days will also include the conspicuous operator issues, MVNOs and dual mode 3G/Wi-fi handsets - This should help the impending 50 MVNOs in Americas and atleast the VoIP companies who have such mobility plans. It interests me how the competing platforms that I talked about earlier are now collaborating. And also, how 3G migrates successfully to upgrades with HSPA that most infrastructure vendors claim is ready for installations.
Wonder how HSDPA has taken a front seat compared to the other sibling w-CDMA that got dumped today by Chinese. Its' superiority is displayed with the HEDGE-compatible phones/powerbooks that were announced last month. (4G>HEDGE>HSDPA>EDGE>3G> 2.5G)

Performance + Speed + Quality = Instant Adoption!

It still raises questions how the networks will perform, price, handset issues, battery life, cross-service discounts, rate plans and bill accuracy. Nonetheless, cornucopia of data, mobile internet, video and m-VoIP attract a giant pool of enthusiasts.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

3GSM kickstarts in Spain

It is a cold morning at 9am in Barcelona. The exhibitors are awaiting visitors in their perfect backdrop displays, high-tech gadgets and immaculately dressed representatives. (um....nostalgic:)
3GSM Congress begins right now in Barcelona.... 50K people this year and over 900 companies in telecommunications world. The hot topics are handsets, MVNOs and migration to 4G. There is a lot to be explored and spoken about in this year.

I subscribed to alerts from Informa group today, until I discovered Helio and Xero!! These two new MVNOs were launched in less than a week's difference, one of which is XERO Mobile in LA. It has raised $300mn from European investors. Now, we are talking...