Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Apple's MVNO -fake/real?

Apple is in news even after slipping into the second best brand after google. Today, to my chagrin, I discovered an outlandish display on samsung cellphone called 'apple me' as it's MVNO plan. It had an i-tunes gift card crafted into the SIM kit. Everyone spat 'fake-fake'....i believe them...Do you? check this apple mobile on flickr

my comments in the end of the blogger page too:)

Monday, January 30, 2006

nokia's image flipflops!

just bought it yesterday - not sure if it was a great move. Cingular here sells it at a good rate, but the WAP (isn't that archaic?) based service is completely abominable-i think it is for teenagers-can u believe it has this long antenna and DJ feature to compose music - I mean what was nokia thinking??
It further alleviated my pain, when I read this review on GSMArena from the SMS capital of the world- Phillipines, ofcourse:(

Cell phone makers, you can't simply allure a customer with a fancy camera and MMS.

Friday, January 27, 2006

google mvno is already functional!!

with 'Google MVNO' in mind, wi-fi seems to me like a subset of this larger picture. Google logo on the handsets, google content, ads, google voice, google buying telco networks, infrastructure and agreements with service providers....isn't all this a part of their MVNO game?
Perhaps we are deluding ourselves, because they have already an MVNO functional!

So, euphemistically, their 'wi-fi network' will mint $$ (carved out from handset, telco and users) for wireless broadband on wifi handsets. Just that users also pay a monthly fee and additional handset charges, obviously, when telco is armtwisted by the handset vendor and when device makers themselves have a search engine squeezing out on functionality, brand equity and services. I remember Motorola became such a sucker for letting google engrave it's logo on the new handset.
Talking about Wi-fi again, it is less can't fully comepete with 3G or Wi-MAX. So I don't see it as more useful than a 3G handset-it is like oxygen and also covers all the multi-media and access needs and additionally, is loyal to the operators revenue strategy.God save telcos. This is surely a big issue for new MVNOs. Perhaps a good reason, why Google chose to plunge into the unknown telecom world that become a parasite for cellular operators.

Getting back to main topic, see what i read on skype wi-fi,......

A UK company that has created wireless hotspots in stations, coffee shops and hotels around the UK is planning to launch city-wide wi-fi this spring. The Cloud will bring wireless broadband to nine cities including London, Manchester and Birmingham. Hundreds of hotzones will be rolled out across the cities, giving access to the internet for anyone using a wi-fi enabled computer or mobile phone. More cities are expected to be announced during 2006.
"Providing ubiquitous wireless broadband access, over a network that is available to millions of wi-fi devices, and will be available to the new generation of wi-fi phones, gaming devices and other applications will have a major impact on the way people communicate, work and play in city centres," said George Polk, chief executive of The Cloud.

The hotzones will rival existing mobile phone networks. Around 25 mobile phone handsets currently have wi-fi chips installed. Pressing a button on the phone allows users to bypass their own mobile phone network to connect to the internet and make cheap broadband phone calls.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

3G/wi-fi 'swap' cellphones/laptops

Its happening! wi-fi migrates from laptops to mobiles and 3G does the opposite. This is quite a phenomenon in the telecom world!

3G and wi-fi duke it out in dominance? The battle, for sure, in olden days was strictly between TDMA and CDMA. Now telecom professionals are deluding themselves with wi-fi getting into the voice domain and being a part and parcel of telecommunications, or say, the 'GSM family'. Let us all agree for once that wi-fi, being more local/hot-spot oriented, is less ubiquitous than 3G. This standard is not only high speed, but facilitates universal mobillity and uses a totally different technology.
Cingluar launched wi-fi handsets and with google spent on hotspots in SFrancisco. But this only fulfils local needs. Having said that, hey, they still have a very focussed strategy and address both mobile and laptop users. They don't talk too much about it openly and I still am not sure if they will connect through mobile Google talk/SMS or Google Voice just like they did in IM. How? users with wi-fi handsets connect from google service to download geopositioned info in the city. Voice changes the equation, now that it is being coupled with wi-fi.

3G has had a not-so-bad-taste in the other continents fighting for a shift from 2.5G standard. The services were available after a few painful years and licensing/regulatory issues- it still has it's well-deserved brownie points in Europe. I will not deliberately bring up Japan, because that nation's telecom business is inimitable and, yes, a decade ahead of us! They were talking 4G three years ago, while their teens downloaded movies on handsets in less than a minute. Need more obscurity?? CDMA is proliferating in India after having over 50 million GSM users. They compete with GSM/3G operators, while Americans are starting in the reverse order.

Getting back to 3G/wi-fi and general wireless solutions. Our generous laptop-makers after having leveraged wi-fi chips in their laptops(intel) want to get into 3G and UMTS. Dell's announcement to embed Voda's HSDPA chips in thier laptops shows that they do think outside-the-box, especially when 3G is booming in Europe and Asia. Did they realize the US PC/laptop users contrast with European numbers? This ubiquity compared to wi-fi's hotspot-orientation will be fruitful 'back home' for Dell than in Europe, where handheld users beat out Americans:)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

google mvno

I can't wait to see google's MVNO rollout, which would make perfect sense for such a universal brand. ESPN awaits, Virgin tried, but google may conquer and so can Apple!

Some people on mkwireless have to say this. Interesting!

If "google mvno" is a bad idea, then ESPN or any other MVNO model is worse a) because their core business focus is not telecommunications, atleast not ESPN when compared to google launching wireless internet and google mobile. (i am using it already). The foundation of an MVNO is a great brand than their core business. If Walmart or Mcdonald's can think of it - why not google?

You got to have a perfect brand name, focussed customer base, great content(ads in case of google is a pure reveune model to leverage their gargantuan content business), compatible devices, radically different service idea, distribution and collaboration with of telcos.
Let me give you an example - Shell Mobile launched it's MVNO in the highly evolving telecom market in Hong Kong. They had a focussed target market 'the motorists in HK' and used GPS handsets.

The MVNO game is quintessentially a symbiotic relationship between these two entities and, telcos, even though possessive about their brands, need not be threatened by an MVNO. T-Mobile is not limiting itself to Virgin, it has sold bulk minutes to yahoo and plans the same for google. I can't see ESPN or Virgin thriving without agreements in place with an operator. They wouldn't stand 'Virtual' if they were MOs and not MVNOs:)

Monday, January 23, 2006

ubiquity in satellite-based telephony

Just check up mkwireless podcast about MSV (mobile satellite venture's) plans to roll-out sat telephony by 2009-2010 on this continent.

MSV's planned satellite telephony will surely make some ripples in the mobility world. It may make business sense to launch affordable handsets, however I strongly believe that dual-featured phones, which offers the customer to use 'a single phone' for any network standards- GSM or satellite systems or a combination of CDMA with satellite coverage*. A good example of this - Thuraya satellite systems. They not only address the coverage issue, but they enable mobile users over 210 countries (covers a gargantuan number of 2.3 bn people - phew!!) to switch to Satellite mode in their regular GSM handset without having to carry multiple phones. So, in other words, when they are out of their GSM coverage, the same handset connects to Thuraya's service. BTW, Boeing helped them launch this in 2000.
If MSV brings in big operators and mobile companies into this arrangement, life will be so much simpler for a Ohio-based farmer or a field-insurance agent in El-Paso.

*The mobility problem in this continent is that unlike ubiquitous GSM in the rest of the world, there are over three “largely incompatible” digital wireless technologies being used: GSM/GPRS, CDMA and iDEN. Then of course, to make matters worse, there is Wi-Max believed to compete with the rest and largely with 3G sibling under GSM family :)