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    Mister ten per cent…
    Speaking at the recent CTIA conference in Las Vegas, Verizon ceo Denny Strigl said that his operator was moving ahead on all fronts. He had gone through the billing and back office integration issues many of his competitors had not. Using 1x Ev-Do gave him a technical advantage that would only be emphasised by implementing RevA and RevB releases of the technology, keeping the carrier a step ahead of those on the 3GPP migration path through HSDPA and HSUPA. Music, its Vcast service, was a real hit with users, and the operator is also definitely going to  sign up with Qualcomm for its MediaFLO mobile TV service.

    Yet, in stark opposition to this brave new world was the fact that the proportion of the operator’s revenues currently accounted for by data usage was 10%. Yikes — 10%, that’s less than pretty much every European operator, including your cut-price MVNOs. It’s half the more go-ahead operators. Granted, US operators are working with customers still just about resisting the massive addiction us Europeans have to the SMS. And most European operators won’t break out their messaging revenues from their other data service revenues, which probably speaks volumes. But even so, 10% — that’s an awful lot of music downloads to make up for what are bound to be, in the face of VoIP over free WLAN access, declining voice revenues. Perhaps Vodafone should take the money after all…

    Alcatel and Lucent?
    Regarding the above merger, can we just throw in another quote from our friend from above, Mr Denny Strigl. “We are delighted with the acquisition because we were getting a little concerned over the viability of some of our vendors,” he said. “We have invested heavily in Lucent and so anything that secures their future is welcome.”
    Blimey, we hadn’t realised it was that bad. Sure the numbers were no good at Lucent, but questioning their very viability? It makes you wonder nasty surprises other equipment vendors out there who have been talking a good game but delivering little may have for us. In America especially it seems a given that vendor consolidation will have to follow operator consolidation. Over here, can we support Ericsson, Nokia, Siemens, Alcatel/ Lucent, Motorola, Nortel, Huawei and ZTE? A further warning signal came at the 21CN conference in London from the chap at BT in charge of implementing IMS. IMS purchases, he said, were not really that big a ticket. The associated challenges are greater, but spending on core IMS compliant equipment and servers is not going to be that larger. Which will have come as a kick in the balance sheets to all the many companies that have been fuelling the “IMS the next big ticket” hype. So next time you are being given the big IMS push, ask innocently how much investment will truly be made. After all, the man at BT doesn’t think it’s so big.

    Welcome to our Russian readers
    If you have picked up a copy of Mobile Europe at Svyaz Expo and are reading this — welcome to our magazine. We’re not seeking to tell you more than you undoubtedly already know about your own market, but felt the time was right for a connection with Mobile Europe, which has always carried a balance of news and articles covering the entire continent’s mobile markets. There’s no doubt that investors view Russia as a great current opportunity, and also see the opportunity to leapfrog right to the latest and best technology (see Celltick news story, page 8). The high profile issues of ownership involving Alpha Group and Telenor (page 7) shouldn’t obscure what is a vital market for European hardware and software vendors, or put off all interested in the transformative power of mobile telecommunications. There’s also a lot happening in the rest of Europe that we thought readers in Russia would be interested in hearing about. If you would like to continue to do so you can reach us at www.mobileeurope.co.uk