HomeEditor's CommentsStill a nice idea

    Still a nice idea


    It was another LTE kind of a week. Described as Less Transforming than Expected by Arete Research in a note for the folks at Telco2.0, the technology is still driving investment, even if it’s not to the levels expected by Arete.

    Everything Everywhere said that the need to keep consolidating its 3G networks would lead it to spend £1.5 billion over the next three years on its network. The newly promoted Fotis Karonis, CTO, said that EE is committing “huge resources” to LTE. In any case, EE said its network investment would increased by a double digit number (shall we call it somwhere between 10 and 99%?) over what it spent during 2011 – where much of its investment was chucked Huawei’s way, as the company was given the job of integrating the 3G network.

    Now the carrier is addressing 250% growth in data volumes on its network, by investing in equipment that can be upgraded to LTE when required. That speaks to a Single RAN approach, with a macro-based turn-on of LTE when spectrum is available and licensed.

    What would be really interesting would be to see EE turn to its large amount of 1800 spectrum for LTE, following several operators across Europe who are also attracted by the proposition that 1800MHz offers. The chances of that happening, however, without it carrier giving something significant back in return, are small. But watch that space all the same.

    Also of interest, given the late launch date of UK LTE will be what happens with voice. At the moment, with LTE devices now looking ready to go in early 2012, many operators have done some serious thinking about what they will do to support SMS and voice services. Given that, it was interesting to see Ericsson state that it has deployed CSFB technology in several operators, who are now ready to go. This suggests that an increasing number of LTE devices are ready to go to market. In the UK, of course, where LTE is unlikely to see the light of day till deep into 2013, the situation may be rather different. Here, operators may be able to go to a full LTE implementation.

    Everything Everywhere, for one, is indicating that it wants to be ready to go with LTE as soon as possible. If it’s going to do that, then let’s see some voice support built in from the off as well.  

    SwissCom is ready to support rich tourists with LTE. It announced that those visiting Davos and St Moritz and other such down at heel venues will be offered a week’s LTE sub for a few Euro. Of course, they’ll need to buy an LTE dongle as well, but it looks like an interesting attempt to capture the inbound roaming market in a novel way. Instead of data roaming interconnect, IPX and all of that, Swisscom just punts out dongles and an all you can eat LTE tariff. Nice. But not so nice if you are the “home” operator.

    Here is another nice idea, a company offering a back up and synch service to operators. I feel like I’ve been writing this same paragraph for years now, but if you are working at an operator and you are not O2 and responsible for BlueBook, then please consider this. Online back up of contacts, content and messaging is your next opportunity. You get a customer “self-care” portal, you get an online “presence”, you get a “My Operator” space in someone’s digital lifestyle, you get regular incremental subs, or else you give it free and gain from the customer loyalty such a service would generate. It’s cloud, it could be social, it will make or save you money. Please, please, do it. Don’t make me write this paragraph again next year. It’s too painful.

    And while we’re talking about operators and content…oh look, Carrier IQ again. This week technical evaluations of what the software actually does, carried out by independent security researchers, reveal that the company “cannot” act as a keylogger.

    The UK has been treated to a succession of celebrities complaining in recent weeks that when they get an apology for a wrong story it is always buried away in the inside pages, whereas the original story that did all the damage was published in 84 point ALL CAP BOLD on the front page.

    Similarly, although the search engine-chasing tech blogs were quick to bedeck their sites with repeated accusations about Carrier IQ, they were much less quick to report the detailed analysis that showed that the software wasn’t designed to, like, totally invade your (barely existent) privacy.

    It was only when Eric Schmidt decided late in the week to call the software a “key logger” that the news engines cranked back up again. How odd. Of course, the real news here is that Google’s ex-ceo thinks that software to be found on many phones running Google’s Android OS does something it doesn’t – although that’s not how this was reported, of course.

    Sorry to have come back to this, but I think those voices urging caution last week have been validated. Let’s hope Carrier IQ now has both a future, and the number of a decent PR company.

    Keith Dyer
    Mobile Europe


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