Naked DSL

Recently it’s become clear and often quoted, that wireless is for voice, DSL is for Internet. The problem in the current market is if you want DSL you get voice too! But now Naked DSL is hitting the business market and I’m sure it won’t be too long before it hits the consumer market place.

My bet is it’ll be a tad more expensive. Yes, naked DSL without voice will cost more than DSL with voice. Why? you ask, because, when you pay for the voice part, some of the money goes to the maintenance, with naked there’s no voice revenue, so some money will need to be added to cover the maintenance costs. But it’ll be cheaper overall, as you don’t need to pay BT anything…oh music to my ears!

So the UK DSL consumer market place will be made up of people who need a fixed telephone line and DSL, paying either just BT, or BT and a.n.other (pipex, whoever!) and those people who use a mobile for all their voice calls and have naked DSL into their home/work place, a couple of steps closer to the always on, always contactable panacea. Whatever happens its even more competition which in turn should mean it’s better for the consumer.

Telecom giant may close UK 3G arm

HUTCHISON Whompoa is being forced to consider closing its British 3G mobile operation to shift resources to faster growing markets such as Israel, Eastern Europe, India and Hong Kong. The company is worried that it is spending billions of pounds developing a British network with little chance of recouping its investment. Hutchison is having to offer free handsets worth £405 and cheap tariffs in the UK to attract customers. Key investors NTT DoCoMo and KPN have already pulled out of the UK venture. [via the Scotsman]

This could spell disaster for the 3G market place in the UK. Surely, Orange and Vodafone are watching what’s going on and making their own business decisions based around this news. It was obvious the 3G had a lot to do to win customers over and as I’ve said before video isn’t the USP that’s going to bring in the customers in their droves.

The reason for the impending failure is that most UK mobile users are with one of the main five providers, and as 3 has come late to the party, it has had to spend big to try and win market share, a battle it isn’t winning based on the USP being video and handsets the size of bricks (sorry had to add the last part, but have you seen how big they are!)

The other providers may be ok, as they already have millions of subscribers and it should be easier for them to migrate users to 3G as they did when they migrated people from analogue to digital mobiles a few years back. But we’ll wait and see what impact this has on the market place. My question would be if 3 pulls out who’ll pick up the pieces?…my bet is they’ll sell the subscriber base and network to the highest bidder vodafone?) and cut their loses. Or the outside chance could be that they’ll sell to Virgin. Let’s wait and see.

The Orange Lab

I’ve just stumbled across this site ‘The Orange Lab‘ – “We have a number of prototypes available for you to try, rate and discuss*. Whilst we are unable to provide support for these prototypes, we do encourage you to share any experiences or problems in the discussion area for each prototype.

I tried the logo service and then realised it was for Nokia’s only..Doh!…I have a Sony Ericsson T610.

This is a great idea and it’s nicely keep out of the way of the main site, I guess they don’t want too many people playing with it.

Stat of the Week

From Yesterday’s online section of the Guardian, stat of the week; Virgin Mobile tops the JD Power customer satisfaction survey with a score of 738.

Virgin 738
Vodafone 719
Orange 715
Industry Average 711
O2 708
T-Mobile 680

Virgin has a considerable margin there, and it must be down to customer service and the package you get from Virgin. The reasoning behind this is that Virgin is a Virtual Network Operator (VNO) with T-Mobile providing the bandwidth. So both Virgin and T-Mobile use the same network, yet one scores way above average and the other way below. It looks like T-Mobile’s got some work to do, but I also remember that orange used to win this accolade year in year out, something’s are slipping there too.

Virtual Network Operators

Kevin Werbach has an interesting piece on how AT&T is hollowing itself out in an attempt to become what Kevin sees as the first 21st century phone company (telco ?), one that virtualizes and outsources everything.

Well Vanco has been a global virtual network operator since 1988. Vanco doesn’t own a network of it’s own, they effectively outsource the running of the network to whichever providor is the cheapest and provide a management wrap.

Vanco has to built some pretty good relationships to be able to deliver what it promises and it needs to use networks such AT&T’s. But I can’t see AT&T playing ball with people like Vanco and as Kevin has pointed out, it goes against AT&T’s own strategy and why would any telco get into bed with somebody that’s trying to become your competitor. Nexagent (started in 2000) is another company proving IP-VPN (I think that’s eVPN’s) on MPLS via it’s patented software over any Telco’s network.

Maybe Vanco has stolen a march on people like AT&T and BT. Both these companies Vanco and Nexagent are in the market where AT&T may be trying to go. Maybe they’ll win over the larger incumbents, as they don’t have to maintain a legacy network, who knows? but it’ll be interesting finding out.

Two VP’s in a week!

It’s been an interesting week during which I’ve managed to have a business related conversation with IBM’s VP for Networking in EMEA. The second VP is such a coincidence, on Wednesday I read in the FT about how PWWC was looking to buy part of a Chinese telco, then today I get an email form the VP of PWWC in Hong Kong.

A buyers Market?

I’m sure we’re seeing greater signs of competition in the Telecoms market and as a consequence it’s making the market a good place to be if you’re buying. Greater competition is coming in as the market is growing and Telcos and trying to win the business and competing hard to get it. All providers have targets and when the market place is healthy those targets grow, as a consequence prices are falling to insure the telcos get the business and grow their revenue and go on to win market share. has a similar angle but also talks about North America and the growth in the mobile market place, we know about that one, $8bn by 2008!

Mobile app Market to be worth $8bn by 2008

The Register says “that this is because there will be several important factors driving revenue to such an extent that by 2008, the mobile consumer applications market will be worth just under $8bn in Western Europe.”

That’s a pretty big market and they believe that will be made up of ring tones, gaming, video, and music. That’s either an awful lot of ring tones or one of those applications has got to hit it big time. Ring tones are currently a success with one provider announcing a profit yesterday. I think gaming will be the next thing, as people have already accepted games onto the phones and play them in their spare time. Video and music are going to struggle; to either play them via streaming, or download them will require faster network speeds.

Even if you could get the right quality to either watch a film, or listen to a streaming album then it’d cost you a fortune. For example an album shrunk to the lowest MP3 compression rate takes up about 20mb. Lets say you listened to a new album each week, you’d be downloading 80-100mb per month. Current GPRS bundles are around 8ukp for 8mb, so it’d cost you 16ukp + to download an album at it’s lowest quality. I don’t think it would fly.

Now if operators teamed up with record labels and cut a deal where by there was a flat charge and the income from that was split between the record company and the provider you may be looking at an interesting situation. But the record industry aren’t exactly biting off ISP’s hands right now, sorry they are but for the wrong reasons.

Moving from network provision to the devices themselves, I still think the killer device will be a bluetooth enabled phone, or smart phone if you like, that stores your music either on the internal memory or a card (SD, memory stick whatever). You then have all your music systems bluetooth enabled to interact with your phone (ie one place!). First let’s take your car, you simply connect your phone to your car and MP3’s start streaming through your speakers, a call comes in, music is muted and you take the call. The same at home, you place your phone down by your hi fi and it starts streaming your music over the speakers, phone rings, so does the speakers, you hear it from around the house…cool.

Downloading and ripping music will happen for a long time yet on a PC or media centre and squirting it to which ever device via firewire will always be quicker than downloading via a network (no congestion with routers throttling back etc). How the device then interacts with other devices is the interesting part.