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. Analysys.com 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.

MMO2 makes a profit

MMO2, who operate the mobile phone brand O2, announced a profit. Their revenue is up and subscriber spend is around 252ukp. They may possibly put a bid in for KPN, the Dutch operator, but I think that’s just hot air.

I’ve seen the UK subscriber figures and Orange is the largest mobile phone company in the UK, I’ll double check but that was a bit of shock considering how far behind it was.

Telco workers on strike

Close to 100,000 SBC employees plan show their displeasure with the trend of sending telco jobs overseas by going on strike this week.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) issued a statement today declaring that union employees at SBC in 13 states will boycott work from May 21 to May 25. In addition to the strike, CWA will put more muscle behind campaigns to shift customers from SBC to fellow union carrier AT&T. The union’s biggest gripe stems from “new growth jobs” in areas such as Internet data services, Wi-Fi hotspot installation and VoIP services being sent overseas. [via The Register]

Quick comment; management isn’t selling this too well to it’s staff. It’ll turn into a staff versus management dispute and there’s only one loser as the company will still be here in years.

Preperation

Just finished packing for a 2 day meeting in London, IBM Southbank, and I’m now ready for the 5.55am train from Chester to Euston tomorrow morning. The meeting is with other people from around EMEA doing the same role as me, PTSL leads, so should be interesting.

Interesting day to day though (but another long one 12 hours!), I came across a contract that talked about solar flares, which when I get more time I’ll look into why they were mentioned.

VPN’s, EVPN’s and IVPN’s

I got caught up in a discussion the other day about VPN’s and they by definition are encrypted. The person thought that there was only one type of VPN, an encrypted one. While the term VPN is becoming more common and is often brandished around, there are two uses of the term that I think are the important ones;

EVPN – This is a package VPN solution provided by Carries such as AT&T. Enhanced Virtual Private Network is actual a VPN provided over MPLS and isn’t encrypted. So it’s a virtual private network using MPLS over a carries network (Sonnet/SDH/ATM/Ethernet). If encryption is required then IPSec is required. So EVPN is basically a straightforward tunnel over a network using MPLS.

IVPN – This is Internet Protocol virtual private network, and this is an encrypted virtual private network. It’s the type of VPN that the person thought was the only one. It’s when a connection (tunnel) is made over the Internet using encryption to keep the traffic safe. It’s often set up between firewalls, but can be set-up between routers too.

The key here is EVPN’s are tunnels set-up across a carries own network, upon which it has a level of control, and is used to separate out all of its customer’s traffic. IVPN’s on the other hand, are tunnels across other people’s networks, where there is no control over where the traffic goes.