Telecom Timeout

A blog

February 9, 2010  12:53 PM

T-Mobile USA spin-off from DT could finance remaining 3G build out

Posted by: KateGerwig
3G wireless, AT&T, mergers & acquisitions, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless

The rumors are all over the place. T-Mobile USA may be pushed out of the cozy Deutsche Telekom nest to fund its own build-out with an IPO. Either that or a possible Sprint acquisition. That’s a big either/or. Everyone who’s anyone is talking…including The Wall Street Journal and Business Week (so you know we’re talking serious business story here). As brother-blogger Tom Nolle says, T-Mobile is a valuable property that’s beneffiting from smartphone madness.

The payoff would be for DT investors who have watched a stock downslide even as DT spent almost $3 billion in 2009 building out T-Mobile’s 3G network in the U.S. to keep customers from migrating to AT&T and Verizon Wireless – who are so busy dissing each other they never even mention T-Mobile.</p>

DT reported a loss of 77,000 U.S. mobile customers in Q3 2009, when the company said the T-Mobile USA network covered 167 million people. The goal is to reach 220-230 million when the expansion is done. And that must mean IPO to come up with the cold cash.

February 8, 2010  12:13 PM

Death knell rings for Supercomm?

Posted by: Jessica Scarpati
conferences, supercomm, Telecom, tia, ustelecom

Update: Ut-oh. Looks like the cat wasn’t supposed to be totally out of the bag. A TIA spokesman called back shortly after our original post went live to retract the interview offer with the organization’s president, saying TIA didn’t anticipate the media flood that followed the news and that it wanted a few days to clarify its message. I guess ‘we’re wasting our money’ wasn’t quite the message they wanted to convey?

This just landed in my inbox:


(WASHINGTON, DC/ARLINGTON, VA/NORWALK, CONN/BETHSEDA, MD; February 8, 2010) EXPOCOMM Events LLC has elected not to renew the contract to manage a SUPERCOMM event in 2010 after careful review and counsel with co-owning SUPERCOMM associations, TIA and USTelecom.

The SUPERCOMM co-owning associations have also decided against producing a SUPERCOMM event in 2010.

Waiting on a call back from Telecom Industry Association president Grant Seiffert, but a TIA spokesman Michael Snyder told me this:

“[Both organizations] decided to not to do the show this year because [running the show] would be a loss to the board… It would lose money.”

USTelecom and TIA each own 50% of EXPOCOMM. Snyder said TIA feels its funds “would be better suited to be used elsewhere.”

Although the news it surprising, it’s not a total shock. Was it the economy? Maybe. But most people I ran into at last year’s Supercomm (or those I spoke to who chose not to attend) said the show has gone downhill in recent years.

Take note of the wording — “shelved for 2010.” It implies that this is temporary, but we find that hard to believe. When a horse breaks its leg, it isn’t usually given painkillers and a cast–it’s euthanized. Sounds to us that these industry groups may be putting down Supercomm for good.

February 1, 2010  12:13 PM

Attention mobile shopping sites: Abandoned carts in the slow lane

Posted by: KateGerwig
e-commerce, mobile networks, network optimization, wireless

Internet users may be willing to wait 2 seconds for a page download if they want to buy something, but 34 seconds? Please! Don’t make us abandon our shopping carts!

So maybe mobile shopping isn’t ready for prime time. We’re not saying that, Keynote Competitive Research is, given the results of its 2009 in-depth holiday shopping seasons survey on the performance of leading mobile Web sites. Keynote measured 10 well-known sites (yes, that includes Amazon) from Nov. 18, 2009 through Jan. 4, 2010. In spite of being heavily optimized for mobile phones, even the best mobile sites take two to three times as long and have much higher error rates than non-mobile sites, Keynote’s study showed.

While mobile site optimization isn’t under the purview of wireless operators, the Keynote study also has information on which wireless carrier delivered the fastest page load times on average and which carrier network had the highest error rates, according to Keynote’s measurements. Its measurements were taken in New York and San Francisco using AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon wireless data connections. Wish we could give you the lowdown on carrier networks, but we didn’t pay the big bucks for the survey results.

January 26, 2010  4:29 PM

Last warning: Move to IPv6 now and no one gets hurt

Posted by: KateGerwig
Internet numbering, IP addresses, IPv4, IPv6

Attention please. An announcement by the Number Resource Organization is causing a flap around the Internet. The news flash? Less than 10% of IPv4 addresses remain unallocated, which means the long-discussed move to IPv6 really has to happen. Anyone who’s ever planned a network knows that overhead of less than 10% is a problem. But wait…have we not been discussing this for a gazillion years, or at least five?
Editorial comments aside, the NRO officially represents the five Regional Internet Registries that oversee Internet number resources. This came from the NRO:

This is a key milestone in the growth and development of the global Internet,” noted Axel Pawlik, Chairman of the NRO. “With less than 10 percent of the entire IPv4 address range still available for allocation to RIRs, it is vital that the Internet community take considered and determined action to ensure the global adoption of IPv6. The limited IPv4 addresses will not allow us enough resources to achieve the ambitions we all hold for global Internet access. The deployment of IPv6 is a key infrastructure development that will enable the network to support the billions of people and devices that will connect in the coming years,” added Pawlik.

So despite previous statements about the need to switch to IPv6, NRO reiterates that This is not a test. Repeat, this is not a test, For any carriers that haven’t made the change (and you know who you are), you know every new mobile phone needs an IP address, every laptop, every netbook…you get the idea. The countdown to IPv6 is serious this time. More about the NRO.

January 22, 2010  10:07 PM

LTE is coming! Wait, no it’s not. Oops, sorry, yes it is!

Posted by: Jessica Scarpati
4G, LTE, Verizon Wireless

fail Filed under: Weird Moments in Telecom PR.

Just at the tail end of 2009, a few editors here were sent the same pitch (from a PR agency that shall remain nameless) with an intriguing subject line: Briefing Request? Why LTE Won’t Happen This Year….

Aside from the fact that 1) the year was practically over, 2) forgiving what was perhaps a typo (“this” instead of “next”), AT&T and Verizon Wireless have each said they are planning for full deployment in 2013 (with maybe a small roll-out at the end of 2010 in some select markets), it intrigued us all the same.

We were offered a briefing with someone from Spirent Communications, a telecom testing lab, who “would like to give you a wireless telecom insiders’ view why despite their claims to the contrary, carriers will not be able to deploy LTE and 4G in 2010 as has been widely reported.”

Fast forward to Wednesday, and this arrived from Verizon Wireless:


BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Verizon Wireless announced today that the company has selected Spirent Communications as a provider of testing solutions for the certification of devices that will operate on the nationwide 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network that Verizon Wireless is building on the Upper 700 MHz C-Block spectrum.

Um, I wonder if they know how their vendor really feels…

January 16, 2010  1:36 AM

FCC brings down curtain on wireless mics, evicts Broadway from 700 Mhz block

Posted by: Jessica Scarpati
700mhz, FCC, LTE, wireless

Did you try doing a Google News search on net neutrality today? Like me, you probably ran into thousands of stories hemming and hawing over Google, telecom operators’ comments and net neutrality.

But then there was this from Bloomberg News:

Broadway theaters, churches and other users of wireless microphones were given five months to vacate U.S. airwaves that regulators say are needed for high- speed Web services planned by companies including AT&T Inc.

The Federal Communications Commission in a statement today set a June 12 deadline for wireless microphone users to switch to different signals. AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the two largest U.S. mobile-phone companies, won a 2008 auction for rights to the airwaves, which had been occupied by broadcast television and unlicensed microphone transmissions.

Those airwaves would be the coveted C block on the 700 Mhz spectrum band that Verizon Wireless and AT&T won in an FCC auction in 2008. Both operators have said they’ll use their prime real estate for LTE in their 4G networks.

On a day with a lot of nail biting over possible net neutrality regulations swinging against telcos’ favor, Verizon saw the silver lining and seized it:

“Verizon appreciates the Commission’s resolve to clear the 700 MHz spectrum,” said Kathleen Grillo, senior vice president for federal regulatory affairs, in a statement. “That spectrum is vitally important to the development of new broadband services that will bring tremendous benefits to the public including advanced communications services for first responders.”

New York’s theater trade group, Broadway League, told Bloomberg News it wasn’t thrilled but would comply — even though it may cost $100,000 for a theater to replace its wireless mics so they operate on another spectrum. The show must go on…

January 7, 2010  12:55 PM

Position yourself with the top 5 telecom trends for 2010

Posted by: KateGerwig
cloud-based services, equipment vendors, service layer architecture, telecom trends, wireless data

It’s a new year, and in my effort to start it off right, I need to speak some truths:

1. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, so I don’t have to feel bad about myself when I break them. I consider this a very evolved, non-superstitious position (or else I just have no willpower).
2. I read the last page of a novel to find out how the story ends.
3. On movies, I read spoiler reviews before I see the film. I have no problem with this.

Is is clear that I hate uncertainty? (Wow, am I in the wrong business.) Waiting for events to unfold makes me nuts. It’s no wonder I believe in the power of predictions. Whether or not they come true, just reading them can calm the inner anxiety beast.

And so for myself and for you, rings in 2010 with the top five telecom industry trends for 2010 from the venerable Tom Nolle, who sees a market transformation ahead due to commoditization pressure, wireless data services, vendor-supplied professional services, service layer architecture, and the merging of network and IT infrastructure into a common cloud.

As for me, I’m going to go reread the last page of Gone with the Wind for the 15th time and hope Rhett doesn’t leave this time.

December 31, 2009  1:42 AM

So long telecom 2009: Take the best, leave the rest

Posted by: KateGerwig
Telecom, telecom industry

New Year’s Eve…so easy to be nostalgic. In terms of reflecting on what to be grateful for, well, we survived telecom 2009. But having perspective on what in the world happened is another matter entirely. It’s easy to miss the big picture when you’re coping with the fast-pace of day-to-day events. (Even the bubbles in our champagne seem sluggish in the afterrmath of the worst of the recession.)

So if you want some company limping across the finish line of 2009 and figuring out what it all meant, we’re here to help with our annual crib-sheet — the 2009 telecom content you need to be on top of your game again by, um, tomorrow. And for those who appreciate a visual, we have pictures, too. Next year we’ll try to interpret telecom 2010 in modern dance, but for now, enjoy the show. And as an added bonus, track the top 10 telecom industry predictions for 2010 to see how many come to pass.

December 30, 2009  5:56 PM

Verizon Wireless cracks open door for LTE developers

Posted by: Jessica Scarpati
4G, LTE, Verizon, Verizon Wireless

Mark your calendars. Verizon Wireless will host a webcast on Jan. 20 at 11 a.m. ET to review updated specs, originally released in April, for developers building wireless devices and applications that will operate on its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network being built on the Upper 700MHz C-Block spectrum.

According to Verizon:

The updated specifications address network access and SMS requirements and data retry test plans, as well as include new information about lab and signaling conformance, the open development device approval and introduction process and more. These documents will help guide developers into the next phase of bringing their LTE devices to the Verizon Wireless network.

Verizon Wireless plans to launch its 4G LTE wireless network in 25 to 30 markets next year and cover virtually all of its current nationwide 3G footprint with the next-generation network by the end of 2013. The company’s 4G LTE network will ultimately connect a full range of electronics devices and machines.

December 18, 2009  5:36 PM

Huawei scores second Nordic 4G win; Ericsson says !@#$

Posted by: Jessica Scarpati
4G, Huawei, Wireless networks

How much you want to bet heads are rolling in Stockholm, now that Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei scored a second 4G contract win in Ericsson’s turf?

The story hit the wires earlier this morning in Europe: Tele2 of Sweden chose Huawei for its 4G rollout over Ericsson, just a few weeks after Huawei scored the 4G contract for Telenor of Norway. So much for home field advantage, huh?

According to Reuters, Tele2 and Telenor are sharing a joint 4G project to cut costs — all the more reason why their vendor choice isn’t too surprising, since Huawei is gaining credibility as a low-cost, premium quality vendor.

Carriers are expected to spend billions of euros over the coming years on fourth generation LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks to meet surging demand for mobile data traffic and provide services such mobile TV and gaming.

Due to the costs, many are seen opting to share networks adding to competitive pressure among telecoms gear suppliers already feeling the pinch from the economic downturn.

“Huawei is contributing high technical competence and cost effectiveness, both are key in our extensive investment in the build out of a nationwide 4G network,” Net4Mobility, the company jointly owned by Sweden’s Tele2 and Norway’s Telenor, said in a statement on Friday.

The Insider on’s wireless blog points out some whimpering from Ericsson:

Ericsson moved to issue a statement proclaiming its disappointment to have missed out on a deal with local customers. But, the firm said, it just couldn’t compete with the Chinese player on price.

“We are of course disappointed that we did not manage to reach an agreement with Net4Mobility, joint venture by Telenor and Tele2 in Sweden. We would very much liked to have delivered this LTE network in our home market.

In the negotiation process we went as low as we could in terms of price but it was not enough.”

It’s a foreboding sign for long-time top equipment vendors that they cannot compete with Huawei and ZTE on price.

Now, at least in the Nordic region, all eyes are on TeliaSonera, the region’s biggest wireless carrier, which unleashed the world’s first 4G network in Oslo and Stockholm. TeliaSonera tapped Ericsson and Huawei for the first phase, but now that they’ve found their footing, will TeliaSonera dump Ericsson entirely as it continues its 4G buildout?

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