Uncommon Wisdom


September 20, 2007  7:35 PM

AT&T chooses WiFi over fermtocell

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 20 2007: AT&T will be releasing a WiFi Blackberry, making two handsets the carrier now offers with WiFi/cellular dual functionality. This raises the ante in the WiFi versus femtocell war, putting AT&T clearly in the WiFi camp. The WiFi capability means that the phone will roam (via UMA) to home, business, or hotspot WiFi and it offers WEP/WPA encryption options as well. It seems pretty clear that the US market is moving toward a universal home/roam strategy, but whether it will be based on WiFi or femtocells may depend on Verizon. So far, we’re not seeing much in the way of CDMA femtocell approach, so it may be that Verizon will side with AT&T here.

Relevant Reading
newsfactor.com

September 20, 2007  7:30 PM

Comcast admits video loss to telcos

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 20 2007: Comcast management admits that both Verizon and AT&T are taking video customers from them, but questions whether the spend (for Verizon in particular) on video will earn a good return for shareholders. This thread of comment is a departure from the dismissive view Comcast has taken in the past. The reason is clear; both Verizon and AT&T are ramping up their services and have targets that could reduce Comcast profit significantly. One problem Comcast faces is that its internal rate of return, and thus its ROI expectations are higher than those of the telcos. Another problem is that losing customers in an established area means the profit from a given cable span is reduced for Comcast, making its service less financially attractive. The largest problem the telcos bring, though, is forced modernization by Comcast. There is no way to selectively upspeed cable plant; you have to make the change for the entire span. Any success by a telco in supporting any service that requires more bandwidth forces the cable companies to counter, and their counter forces them to invest, creating the very problem for Comcast that its executives speculate Verizon has–questionable return on capital.

Relevant Reading
MediaDaily News


September 19, 2007  7:26 PM

Intel chips to advance portable WiMAX

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 19 2007: Intel intends to put its stamp on mobility with a new set of chips designed for low-power mobile and portable devices. These chips will make it possible to build devices in the hot 4×6 screen size range that would function, from the perspective of content delivery and personal communications, as well as a laptop would. This is the development that Sprint, Clearwire and even AT&T are said to be waiting for in launching more aggressive portable WiMAX offerings. We are also hearing that Earthlink is interested in these developments as a means of advancing its municipal WiFi plans.

Relevant Reading
InternetNews


September 18, 2007  7:14 PM

Sea change ahead for policy networking

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 18 2007: Poilcy networking specialist Tazz is cutting staff and losing ground in the market, blaiming the steps on slow carrier buying. Since carrier capex is up in wireline, it’s clear this is not the cause. The truth is that Tazz has long ignored the reality of policy networking, focusing on an Internet-like vision of open peering and cooperation among operators that the operators have rejected for three years now. Tazz is not a member of the IPsphere Forum, for example, the body who is actually mediating the approaches for policy-based peering worldwide. This is a space that is going to see some profound changes in the next year as providers begin to adopt their long-term pan-provider and vertical content partnering strategies. We expect to see the broad outlines of this activity in France next week at the IPsphere meeting.

Relevant Reading
Light Reading


September 18, 2007  2:59 PM

Sprint to invest $5B in WiMAX

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 18 2007: Sprint expects to invest $5B in WiMAX, and support 125 cities by 2010. It is clear to most pundits at this point that Sprint is looking at WiMAX as its path to leadership in the wireless space rather than traditional cellular mobile. The move may spawn greater pressure on AT&T to counter Sprint’s interests in WiMAX since AT&T (with the BLS acquisition) has the other large block of WiMAX spectrum.

Relevant Reading
WARC News


September 17, 2007  7:12 PM

Sprint deploys first commercial fertocell

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 17 2007: Sprint today announced AIRAVE, the first commercial femtocell to be deployed according to the company. The unit, made by Samsung, routes calls over the broadband connection in the home, but unlike the iPhone or T-Mobile’s solution, Sprint’s uses the standard cellular frequencies by means of a very small limited-range femtocell that is connected in the home to the broadband wireline access connection. This is the beginning of a process we cited earlier; the industry is going to fight over whether WiFi or femtocells will be the winners for in-home support of wireless, and that will probably generate more interest in FMC. We note that the femtocell approach by Sprint, since it is a cellular virtual cell that in effect creates a separate roaming partner, will likely require some form of FMC support, whether IMS or UMA.

Relevant Reading
Sprint press release


September 17, 2007  7:01 PM

Wireless broadband needs portable media device

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 17 2007: ARM Holdings, best known for its patent suits, has been looking for a device that fits the profile of portable media device better than mobile phones or similar tools. Just what this kind of product will look like is still anyone’s guess, but we think this is important because it reflects the reality that portable media isn’t a handset application, nor is it likely a pure laptop application. The issue of what goes between these extremes thus may be the critical one for wireless broadband services and equipment.

Relevant Reading
EE Times


September 17, 2007  7:00 PM

Wireless broadband disillusionment

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 17 2007: A pair of broadband journalists have correctly identified the current state of wireless broadband as the “disillusionment” period that always follows unrealistic euphoria in our tech markets. The problem, we think, is that there has been too much tendency to pit wireless broadband against fixed wireless as a means of breaking the cable/MSO duopoly. There should never have been such an expectation in a market that says “content is king” because you can’t deliver personalized content or even broadcast full-def experiences via wireless, only experiences to small devices. That kills the “wireless beats wireline” paradigm. But we think that the assertion that mobile broadband is to broadband what mobile voice is to voice is equally off the target. Most fixed experiences can’t be made portable in the broadband world, so we have to “culturalize” new portable notions.

Relevant Reading
The Broadband Home


September 17, 2007  5:06 PM

Paetec/McLeod union drives business VoIP

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 17 2007: Paetec Holding Corp has bought McLeodUSA, a move that might create some turmoil in the business voice market. The new organization would be the largest non-RBOC provider of business voice, and some believe that it would then drive VoIP for business at a faster rate, forcing AT&T and Verizon to respond. Certainly there is a chance this will occur, but remember that McLeodUSA was a dot-com bubble firm who got into its current situation by being too optimistic about the rate at which the market can change.

Relevant Reading
“a href=”http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118998913931729276.html?mod=technology_main_whats_news”>Wall Street Journal


September 15, 2007  4:07 PM

Verizon Wireless takes FCC to court

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

September 15 2007: Verizon Wireless is taking the FCC’s open spectrum access requirements for the upcoming auction to court. The major wireless players have never liked the notion of open equipment and application support for wireless, and Verizon has decided to test its case. We’re hearing that even inside Verizon there’s not much hope assigned to the success of this move. Public policy pressure for open wireless is strong, and some in the carrier space feel that any attempt to block the current FCC plan may simply encourage Congress to do something far broader and, from the wireless incumbents’ perspective, worse. The courts have generally allowed the FCC a lot of latitude in this area, all the way up to the Supreme Court. It seems unlikely that the auction will be halted by an injunction, and if it is not the whole issue may be moot if a non-incumbent won the bid.

Relevant Reading
InternetNews


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