Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Should operators own content?

Should operators take a more vertical position and own content rights to TV for example to attract subscribers? There are several religions in the market about this. BT in the UK is going this way and ended up with resistance from Sky, and now France Telecom might be backing out.

... and the unlimited story continues

After my latest post about how AT&T and UK mobile operators have changed from the flat fee unlimited tariff model to segmenting users into plans with caps on the usage of data volume, France Telecom has apparently gathered enough courage to sail by the new winds of change, and have announced that the current unlimited plans are unsustainable. This looks to be a clear trend that other market should get prepared to deal with also.

Brazilian operators are estimating that by 2014 the mobile data volumes will be twenty-fold compared to the current level, and as revenue is now likely to follow that trend, either the price erosion on transmission and access technology sould yield equal decline, or the cost for data transmisson will rise.

So to keep the moster on a leash, operators are now taking the step into controlling the data volume with the pricing and segmenting tool. As mentioned in earlier posts this will also ease the Net Neutrality discussion, as operators will now get a charging model for large data volumes resulting from data hungry Internet applications as Youtube and others. Extreme cases showing that data volumes can really go thought the roof was examplified by the Norwegian State Broadcaster, NRK, how offered an nearly 8 hour train trip from Bergen to Olso recorded in HD as a BitTorrent download of 246 gigabytes! Even your HSPA+ wireless broadband modem will have a hardtime with this. The claimes are the tens of thousands of users have done the download.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Smartphones lay mobile network down at festival

Just to underline the importance for Mobile operators to plan for large events:

The Danish yearly Rock festival "Roskilde Festivalen" has been held for about 40 years now, so even though the number of participants is expressive but stable with about 70.000 paying guests plus staff and musicians, you could argue that mobile operators have had plenty of time to learn with the mobile evolution over the years, but the evolution of usage of mobile phones is apparently so fast that it caught operators unprepared, although they are reluctant to admit it.

The take-up of Smartphone and laptops (not to forget) is drastically changing to loads that mobile operators are experiencing, and if they are not prepared for it, there is little to do when people start rushing in.

Hereunder is an article translated from a Danish newspaper yesterday on how people could not communicate during the music festival, sometimes for hours, and how this caused confusion when people needed to communicate with each other.

The message is: Don't think that you as an operators can cope with the new usage pattern just because things have gone well until today. Brazil have some very big events coming up in the coming years, and there is a lot to do yet in both the access, transmission, and signaling networks.

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Smartphones lays mobile network down at festival.
But telecommunications companies deny that they have problems with their networks
By Marie Sæhl

'Dut-dut-dut' and 'There is no contact with the mobile phone.

Many festival guests have experienced that they could not call their friends up, and SMS messages have been several hours late.The emergence of new smartphones - the iPhone as the dominant - is probably responsible for a portion of network problems.

18-year-old Frederick Roee Letter from Oslo could not call his friends up since he arrived at the festival. "I was lost for five hours because I could not get hold of anyone and therefore not knowing where the others had camped up ', he says.

Missed a ride
The same happened to 25-year-old Rie von Wowern couldn't pick up her cousin as she drove home last night.
"My cousin was suppose to drive home with me yesterday, but I simply could not get through. Simply no connection, and she could not see on her phone later that I had tried to call, "she says. And the two are far from the only ones. Politiken.dk have spoken with several festival participants who have repeatedly seen that the phones have not worked.

Operators see no problem
Nevertheless, says three of the big companies - Telenor, TDC and Telia - the operational status has not shown signs of problems.
"I've heard that there have been problems. But it is not on our network because we can see that they have not been overloaded, "says Lasse Bastkjær Jensen, press counselor at TDC. "But it's clear that if all of the guests writes an SMS to their friends about that now begins the concert, then sms'erne be delayed", he added.
The operator "3" indicates as the only operator that they have had problems with their network.

Smartphones loads the Networks
"Our network has seen max load all day. We have a base station on site, which we have even upgraded last Wednesday, but there has still been a lot more load than last year, "said communications director in "3", Stine Green Paulsen.
According to "3"'s technicians this may be because there are now more smartphones compared to last year, and it puts more pressure on the network, as people also go online via their mobile.

Spokesperson for the Roskilde Festival, Christina Bilde, called on Saturday for people to make good old fashioned agreements to be on the safe side.!!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

3 UK moves away from unlimited data

As mentioned in my previous post, operators are now eying the chance to curb one of the biggest worries they have had since mobile Internet really started to take off, namely the uneven consumption of data volumes.

USA and UK seem to be leading into this trend, and all marketing managers at Brazilian mobile operators that I have spoken to in the last 6 month are planning for the same thing if they have not already launched planes with volume cap to release the unlimited plans.

Some have expressed worries that the networks might melt down, but of course no operator would accept seeing all profit go away and their network break down. Volume caps will be introduced. The question for a long time has been where the pain point is. AT&T in USA have for long been criticized by smartphone users for bad service, and the fact that they have an exclusive deal with Apple on the iPhone have prevented people from trying out other operators network. That might have been a better solution, as people might have discovered that other networks are suffering from the same similar problems. Anyway, as mentioned before, AT&T is now stoping new unlimited plans, and 3 UK seem to have hit the pain point also. Strand Consult argues that the iPhone deal is not such a good deal for the operator anyway.

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