Thursday, June 6, 2019

Amazon Prime Mobile would be the carriers worst nightmare

There has recently been speculation in the press that Amazon is preparing to enter the US wireless market, either as a MVNO or as a fourth carrier, buying the forced divestitures of a theoretical T-Mobile/Sprint merger.

On the face of it, this looks to be just another one of many companies trying their luck at the wireless market, where few succeed and many exit with bruised egos and empty wallets.

Amazon would be different and could pose a significant challenge to all the existing carriers as well as MVNOs. The main difference has to do with two things, margins and valuations and how they work together. Let me explain.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Uncertain future for 5G revenues

Bengt Nordström of Nordstream recently shared some interesting interesting thoughts about the roll-out and future revenues from 5G. I am even less optimistic than Bengt regarding 5G as a savior for the carriers for two main reasons.

1. Many of the use cases being discussed for 5G can quite comfortably be handled by Gigabit LTE and especially Low-Latency LTE. This in combination with the inevitable sticker shock of 5G will make carriers want to wring every last bit out of LTE before going all in on 5G. Instead they will start with core upgrades and MIMO etc before taking the full step to 5G NR. So while 5G components will start to go live in networks reasonably soon, it will be a long time before 5G as a full standard, including NR, is as widely deployed as LTE is today.

2. OTT (Over The Top). I have yet to see a compelling reason for why future 5G revenue streams would end up on the wireless carriers income statements. They have not shown that they are nimble enough to incorporate solutions to end user use cases into their business model of providing basic connectivity. I have not gotten the impression that startup incubators at carriers have moved the needle much in that regard. It is therefore much more likely that new 5G revenue streams will be gobbled up by OTT players. Implementation of Gigabit and Low-Latency LTE and 5G NR removes the last barrier to the possibility of an all-OTT future. If the networks can deliver the performance now being promised, what services could not be run OTT then?

That said, the future is not all dark for the carriers. Especially in the US market there are several low-hanging possibilities to revenue growth. The SMB and enterprise markets are under served and especially Sprint and T-Mobile have every incentive to more aggressively promote an all-mobile and cloud PBX future for SMB and enterprises. There is still some, but not a lot of, time for the US carriers to avoid RingCentral and Twilio becoming the WhatsApp equivalents for enterprise OTT services. To avoid that, they must move quickly and aggressively to promote the benefits of a fixed to wireless transition, with the accompanying services, to business customers.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Just do it, Greece!

For months and years the drama, or more likely, tragedy that is the Greek debt negotiations have been ongoing. We have been told how the potential collapse of the Greek economy threatens the world economy and how Greece must impose tough reforms in exchange for debt relief and further support from the IMF, ECB and fellow European Union members.

However, the math behind this supposedly complex drama is incredibly simple.

Greece does not generate enough revenue to be able to pay off its debtors. There may be a thousand and one causes of this and the Greek economy may have been very inefficient, but this is the one major problem.

Monday, September 29, 2014

VoWiFi has come a long way

After having had some time to work with VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi) on an iPhone5S running iOS8.0 on the T-Mobile network I can say that it works as advertised. No setup required, no UI issues since you just use the regular App and no new phone numbers involved. It just works. Finally!

Back in 2006 when I was involved with a startup that was mainly focused on VoIP, but did some experimenting with VoIP over WiFi, that was far from the case. The company mainly used Nokia handsets, such as the E61, to test the use-case for VoIP over WiFi. While basic functionality such as voice quality performed well, the service ended up being virtually unusable because of several issues.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

FBI may be mad at Apple because of iOS8 encryption, but it was most likely just the first step

FBI director James B. Comey today sharply criticized Apple for locking the government out of even legal snooping by encrypting iOS8 devices. The move by Apple has been seen as a reaction to information about massive government privacy intrusions through NSA programs revealed by Edward Snowden.

However damaging the iOS8 encryption is to law enforcement, it is most likely just one part  of a long-term effort to restore customer confidence in smart products, the cloud and the transport networks that bind it all together.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Apple fixes two-step verification

Yesterday, Apple sent an email to all two-factor verification users, explaining that the service now also covers their content on iCloud, not just the account management features. This update brings the service closer to what Google, Facebook and Twitter already offers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Apple two-step verification offers false sense of security

Over the past days compromising photos of celebrities have been posted on the Internet. While it is still unclear if any of these photos were stolen from iCloud accounts and even less certain if the users had in fact activated the Apple ID two-step verification solution, it is still worth mentioning the inherent weakness in the two-step verification solution for Apple ID.

It does not protect your content.