Posted: Monday, March 4th, 2013
Within the telecommunication industry we are aware of some of the external problems that can affect our last mile access networks. During my 16 years working in these circles, I’ve witnessed everything from DSL slowing down due to frost, to a wireless networks poor performance being blamed on the heat.
Interestingly, it looks like researchers in the Netherlands have figured out a way to use weather associated network problems to monitor the weather itself! In this instance; using mobile phone signal power loss to map rainfall patterns. To me personally, I already monitor the rain in real time by stepping outside. However if it means the weather forecasters can watch a rain front travel across the country, and then give me a warning about it, all the better.
The system uses the attenuation (power) differences through the mobile networks. They cross referenced their information with weather stations across the country and realised there was a correlation. Off the back of that they can see the fronts; as they aim for the most inappropriate place on land to dump their contents.
We will see if O2, EE or Vodafone develop into weather forecasting companies in the near future. Further reading can be found here: http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/news/52322
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Posted: Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
At the end of a complex bidding process, the 4G auction has its victors and has raised £2.34bn for the public purse. About 90% less than the price paid at the 3G sale 13 years ago – at the height of the dot-com bubble. It’s also more than £1bn short of what the chancellor estimated in his autumn statement.
The relatively modest amounts raised by the auction may well be attributable to the limited success enjoyed by EE since launching the 4G service. Results published last week for EE’s financial end of year show contract net additions actually falling by over a third in 2012 Q4. It’s been suggested that this may be down to the way EE have been pricing their data bundles; offering only the same amount of data as on 3G platforms (resulting in customers running out of data early within the contracted month). The recent reduction in the price of EE’s most basic tariff (by £5 a month) may well be a move to remedy these perceived short comings.
There were no real surprises as to the companies who have succeeded in the auction with 3, EE, Vodafone and the new kid on the block Niche (well BT) all getting portions of the valuable spectrum.
It is interesting that BT, who left the mobile sector a decade ago when it sold off BT Cellnet (now O2), is now back in the market with a healthy chunk of the 2.6Mhz spectrum which is best suited to handling high data traffic in cities.
BT has stressed that it is not planning to operate a national mobile network, but it will be using its spectrum to boost its fixed and Wi-Fi networks for businesses and consumers.
Even if the Treasury is disappointed, the auction may be good news for the roll out. We can now expect plenty of competition to offer fast new mobile services across the UK. But those people in 3G “notspots” will be hoping that this time they will not be left out of the faster future. Ofcom CEO Ed Richards has said “we will be conducting research at the end of this year to show who is deploying services, in which areas and at what speeds. This will help consumers and businesses to choose their most suitable provider.”
Ofcom has attached a coverage obligation to one of the 800 MHz lots of spectrum. The winner of this lot is Telefónica who is obliged to provide a mobile broadband service for indoor reception to at least 98% of the UK population (expected to cover at least 99% when outdoors) and at least 95% of the population of the UK by the end of 2017. While the main part of the auction has concluded, there is a final stage in the process to determine where in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands each winning bidder’s new spectrum will be located. Bidding in this final stage, called the ‘assignment stage’, will take place shortly.
Following that stage, once bidders have paid their full licence fees, Ofcom will grant licences to the winners to use the spectrum. Operators will then be able to start roll out services.
By 2030, demand for mobile data could be 80 times higher than today. To help meet this demand and avert a possible ‘capacity crunch’, more mobile spectrum is needed over the long term, together with new technologies to make mobile broadband more efficient. Ofcom is planning now to support the release of further spectrum for possible future ‘5G’ mobile services.
As for Fluidata we expect to be able to launch our own 4G services in the not too distant future, if you would like further details please speak with your Account Manager.
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Posted: Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
Fluidata are delighted to announce the launch of our new bonded FTTC service.
The first PureFluid PULSE service went live with a trial customer last month, and as you will see from this case study, we now have every reason to offer it to any client or prospective client lucky enough to benefit from it. The PureFluid PULSE service can aggregate up to three 80 Mb/s down, 20 Mb/s up PULSE circuits, delivering superfast speeds of up to 200 Mb/s down and 60 Mb/s up. As with all PureFluid solutions, PureFluid PULSE also comes fortified with true resilience, via either any additional DSL line (separate carrier) or 3G connectivity that is delivered over the same IP.
PureFluid PULSE can claim to be a genuine leased line alternative; offering as good as or even better speeds than fibre and a high service level guarantee.
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Posted: Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
The telecoms market has witnessed a sizable proliferation in mergers and acquisitions over the last couple of years. The acquisition of BE by O2, and Cable and Wirelesses’ buy out of Bulldog remain the most prominent in my mind. But among others we’ve also seen big players like Tiscali and Easynet be bought out by Carphone Warehouse and Sky respectively, while Chess and Daisy have both embarked on aggressive acquisition strategies. Naturally, the financial crisis has provided fertile ground for such activity – with depreciated assets and estates proving attractive to those looking to strengthen their market position.
Despite the perceived benefits, mergers and acquisitions often bring with them a large number of challenges to overcome. Statistically, in more than 50 per cent of cases, managers perceive value destruction and failure to recover costs (PWC survey 1998) and 43 per cent of international acquisitions fail to produce return at least equal to that of the acquirers cost of capital (McKinsey).
The transition period tends to be the most difficult to negotiate. This period is characterised by uncertainly and it’s not unusual to witness breakdowns in interdepartmental communications, departures of key personal and a loss in customer confidence during this time. Successful consolidation of various billing, provisioning and CRM platforms is fundamental to ensuring efficient administrative and operational functioning, but can be an inherently difficult task to undertake, particularly with large M&As or those in which there is diversity between product offerings or sizable geographic and or psychological distance.
Although not all M&As in the telecommunication industry have proved successful, our industry is fortunate in that demand is more obvious than in others and supply and demand are also intrinsically linked. We do not have the fluctuations that others face which allows for smooth but also very safe horizontal type of M&A, simply because of the reason that the corporations going for M&A are operating not only in the same industry, but often with the same set of products.
With this taken into account, and the potential for any acquiring company to reduce expenses and achieve greater market share and control in the industry, we’ll no doubt witness more M&As in the upcoming months.
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Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2010
I recently handled an enquiry with a prospect whose VC system was being let down by its underlying internet connection. The connection in place was a cheap Annex-M (O2) solution, the problem an unsatisfactory upstream data transfer rate that was fluctuating between 0.8 Mb/s and 1.3 Mb/s and accompanied by high jitter. His incumbent provider had informed him that with his line length too long for SDSL (2.4KM), the only solution to improve his upload would be a bonded solution or leased lines; as he was already running on the quickest ADSL technology available.
His ISP was right: ADSL 2+ Annex-M is the quickest DSL technology; but it was wrong in the respect that the speeds one receives from their connection are not exclusively attributable to the technology they use. Other factors such as the quality of an ISP’s network, the contention ratios guaranteed and the CPE devices used all play a significant role in the how quickly and effectively a service will operate.
My recommendation – to simply move the prospect across from their Annex-M service to ours – came as some surprise to him. However I felt by using a Cisco router, and with Fluidata running a private VLAN across the O2 network to guarantee low contention, he would see an improved performance. Also by having the capacity to tinker with SNR settings, we could induce higher upload out of the technology and, at the very least, stabilise his upload speed and reduce his jitter.
I was delighted than when I spoke to him earlier on this week and he reported achieving just over 2 Mb/s on the upload and that his Video Conferencing system was running smoother than ever. These speeds exceeded both our expectations and dispelled one of the myths in our industry: that purchasing connections is all about the speeds advertised.
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Posted: Sunday, December 27th, 2009
The Telefonica network which provides Fluidata with many of its flagship products such as BURST and Vox 2.0 is currently facing provisioning issues with a number of their exchanges.
As many of you will be aware Fluidata is now operating the wholesale channel on this network, as a result of increased demand through the channel, coupled with the continued success of these products on the direct sales side, the network is in constant need of being upgraded.
Telefonica are working hard to ensure more ports are enabled at each exchange so that new services are brought online as soon as possible. One of the reasons for the delay is that this takes some time as there is a requirement to install more backhaul capacity to ensure existing customers are not impacted by more users being enabled.
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