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
Posted in |
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.
Posted in |
Posted: Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
The topic of net neutrality has been hot in the press in recent years and more so in the past few; not only have there been legislations put in place to block illegal websites, such as pirate bay. But, last week saw the release of a new voluntary Open Internet Code of Practice (OICP); its presence is designed to tackle the concerns surrounding net neutrality. Members are to ensure that the internet is ‘full and open’. The code, however, has received a mixed response from UK ISP’s.
As well as the code requesting ISP’s to be more transparent with any restrictions, it also outlines commitments to stop the ISP’s from blocking any legal content or targeting any content from a specific provider. Consumers should be the beneficiary of this new code as the internet will hopefully remain more open. Although the code is voluntary multiple ISP’s, including BT, O2, TalkTalk and Sky (to name a few), have signed the code. However Virgin and Vodafone have yet to do so, with Virgin claiming the code is ‘too vague’ and Vodafone citing ‘impracticality’.
With more providers delivering content as well as connectivity there is a fear that services such as video, which is a high user of bandwidth, would be prioritised in different ways. This would mean a video service from one provider would look worse on a competing network than on its own. This obviously comes back to the issue of walled gardens and protecting the quality of a service, but with something as universal as internet connectivity any kind of restriction or interference needs to be disclosed prior to purchase.
There is no issue in ISPs putting these restrictions in place, as others will offer the alternative of not having them in place, but without full upfront disclosure customers will be unable to make an informed decision. Fluidata does no kind of traffic shaping or restriction for any of our customers, so luckily it’s not something we have to give too much thought to ourselves.
Posted in |
Posted: Thursday, June 14th, 2012
TalkTalk confirmed this week that they have officially joined the ‘Pirate Bay Blockade’, becoming the fifth ISP do to so (along with SKY, Virgin Media and O2) following an April High Court hearing which ordered ISP’s to block the infamous bit torrent website. BT are expected to follow suit imminently.
The Pirate Bay Blockade represents the latest attempt by record labels to claw back some of the market power they once enjoyed before the likes of Napaster, LimeWire, and other peer to peer internet sharing platforms began to erode CD sales from the late 1990’s onwards.
The inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners Lee, has condemned this ruling, telling a Wired press conference, “we must not allow record companies’ fear that their business model isn’t working to upset the openness of the internet”. That the record label business model is ‘out of date’ is a point that scarcely needs to be made. The twin pillars that upheld it; the reliance of artists on record labels to produce music, and consumer demand for cassettes/CD’s, have crumbled at alarming speed under the weight of file sharing and distribution of content, and although efforts have been made by these companies to embrace the internet age and find ways to charge for digital music, the industry still rests on precarious foundations.
While the internet has disadvantaged record labels, it is important to remember it hasn’t necessarily been a negative to the music industry. To the contrary, British artists such as Ed Sheeran, Jessie J and even American superstars such as Justin Bieber (my personal favorite) can be thankful to the internet for their current career success. Self-made artists can now upload audio and use media platforms such as YouTube and MySpace to broadcast their talent to millions of people at virtually no cost. In my view, this can only be positive for music and society as a whole and makes you wonder how many stars have been missed in the last 50 years due to the costs attached to recording and distributing music.
So in the light of the High Court ruling, what does the future of internet hold for the music and media industry? A plethora of unsigned bedroom talent? Or a world self-educated in the importance of social media and online presence?
Posted in |
Posted: Monday, July 4th, 2011
Over the next few years we may well be paying for our goods by using our mobile phone. This is a concept that has been around for a while, and now looks as though it’s finally happening. Over the last fortnight Orange/ T-Mobile , Vodafone and O2 have agreed to create a single platform to support mobile transactions. This step brings the whole concept closer to market realisation – as retailers will now only need to plug in to one joint platform.
If you have used retailers such as Prêt a Manger near our More London offices, you may well have noticed the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that has been deployed to support Barclays Contactless Technology. You simply present your card for transactions of less than £15 and walk away, no pin, no hassle and no queue. If the mobile market gets it right then this type of technology may well be the next paradigm shift in personal banking.
Recent press coverage suggests consumers will initially be able to pay for goods with a value lower than £30 in stores including Wilkinson’s, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Tesco.
Soon your smart phone may be the only thing you need to carry with you!
Posted in |
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.
Posted in |
Posted: Sunday, October 11th, 2009
With the wide availability of Annex-M technology on the O2 network, new opportunities should be opening up to wholesalers. With bandwidth hungry technologies such as remote backup, database replication and FTP, high upload is a key factor in delivering these services to business. However, reliability is also a key requirement, and for the first time businesses can feel confident in moving their voice and video from legacy solutions such as ISDN over to ADSL2+ based services.
With lower costs and higher speeds the network competes well against these ageing technologies. Also with your experience of lower response rates (interleaving off!), no packet loss and low jitter you can be confident in recommending this Annex-M network.
Posted in |