Posts Tagged ‘3G’

Remaining Optimistic About CTIA ‘09

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

The annual CTIA conference kicked off in Las Vegas earlier today. Due to a conflict I was unable to make it for opening day, however, I’ll be on the conference floor both Thursday and Friday of this week.

According to today’s press releases about the show’s attendance more than 1,000 folks have registered to attend this event. Of the many wireless/mobile conferences in the U.S., I highly recommend you check out CTIA in the future if you have never attended before.

I first went to CTIA in 2007 when we were in our early stages of developing our Text-to-Talk products. My focus when attending CTIA that first time was to meet with all the major Short Messaging Service Center (SMSC) providers like Click-a-Tell, Sybase 365, VeriSign, etc. in order to establish SMS Points of Presence in the different countries we were targeting for these products.

While at the 2007 CTIA conference, I couldn’t help but be distracted by what was then a plethora of new mobile technologies. I’m referring to smart phones, mobile TV, voice-mail to text services, GPS, etc. Now, only two years later, we have 3G technologies, 4G and LTE networks are being engineered, and the end-all be-all game changer the Apple iPhone now exists and in my opinion is the ultimate Unified Communication tool for the consumer.

Given the poor economic climate we are currently in, the telecom industry has been no stranger to numerous layoffs, cutbacks, and even some Chapter 11s. So, as I prepare for CTIA tomorrow I’m trying to remain optimistic about the new technologies and services that the mobile operators and MVNOs will unveil. I suspect this industry to be focused more on providing value and savings to the consumer versus new and innovative services. In recent months numerous MVNOs have begun offering unlimited calling plans and they are in a fast paced race to gain market share. Reducing customer churn is also high on the priority list for all mobile operators and MVNOs right now.

In late February ‘09, Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOM assembled a Wireless Scorecard based on Q4 ’08 statistics from AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. Based on Stacey’s breakdown she concludes that cheap rate plans win and that the iPhone is helping to keep AT&T running strong. To note, these numbers were released just prior to Sprint and T-Mobile releasing their $50 unlimited prepaid plans so this year’s Q1 numbers should answer whether those plans proved successful or not.

Tomorrow I’ll have a better since of what’s happening and how the carriers are responding. I remain optimistic and look forward to CTIA ’09 along with the other 1,000 attendees that I’ll be sharing the conference floor with.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP

How Much Should Companies Invest in Launch Day?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

In less than one month I’ve watched both Mozilla & Apple have record setting launch days while still experiencing all types of technical problems & causing end-users much frustration & hassle. It’s obvious from the amount & types of problems that were reported on each company’s launch day that neither company was prepared to handle the volume & capacity for that single day. I’m confident that both companies can handle a normal day’s volume just fine. However, both companies appear to have decided that it’s not worth the investment to ensure things work on high traffic volume days such as launch day.

In a previous post I commented on capacity planning & made reference to the failures that Mozilla experienced during “Download Day” for their Firefox 3 browser. As reported by GigaOm, Mozilla’s download site was down early that morning (June 17th) due to the high volume of traffic the website was experiencing. Despite Mozilla’s site being down, they actually did set the new Guinness World Record for the most downloaded software in a 24 hour period. In fact, 8,002,503 users downloaded Firefox 3 that day.

More recently Apple had a record setting launch day/weekend even though they too experienced significant outages & interruption of end-user services. This past Friday, July 11th, Apple released both its new 3G iPhone & its iPhone 2.0 software to existing iPhone owners. Throughout launch day customers across the world were unable to activate their new devices after the Apple servers could not cope with demand & did not allow users to download a new version of iTunes to support the phone activation. For those existing iPhone owners who were planning to update their iPhone software to the 2.0 version, they too experienced problems. NetworkIP’s very own PR guru Neil Vineberg was affected when he tried updating his iPhone software. He was so disappointed that he commented about it on his blog. Neil said, “My phone is dead. A brick. And you’d think that Apple would have had their act together after promoting this launch date for a month.” Despite all the frustrations, complications, & inconveniences that iPhone users experienced, Apple too had a record setting weekend. Apple sold one million 3G iPhones in just three days.

While some may agree with Mozilla & Apple’s approach of architecting for a normal day’s traffic volume it is something that as an organization that we do *not* allow for at NetworkIP. We plan & architect all of our solutions for the busiest days (our version of launch day) of the year; ours being Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, & New Year’s Day. We attribute much of our success to the fact that we *do* plan for the busiest days of the year — it’s one of the many things that separates us from our competition & has propelled us to the top spot in our industry.
 
As companies such as Mozilla & Apple are able to still have record setting launch days despite so many technical difficulties what’s to stop them & other companies from continuing to architect their platforms for only a normal day’s traffic volume? It’s obviously not fair to the consumer that these companies plan & architect in this fashion that they do, but if we continue to provide them record numbers why would they plan any other way?

Battle for Mobile OS Dominance

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

In a previous post I commented on how the open-source development community responded negatively to comments made by Dr. Ari Jaaksi, VP of Software & Head of Open-Source Operations for Nokia. Dr. Jaaksi suggested that the open-source community needed to learn a thing or two about the mobile space & that the community needed to change their current approach for developing software applications due to the out-of-date business rules that are still enforced by the mobile industry.

Two days ago Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, made a very different statement when they made a move to buy up the remaining ownership in the smartphone software maker Symbian. If the $410 million deal goes through, Nokia will retain 47.9% majority ownership of Symbian. This move by Nokia indicates concern for those lower-cost mobile phone operating systems from Google Android & the LiMo Foundation.

With the mobile market heating up & businesses moving quickly to develop mobile applications it is key for Nokia to be running an OS which is widely accepted by the development community. Today, Symbian is used in two-thirds of smartphones being sold. Symbian’s closest rival is Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS, which has just 13% of the market. Of course, both Apple & Google plan to gain a piece of this market very quickly. Apple has been making a lot of noise with its new software release for the 3G iPhone & although rumored to be behind Google is sure to gain a significant piece of this market when its Android software is released.

The good news for application developers & businesses is that we’ll have options when deciding which devices & operating systems we want to develop applications for. Because of the increased competition in this market both device & OS manufactures will be more likely to bend & do more to ensure we are using their solution & not their competitors.

3G to 4G Almost Overnight

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Just as Apple is making noise & consumers are getting excited about the new 3G iPhone, Sprint Nextel & Clearwire announced a deal last month where they would be combining network assets to build a new network using 4G technology which is both faster & provides larger bandwidths than today’s 3G network.

Under the agreement Sprint Nextel & Clearwire will create a new company that has already received investment dollars totalling $14.5 billion from cable operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable, & Bright House Networks, as well as tech giants Intel & Google.

For Sprint Nextel & Clearwire this is a win-win deal. Sprint has steadily been loosing market share after its merger with Nextel in 2005 & Clearwire hasn’t been profitable since they went public over a year ago. The goal for both companies is to get their 4G network up & running prior to the bigger wireless operators, such as AT&T & Sprint completing their newer & faster networks using a Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

With all the excitement from companies about the iPhone applications & technologies that they can now offer consumers because of the faster 3G network just imagine what type of applications companies can build for consumers with the even faster 4G network. Without a doubt, the mobile phone is quickly becoming the platform that consumers will use for the majority of their transactions.