Archive for the ‘SERVICE PROVIDERS’ Category

LTE PHONE NETWORK IN USA GATHERS MOMENTUM

Monday, February 27th, 2012

THE LTE PHONE NETWORK IN AMERICA MOVES AHEAD QUICKLY

The announcement this week that Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA unit plans to launch LTE services in most of the 50 largest metropolitan markets over the next two years means that all four leading US mobile operators will have commercial LTE networks up and running by the end of 2013, several years ahead of earlier expectations.

After lagging well behind their European counterparts in the rollout of 3G services in the early 2000s, US network operators, led by Verizon Wireless, the joint venture between Verizon Communications and Britain’s Vodafone group, have led the rollout of commercial LTE services, spending billions of dollars in recent years on upgrading network infrastructure.

For their part, the major handset makers are rushing to deliver LTE smartphones, remembering perhaps that Motorola’s delay in offering 3G handsets during the last technology transition was a major factor in its subsequent crisis and split-up.

Since Verizon Wireless, the largest US mobile operator by subscriber numbers, first launched its LTE network at the end of 2010, its rivals including AT&T Mobility and Sprint Nextel have accelerated their own LTE rollout plans in a helter-skelter effort to retain customers and remain competitive.

For example, Sprint Nextel, which currently resells Clearwire’s WiMax 4G service, is investing heavily in an infrastructure upgrade project called “Network Vision” that will enable the third-largest US wireless carrier to launch LTE services in selected markets this summer.

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Clearwire itself has also announced plans to deploy LTE technology alongside its existing WiMax network and offer the service on a wholesale basis to regional network operators and new industry entrants.

However, the precise timing of the US network operators’ LTE announcements has been driven in part by their particular requirements and spectrum holdings. Verizon Wireless, for example, needed to move to LTE because its older 3G network, based on a technology called CDMA, was running out of steam.

Conversely, T-Mobile USA has been forced to rely on upgrades to its existing 3G network because it has lacked the spectrum to move to LTE – a problem partly resolved by the spectrum it will receive from AT&T after the collapse of its $39bn takeover bid for T-Mobile at the end of last year.

Nevertheless, the rapid shift to LTE in the US primarily reflects the accelerating adoption of smartphones and the emergence of the mobile internet as a real alternative to desktop internet access.

As AT&T’s network problems in the wake of the launch of Apple’s iPhone in mid-2007 demonstrated, the US carriers needed to upgrade their networks to cope with the mobile data tsunami unleashed by advanced smartphones including those powered by Google’s Android operating system.

Unlike the first generation of smartphones pioneered by companies like Nokia and Research In Motion, the latest smartphones come with easy-to-use touch screens, super-fast processors, advanced mobile browsers and powerful third-party ‘apps’ which are fuelling a surge in mobile data usage.

Underscoring this, Ericsson’s most recent traffic and market data report predicted that global mobile data traffic will grow by 10 times between now and 2016. In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has projected that the nation’s wireless carriers will face a 275 MHz “spectrum deficit” by 2014 if no new spectrum is opened up for use.

LTE technology, based on the same communications protocols as the internet, offers a partial solution to this conundrum because it uses scarce spectrum much more efficiently than older 2G and 3G technologies and therefore offers a mechanism for operators to accommodate much higher data loads. Looked at another way, LTE is a more cost effective mobile technology for data-heavy networks.

As Lyn Cantor, president of Tektronix Communications, which advises mobile operators on how to maximise network efficiency, notes: “The fact that carriers are losing money on the subscribers that are heavy data users is one of the key drivers of the move to LTE to create a scalable architecture that will drive down the delivery costs of data.”

What is already clear is that the shift in the market to LTE has already begun. A recent forecast from Juniper Research estimated that the number of LTE subscribers will reach 428m by 2016 with a surge in growth taking place in 2012.

“This year promises to be a watershed for LTE, as some wireless operators take stock of the economic and competitive environment in their respective markets and consider their rollout options. It may no longer be a case of ‘if’ an operator will launch an LTE network, but the ‘when’ is a different story,” says Mr Cantor.

Meanwhile, LTE pioneers like Verizon Wireless are already looking to migrate mobile voice calls over to their new networks using a technology called Voice over LTE or VoLTE. That will enable them to free up underutilised 2G and 3G spectrum and reuse that for the next generation of LTE called LTE Advanced, which is projected to deliver average download speeds in the 100 megabits per second range, opening up a whole new set of opportunities for mobile operators.

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Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

KOREA LOOKING TO BUILD ITS OWN MOBILE PHONE PLATFORM NETWORK

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Seoul seeks to build

mobile platform

By Christian Oliver in Seoul

South Korea’s government has called on Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics to join it in a consortium to develop a homegrown mobile phone operating system, a sign that Seoul fears Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility could pose a long-term threat to two of its biggest companies.

Samsung and LG are the world’s second- and third-biggest makers of mobile handsets but their software is much weaker than their hardware. Their most successful smartphones have relied on Google’s Android operating system.

South Korea admitted that it could be strategically dangerous to keep relying on Google for software as the US firm builds up its own ability to make hardware, which is Korea’s strength.

Since Google’s acquisition, there have been fears that a tighter integration of Android with Motorola’s mobile devices will make for a stronger competitor to third parties such as Samsung and LG. Google insists it will continue to work with independent handset makers on Android devices.

Seoul’s ministry of the knowledge economy said on Wednesday that it would announce details of its plan in October. The ministry said it had invited Samsung and LG to take part but that small and medium-sized IT enterprises should form some 50 per cent of the consortium.

While the ministry has not decided on the nature of the operating system, it said it wanted something that could ultimately compete with Google’s Chrome and is considering a cloud-based system to allow the sharing of data across smartphones, personal computers and laptops.

“In the long term, we cannot go on like this by solely relying on Google,” Kim Jae-hong, a deputy commerce minister, told reporters.

Samsung declined to comment on the government plan, saying the idea was in “initial stages”. LG said it was “willing to listen” to the government’s ideas.

Telecommunications analysts said the government’s plan was impractical or unlikely to succeed because South Korea had too much ground to make up in software, and argued that handset makers should look to buy a foreign operating system or diversify their OS suppliers.

Chang Sea-jin, a professor at Singapore National University, said the government initiative was a “long shot” and looked more like a programme to help struggling SMEs than to boost Samsung and LG. He argued that Samsung, the world’s biggest technology company by sales, should instead look to buy a foreign OS maker.

“In the short term, it is more reasonable to balance [Microsoft’s] Windows and Android and not rely on Google,” he said.

Samsung, whose Galaxy smartphones are the main challenger to Apple’s iPhone, already has a homegrown software system called Bada but it is aimed at low- to mid-end smartphones. Samsung’s blue-riband smartphones use Google’s Android. Samsung on Wednesday launched new Galaxy handsets aimed at increasing sales in emerging markets.

Although South Korea’s government regularly tries to steer companies, analysts said software design was a field in which Seoul was out of its depth.

“I understand the government’s desire to seek solutions with the threat of a rapidly changing market but this is the wrong direction,” said Greg Roh, analyst at HMC Investment Securities. “This should be left to the market.”

?Apple won an injunction in a Dutch court on Wednesday to stop Samsung from marketing three smartphone models in some European countries after alleging a breach of patents, Reuters reports from Amsterdam. Apple and Samsung are locked in a bruising patent fight in the US, Europe and Asia, as they jostle for the top spot in the smartphone market.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

AUSTRALIAN TELCO GIVES A MUM $91,000 PHONE BILL FOR SMS MESSAGES

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Queensland Australia mum gets a $91,000 phone bill from Telstra

A $91,372 phone bill has Highfields mother of two Kym Ford at breaking point.Kym Ford is tired of getting the run-around by Telstra over a ridiculously large, $91,372 bill.

Callum Bentley

A $91,372 phone bill has Highfields mother of two Kym Ford at breaking point.

The Telstra bill, comprising mainly unknown SMS charges, is a mystery to Ms Ford.

She contacted Telstra’s complaints department to have the charges cleared and was told the “simple computer glitch” would immediately be corrected.

But a month later she received another bill which this time had an outstanding balance of $91,412.98.

Ms Ford again contacted Telstra.

“I was told that the first bill would be credited straight away and the complaint was closed,” she said.

“But then they told me the second time that nothing had actually been done.”

Ms Ford said it just took some simple maths to shed light on just how ridiculous the charges were.

At 25 cents a text message, she would have had to have sent 365,488 messages a month or eight messages every minute.

The ludicrous phone bills were not the last of Ms Ford’s worries.

After returning from holidays in January, she found an iPhone waiting for her complete with a bill of $1100.

Ms Ford said she had never ordered or signed-up for the iPhone.

“I sent it back to them straight away as I had only just signed up for this phone that I have now,” she said.

“Now I’m receiving late charges for overdue amounts for this mystery iPhone.”

The overdue charges for the iPhone have added up to $340 which Ms Ford said was adding to the financial pressure she was already feeling.

“As a single mother of two with a house to pay off, I’m afraid the overdue fees will affect my credit rating,” she said.

“I don’t understand why it’s such a problem; all of the calls were recorded.”

A Telstra representative said the charges applied to Ms Ford were still being investigated and she would be contacted shortly.

“It appears that the charges may be a result of fraudulent activity,” the representative said.

“The customer may have replied to an email or phone call requesting her details.”

The representative said all of the charges relating to the iPhone would be waived.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha