28 October 2008

Cox launching mobile phone network

I found this story over at USA Today interesting. Apparently, Cox, a cable TV operator, has become convinced that better profits can be achieved by building and operating their own mobile network than becoming an MVNO. Either they are being unrealistic about the cost and expertise required to operate a new technology to them in a completely new competitive marketplace, or they have done a sober, realistic assessment and believe that the returns from bundling and close operational coordination are sufficiently high.

p>My guess is the former is true. It will be hard for them to compete with nation-wide, facilities based carriers with established brands. Remote control of entertainment is a relatively new idea (and it may not be bad), for which future returns are quite uncertain. Furthermore, how difficult would it be for someone to develop an app that runs on Windows Mobile, Symbian, etc. that could do essentially the same thing?

Olga Karif over at BusinessWeek is also skeptical, though for different reasons.

10 October 2008

Bandwidth caps

For the past several months, there has been much discussion about carriers such as Comcast imposing bandwidth caps on their users. The stated motivation for this is to rein in the highest bandwidth users, and perhaps to set the stage for price discrimination, where users would pay more for higher caps. To this end, there are a few items that I would like to bring to your attention.

This item over at BusinessWeek takes a look at the rationale for bandwidth caps. Dispite the claims of congestion, the article does not find evidence of the feared growth in traffic.

Secondly, this item over at GigaOm points to a recent white paper on the subject. It then points to some possible unintended consequences of this approach. By the way this is a critique of the cited paper over at the Tech Liberation Front. Tim Lee is a fan of metered usage.

Internet transit prices

David Clark's paper on the incremental cost of IP service at the recent Telecommunications Policy Research Conference was quite interesting, so this item over at Telegeography caught my eye. According to their research, transit prices have been declining over the past year and vary significantly across the world. The figure below captures some of this data.