23 October 2009

Google and Verizon

This joint statement is interesting less for what it says than for who is saying it (see also this item).

We can frame the net neut discussion as a faceoff between application providers and network operators about who gets to pay (and how much) -- i.e., we frame it as a problem in political economy. In that world, Google is the 800 kg gorilla amongst the apps provider and Verizon is the 800 kg gorilla (at least for a significant fraction of the US population) amongst the operators. An agreement between these two is likely to set the tone for the rest of the community (the joint statement is far from an agreement).

This is eerily reminiscent of the bargaining that took place between the Associated Press and Western Union in the 1860s. At the time, AP was WU's biggest customer, so AP had the traffic to build their own telegraph network; WU had the local resources (in telegraph operators) to build their own news agency. The agreement between the two was basically an agreement to not compete with each other in their core markets.

Is this shaping up to be a similar business arrangement? Are there parallels worth considering or is the WU/AP analogy worthless?

22 October 2009

Nokia sues Apple

This item at Gigaom (and elsewhere on the Internet) is interesting. So I wonder if this is sour grapes on Nokia's part or arrogance on Apple's? Either would be distinctly plausible, since, apparently, talks have been going on for a couple of years.

Update (2009/10/23): This article provides a little more detail, but still not that much.

Internet retailing in the EU

While this is a little bit off-topic for this blog, I found this EU report interesting. In particular, there is potentially useful data in Annex 1. From the executive summary:
While e-commerce is taking off at national level, it is still relatively uncommon for consumers to use the internet to purchase goods or services in another Member State. The gap between domestic and cross-border e-commerce is widening as a result of cross-border barriers to online trade. From 2006 to 2008, the share of all EU consumers that have bought at least one item over the internet increased from 27% to 33% while cross-border e-commerce remained stable (6% to 7%). One third of EU citizens indicate that they would consider buying a product or a service from another Member State via the internet because it is cheaper or better.

21 October 2009

First "white spaces" deployment

In this article, Ars Technica reports on what they claim is the first use of "white spaces" in the television band. As I stated in my iConference paper, I believe that the white spaces ruling will be of greatest benefit to rural communities.

Quoting the article:
The nation's first wireless broadband network operating in unused TV channel "white spaces" is now live in an unlikely spot—Claudville, Virginia.

Claudville is a small place—only 20,000 people live in the entire county, and only 900 in Claudville proper—and its Blue Ridge Mountain terrain has made Internet access hard to come by. Combine that with a countywide per capita income of $15,574 and its not hard to see why the big ISPs haven't rushed to Claudville.

In this case, the white spaces provided "backhaul" for WLANs that were deployed in town. I don't know whose equipment was used, though it appears to be a database-driven radio rather than a sensor-driven cognitive radio.

20 October 2009


There are some interesting presentations up at the NANOG 47 website. In particular, this paper is an interesting global look at network traffic, and this one seems to be a nice presentation on LTE.

Update: Here is an article that discusses the first presentation.

12 October 2009

End of handset contracts?

I found this item over at CNet interesting. Apparently, AT&T's profitability point in the iPhone contract occurs rather late in the two year contract cycle. Does this mean that the carriers will shift its strategy away from captive contracts for handsets? If it isn't particularly profitable for them to do this, then they would, presumably, stop (absent other benefits)?

09 October 2009

Interesting article re: WiMAX

I found this item over at GigaOm extremely interesting. It appears that Clearwire has contractual commitments to what it recognizes is a less efficient technology than LTE (at least for mobile). Interesting.

I wonder what will happen in 2011! It is not out of the question for Clearwire to do a technology transformation; this has been done before when it has been strategically beneficial to do so.

Mobile as the new mass medium?

I found this item over at Seeking Alpha interesting. For business, public policy, etc., determining the most effective way to reach people is clearly critical. Over time, this has moved from leaflets to newspapers to broadcasting (in fact, the Gutenberg press was arguably the first mass communication technology). This article suggests that we may be at the cusp of another (disruptive?) transformation in mass communication media. If this is correct, then we can only expect the battle over mobile operating systems, carrier "opennness", applications, advertising relationships, etc. to intensify.

05 October 2009

The future of WiMAX

I find it worthwhile looking in the financial literature when it comes to new technologies since it is often a more worthwhile predictor of where things are going than the technology press. Thus, I found this item interesting. The article states:
The much-hyped next-generation (4G) technology of WiMAX is quickly losing ground to the alternative technology of Long-Term Evolution (LTE). Large telecom infrastructure equipment makers are gradually shifting from WiMAX to LTE, and as a result the WiMAX field is getting less crowded day by day.
Later, the article notes that there is a role for fixed WiMAX even as the fortunes for mobile WiMAX seem to be fading. If this is true, it seems as though perhaps Sprint erred in choosing mobile WiMAX as its 4G technology to gain first mover advantage!