Saturday, December 24, 2005

Frohe Weihnachten - Merry Christmas 2005 

from the Stastny family

Raffael, Michael, Gusti, Julia, Katharina, Richard

Thursday, December 22, 2005

BT challenges Skype 

At least one incumbent seems to get the message (see also the story from Mark Evans about the situation in Canada).

After RedHerring already reported 3 weeks ago that BT offers VoIP services cheaper than Skype (BT Begins Skype Backlash), it is reporting now in BT challenges VoIP Providers from a meeting in London, where the carrier detailed a long-range plan whereby BT would embrace the changes taking place in the voice world even if it means transitioning a significant portion of its more profitable, traditional voice subscribers to cheaper services such as VoIP.

Unlike many of its counterparts around the globe, BT Group, the United Kingdom’s largest telecommunications carrier, has embarked on a plan to use its ownership of the country’s largest broadband network to challenge VoIP service providers such as eBay’s Skype division.

I have always considered BT as one of the most advanced incumbents, but I am really astonished about the statements from Gavin Patterson, BT's managing director of consumer and ventures. Maybe he is reading my blog ;-)
"Whether Skype’s business model is sustainable or not is yet to be determined, but this is our wakeup call. Rather than let VoIP be done to us, it is our single-minded intent that we transform our own business behind it and use it as a way of increasing our customer base on other people’s networks too.”

“The key to this is getting the cost base right on the new services and aggressively going after market share so that your core business is not eroded,” said Mr. Patterson. “We are actively migrating price-sensitive customers over to VoIP.

“Trying to defend your traditional PSTN [public switched telephone network] business as an incumbent and saying VoIP will never happen is pointless,” he added. “The business model for voice traffic is changing fundamentally, and incumbents such as BT have to be out on the forefront of that.”
Many traditional carriers complain about the fact that VoIP carriers such as Skype are able to build competitive businesses on their networks without compensating them.

Most incumbents have competitive VoIP services, but they take a low-key approach to promoting these products. They want to avoid encouraging large portions of their traditional customer base to switch to the cheaper voice service and significantly reduce their overall voice revenue.
“We did not market our VoIP services as hard as we could have, but we are now committed to a VoIP world and we see that traditional call revenue will inevitably come down,” said Mr. Patterson. “We need to plan for a scenario where that is not our major source of contribution. That leads you to see VoIP as a bridgehead into a whole range of new paid-for products and services.”
BT believes there is life in the voice market beyond VoIP, and long term, the real losers would be VoIP service providers such as Skype.
“We are committed to voice as a market, we will continue to make it our core business, but we will be at the forefront of innovation and change, so that we are able to meet our customers’ needs at least as well as anyone else. We already have the Skype-beating prices. We will merge VoIP into some of our other services, which is a natural incumbent’s advantage.”
BT embarked on its Skype-beating strategy less than two weeks ago when it announced it was slashing its prices for voice services in half and offering free calls to 30 different countries during the holiday season.

The company already prices its international calls made from PCs to regular telephones via its BT Communicator service cheaper than Skype does with its SkypeOut service. BT also plans to introduce an enhanced VoIP service in the spring that would significantly improve sound quality.
“The overall service experience such as billing, technical support, and repair are important to customers,” said Mr. Patterson. “It’s also important to customers to provide them with a one-stop shop for all of their communications needs. Then we have a trusted brand. Whom do you trust to provide you with these important services?”
But brand loyalty seems to be fading as a differentiator in a world where young customers switch service providers fairly frequently, based on small incremental savings.
“The boundary-less world created by the Internet is thrilling but scary for the vast majority of consumers. Sometimes we can get carried away by teenagers and pre-teenagers and use them as a measure for what is happening in the world. A 40-year-old with three kids has different needs from teenagers, and teenagers get older and their needs change.”
But can there be a challenge or competition if there is still no real business model for VoIP 2.0?

See Re-format your Skype business model? from Martin Geddes.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Addressing & Numbering Strategy in IMS World 

Regular readers of my blog may have the slight suspicion from some of my postings that I am not what you may call "a fan of IMS". One of my favorite blogs in this direction is the IMS Insider Blog, and I already posted some comments about some of their entries. So I was very keen to read the last entry on Addessing & Numbering Strategy in IMS World, because this is of course one of my major territories. To my utter surprise, the editor is providing a PS in his posting:

For those wanting to get more into the technical aspects of this, I would strongly recommend an excellent blog

Ahem, blush, ok. So, if they are reading me, I am oblidged at least to try to give a serious answer to this posting, with my comments inline:
A number of mobile operators have been in contact with us recently asking about addressing and numbering strategy as they move towards an IMS world.
I understand that there is a problem or even a vacuum regarding numbering and addressing strategy for IMS, because the relevant (standard) bodies have neglected these issues since years. ETSI TISPAN, 3GPP and also GSMA have ignored Numbering, Naming, Addressing and Routing including ENUM since years. They have been so busy in defining new boxes separating their networks that they completely forgot about the boxes required for connecting these networks and interworking (a Freudian lapsus?).

Whole TISPAN is entirely ignoring numbering and addressing? Well, not entirely... One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against - uups - one small workgroup holds out - TISPAN WG4 is trying to convince since years the rest of TISPAN that there is a problem - with not very much success. Only very recently some awareness could be reached.

There is (was?) also a group (GSMNA ENUM AdHoc) within GSMA working on implementing ENUM within the GRX network to allow interworking between mobile networks. The two groups sometimes tried to communicate, but this is officially not possible, because GSMA documents are not public and no liaisons exist.

It is clear that mobile operators for various reasons do not even think to use Public User ENUM as defined by IETF and implemented already in some countries.

What GSMA tried to achieve is private ENUM (ENUM in a closed network), similar to the Private ENUM implementations between the US Cable operators and also e.g. by XConnect et. al. The problem with all these solutions is that one may interoperate only within the federation, but how to interoperate with everybody else?

The real problem is not ENUM, the real problem is IP Interconnect or VoIP Peering based on SIP URIs - the so-called L5 peering in IETF terminology.

IETF now extended the charter of the ENUM WG to deal also with Public Infrastructure ENUM. In addition, a new workgroup is planned to be established, dealing with the IP Interconnect or VoIP Peering issues based on SIP- currently called SPEERMINT (Session PEERing for Multimedia INTerconnect)

Infrastructure ENUM and SPEERMINT is currently getting a lot of attention as possibility for a global solution to solve the VoIP Interconnect problem (VoIP standing here for basically all real-time communications possible with SIP).

The basic idea is very simple:

Infrastructure ENUM within "" will provide a global mapping for any E.164 number to DNS NAPTRs containing a SIP URI(s), keeping the privacy of the end-user intact. The SIP URI for an E.164 Number (e.g. +436644204100) will be a Public User Identity such as, not disclosing any information except the hosting service provider (number assignee). Here ends the scope of IETF ENUM WG.

Within the domain "" the calling service provider will find all required information whether he is able to establish a call on IP to the destination network and how. He will find the NAPTRs and SRV RRs according to RFC3263 to find the border elements of the destination network and eventually also information about the federations and other requirements the destination network requires for access. These issues will be within the scope of IETF SPEERMINT WG.

ETSI TISPAN WG4 and ECC PT2 - TRIS will hold a combined workshop on NGN Interconnection and Numbering on Wednesday, January 18th, 2006 during their meetings at the ERO premises in Copenhagen this week. For more information see see the ERO webpage.
Since also participants from GSMA and other bodies are expected, hopefully some progress will be made.

Now back to the IMS Insider posting:
In the short term, as operators offer more SIP-based services, how do they help their customers manage the potential complexity of having more (and more complicated) numbers/URIs to remember/use?
Why should one have more than one numbers and/or SIP URIs to remember? The basic idea of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) was that ALL services can be accessed via one SIP URI (Address-of-Record AoR). And ENUM is mapping one E.164 number to this SIP URI. The above mentioned problem simply doas not exist.
Part of the problem is that senior management don't necessary appreciate the problem.
My sympathy goes with you and I fully understand the problem ;-)
So, my colleagues at our sister consulting practice, STL (, put together this simple summary of the issue for their Operator clients to use with senior management:

Transiting to SIP-based services - Address and Numbering Strategy - How to make it seamless for our customers and business partners, and differentiate vs competitors?
Now lets analyse this statement-by-statement:
- We [the Operator] are moving towards an IP-based core network, using IMS architectures.
Ok, agreed. Using IMS architectures is your problem, not mine. But you should not forget that this is not a divine law cast in stone.
- We are trialling basic SIP-based functionality with customers (Push to Talk, Video Sharing, Multimedia Messaging, Voice Enrichment).
OK, although you may also consider presence and location based services. I also consider the term "trialling" interesting. Out in the wild west of the Internet these servives are already existing in version 2.0.
- This functionality will be available on our own network only (ie. Won’t allow roaming).
Now we are reaching the real problem. Why only in your own network? Won't allow roaming? Or are you not able to provide roaming yet? Consider how many users the largest national GSM operator has and how many additional customers he may get. And now consider how many customers your real competitors already have and how many they can reach. I am talking here about Skype/EBay, Google, Yahoo! et. al.
- In 18-24 months we will be looking to launch more sophisticated converged IP-based services (via multiple bearers and devices) to compete with fixed and internet players.
I do not think that IMS will be ready for this in 24 month. Since especially the Internet players have all these services on a global scale already NOW, thinketh where they will be in 24 month. You will never be able to compete with them in your walled garden. Servicewise, all your customers will be save out side already. And you will have no support or help from your device manufacturers. The new dual-mode devices (GSM/WiFi) are already announced and to be on the safe (and customer) side, Nokia has already announced that the E60/61/70 series will feature TWO SIP stacks - the 3GPP stack and the standard IETF stack.
- IP-services require a very different address/numbering system (SIP based) than voice (MSISDN based).
- Some standards bodies exist to help with the address and numbering aspects of this (eg. ENUM)
Yes, they require SIP URIs, but with ENUM they may keep their old MSISDN, no problem here.
- SIP-based services make address/numbering much more complex and confusing for the customer. Technically, this issue has not yet been solved by the industry as a whole.
Huh? Confusing maybe for your senior managers not being able to read and write their e-mail without the help of their secretaries. SIP is working exactly like e-mail, and what part of you do not understand? Which industry you are talking about?
- Unless addressed quickly, customers will be required to have multiple addresses/numbers/identities for multiple IP-based services types.
As I already said, this is simply not true. Your customers may keep their MSISDN and may use in addition, if they want so, an SIP URI similar to an e-mail address. There may be one challenge: customers may not want to have, they may want to have also, because this is also the e-mail address. This is valid especially for enterprises. This may cause a serious problem in the walled garden approach.
- Customers are already demanding single address/number schemes to access multiple services across multiple networks – they will gravitate towards the Operators who can offer this.
And are already getting it, from the Internet players, as you call them. And they already can provide access to multiple services across multiple networks NOW, and this is the reason why they will gravite to them. And you will loose (maybe not the customer, because he still will use the UMTS access), but he will not use your services.
- Third parties (content providers, business partners) will gravitate to Operators who have the most efficient way of delivering and charging end users for bundled IP-based services.
Yes, and especially business customers are really pissed off with the insane roaming charges, both for calls and data, and will find immediately the most efficient (and cheapest) way to get their services done. Enterprises will provide themselves anyway all services, including voice. Does any business customer use the e-mail service from a mobile operator? No, he is using the e-mail from the company. Why should this be different with voice? Especially if it is combined with presence and Outlook?
- Industry standards on these issues are not in place yet.
They are. Maybe not in 3GPP and ETSI TISPAN.
- Some solution vendors are selling proprietary solutions which may prevent us from creating scaleable IP-based service propositions in the longer term.
Hm, how true. Think about this. Maybe the whole IMS is such a solution? Maybe you are already taking hostage by some manufacturers wanting to continue to sell you expensive and unnecessary boxes?
How can we differentiate vs competitors by creating an approach to address/numbering which is simple and effective for our customers?
Who are the competitors? Who is we? Are you competing with fixed operators, cable operators, the Internet players? Or are you competing with other mobile operators? Is the competition in future on the access or with services. With enterprises (your best customers,btw, or are this the parents of the kids you rip-off with SMS and ring-tones?) you have to compete with the customer - not a good idea after Clay Shirky's ZapMail. And since your competitors will have these solutions much sooner, you may have a problem here.
Deal with 2 interrelated issues now, to avoid headaches later on:
1.) Plan how to help the customer make an easy transition to a SIP-based address/numbers system (MSISDN/SIP co-existence, roaming, number portability, etc.)
2.) Ensure our internal technology development and interconnect strategy is in line with this.
Create a Future Address and Numbering Strategy.
Ok, get going, but consider: you are not the only service provider federation. Customers do not want walled gardens.

A consumer friendly Future Address and Numbering Strategy can only be created by ALL service providers, not only be the mobile operators.

So lets work together (or you will be Left Behind)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Microsoft and MCI Beta Testing VoIP 

I always wondered why Microsoft was missing in the count of horsemen riding over Telco land. Now finally the battleship, after picking up some boats floating in the Internet seas, starts slowly to change course by teaming up with MCI (Verizon?) finally to provide me-too VoIP services to consumers.

Since VoIP is a very new and innovative technology (at least for one (or both?) of these two companies ;-), they start it like hedgehogs are mating (very carefully), basically by doing a beta test with the Windows Live Messenger.

MCI and Microsoft are testing the service as part of a Windows Live Messenger limited beta with subscriptions initially available in the United States, and expect to jointly deliver the PC-to-phone calling capabilities to France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom in the coming weeks. Once subscribed to the service, customers can place calls to and from more than 220 countries with rates starting at $.023 per minute to the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Western Europe during the beta testing period. Upon sign-up, MCI Web Calling customers will receive up to one hour of free calls. Final pricing will be determined when the product officially launches in 2006.

2,3 cents/minute for a crippled beta test, when I get half the price by Skype et. al.? Ok, you get a bonus of $2,5 to start with - great, thanx.

Is this now a Microsoft Service using the MCI connections to the world, or a MCI/Verizon service using MS Live Messenger as a client? If it is the latter, why does a company like MCI needs a beta testing of a year to test a simple VoIP client? There are enough perfectly working VoIP clients around.

If it a Microsoft Service using MCIs connection to interface with the PSTN, I am missing any new and innovative services annoinced here. Or will these be launched and beta tested in 2007ff?

I really do not understand what is going on here.

Friday, December 09, 2005

IMS: Silver Bullet or Poisoned Chalice? 

Discussions on IMS seem now to get very sophisticated and literate. E.g in Lightreading's IMS: A Poisoned Chalice reporting from their conference:

The current world order in the telecom world is under threat, with the carriers under pressure from the online upstarts and vendors in danger of being usurped by more traditional IT firms, attendees at the IMS: Blueprint for an Applications Revolution conference in London heard today.

Telecom operators are being bypassed by the new breed of service providers, such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG - message board), Skype Technologies SA, Vonage Holdings Corp., and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO - message board) -- the "Four Horsemen of the IP Apocalypse," noted conference moderator and Heavy Reading senior analyst Graham Finnie.

Four Horsemen of the IP Apocalypse? Apocalypse Now? Graham must have seen one of Rich Shockey's forward looking presentations ;-)

But Poisoned Chalice? Chalice? Chalice? This reminds of one of the best and funniest movies I have ever seen (maybe because it was one of the first I saw) - The Court Jester with Danny Kaye:

Here the full sequence from (god bless) Wikipedia:
Hubert: I've got it! The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! Right?
Griselda: ...but there's been a change: they broke the chalice from the palace...
Hubert: They broke the chalice from the palace?
Griselda: ...and replaced it. With a flagon.
Hubert: A flagon?
Griselda: With the figure of a dragon.
Hubert: Flagon with a dragon.
Griselda: Right.
Hubert: ...but did you put the pellet with the poison in the vessel with the pestle?
Griselda: No! The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon! The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!
Hubert: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.
Griselda: Just remember that!
Now I finally know why the discussions in ETSI TISPAN on IMS simulation and emulation sound so familiar to me ;-)

Anyway, I am sorry I missed this conference, it seem to be a lot of fun, there is another gem on IMS by the keynote speaker Malcom Wardlaw from BT:

While it's primarily been the familiar names in the frame to land carrier IMS system deals, that could easily change over the coming five years or so, stated keynote speaker Malcolm Wardlaw, vice president of Mobility, Intelligence & Applications at BT Group plc (NYSE: BT - message board; London: BTA).

Wardlaw is one of the U.K. carrier's key executives in the development of its next generation network, the 21CN, and a big IMS fan. "IMS is a fantastic architecture that will allow us to make some major steps and create new services and experiences for our customers," he told the 150 conference delegates. (See BT Calls for IMS Support.)

He thinks IMS technical capabilities will initially arise from telecom vendors. However, over time more new ideas and capabilities are likely to come from the major IT vendors, startups, and new wave vendors. "I wonder if the market will move more towards the Sony Corp.s of this world, rather than the dominant telecom players of today," which, he claimed, "have been a bit slow in bringing [IMS technologies] to market."

Despite that warning shot, Wardlaw expects that the first wave of IMS-based services -- most likely developed for the corporate rather than consumer market -- would likely be developed by the incumbent telecom system suppliers, while new, independent applications developers to come into play in the development of consumer-focused services.

Now, though, "We need to move on from the wide-eyedness and figure out how we are going to implement IMS. That's a major challenge for us and for the traditional telecom supply chain," said the BT man.

That's what he said. Huh?

Once again:

Wardlaw is one of the U.K. carrier's key executives in the development of its next generation network, the 21CN, and a big IMS fan. "IMS is a fantastic architecture ...

21CN? IMS? As far as I know, the 21CN is NOT IMS.

So is he now talking about BT's 21CN 2.0? Another re-design?

But he is wondering himself what he is saying:

"I wonder if the market will move more towards the Sony Corp.s of this world, rather than the dominant telecom players of today," which, he claimed, "have been a bit slow in bringing [IMS technologies] to market."

Sony? The fifth horseman? Is he also reading Terry Pratchett?


IMS will be a silver bullet for the business as it is VoIP now, at least for hotels, travelling agents, carriers (aviation) and last, but not least, conference organizers - ask Jeff.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Breaking News: Rainer Muench (Alcatel SEL) elected ETSI TISPAN Chair 

Rainer Münch from Alcatel SEL in Stuttgart has just been elected at the mid-term plenary#9 in Sophia Antipoli chair of ETSI TISPAN, following Alain Roux. Rainer got 72% of votes, competing with former long-time TIPHON chair Helmut Schink form Siemens Munich.

I know Rainer very well and a fairly long time, both from his work in the various standard bodies, and also personally because his wife Monika "Wuppi" Wuppinger once worked for ÖFEG (one could say she was hi-jacked by Rainer, maybe not against her will, but definitely against ours ;-).

I think Rainer is an excellent choice for this job and I wish him good luck to get TISPAN back on track.

Congratulations Rainer (and Monika)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

ICB Toll Free: Can ENUM Escape ICANN? 

I am still somewhat confused what is going on here. Can anybody please enlighten me?

Can ENUM escape ICANN? Redux

New York, NY November 21, 2005 ICB TOLL FREE NEWS After five years on the drawing board, U.S. ENUM is gearing up for trials - and a Root B operator has publicly accused ICANN of hijacking the .ARPA domain from the IAB.

In 2001, ICANNWatch reprinted a series of articles from ICB covering ICANN's interest in ENUM (Can ENUM Escape ICANN?), noting that "compared to the money and power on the ENUM tree, DNS is nothing." Despite this, the potential ENUM component of the ICANN VeriSign Settlement Agreements appears to be on no one's radar.*

(There are some people working very hard to get North American Numbering Plan Toll Free Numbers installed in ENUM, so this should be a topic of interest, if not concern, to the toll free industry.)

In 2001, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) was on record as being responsible for managing the Top Level Domain (TLD) name .ARPA, the official ENUM top level domain, and the ENUM Industry has convinced itself ever since, that the IAB will provide some level of protection and insulation against ICANN.

It appears that ICANN would like to be more "hands on."

According to the proposed settlement agreements between ICANN and VeriSign ("ICANN and VeriSign Announce End to Long-Standing Dispute", October 24, 2005), "ICANN and VeriSign agree that they shall:... (c) Work together to establish a timetable for the completion of the transition to ICANN of the coordination and management of the ARPA particular to enable ICANN to edit, sign and publish the...ARPA zone[] commencing in 2005 and completing by 2006."

... prompting Bill Manning, a B Root operator, to post to the ICANN Comment Forum: "... A final point is the hijacking of the .ARPA domain from the IAB. It is not clear to me which party incalculated this component into the agreements (I have my ideas) but theft of the management of this domain without the approval of the IAB and the US DoC is ... theft."

The current timeline for U.S. ENUM is here. Is this timing coincidental with the timing and terms of these settlement agreements?

One can only speculate, but as Mr. Manning observes, in either case and at the very least, ICANN would appear to be negotiating prematurely.

*Former ICANN Director Karl Auerbach wrote last month that ENUM is "an answer to a problem that has disappeared," but he also goes on to say that "ICANN is gearing up to become the uber-manager of ENUM," echoing what ICB** has predicted since ENUM's inception.

**ICB is a Founding Member of U.S. ENUM Forum.

Good Bye Skype - Some reasons 

While I was ranting from the outside that Skype 2.0 is a wet fart, Andy was giving some insights what the reasons may be: Om Muses About Skype 2.0 I Muse About It Too

I agree with his conclusio:

If this doesn't all happen, Skype will be the thing that was. The company de jour, not a company that was built to last.

Rant mode ON - Telco CEO's must be smoking strange stuff 

Today I am in rant mode. This was a busy week and I am still catching up with my blog roll. My impression of the week: Some Telco CEOs must be really very desparate and starting to seek relieve in alcohol or smoking strange stuff.

It started some time ago with SBC/ATT CEO Ed Whitacre's comment that Google, MSN and Vonage want to, "use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them . . . these people who use these pipes [have] to pay," BellSouth has copped a similar attitude. The Washington Post reports that BellSouth CTO William L. Smith thinks that BellSouth
. . . should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.
Illustrating how generic Network Neutrality language might be is-ised out of existence, Smith
. . . was quick to say that Internet service providers should not be able to block or discriminate against Web content or services by degrading their performance . . . Rather, he said, a pay-for-performance marketplace should be allowed to develop on top of a baseline service level that all content providers would enjoy.
This is from David continues:

This is simply marketing language. Companies implementing price discrimination find that if they frame it as boosting prices, customers (and reporters) react negatively. But if they talk about a sale, everybody loves them. So Smith speaks of boosting performance rather than degrading it.

Discrimination is discrimination! Both SBC and BellSouth have announced they will discriminate! This is a wake-up call. Any Freedom to Connect language in the next telecom act WILL NEED TEETH.

But this is not all:

Jeff reports on the fun from Israel: Say It Ain't So - Israel to Prohibit International VoIP?!

and also points in: Regulations Threaten Nomadic VOIP

to another great piece by Ben Charny: eWeek: Regulations Threaten Nomadic VOIP

You think this is enough for one week? Nada.

Here comes todays Washingon Post: Angy Bellsouth withdrew Donation, New Orleans says

Hours after New Orleans officials announced Tuesday that they would deploy a city-owned, wireless Internet network in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, regional phone giant BellSouth Corp. withdrew an offer to donate one of its damaged buildings that would have housed new police headquarters, city officials said yesterday.

According to the officials, the head of BellSouth's Louisiana operations, Bill Oliver, angrily rescinded the offer of the building in a conversation with New Orleans homeland security director Terry Ebbert, who oversees the roughly 1,650-member police force.

City officials said BellSouth was upset about the plan to bring high-speed Internet access for free to homes and businesses to help stimulate resettlement and relocation to the devastated city. Around the country, large telephone companies have aggressively lobbied against localities launching their own Internet networks, arguing that they amount to taxpayer-funded competition. Some states have laws prohibiting them.


I believe that all these threats will finally back-fire.

They all must really be smoking very stange stuff.

Good Bye Skype 

Yesterday I tried Skype 2.0

Until now each new feature from Skype was a substantial improvement, both in quality and usability. So one could expect something from a jump from 1.4 to 2.0.

But since eBay has bought Skype, it seems that Skype has reached another Tipping Point.

But not in a positive sense. I think Ebay is destroying Skype. I have no idea why, is is stupidy, or purpose or both? Basically not my problem. Others will take over after Skype paved the way, and it may even be (standard) SIP again.

The goodies in Skype 2.0 are not very much:

The grouping of buddies has been claimed anyway for some time by the users, but this is a no-brainer and this alone is not so sensational to up-issue to 2.0

The new ring-tones?

A reader commented on Skype Journal New Skype Ringtones Revolt Coming, they sound like a wet fart. Exactly. Nothing to add here.

Self-expression? Sorry, did not find how to do this yet (this also is new in Skype)

See your contacts time zones? Ok, nice, but what if I am not at home. It should be the local time zone as some of us do by changing the profile name. Simply provide an input for location and time-zone and display it on the other side.

None of the above is important enough for 2.0

Uups, I forgot video (Freudian?), a feature people do not need or do not want since more then 40 years.

You can forget it.

I have no problem that the video quality is very bad. Basically I know how Henry or Michael may look in between pictures, even if I get a new picture only every second. (I do not need to see Henry at all, if I hear him, I know exactly how he looks like ;-)

But there is no excuse that using video degrades your voice quality severly, the first and major asset of Skype.

Even if this is still beta, I doubt that they will get this fixed soon. Seems to be a serious design problem.

Reconsidering the wet fart, they must do this on purpose. Or how stupid can you get?

Good Bye Skype, or as we say in Vienna: Und Tschüss.

Friday, December 02, 2005

European Regulators ranking by ECTA 

UK leads the way - Germany also here least competitive.

Today International Herald Tribune reports today:

ECTA, the European Competitive Telecommunications Association, a Brussels based lobby-group of 150 companies that are competing with the incumbents for their customers (some may say, ECTA is also giving advice to their members how to treat the NRA's to provide them a good living on behalf of the incumbents ;-) released a report stating that:

"Countries which top the European broadband league have succeeded in stimulating competition from a number of sources whilst those which languish at the bottom are characterised by higher incumbent market shares and slow progress towards competition. This is the main conclusion drawn from the latest broadband scorecard produced by ECTA."

According to the IHT the ECTA report was prepared by SPC Network, a British research firm, which surveyed ETCA's members and 16 national regulators in August.

The study of the EU telecom sector reveals that stricter (de?)regulation leads to greater investment, whereas monopolies limit economic performance.

The ranking according to the IHT out of a possible 520 (based on various measures of the market) is:

Britain (430)
Denmark (386)
France (337)
Austria (334)
Ireland (313)
Sweden (302)
Italy (299)
Portugal (297)
Netherlands (289)
Hungary (276)
Spain (274)
Belgium (271)
Czech. rep. (234)
Poland (225)
Greece (213)
Germany (213)

The surprise here is that the German Telecom market, Europe's largest, is the least open to competition.

The report itself has a different ranking, I am somewhat lost in the data, and I could not find out where the figures are the IHT is citing.

In the European BB League table Q2 2005 the Netherlands are leading, Denmark is second and Finland it third, UK is 7th and Austria 8th, Germany is 13th.

The bad message for Austria according to ECTA is:

Austria which was 5th in the broadband penetration table in 2003 is now ranked 8th due to a 2 year delay in analysing the broadband market and an absence of regulatory controls on bitstream.

On the other hand, if one hears the Austrian subsidary of ECTA, the VAT, whining every week about the incumbent-friendy regulator, this is still not so bad, e.g.: press release today

Wien, am 1. Dezember 2005 - "Die heute zur Konsultation vorgelegte Entscheidung der Telekom Control Kommission betreffend die Entbündelungskosten am Festnetz-Zugangsmarkt zerstört jegliche Hoffnung auf baldigen Wettbewerb am Anschlussmarkt. ...

Interesting also that the VAT is always pointing to Germany as an example.

Jeff's Top VoIP Bloggers 2005 

Again I have the honor to be included in Jeff's The Top VoIP Bloggers of 2005

Here the complete list:
Seems to be a copy of my Blog Roll ;-)

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