Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Verizon rejected Apple iPhone deal 

USA Today reports that Verizon was asked first and rejected Apple's iPhone deal.

NEW YORK — Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 U.S. cellphone carrier, passed on the chance to be the exclusive distributor of the iPhone almost two years ago, balking at Apple's rich financial terms and other demands.

Among other things, Apple wanted a percentage of the monthly cellphone fees, say over how and where iPhones could be sold and control of the relationship with iPhone customers, said Jim Gerace, a Verizon Wireless vice president. "We said no. We have nothing bad to say about the Apple iPhone. We just couldn't reach a deal that was mutually beneficial."

Verizon's decision to pull the plug on talks sent Apple into the waiting arms of Cingular, which will be the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone. The multifunction device is expected to ship in June and cost about $500.

If you read further and see the conditions Apple wanted from Verizon, one could raise the question if Verizon really passed a chance, or as Mark Siegel, a Cingular spokesman, said, "We think this is a win for Apple, and it is a win for Cingular."

We will see - it could also be a loss for Apple and Cingular and a win for Verizon ;-)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

+420/0.2.4.e164.arpa Czech ENUM in full commercial operation 

Pavel Tuma from nic.cz announced today that the Czech ENUM (+420) went into fully commercial operation.


No major problems occured while more than 2100 domains were registred through 9 registrars during the trial. All domains are kept in the registry for commercial operation. Few telco operators support ENUM officialy or unofficially, others announced future support and the discussion with the rest (unfortunately including all major ones) is ongoing.

For the full press release see here.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Stephen Colbert explains the whole AT&T thing 

Stephen Colbert explains the whole AT&T thing

And I finally understand how anti-trust works in the US

The Devil Wears Prada 

One week after the announcement of Apple's iPhone the first clone exists (LG Prada):

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea's LG Electronics Co. said Thursday it is launching a new mobile phone that incorporates a buttonless touch-screen that resembles the much-hyped Apple Inc. iPhone _ and will be in stores next month.

LG's Prada Phone is being produced in partnership with the Italian fashion brand. It is set to go on sale in late February for 600 euros ($780) at mobile phone dealers and Prada stores in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, and comes to Asia in March.

KE850: no button interface with touch-sensitive screen, MP3-player, 2 megapixel camera, EDGE, memory on cards, a bit more expensive, but available much earlier (and not locked to AT&T)

Major draw-back: NO WIFI.

The official press release from LG see here, for pictures: here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wrong Way for Wireless? 

Forbes.com has an interesting article today if wireless operators are really going in the right direction: Wrong Way for Wireless?

The carriers' logic: Selling games, songs and text-messaging services is much more profitable than plain-old phone calls. And wireless companies' data service revenue grew 88% year over year, according to research firm Telephia.

Yet Rasmus Wegener and Pratap Mukharji, Atlanta-based telecom consultants for Bain & Company, say wireless companies are headed in the wrong direction. Betting on customers to fatten up their phone bills won't work, they say. Instead, they think carriers should focus on their core business, and spend more time and money building customer loyalty. Dissatisfied customers are constantly bailing out on their contracts, and getting new ones is an expensive proposition. But if carriers cut their churn rates by 20%, they could boost profits by up to 15%.

Wegener and Mukharji recently explained their findings to Forbes.com.

XConnect Begins 2007 with Launch of DirectRoute Service 

A press release from XConnect: XConnect opens its doors to Wholesale Carriers, enabling significant cost reductions on calls terminating to XConnect Registry subscribers.

LONDON, UK, & Honolulu, Hawaii, January 16, 2007 —XConnect, the world’s largest neutral provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) peering services and operator of the XConnect Global Alliance, today announced the production launch of its DirectRoute service, enabling wholesale carriers to profit from Layer 5 VoIP Peering. Some of the high profile customers that have signed up for the service include leading international carriers such as Interoute, Bezeq International, and Touchstone. The announcement was made this morning at the PTC conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, where Kingsley Hill, VP Strategic Federations will speak on a keynote panel on VoIP Peering.

DirectRoute enables wholesale carriers to terminate calls destined for XConnect ENUM Registry numbers directly to the terminating Service Providers’ networks, lowering per minute costs and improving quality by eliminating unnecessary transit operators and associated PSTN/VoIP gateways. For VoIP Service Providers receiving calls via DirectRoute, the service offers a significant source of new revenue; as they are able to to receive calls from wholesale carriers directly into their VoIP infrastructure and to collect per-minute fees on inbound calls.

“The launch of our DirectRoute leverages our unique ENUM Registry and VoIP Peering platform to build on our XConnect Global Alliance TM settlement-free VoIP federations and deliver compelling benefits to both the carriers and VoIP service providers managing PSTN-to-VoIP calls,” said Eli Katz, CEO of XConnect. “We welcome Bezeq, Interoute and Touchstone as founding participants in the DirectRoute program and are pleased to have the support of these recognized leaders within the industry. Wholesale carriers can dramatically reduce termination costs on calls destined for numbers in the XConnect Registry, and VoIP service providers can increase ARPU by monetizing inbound calls to their subscribers.”

Carriers exploit DirectRoute by implementing a query of the XConnect ENUM Registry, discovering which of its calls are destined for registered subscribers and can thus be delivered directly, and at lower cost, into the network of the applicable service provider, without unnecessary transit steps and quality degradation. The query response contains routing information when a number is matched in the Registry or, when not matched, informs the carrier to proceed with their normal LCR routing. The ENUM Registry ‘dip’ is achieved through a SIP or ENUM-Query interface to a local cache of the Registry based upon XConnect’s patent-pending Local Directory Server (LDS). The LDS, delivers carrier-grade, high throughput and minimal latency on queries and automatically synchronizes with XConnect’s central ENUM Registry. VoIP service providers belonging to XConnect’s Global Alliance can join DirectRoute and begin earning revenue with no additional technical or integration requirements.

“Interoute is excited about integrating XConnect's DirectRoute service and to have XConnect join our Arena program” said John Wilkinson, director of voice services for Interoute in London, UK. “By enabling our Arena service customers to seamlessly access the XConnect registry, we expect them to be able to leverage the Federation paradigm to reduce termination costs and deliver high quality service to their end-customers”

“We are excited to begin routing calls to XConnect’s registry via the DirectRoute service” said Nissan Arie, Vice President at Bezeq International, based in Tel Aviv, Israel. “VoIP Peering is a valuable new technology for reducing costs and increasing the quality of service we offer our global customer base.”

“Touchstone is so committed to the VoIP revolution that we dedicate 100% of our efforts to VoIP session management and back-office products” said Mark Baker, CEO of Dallas, TX based Touchstone Systems, Inc, “ we believe XConnect’s DirectRoute is a powerful driver of that VoIP revolution.”

XConnect DirectRoute was recently awarded the 2006 Internet Telephony Product of the Year award.

So VoIP providers also want to participate in collecting termination charges.

Good Bye, SkypeOut 

Skype introduces per today a call set-up charge (0,045 Euro) for all SkypeOut calls. This adds to the normal charges per minute.

Skype was never the cheapest, but is was convenient. This is over now.

Who was telling me this? Breaking News in a Voipbuster pop-up window ;-)

Friday, January 12, 2007

IPhone - re-inventing the phone? 

I now took the time to watch Steve Jobs 2 hour keynote at the MacWorld in San Francisco.

I have to admit that Apple is really re-inventing the mobile phone. It is really a smooth combination of a super-iPod, a mobile phone and the best Internet hand-held device if have seen, all topped with with a revolutionary user interface.

Go and see yourself.

There is only one point I do not understand: why is Apple making this long-term, exclusive relationship with Cingular-AT&T?

Only because they wanted to have this Visual (Random) Voicemail feature and that you may use SMS like IM?

See also iPhone update: The decisions are all Apple's on the relation between Apple and Cingular.
...and while Cingular had to make sacrifices to its normal distribution and service model to land the exclusive agreement, Lurie said Apple was forced to bend also. Cingular managed to secure an exclusive distribution agreement for the iPhone and future iPhone models, meaning if you want the hot new device you have to become a Cingular customer, and even if you already are a Cingular customer you have to sign a new 2-year contract—no exceptions, Lurie said. Cingular is allowed to take steps to make sure no rogue iPhones make their way to the market. It will lock the phones and take steps to prevent the phones from being hacked. And while Cingular’s data upselling prospects on the phone may be limited today, Lurie said the companies are discussing options to open up the iTunes software and music services up to its mobile network, which could spell more data revenues for Cingular in the future.
What I completely did not understand was that the audience in the theater applauded to this announcement.

For a more detailed analysis of this see Tom Evslins:

Apple fails to re-invent the Telco Industry - too bad
Apple's iPhone Strategy - Readers Comment

Free ITU-T Recommendations 

The trial period for free ITU-T recommendations starts:

From the beginning of 2007, ITU-T Recommendations will be available without charge for a trial period.

With only a small number of exceptions all in-force Recommendations will be available in PDF form via a simple mouse click.

There is a general belief that the strategic importance of making on-line access to ITU-T Recommendations free outweighs the costs (in terms of lost revenue) to ITU. This is seen as a way to increase the transparency of ITU-T work and encourage wider participation in ITU-T activities. It is also believed that this policy will help increase developing countries' awareness of pertinent issues and help to promote the participation of academia in ITU-T work.

ITU-T Recommendations are available here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Declaration of Revocation 

found on Stephanie Miller's website.

Declaration of Revocation
by John Cleese

To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.

Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium." Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour'; skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters.

You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise."

You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to re-spell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation.

Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary." Using the same thirty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "uhh", "like", and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

Look up "interspersed."

There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary, then you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier).

You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents --- Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles.

While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon." If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters.

British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football." There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good game.

The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football.

Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies).

We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2005.

You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders," which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive Day."

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap, and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call 'French fries' are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat.

Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling "beer" is not actually beer at all, it is lager . From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine." This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in the Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "gasoline," as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon -- get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your co-operation.


While the largest mobile handheld manufacturer Nokia is going in direction Internet and Skype, one of the leading Internet companies is going into the other direction: Apple.

Everybody is now talking about iPhone and tries to make sense out of it, e.g.:

Brain Teasers on the iPhone and Apple's iPhone Surprises Despite Rumo(u)rs

This is really a nice gadget, although it will show up only mid 2007 (and in Europe end of 2007).
The human interface is well designed, as we are already used from the Macs and iPod.

But it has two serious drawbacks: in the US, you get it only from Cingular and it does not support UMTS. I thought they have learned the lesson from the closed Mac OS after the success from iPod and especially the usage of Intel processors, dual boot (and Parallels).

Since this will never be accepted and work in Europe (see Europe will be different for IPhone), and may hope that also the UMTS problem will be solved until end of 2007.

Then the iPhone will be a very useful FMC device, providing broadband voice via UMTS and WiFi, both for IMS Rel.7 and Skype. And it will be the end-users choice what to use. You may even do not need circuit-switched voice.

The Disruption of the Disruption 

Adrian Georguescu from AG-Projects sent me the following link to a press release from Nokia: Skype and Nokia to develop novel Internet-calling experience.
Las Vegas, USA - At the CES conference in Las Vegas today, Skype and Nokia announced a collaboration to develop a new mobile Skype(TM) experience on the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, introduced earlier today.

The collaboration builds on the familiarity and richness of desktop Skype and makes it mobile. The Nokia N800's small size and easy wireless connectivity frees Skype users from their desktop, allowing Skype conversations to take place anywhere, as long as there is an available wireless Internet connection. Packed with features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth phone connectivity, hands-free properties, webcam, media support and messenger keyboard, the Nokia N800 makes Skype conversations captivating experience at home, at work and on the move.

"Skype is the recognized leader of Internet communications with over 136 million registered users worldwide," said Ari Virtanen, Vice President, Convergence Products, Nokia. "Nokia's new N800 Internet Tablet is designed for mobile Internet. Together, we can develop communications devices beyond expectations."

"Skype is very happy to be partnering with Nokia," said Eric Lagier, Director, Business Development, Hardware and Mobile, at Skype. "Working with the leading mobile-handset manufacturer puts us in a unique position to get Skype to the mobile masses. With the introduction of the Nokia N800, we are positioning Skype as the centerpiece of Internet conversations on this WiFi-centric device. The Nokia N800 is an excellent platform for taking Skype conversations beyond the PC."

The first implementation on the Nokia N800 is expected to be made available for download by the end of first half of 2007.
Adrian commented this with the following statement:
  • SIP, an open standard IETF protocol, is nowadays the chosen protocol over closed networks
  • Skype, a closed solution, becomes the facto standard of communications over open networks
The world is upside down.

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