Monday, February 28, 2011

Telecom Sector Expands Globally : India and China Take The Lead

The telecom industry is taking leaps and bounds with increasing number of subscribers and mobile users across the world, including India. The world’s largest democracy is expected to earn a whopping revenue of $6.55 billion in the coming financial year, starting April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012. The earnings will be coming from license fees charged from telecom operators, spectrum usage charges and receipts through the auction of bandwidth for wireless broadband services. The details were given in the proposed budget shown in the parliament on Monday.
Moving to the China region, the China Unicom plans to launch its operating system, putting it in competition with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. The company will launch “Wophone” after its rival China Mobile Ltd. launched “Ophone” in 2009. Unfortunately, Ophone  failed to attract the users. Wophone OS will be shown on different mobile phones, with participating manufacturers and service providers including China’s ZTE Corp., Huawei Technologies Co. and TCL Corp., as well as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. of the U.S. and HTC Corp. of Taiwan.
Wophone’s operating system has a Linux core and is specifically designed for  third generation smartphones and tablet computers. Having a dispute with Chinese government, Google decided to centralize much of its efforts in Hong Kong.  For now, only Symbian is dominating the Chinese market, having 60.1% of total share. It is followed by Microsoft’s 13.1%, Android with 10.7% and iPhone with 5.4% of the market share.
As the telecom industry is progressing, so does the need for mobile security as well. For the Chinese-US market expansion in particular, certain measures need to be taken as more data exchanges ensue.  Chinese Android users are facing a threat from HongTouTou malware. The news was reported by Lookout Mobile Security on its official blog earlier this month. The multiplying number of mobile devices is inviting the cyberthreats and this can be seen all around us. Companies are taking sufficient measures to cope with the situation including Multi-layer authentication, encryption methods, endpoint security and VDI. They are adopting a solid approach to get the mobile advantage in a right way.source

Vodafone 3G available in Delhi

It is no less than Superman, claims Vodafone. The 3G service from Vodafone has begun in Delhi (we just got a call from Vodafone to confirm that), but the damper is it will only be available in south and central Delhi, and Gurgaon, with other regions being covered later. The good thing is that as of now, there are no activation charges (you just need to call the call centre) and that Vodafone is offering 3G speed browsing and Live TV, although the much-hyped popular video calling facility is yet to be made available. The bad is that these come at a staggering cost. The rates are Rs10 paise per 10KB which does not sound like much, but stretch that and it works out to be Rs 10 per MB and Rs 10,000 per GB. So clearly those who use a lot of data on their devices should be ready to shell out about the cost of a new handset every month to enjoy Vodafone’s 3G!
The Vodafone call centre executive we talked to said that there were no other 3G plans as yet. We are hoping some will come around soon, as the current one is frankly unaffordable. Who said Superman was cheap? Do let us know if you have heard of other Vodafone plans in your city – we would love to read about them.source

Infibeam Launches Next-Gen Pi2 E-Book Reader WiFi.

E-commerce venture Infibeam has launched the next version of its e-book reader, the Pi2 or the Pi Square. The reader now features Wifi connectivity, and a touch screen, both of which were absent in the first generation Pi. It also adds a web browser for internet surfing on the device. The Wifi connectivity will enable purchase and download of e-books over the device, without the need to connect to a PC to transfer them.The six inch e-ink based Pi2 is priced at Rs 11,999 and is available at Infibeam’s online store.
Infibeam founder and CEO Vishal Mehta did not reveal to MediaNama, the exact number of Pi devices sold till date, but said that the sales figures were in ‘thousands’, since the device’s launch in March 2010. The company offers a collection of over 5 lakh e-books on its web store and has tie-ups with all major publishers, including McGraw Hill, Penguin, Pearson, among others. It also has a tie-up with 2000 independent authors and manages rights for their books. Unlike Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Infibeam has no plans to launch platform specific applications for retailing ebooks; Mehta feels that the browser is the best medium. He also said that more than 90 percent of Pi owners purchased books from Infibeam’s store and the repeat visits were very encouraging.
Mehta said that the company avoided including a 3G modem (Amazon Kindle has a 3G version) as “users in India do not like to subscribe to multiple data plans; Wifi connectivity will be used to deliver content wirelessly from the internet store, and allow delivering of periodical publications like newspapers and magazines to the device. The company has also started selling the device at physical book stores including Reliance Time Out, as Indian customers like to experience the touch and feel of the device.source

Next Generation 911 Services: Integrating Wireless and Digital Communications

The success of the Next Generation 911 service (NG 911) projects will depend on the effective integration of wireless and digital communications into a NG911 emergency communication system, according to Government Computer News (GCN).
Integration is important to offer text and video services to NG911 users. Currently, the 911 system is based on wireline platform and does not allow text or other data services.
In order to ensure that the planned integration is effective, the Federal Communications Commission has recently, at the closing of 2010 and beginning of 2011, sought ideas from the industry. The FCC (News - Alert) is primarily investigating how to integrate cellular and digital communications into a Next Generation 911 services emergency communications system that would be able to handle video and data, as well as voice.
According to the FCC National Broadband Plan officials, the government is encouraging innovation in the development and deployment of NG 911 networks and emergency alert systems. The commission is currently compiling information from the public on implementing NG 911 services and moving public safety communications beyond traditional voice-centric technologies.
The commission has acknowledged that the telecom industry’s technological innovation including the advanced IP-based devices and applications have enhanced the ability of the consumer to communicate, sending and receiving information.
At the same time, the legacy circuit-switched 911 services system is unable to accommodate the capabilities embedded in many of these advanced technologies, such as the ability to transmit and receive photos, text messages and video, according to FCC.
Texting and sharing photographs and video could be the best way to alert first responders in case of emergency. For instance, in New Zealand, which was devastated by the recent earthquake, one woman sent more than 10 text messages to her family members while she was lying in the rubble. A caller might also prefer texting in situations when there’s a threat of being identified while speaking.
According to Julius Genachowski (News - Alert), chairman of the FCC, shootings at the Virginia Tech Campus is an example of the need for NG911 services. Some students and witnesses tried to text 9-1-1 during that emergency, but those messages never went through; they were never received by local 9-1-1 dispatchers.
The NG911 is gaining momentum. TeleCommunicaiton Systems, a provider of secure-mobile communication technology, announced plans to offer support for the recent introduction of the Next Generation 9-1-1 Preservation Act of 2010.source

How Can Small Cell APIs Help Service Providers Create New Revenue Opportunities?

Service providers looking for a way to boost indoor coverage for wireless networks are increasingly turning to small cell application programming interfaces (APIs), more commonly referred to as femtocells.

A femtocell is best defined as a small, cellular base station that connects to a service provider’s network using broadband. Femtocells are most commonly used in homes or small businesses, and are typically capable of supporting connections for up to 16 active mobile phones.

“A femtocell allows service providers to extend service coverage indoors, especially where access would otherwise be limited or unavailable,” notes Wikipedia. “Although much attention is focused on WCDMA, the concept is applicable to all standards, including GSM, CDMA2000, TD-SCDMA, WiMAX and LTE solutions.”

Femtocells are especially attractive because they don’t use much power and are capable of providing 5-bar signal strength for ‘dead zones’—indoors and out. Dell’Oro Group predicts that shipments of small cell base stations will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 163 percent during the next four years, reaching 61.8 million units by 2014.

Alcatel-Lucent notes that small cells offer improved coverage and additional network capacity for applications like presence and services like location information. For service providers, small cell APIs represent a significant opportunity to grow revenues. The market for this technology is very real: in a recent survey, 72 percent of end users said they would pay for services enabled by femtocells.

In other words, it’s about more than just extending physical coverage.

“To date, industry discussions about small cells have been around fixing poor indoor coverage,” Alcatel-Lucent said in a recent article about femtocells. “However, small cells can also be leveraged to enable the development and delivery of new intelligent applications and services that are valued by end users. This makes small cells a true business platform and an integral part of a complete application enablement strategy.”

Service providers seeking to capitalize on the benefits of femtocell deployments must work with third-party content and application providers to develop advanced services customers are willing to pay for, delivered using small cell base stations.

“Each cell provides unique end-user usage and positioning information such as whether the mobile device is active in a voice or data session,” noted Alcatel-Lucent in its article.  “Access to this information enriches the small cell APIs. This can be combined with network capabilities, such as location, presence, Quality of Service (QoS) and trusted security to enable application development by in-house or external application and content providers.”

Read the full article for more detail about the benefits of femtocells, including exampl
es of how this technology can be used to increase network coverage and deliver revenue-enhancing services.source

India to issue mobile TV regulations, spectrum audit

A regulatory framework for the introduction of mobile TV services by private operators in India is soon to be introduced by The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B).
According to the Times of India, the Ministry is currently laying down the rules of engagement, with a draft mobile TV policy expected to be put before the cabinet within the next three months, the newspaper reports.
“In this context, the recommendations of TRAI [Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India] have been examined and certain issues related to spectrum identification within the recommended band, the determination of service area licenses and the number of providers is under discussion,” said Raghu Menon, I&B secretary.
There is growing demand that some of India’s 700MHz frequency band, which is currently used for defence and broadcasting services, be auctioned for fourth generation (4G) mobile and wireless broadband applications.
The Controller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has, meanwhile, just announced is to undertake a comprehensive audit of the country’s total available spectrum, as well as its strategic and commercial use.
The move, reported by Business Standard, follows the country’s second generation (2G) spectrum auction debacle and a request last year by TRAI for a review of spectrum use, spectrum efficiency and solutions to current problems.
Communications Minister Kapil Sibal has also pledged that a blueprint on spectrum will be issued to operators by the government soon.source