About this weblog

What you need to know: This weblog captures key data points about the global telecoms industry. I use it as an electronic notebook to support my work for Pringle Media.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Telcos Splurge on Dutch LTE Licenses

The Netherlands has raised 3.8 billion euros from an auction of LTE-compatible spectrum. The figure was far higher than the 400 million to 500 million euros budgeted by the government.  

Vodafone said it will invest 1.38 billion euros in the spectrum, while KPN will spend 1.35 billion euros. Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile will pay 910 million euros and Tele2, a new entrant to the Dutch mobile market, will invest 160 million euros. source: Dow Jones Newswires article

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gartner Rings the Changes in Capitalism

Considering the growing wealth gap between the top 1% and the rest of the world's population, research firm Gartner forecast that "social and mobile technologies will be used to build and manage two-way relationships between businesses and all their communities of interest. This use of technology will go way beyond the one-way, outward-looking, limited use of social media today. It really will bring the 99 percent inside the walls of the enterprise to become part of the organization."

Gartner predicted that the rise of the Facebook generation will change the way businesses operate: "While capitalism won't collapse, there are fundamental changes under way as it morphs to a new form that is more in tune with the technology and attitudes of the 21st century," said Nigel Rayner, research vice president at Gartner. "The coming capitalist era is that of the Facebook generation, in which the values and behaviors that pervade the Internet and social media will also be adopted by innovative and disruptive businesses. With half the world's population under the age of 25, this may happen sooner than many think." source: Gartner statement

Friday, December 7, 2012

Deutsche Telekom Cranks up Capex

Deutsche Telekom said it is "substantially stepping up investments in broadband networks and products over the coming three years in order to improve its competitive position in the long term."  DT said that annual group capex, including MetroPCS, will climb to about 9 billion to 10 billion euros.

DT said it plans to increase investment in Germany to 4.1 billion euros in 2014 and 4.5 billion euros in 2016, compared with an average of 3.6 billion euros in the preceding three years. This investment will be used to:

  • Accelerate the LTE build-out in order to have 85% of the German population covered by 2016 with data transmission rates of up to 150 Mbps
  • Build-out its optical fiber network (FTTC) to cover around 65% of the population by 2016

DT plans to spend 4.7 billion U.S. dollars on capex in the U.S. in 2013 and about 3 billion dollars for the two subsequent years, compared with 2.7 billion per year on average from 2010 to 2012. DT said the focus in the U.S. is on building out a LTE network, which will cost about 4 billion dollars.

DT added: "the Group's net revenue and adjusted EBITDA are scheduled to grow again from 2014," assuming that "the about-face in European regulatory policy recently announced will be adopted in national regulation." René Obermann, Chairman of the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom, said: "Hesitation now means playing catch-up later. We are investing in the future – with resolve and a clear strategy." source: DT statement

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Have European Telcos Had their Time in the Sun?

How some of the world's top telcos fared in the third quarter of 2012. Europe is not the place to be. (Note, the Vodafone figure is for service revenues)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Windows 8 Sees Strong Start

Microsoft said that it has sold 40 million licenses for its Windows 8 operating system for tablets and PCs in the first month of sales of the new software. source: Telecompaper article. Research firm Asymco estimates that approximately 350 million Windows devices are sold worldwide each year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wireless Infrastructure Market on the Slide

The global wireless infrastructure equipment market was worth 11.3 billion US dollars in the third quarter of 2012  - down 10.3% year-on-year, according to ABI Research.  The analyst firm said that Huawei was the leading vendor with 24.3% of the radio access network (RAN) market, followed by Ericsson with 22.9% and Nokia Siemens Networks with 22.4%. Alcatel-Lucent ranked fourth with 14.3% and ZTE fifth.

“There is no question that the RAN market has been squeezed in 2012, although we have seen improvements in Q3, being 8% down from the 14% decrease we saw in Q1,” said Aditya Kaul, practice director, mobile networks at ABI. “Even with Q4 bringing in the traditional Christmas cheer, 2012 will end up 10% down at the very least, which is bound to cause market share shifts, especially in the top three.” source ABI Research statement

Monday, November 19, 2012

Windows and Android Neck-and-Neck

Across the PC, tablet and smartphones markets, Windows and Android are neck-and-neck at about 350 million device shipments apiece in 2012, according to Asymco.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cisco Claims Wireless Market Share Gains

Cisco reported a 5.5% year-on-year increase in revenue to 11.9 billion US dollars for the quarter ending October 27, 2012.  The increase was driven by a 30% rise in "service provider video" revenues, a 38% rise in wireless revenues and a 61% rise in data center revenues.

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco said: "Cisco is at the center of the major market transitions -- cloud, mobility, video -- and yet we believe the largest market transition lies ahead of us, as the Internet of Everything becomes a reality. Cisco has the unique ability to turn information that will flow across networks into new capabilities and richer experiences. The Internet of Everything will create unprecedented possibilities for businesses, individuals and countries, and Cisco is poised to lead and fully maximize the opportunities of this evolution." source: Cisco statement

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why the PC will linger on

This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and Blackberry

It is too soon for most enterprises to pension off the PC

“The PC era is drawing to a close.” We hear that refrain increasingly often these days.
But is it really? Are we approaching a time when an enterprise CIO can just issue PCs to some specialist employees, such as graphic designers and programmers, and everyone else can have a tablet, with a keyboard for a cover?

At first glance, that appeared to be the consensus emerging from the “State of the Mobile Nation” debate in London sponsored by Hotwire PR and organised by Helen Keegan, Heroes of the Mobile Fringe. But there were some caveats.
“I think we are absolutely moving into a post PC world,” said Azeem Azhar, founder of PeerIndex, which measures people’s standing on social networks.  “What ties us back to our laptops and desktops are certain types of applications and use cases that we can’t get on to the tablet, but as soon as those use cases move across, the convenience of the tablet takes over.” Tablets have already proven to be the ideal tool for one-to-one sales presentations, meaning they have already secured a strong foothold in the enterprise market.  

So, is it time to pension off the PC? Not so fast. Azhar noted that many people use PCs to get access to specific applications, particularly Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. While there are cloud-based workarounds, such as the CloudOn app, that enable you to edit Microsoft Office documents on a tablet, their usability depends heavily on how much latency there is in the network. Although they can work very well, sometimes there may be a couple of seconds delay between hitting a key and the appropriate number appearing on your spreadsheet.
Research firm Gartner said in June that Microsoft still has more than 90% share of the office productivity market on PCs (mostly because no other product is 100% compatible in features or format).
In fact, I suspect Microsoft Office will become a key weapon in the tablet wars:  Tablets running the newly-released Windows 8 operating system are likely to ship with Microsoft Office – a key selling point for an enterprise buyer. But how many enterprises buy tablets?

In companies with a bring-your-own-device culture, many employees already own tablets running rival operating systems. Therefore, a CIO’s strategy for phasing out PCs is highly dependent on if and when full Microsoft Office becomes available for these rival platforms. Note, the word “full”. Commentators are speculating that Microsoft will produce a lighter version of Microsoft Office for iOS and Android that will lack some features. If you can’t add comments to a Word document, for example, that will be a showstopper for many employees.
Microsoft may have to walk a fine line between supporting its operating systems and its Office product suite. If Office doesn’t work properly on many tablets and smartphones, small companies, in particular, may abandon the productivity suite in favour of alternatives from Google, Apple or others. In this scenario, Microsoft might lose traction in a key segment of the market.

PC graveyards?
In any case, programmers and other creative types, such as graphics designers, seem unlikely to give up their PCs for the foreseeable future, primarily because they need a large screen and lots of processing power.  “You know those airplane graveyards in Nevada? Well, we have a 27 inch monitor graveyard in our office,” Eamonn Carey, EMEA director of kiip, which gives people rewards for their achievements in games, told the London panel. “Except for one little corner of the office, which is where the developers sit, where the 27 inch monitors are always turned on because coding on a 13 inch screen or 15 inch screen… is terrible.”

Tablets and smartphones are cannibalising the time spent on PCs, but the PC is far from dead, added Benedict Evans from Enders Analysis. “You are seeing a move away from one platform to many platforms.” Russell Buckley, who chaired the session, summarised the discussion by citing an analogy made by Steve Jobs: We are entering a world where there will be cars (smartphones and tablets) and lorries (PCs). Lorries will be needed for the heavy lifting, but the vast majority of people will have cars that they use most of the time.

But CIOs might want to keep a large fleet of lorries on the road for some time to come. If they haven’t got the right productivity apps, an employee’s “car” might feel more like a bicycle.
This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and Blackberry. 

Messaging Revenues Begin to Fall at Vodafone

Vodafone said that its service revenue fell 1.4% year-on-year in the quarter ending September 30th on an organic basis, after rising by 0.6% in the previous quarter. It said that service revenue rose 0.6%, excluding the impact of cuts in mobile termination rates. Group revenue in the six months ending September 30 was 21.78 billion British pounds (34.61 billion US dollars).

Service revenue climbed 18% in Turkey, 17.4% in Ghana and 11% in India, but fell 14.4% in Australia, 12.8% in Italy and Spain and 10.7% in Greece. In Germany, revenues rose 1.8%, but were down 3.2% in the UK.

Vodafone said that its revenue from messaging services fell 3.3% in the six months to September 30th even though volumes rose 1.3%. The UK-based group said: "We are adopting a new strategic approach to consumer pricing and bundling in Europe, in order to offer customers worry-free usage and, at the same time, stabilise ARPU. We are launching new tariffs including unlimited voice and SMS, and much larger data allowances than before. Pricing will be radically simplified as a result, giving clear visibility of the cost of ownership and, thereby, lower complexity for IT and billing." source: Vodafone statement

Thursday, November 8, 2012

U.S. Sales Slide for Deutsche Telekom

Stripping out the impact of currency movements, Deutsche Telekom's revenue fell 3.2% year-on-year to 14.65 billion euros in the third quarter. Revenues declined 1.3% in Germany, 5.2% in the rest of Europe and 5.9% in the USA.

In Germany, DT's mobile service revenue was down 0.5%, shored up by a 21% rise in mobile data revenue. DT said U.S. service revenue fell 8.4% "impacted by transition to Value plans". source: Deutsche Telekom presentation

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bharti Boosted by Digital TV

Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile operator, said that its revenues rose 17% year-on-year in the quarter ending September 30 to 202.73 billion Indian rupees (3.72 billion US dollars).  Revenue from mobile services in India and south Asia rose 14% and digital TV revenues were up 26%, while revenues in Africa climbed 6% to 1.097 billion US dollars.

Bharti said that it had 185.9 million mobile customers in India on September 30, 2012, including 5.4 million active 3G customers. It added: "Our 4G services currently launched in Kolkata, Bengaluru and Pune are based on TD-LTE technology and offer a wide range of services to our customers including rich content, superfast access to High Definition (HD) video."

The company also noted: "Airtel digital TV has 7.5 million customers on its Direct-To-Home (DTH) platform. ....We currently offer a total of 304 channels including 15 HD channels and 5 interactive services." source: Bharti statement

Telefonica Sees Sharp Decline in Europe

Telefonica said that its underlying revenue in the third quarter fell 1.6% year-on-year to 15.54 billion euros, as a 3.8% rise in revenues in Latin America failed to offset a 6.8% decline in Europe. In local currencues, revenue rose 4.1% in Germany, 2.3% in Brazil, 17.7% in Argentina and 29.9% in Venezuela, but declined 15.3% in Spain and 5.4% in the UK.

The Madrid-based telco said: "Revenues in the first nine months of 2012 totalled 46.52 billion euros, virtually unchanged year-on-year (-0.3%; -1.6 % in the third quarter). This performance reflects the company’s high diversification, a key differentiating factor in the current environment characterised by adverse economic conditions, more intense competition and negative effects of regulation in some countries. Excluding the negative effect of regulation, revenues rose by 1.1% year-on-year versus the first nine months of 2011." source: Telefonica statement

Monday, November 5, 2012

Galaxy SIII Shipments Top 30 Million

Samsung said that it has sold 30 million Galaxy SIII smartphones since the model was launched five months ago, compared with 10 million Galaxy SII in the first 150 days. source: Mobile Business Briefing

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

TMT Winners and Losers in Q3

Scale in technology, media and telecoms is crucial. The above graphic shows how some of the major TMT players fared in the third quarter in terms of year-on-year revenue gains or losses in millions of dollars. The graphic uses organic figures, where available.

Monday, October 29, 2012

China Telecom Sustains Fast Growth

China Telecom said that its operating revenues rose 15.1% year on year in the first three quarters of 2012 to 209.98 billion Chinese yuan (33.64 billion US dollars), marking a slight acceleration over the 14.8% growth in the first half. Operating revenues excluding mobile device sales rose 11.1% year-on-year to 191.57 billion yuan.

China Telecom reported its mobile subscribers at the end of September were almost 153 million compared with 117 million a year earlier, while 3G subscribers climbed to almost 60 million from 28 million. Wireline broadband subscribers at the end of September were almost 87 million up from 74 million a year earlier. source: China Telecom statement

Communications Cliques: Control or Chaos?

This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and BlackBerry.
The proliferation of communications apps is creating cliques and confusion
Don’t call me, I’ll [something] you: Among twentysomethings, the communications hierarchy is roughly this – Facebook first, text second, email third and only call as a last resort. That is, of course, a gross over-simplification – members of Generation Y actually use many alternatives to Facebook, SMS, email and old-fashioned voice calls.
In fact, the rise of the smartphone has been accompanied by an explosion in IP-based communications and messaging apps, such as BlackBerry Messenger, FaceTime, iMessage, TextMe, TextNow/Touch, Twitter, Viber and WhatsApp. These mobile pretenders are slugging it out with longer-standing communications apps, such as Facebook, Google Talk (now merging into Google+), Skype and Yahoo! Messenger, as well as conventional circuit-switched phone calls and SMS.  
For CIOs, the recent proliferation of communications options is a double-edged sword.  IP-based apps should cut telecoms costs, but they can also create communications silos (read cliques) within an organisation. Although some of these services are interoperable in some scenarios, in many cases, they can’t communicate directly with each other, often defaulting to email to alert a user to an incoming message. While some employees might be WhatsApp devotees, others might prefer Skype or direct Twitter messages.
So, should a CIO and his or her team intervene and mandate the use of specific communications services or should they let the market run its course? Anyone contemplating the latter approach, may have to be patient. A quick review of how these various communications services are doing suggests the market will be fragmented for several years yet.
  • Facebook claimed 552 million daily active users on average in June 2012. It has also said that there were 600 million monthly active users of its mobile products in September 2012.
  • In May, Skype claimed 250 million monthly users, according to a report on Engadget. Skype users logged 115 billion minutes of calls over the second quarter, according to a report on Techcrunch — that equates to about 1.3 billion minutes a day.
  • WhatsApp was handling 10 billion messages a day in August, according to a report on The Next Web.
  • Although Apple doesn’t disclose how many people are using its FaceTime and iMessage services, Techcrunch reports Apple has sold more than 400 million devices running the iOS operating system. The latest version, iOS 6, supports both FaceTime and iMessage over cellular networks, as well as Wi-Fi.
  • Twitter had approximately 170 million active users in July 2012, according to a report on Techcrunch.
  • Google claimed in September that Google+ is used by 100 million people each month, according to a report on CNET.
  • BlackBerry Messenger (or BBM) is used by more than 60 million people worldwide, according to RIM. More than 60% people of this group are using BBM daily, RIM says.
  •  Viber said in July it had hit 90 million users, adding 20 million in just over two months. Those users are now spending more than 1.5 billion minutes on calls and sending over two billion text messages each month, according to a report on GigaOm.
  • Enflick claims that both its Touch and TextNow services are used by millions of people worldwide and are growing rapidly. In March of 2011, TextNow sent its billionth message, according to Enflick. TextNow ranked fourth among the social networking apps in the U.S. version of Apple’s App Store on October 29th  2012.
  • TextMe claims more than 5 million downloads, with 750,000 active users, according to a May 2012 report in VentureBeat.
Of course, the list above is far from exhaustive – there are many more social networking/messaging/voice calls apps out there (see graphic showing the top social networking apps in the App Store on October 29th). Even some mobile operators, such as Telefonica, are launching their own so-called over-the-top apps, such as TUMe. There are also social networking services, such as Yammer, that are designed specifically to be used within enterprises. Some people rely almost exclusively on email!

For CIOs, this all may look like communications chaos, but it is clearly far too early to bet on which services are going to win out.  Although it is tempting to break down the cliques and force employees to use specific apps, such as Yammer or Skype, to contact colleagues, that probably isn’t practical in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture for several reasons:
  • Some services are tailored for specific devices.
  • You might make the wrong bet - disruptive new services may have better features and functionality than the services you mandate  
  • Different tribes like to communicate in different ways and will work round top-down mandates – many people simply won't give up BBM, WhatsApp or Facebook.
But the cliques won't last forever. In time, the weaker services will be weeded out and people will surely gravitate towards a handful of communications platforms – a survival of the fittest.
CIOs need to let evolution run its course.
This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and BlackBerry.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sprint Revs Up Wireless Revenues

Sprint said that its revenues rose 5% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2012 to 8.8 billion US dollars, "primarily due to higher wireless service and equipment revenues, partially offset by a reduction in wireline revenues."
Sprint said its capital expenditure was 1.5 billion dollars in the quarter, compared to 760 million dollars a year earlier.  The Kansas-based telco has "launched 4G LTE in 32 cities and expects that 4G LTE will be available in more than 115 additional cities in the coming months." Sprint also said it has launched or announced 13 4G LTE devices to date. source: Sprint statement 


Growth slows at América Móvil

Lifted by mobile data and pay TV revenues, América Móvil said its revenues in the third quarter were up 6.1% year-on-year to 193 billion Mexican pesos (14.81 billion US dollars) at constant exchange rates. Revenue grew 8.7% in 2011. The pan-Latin America telco reported that its mobile data and pay TV revenues climbed 35.3% and 21.0% respectively, while fixed-line voice revenues declined 7.2%. source: América Móvil statement

Growth Prompts DOCOMO to Up Targets

NTT DOCOMO, Japan's largest mobile operator, said it now expects to generate revenues of 4.52 trillion Japanese yen (56.26 billion US dollars) in the year ending March 31, compared with 4.24 trillion the previous year. In the quarter ending September 30, DOCOMO's operating revenues rose 6.5% to 1.135 trillion yen.

The Tokyo-based telco also increased its target for subscriptions to its Xi LTE service to 41 million for the year ending March 31, 2016 from its earlier target of 30 million. It had 6.2 million LTE subscribers at the end of September.

DOCOMO also said it is aiming to earn 1 trillion yen in revenues from new businesses in the financial year ending March 31, 2016, compared with 400 billion yen in the year ending March 31, 2012. source: NTT DOCOMO presentation

Galaxy SIII Fuels Sales Surge for Samsung

Samsung Electronics said that its IT and mobile communications division increased sales by 67% year-on-year in the third quarter to 29.92 trillion Korean won (27.25 billion US dollars).  Samsung said that "it saw a substantial increase in revenue/profit QoQ driven by rising sales in high-end smartphones, enhanced product mixes, etc." It added: "Smartphone shipments increased significantly due to global expansion of GalaxyS III and reinforced line-ups of mid/low-end products." source: Samsung presentation

Ericsson Sees Sales Slip Again

Ericsson said that its sales in the third quarter for comparable units, adjusted for FX and hedging, decreased 4% year-on-year to 54.6 billion Swedish krona (8.14 billion US dollars). The leading telecoms equipment maker said networks revenues fell 17% year-on-year, primarily due to weaker sales in parts of Europe, China, Korea and Russia, as well as continued decline in CDMA equipment sales. "This was partly offset by strong development in North America," Ericsson added. 

Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson, said: "We believe that the fundamentals for longer-term positive development for the industry remain solid. There are now one billion smartphones in the world and the number is expected to reach three billion in 2017. ....However, at the same time, we see a continued macroeconomic slow down and political unrest in parts of the world, which has led to more cautious operator spending..."

However, Ericsson's Global Services division increased revenues 16% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis and represented 45%  of group sales in the third quarter compared to 44% in the second quarter. source: Ericsson statement

Apple Forecasts A Sharp Slowdown

Apple said that its revenue rose 27% year-on-year in the quarter ending September 29 to 35.97 billion US dollars. It sold 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 58% unit growth over the year-ago quarter, and 14 million iPads, a 26% unit increase.  In the current quarter, Apple said it expects revenue of about 52 billion dollars, which would represent a rise of 12% year-on-year. source: Apple statement

Thursday, October 25, 2012

AT&T Talks Up LTE

AT&T said that its revvenues grew 2.6% in the third quarter on a like-for-like basis to 31.5 billion US dollars. It attributed the growth to a 6.6% increase in wireless revenues. AT&T also reported that its LTE network now covers 135 million people.source: AT&T presentation

France Telecom on Downward Trend

France Telecom said its revenues in the third quarter fell 3.5% year-on-year on a comparable basis to 10.76 billion euros. The Paris-based group said that regulation was to blame for 2.4 percentage points of that decline. Revenue declined by 5.4% in France and 5.5.% in Poland. source: France Telecom-Orange presentation

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Facebook Begins to Monetise Mobile

Excluding the impact of changes in foreign exchange rates, Facebook said its revenue in the third quarter rose 38% year-on-year to 1.26 billion US dollars. Revenue from advertising was 1.09 billion dollars, while payments and other fees revenue for the third quarter was 176 million dollars. Facebook added that 14% of advertising revenue during the third quarter was "from mobile", compared with almost nothing in the same period of 2011. source: Facebook statement

Monday, October 22, 2012

China Mobile's Growth Slows Slightly

China Mobile's operating revenue in the third quarter of 2012 rose 6.2% year-on-year to 142.01 billion Chinese yuan (22.8 billion US dollars), as its connections climbed to more than 698 million at the end of September from 683 million at the end of June. In the second quarter, its revenues grew 6.6% year-on-year.

China Mobile said it had more than 75 million 3G customers at the end of the quarter, up from 67 million at the end of the second quarter. source: China Mobile statement

Friday, October 19, 2012

How Google's Business is Changing

Google's revenues from its own sites rose 15% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2012, while revenues from "partner sites" were up 21% year-on-year. Google's "other revenues" climbed almost 73% year-on-year. Google povides little information about these revenues. source: Google statement

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Verizon Sees Strong LTE Growth

Verizon, one of the largest telcos in the U.S., said its consolidated revenue rose 3.9% year-on-year in the third quarter to 29 billion US dollars. Wireless revenue was up 7.3% year-on-year as wireless retail connections rose 5.7%.

Verizon said that it sold 4.5 million 4G LTE devices in the third quarter (compared with 3.2 million in the second quarter) and that more than 35% of its total data traffic is now on its 4G LTE network. In Verizon's landline business, consumer revenue growth accelerated to 4.6% thanks to growing adoption of its fibre-based services. But enterprise revenues fell 3.6%. The telco also noted that its capital expenditure was down 9.8% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2012. source: Verizon presentation

Nokia Sees Sales Plummet in China

Nokia said its net sales fell 23% year-on-year on a constant currency basis to 7.24 billion euros in the third quarter of 2012. On the same basis, net sales in Nokia's devices and services division were down 36% and sales at Nokia Siemens Networks were down 3%.

Nokia's devices and services sales fell 78% in Greater China and 51% in North America. Nokia said: "The sequential decreases in net sales and volumes in North America were primarily due to lower operator and distributor demand for Lumia as well as our efforts to prepare the distribution channel for the upcoming sales start of new devices.....Net sales in China decreased sequentially primarily due to lower net sales of our Lumia and Symbian devices, primarily reflecting competitive pressures."

Nokia said it expects the fourth quarter to be "a challenging quarter in smart devices, with a lower-than-normal benefit from seasonality in volumes, primarily due to product transitions and our ramp up plan for our new devices."

However, Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, noted: "In our mobile phones business, the positive consumer response to our new Asha full touch smartphones translated into strong sales. And in Q3, our mobile phones business delivered a solid quarter with sequential sales growth and improved contribution margin." source: Nokia statement

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bring Your Own Downloads….

….but only if they have had a stamp of approval 

This post is sponsored the Enterprise Mobile Hub and BlackBerry.

When it comes to apps, how do you tell the wheat from the chaff? If you are an enterprise CIO and your employees are bringing their own devices (BYOD) to work, that is the kind of question that could keep you up at night.

A rogue or poorly-designed app could steal or delete important data, paralyse an employee’s device or compromise privacy and security. Moreover, some apps, particularly those offering cloud-based storage, could fall foul of data protection laws: EU data protection legislation, for example, prohibits the transfer of data to countries whose laws are more relaxed than those in the EU.

So, what’s the solution? At a recent event in London, a senior IT strategist at a major pharmaceutical company noted that a lot of people in his organisation are using cloud-services apps with zero involvement from the IT department. He called on telcos to begin certifying such apps, providing some kind of assurance of quality and security.

The worry for CIOs with a BYOD policy is that many of the hundreds of thousands of apps available are sold through lightly-curated distribution channels. And people are downloading these apps on a scale unimaginable in the PC market. There will be more than 45 billion app downloads in 2012, of which more than 40 billion will be free, according to Gartner (see table).

It would be completely impractical for an IT department to test all the possible apps that could end up on employees’ handsets. And reading the reviews on application stores won’t bring peace of mind – they tend to be patchy and sometimes confusing.

Instead enterprises need an independent third-party to test and certify apps on their behalf - CIOs could then insist that employees only download apps that have had an official stamp of approval. But the certifier may have to be prepared to test thousands of apps – employees aren’t going to suffer a scheme that severely limits the apps they can use on personal devices.

Clearly, the programme would need a sustainable business model – enterprises could subscribe to the service, developers could pay a fee to carry the certification logo on their apps or the programme could be bundled into a broader mobile enterprise management software offering.

Should telcos take on the job?
Whoever performs this task will need to have economies of scale and, therefore, scores of existing enterprise customers.  Although systems integrators or IT services companies, such as IBM, Infosys or Accenture, could do the job, telcos have a broader interest in providing such a service – they need to understand which apps hog network capacity and which are relatively frugal. If they could minimise the use of apps that soak up network resources, telcos would be better placed to provide enterprise customers with an assured quality of service, particularly for mission-critical cloud-based services.

Of course, certification schemes are open to abuse – logos and web sites can be copied and faked. Moreover, there may be conflicts of interest - a telco or systems integrator will surely end up having to evaluate apps provided by business partners and even customers.

But without a stamp of approval, the bring-your-own-downloads phenomenon could be accompanied by serial security scares and many more sleepless nights for CIOs.

This post is sponsored the Enterprise Mobile Hub and BlackBerry.

Monday, October 8, 2012

HTC Sales Sliced in Half

HTC Corporation, a leading maker of smartphones, said that its revenues in the third-quarter of 2012 were 70.2 billion Taiwanese dollars (2.4 billion US dollars), down 48% from 135.82 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2011.  source: HTC statement

Friday, October 5, 2012

Facebook Claims One Billion Users

Facebook said it reached one billion monthly active members on Sept. 14 - double the number it had two years ago.Facebook didn't specify whether the one-billion figure includes fake accounts: In August, Facebook said fakes constituted 8.7% of its users. source: Wall Street Journal article

The Top Ten Mobile Operators

source: Wireless Intelligence statement

Thursday, September 27, 2012

RIM Predicts Several Challenging Quarters

Research In Motion Limited  said its revenue in the three months ended June 2, 2012 was 43% lower than in the same quarter of 2011 at 2.8 billion US dollars. It shipped 7.8 million BlackBerry smartphones and 260,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in the quarter, compared with 13.2 million BlackBerry handheld devices and 500,000 tablets a year earlier.

Thorsten Heins, President and CEO,said “Our top priority going forward is the successful launch of our first BlackBerry 10 device, which we now anticipate will occur in the first quarter of calendar 2013. In parallel with the roll out of BlackBerry 10, we are aggressively working with our advisors on our strategic review and are actively evaluating ways to better leverage our assets and build on our strengths, including our growing BlackBerry subscriber base of approximately 78 million, our large enterprise installed base, our unique network architecture and our industry leading security capabilities.”

RIM said "it expects the next several quarters to continue to be very challenging for its business based on the increasing competitive environment, lower handset volumes, potential financial and other impacts from the delay of BlackBerry 10, pressure to reduce RIM’s monthly infrastructure access fees, and the Company’s plans to continue to aggressively drive sales of BlackBerry 7 handheld devices." source: RIM statement

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nokia Upgrades Nokia Life

Nokia said that more than 76 million people have "experienced" its Nokia Life service - a suite of "life improvement information services that work across a range of basic and feature phones without the need for a data connection." Nokia also unveiled the "Nokia Life+ web application" - a web-based service that can be accessed through the Nokia Xpress Browser, which is claimed to compress Internet data up to 90%.

Nokia Life+ is also compatible with two new Nokia "smartphones" (the Nokia Asha 308 and Nokia Asha 309), which run the Nokia OS and have touchscreens. Although these handsets are only 2G, they cost just 99 US dollars and the Nokia Asha 309 supports WiFi. source: Nokia statement

Monday, September 24, 2012

Apple Sells Five Million iPhone 5s

Apple said today it has sold over five million of its new iPhone 5 in the three days since it became available on September 21. It added that its customers have updated more than 100 million iOS devices to run the new iOS6 operating system, which includes the much-maligned Apple Maps app.

Apple said the iPhone 5 is available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK, and will be available in 22 more countries on September 28 and more than 100 countries by the end of the year. "Demand for iPhone 5 exceeded the initial supply and while the majority of pre-orders have been shipped to customers, many are scheduled to be shipped in October," Apple added. source: Apple statement

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The rise and fall of HTML5 at Facebook

This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and BlackBerry.

Hitting the wall: What can enterprises learn from the failure of HTML5 at Facebook? 

For any company trying to develop software that will work across multiple mobile platforms, Mark Zuckerberg's recent remarks about HTML5 were telling. The Facebook founder and CEO told Techcrunch: “The biggest mistake that we have made as a company was betting too much on HTML5, as opposed to native, because it just wasn’t there…. we were just never able to get the quality that we wanted…we burnt two years, it was really painful.”

For Facebook, the decision to code in HTML5 was a strategic one - ideally, it doesn't want to be producing dedicated apps for Android, thereby strengthening Google, its major competitor in the social networking market. For that reason, Facebook will have tried really hard to make HTML5 apps work. But Zuckerberg was very clear with Techcrunch that those days are over: “Two years ago we bet completely on HTML5…[but] native is the approach we are going to go with for iOS and Android going forward.”

Does Facebook’s U-turn suggest HTML5 has been over-hyped and is actually far from being able to deliver decent mobile apps? Not necessarily. Facebook's mobile apps need to delight both consumers and advertisers - a difficult task given the relatively small screen space on a mobile handset.  In Facebook's apps, the advertising (or sponsored stories, as Facebook prefers to call them) need to feel like a natural part of the content, rather than an unwelcome intrusion or an adjunct to the real conversations. To pull off this difficult trick, Facebook may need to harness the full capabilities of the operating system and the device itself. With attention spans so short, particularly in a mobile environment, the giant social network can’t afford to have any latency within its apps.

A little latency may not be a big deal
Many companies developing cross-platform apps aimed at their own employees (or even their customers) aren't facing quite the same challenges. While every developer wants to deliver a good user experience, a mobile app without advertising can use much more of the touch-screen as an user interface for the content and the functionality. Moreover, a little latency isn't quite such a big deal. For enterprise apps designed to do a specific job, such as enable employees to query corporate databases, access customer records, make expenses claims or book meeting rooms, HTML5 may still be the right answer.

Anyone who has used the Financial Times' HTML5 app will know that this collection of web standards can now deliver a respectable consumer experience. While the navigation isn't as slick as you might get from a native app, it is good enough. Enterprises that have adopted a bring your own device philosophy and are having to support multiple platforms should take heed.  Unless you are a perfectionist, it is worth keeping the HTML5 faith, despite Zuckerberg's misgivings. Even the man himself said to Techcrunch: “It is not that HTML5 is bad…long term, I am really excited about it.”

This post is sponsored the Enterprise Mobile Hub and BlackBerry.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Twitter Ahead of Facebook on Mobile Ads

EMarketer, a market research group, put Twitter’s 2012 mobile revenue at 129.7 million US dollars, versus 72.7 million dollars for Facebook, but projected the two would reverse positions next year, with Facebook recording 387 million dollars in mobile sales and Twitter 272.6 million dollars. source: The Financial Times

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Almost 500 Million Androids Sold

Google said it is now activating 1.3 million Android devices a day, of which 70,000 are tablets. The figure marks a 30% increase on the 1 million-a-day milestone reached in June this year and brings the total installed Android base to 480 million worldwide. source: Mobile Business Briefing

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nokia Unveils Windows 8 handsets

Nokia unveiled its first smartphones running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system: The Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820. Nokia said the Lumia 920 has a 8.7 megapixels camera sensor and "PureMotion HD+ display technology, powering its generous 4.5-inch screen with the fastest, brightest, most-sensitive and highest resolution display ever seen in this market." Even with this display, Nokia said it can play videos for up to six hours thanks to its 2000mAh battery - the largest yet in a Nokia handset.

Nokia said both handsets support wireless charging and "will be available in select markets in pentaband LTE and HSPA+ variants later this year. Prices and release dates will be revealed in separate, later announcements." source: Nokia statement

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NTT DOCOMO Expands Android LTE Range

NTT DOCOMO unveiled three new smartphones and two new tablets compatible with its LTE mobile service, for launch in or after September. The Tokyo-based operator said all models are capable of a maximum downlink speed of 75 Mbps and run the Android 4.0 operating system. It added that three of the five models are compatible with "the NOTTV V-high multimedia broadcasting service, including the first NOTTV-compatible GALAXY tablet."

On August 20th, DOCOMO announced that it had more than five million LTE subscribers. The service was launched at the end of 2010. source: DOCOMO statements 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Unicom Claims Market Share Gain

China Unicom said that its operating revenues rose 20% year-on-year in the first half of 2012 to 121.69 billion Chinese yuan (19.14 billion US dollars). Service revenues rose 13.3% fueled by a 23.4% lift in mobile revenues. Unicom claimed to have gained 1.6 percentage points of market share over the 12 months to June 30th, giving it 23.1% of the Chinese telecoms market.

Unicom attributed most of the growth to a sharp rise in 3G service revenues, as its 3G subscriptions rose 140% year on year to more than 57.5 million. source: China Unicom presentation

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mobile Data Momentum for China Telecom

China Telecom said that its operating revenues rose 14.8% year-on-year in the first half of 2012 to 138.02 billion Chinese yuan (21.73 billion US dollars). Excluding sales of mobile devices, the telco's operating revenues climbed 11.2% to 126.58 billion yuan.

China Telecom reported that it now has 144 million mobile connections (including almost 51 million 3G connections), representing a net addition of 17.71 million from the end of last year. The total number of wireline broadband subscribers reached 83.70 million, representing a net addition of 6.89 million from the end of last year.

Selling both the iPhone and low cost smartphones (about 1,000 yuan or 155 dollars), the company said: "In the first half of the year, mobile data revenue was 19.27 billion yuan, representing an increase of 46.7% over the same period last year. Mobile data revenue accounted for 45.3% of the mobile service revenue, which is at an industry-leading level." source: China Telecom statement

Thursday, August 16, 2012

China Mobile Moves Down a Gear

China Mobile said that its operating revenue rose 6.6% year-on-year to 266.53 billion Chinese yuan (41.91 billion US dollars) in the first half of 2012. That compares with 7.8% growth in the first quarter of 2012.

The operator said that voice usage was up 9.2% and wireless data traffic climbed 51.6% as 3G customers reached 67 million, up from 35 million a year earlier. source: China Mobile presentation

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Deutsche Telekom Leans on Broadband

Deutsche Telekom reported a revenue decline of 3% year-on-year on an organic basis to 14.38 billion euros in the second quarter of 2012. In Germany, revenues fell 3.1% and in the U.S., service revenues declined 6.1%.

Still, DT said customers for its Entertain IPTV service rose 41% to 1.83 million, while retail fiber customers rose 59% to 722,000. source: Deutsche Telekom presentation

Friday, July 27, 2012

Samsung's Smartphone Sales Surge Again

Samsung Electronics said sales in its IT and mobile communications division rose 60% year-on-year to 24.04 trillion Korean won (21.13 billion US dollars) in the second quarter of 2012. Mobile-related sales were up 75%. The South Korea-based company said that its smartphone shipments increased quarter-on-quarter with "a successful launch of Galaxy SIII and solid sales of the Galaxy Note." source: Samsung presentation

Thursday, July 26, 2012

FT Cranks Up Network Capex

France Telecom said its revenues fell 2.1% year-on-year on a comparable basis in the second quarter to 10.92 billion euros. The Paris-based group blamed 1.9 percentage points of the fall on regulation. Revenues were down 4.8% in France, but rose 2.5% in Spain.

France Telecom said its capex rose 1% on a comparable basis to 2.46 billion euros in the first half of 2012, adding "investment in networks, which represented 55% of the Group’s capex in the first half of 2012, rose 6% with the acceleration of strategic projects," such as the deployment of optical-fibre connections in France. source: France Telecom presentation

Weak Europe Deflates Telefonica

Telefonica said that its underlying revenues rose 0.1% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2012 to 15.47 billion euros.  A 5.7% fall in revenues in Europe was offset by a 5.8% rise in Latin America.

The Madrid-based group said that is is now expecting revenue growth to be "flat to positive" in 2012, whereas it had expected growth of more than 1%. Telefonica said it is seeing a "more challenging than anticipated performance driven by a weaker macro environment and further negative impacts from regulation."

Telefonica also gave further information about its digital strategy confirming that it will avoid head-on competition with the leading Internet players.

source: Telefonica presentation

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Apple Sees Slower Growth

Apple said its revenues rose 23% year-on-year in the quarter ending June 30th to 35.02 billion US dollars with its iPhone-related revenues up 22% and its iPad-related revenues up 52%.

Apple said it expects revenues in the current quarter to be about 34 billion dollars, which would represent an increase of 20% year-on-year. source: Apple statement

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wireless Data Keeps AT&T Growing

AT&T said that its revenues in the second quarter rose 2% year-on-year to 31.6 billion US dollars, after  removing the impact of the disposal of its advertising solutions unit.  The giant US telco reported that "wireless data revenues — driven by Internet access, access to applications, messaging and related services" — increased by 1 billion dollars, or 18.8%,  6.4 billion dollars.

AT&T said that approximately 27 million, or about two-thirds, of all its smartphone subscribers are on tiered data plans, compared to 45% a year ago, and about three-quarters of these have chosen the higher-tiered plans. source: AT&T presentation

Friday, July 20, 2012

Southern Europe Holds Vodafone Back

Vodafone said that its service revenue rose 0.6% year-on-year to 10 billion British pounds (12.8 billion euros) in the quarter ending June 30th, on an organic basis. A 17.1% growth in data revenues was offset by declining voice revenues, partly caused by cuts in regulated mobile termination rates. Messaging revenue fell by 1.2% after growing 2.4% in the previous quarter.

Vodafone's revenues grew rapidly in Ghana, Turkey and India, but declined sharply in Australia and southern Europe.  The company noted: "On a regional basis we continue to benefit from a
relatively stable macroeconomic environment in northern Europe, but macroeconomic and competitive pressures in southern Europe have intensified further." source: Vodafone statement and presentation

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Verizon Sees Solid Sales Growth

Verizon, a leading US telco, said its revenues climbed 3.7% year-on-year in the second quarter to 28.6 billion US dollars. Wireless sales rose 7.4%, boosted by an 18.5% increase in data revenues.Verizon said it sold 3.2 million LTE devices in the quarter and its LTE network now covers almost 75% of the US population.  But Verizon's wireline sales fell 3.1%, even though revenues from its fibre services climbed more than 17%. source: Verizon presentation 

Nokia Rocked in China and Europe


Nokia said its net sales fell 20% year-on-year in constant currencies in the second quarter of 2012 to 7.54 billion euros. Revenues in its devices and services division fell 27% as device shipments declined 5%, while Nokia Siemens Networks' sales were down 11%. Device and services revenues fell 41% in China.

Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, said: "We shipped four million Lumia smartphones in Q2.... We believe the Windows Phone 8 launch will be an important catalyst for Lumia. During the quarter, we demonstrated stability in our feature phone business, and enhanced our competitiveness with the introduction of our first full touch Asha devices. In Location & Commerce, our business with auto-industry customers continued to grow, and we made good progress establishing our location-based platform with businesses like Yahoo!, Flickr, and Bing." source: Nokia statement

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Network Equipment Downturn Hits Ericsson

Ericsson said that its sales decreased 6% year-on-year on an organic basis in the second quarter of 2012 to 55.3 billion Swedish krona (7.96 billion US dollars), as its sales of network equipment fell 20%. A 18% rise in revenues from global services helped to compensate for the decline in equipment sales.

Ericsson blamed the decline in network sales on an "expected decline in CDMA equipment sales as well as lower business activity in China, including weaker sales of GSM and lower 3G sales in Russia.”

However, the Stockholm-based company added:" After the initial large scale LTE rollouts in the US, Japan and Korea, we now start to see other countries following and we expect LTE deployments to commence on a broader scale also in e.g. Europe and Latin America. We have a well proven LTE solution, outperforming competition, and according to measurements end of 2011, we have a 60% market share measured in LTE volumes." source: Ericsson statement

Monday, July 16, 2012

ZTE Warns of Profit Plunge

ZTE, a leading provider of network equipment, said its gross profit in the first half of 2012 will be 60% to 80% lower than in the same period last year. The Shenzhen-based company gave three reasons, one of which was: "While the company sustained growth in overall income for the reporting period, it fell short of the company’s targeted growth rate as certain domestic carrier network contracts were not recognised in the results for the current reporting period given the postponement of the tender activities of such carriers. Meanwhile, there was a decline in the overall gross profit margin of the company compared to the same period last year." source: ZTE statement

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sales Slump for HTC

HTC, a leading maker of smartphones, said its total revenues reached 91 billion Taiwanese dollars (3.04 billion US dollars) in the second quarter of 2012, which represents a year-on-year decline of 27%. source: HTC statement

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Telefonica Digital Targets Five Billion Euros in Revenues

Telefónica said it expects its digital unit to "drive annual revenues of approximately 5 billion euros for Telefónica by 2015, with an annual revenue growth rate of 20%,"  by targeting a range of markets, including mobile commerce & advertising, machine-to-machine, eHealth, video & content, digital security and cloud computing.

Telefónica also announced that it has secured global framework agreements with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Research In Motion to enable their customers to charge content purchases to their mobile phone bill. Telefónica said it has started to roll out the "Direct to Bill" service in Europe: In Germany, 400,000 customers per month are now making payments for a variety of products and services across different platforms, it added. Telefónica said it plans to have the service live in 14 markets globally by year end. source: Telefónica statement.

Friday, June 29, 2012

RIM's Revenues Fall off a Cliff

Research In Motion said its revenue for the quarter ended June 2, 2012 was 2.8 billion US dollars,  down 43% from 4.9 billion dollars in the same quarter of last year. In the quarter, shipments of BlackBerry smartphones were 7.8 million and shipments of BlackBerry PlayBook tablets were approximately 260,000, RIM said. The global BlackBerry subscriber base is approximately 78 million and still growing, the company claimed.

RIM said it "expects the next several quarters to continue to be very challenging for its business based on the increasing competitive environment, lower handset volumes, potential financial and other impacts from the delay of BlackBerry 10, pressure to reduce RIM’s monthly infrastructure access fees, and the company’s plans to continue to aggressively drive sales of BlackBerry 7 handheld devices." source: RIM statement

Monday, June 25, 2012

Samsung S III Off to a Flyer

Samsung Electronics Co expects sales of its new Galaxy S III, the high-end handset launched at the end of last month, to top 10 million units during July, making it the South Korean group's fastest selling smartphone. source: Reuters

Thursday, June 21, 2012

China Mobile To Accelerate TD-LTE

China Mobile said it is "very likely" to raise its target to deploy 20,000 TD-LTE base stations in 13 cities by end of this year. “Now the device wait is the bottleneck,” China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua told the GSMA's Mobile Asia Expo. source: Mobile Business Briefing article

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NTT DOCOMO Claims 3 Million LTE Subs

NTT DOCOMO of Japan said it has signed up more than three million subscribers for its Xi-branded LTE service, since it was launched in December 2010. source: NTT DOCOMO statement

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Apple Banks Some Big Numbers

Apple said that it had sold 365 million devices running its iOS operating system by the end of March and 80% of those devices are now running the latest version - iOS5. The device maker also said more than 125 million people are now using its iCloud service for synchronizing photos, music and other content. Apple added that its iMessage service now has 140 million users, who send one billion messages a day. source: the verge

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

HTC's Revenues to Fall Sharply

HTC, a leading maker of smartphones, said that it now expects its revenue for the second quarter of 2012  to be 91 billion Taiwanese dollars (3.05 billion dollars), compared with 124.4 billion Taiwanese dollars in the same quarter of 2011. It blamed lower-than-anticipated sales to Europe, and the delayed shipment and launch of certain products in the US. source: HTC statement

Mobile Data Traffic Doubles in One Year

Ericsson said that global mobile data traffic almost doubled between the first quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. The quarterly growth between fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 was 19%, according to the Stockholm-based supplier of network equipment. source: Ericsson report