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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Deutsche Telekom goes on the Offensive

Deutsche Telekom said its net revenue declined 2.7% on an organic basis in 2012 to 58.2 billion euros compared with a 3.6% decline in 2011. In the fourth quarter, revenues declined 1.4% in Germany and 5.2% in the U.S.. The telco group didn't give revenue guidance for 2013, but predicted it will return to growth in 2014. In Germany, DT expects to start return to underlying revenue growth in 2013.

"We are going on the offensive - with extensive investments in networks and in the market," said René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom. "As we said in December, we want to massively step up investments in the future again, to almost 30 billion euros for 2013 to 2015." source: Deutsche Telekom statements

Telefónica Forecasts Return to Growth

Telefónica said that its revenues fell 0.7% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 9.46 billion euros on an organic basis, compared with a 1.5% decline in the third quarter. The Madrid-based group blamed the decline in revenues in 2012 on "adverse conditions in certain markets, both economic and those resulting from more intense competition, and the negative effect of regulation. "

However, it forecast revenue growth in 2013 on an organic basis and a similar capex/revenues ratio to 2012. César Alierta, the executive chairman, said the “progressive improvement quarter by quarter” was the result of a “deep transformation process at Telefónica, aimed at regaining sustainable growth of organic revenue and a continued increase in margins." source: Telefonica statements

Friday, February 22, 2013

Android in Two Thirds of Smartphones

In 2012, Android took 68% of the smartphone market, while iOS achieved 20% and BlackBerry followed with 5%. source: Canalys statement

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sharp Fall in Revenue for FT

France Telecom-Orange said its revenues fell 3.2% year-on-year on a comparable basis in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 10.92 billion euros. Revenues were down 5.7% in France and 6.3% in Poland, but climbed 0.1% in Spain and 4% in Africa and the Middle East. 

It forecast that unfavourable regulation will wipe another one billion euros off its group revenues in 2013, but said it is a "necessity to maintain high capex for all telcos to move towards next generation networks." In France, it is aiming to double its customer base for its fibre-to-the-home service from 176,000 at the end of 2012 and extend 4G (LTE) coverage to 30% of the population by the end of 2013. In Africa and the Middle East, the Paris-based group is aiming to increase its customer base for its Orange Money service to eight million, up from 5.6 million at the end of 2012. source: France Telecom presentation

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Too Many Messengers, Not Enough Time

This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and Blackberry

Why we need a personal assistant to pick out the message that matter

Mobile messaging is becoming a mess. Early in February, I received a Skype message from a business contact in Japan asking if we could meet up at the Mobile World Congress. Only I didn’t actually receive it until a week later – I only use Skype when I am travelling to avoid roaming charges outside Europe.

I stumbled on the message when I accidently logged in to Skype on my phone. Similarly, I found a week-only iMessage on my iPad recently – it hadn’t come through to my Samsung Galaxy SIII.  These anecdotes illustrate how fragmented the messaging market has become with the dramatic shift from text and email to a host of IP-based communications apps.

On the upside, we now have a much richer set of communication options, which support cool features, such as presence. But on the downside, people are using these tools in different, sometimes unpredictable ways, making life more complicated and increasing the chances of missives being missed, just as I did with the Skype message from Japan.  

Fickleness fuels more fragmentation
This fragmentation is being exacerbated by fickle consumers’ tendency to sign up for the latest and greatest app as they get bored or frustrated with a particular service. Outages to WhatsApp in the second half of 2012, following an app update, prompted many users to switch to alternatives, notably chat service Line, according to industry experts. Owned by NHN Japan Corporation, Line has notched up 100 million registered users in just 18 months, which is three times faster than Facebook, according to Bloomberg.

Granted, many communications apps, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, will send you an email when you get a direct message. But putting everything through an already over-crowded email inbox isn’t necessarily the answer – I tend to make emails from Facebook a low priority because I assume they aren’t urgent and are unlikely to be work-related.

But there are people that use Facebook as a primary communications medium for both business and social chatter, reflecting the broader trend in which the lines between work and personal life are blurring fast. Some go-getters think nothing of firing off emails and messages to colleagues from the ski lift or the sun-lounger.

The fragmentation in the messaging space is compounded by the fact that many people keep mobile data turned off when roaming outside their home country – that means they won’t necessarily see messages coming in from Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and the like. There are also ongoing problems sending messages across platforms – on my Android phone, picture messages sent from my wife’s iPhone arrive as a link with a password – a really cumbersome process.

Prioritise people, not apps
In summary, mobile messaging is far too complex and fiddly right now. For me, the solution is for your smartphone operating system to become an uber-efficient personal assistant. It should automatically monitor all communications apps you register with and then proritise messages according to the sender, rather than the medium. In other words, I need a unified communications solution that can flag incoming messages from my clients (and my wife) on the homescreen of my smartphone regardless of whether they travelled via Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, SMS, MMS or whatever.  

Ideally, this UC solution needs to be frequently upgraded to incorporate fashionable new services, such as Line, as well as Facebook, Linkedin and other stalwarts.

Of course, you don’t really want to prioritise your hundreds (or even thousands) of contacts yourself – the mobile UC solution should be able to see which messages you open and which you ignore and figure out who is important and who isn’t. Of course, your personal assistant will also need to be able to distinguish between spam and genuine enquiries – a message from a previously unknown contact might be asking you to apply for a fantastic new job. 

Many employers and employees will also want the UC to support a “dual persona” in which work messages are separated from personal messages. Whereas the former may need to be monitored for legal reasons, the latter should remain private. Indeed, the message prioritisation process must be done in a way that protects my privacy – I don’t want any of my contacts to know that they are way down the pecking order.

In essence, we need a smarter way to communicate with the people that are important to us, which doesn’t rely on sifting through email or checking a dozen apps at regular intervals.  I'll be moderating a panel discussion on messaging for Mobile World Live TV at the Mobile World Congress next week.

This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and Blackberry

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rising Video Traffic Lifts Cisco

Cisco said that its net sales in the quarter ending January 26th increased 5% year-on-year to 12.1 billion US dollars.  That marks a slight slowdown from the 6% in the previous quarter. John Chambers, Cisco chairman and chief executive officer, said: "In terms of the future, we are making solid progress towards our goal of becoming the #1 IT company in the world. As new markets grow and are created, such as the Internet of Everything, it's very easy to see how the intelligent network is at the center of that future." source: Cisco statement

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mobile Data Keeps America Movil Motoring

America Movil said its revenues, at constant exchange rates, climbed 5.8% year-on-year to reach 198 billion Mexican pesos (15.62 billion US dollars) in the fourth quarter of 2012. The Latin American telecoms group said: "Service revenue growth improved from the prior quarter in all major regions except Mexico. ....mobile data and PayTV were the drivers of revenue growth, with 33.3% and 20.2%, respectively, while fixed-line voice posted a 7.2% revenue decline, continuing the trend seen over the last several quarters. Mobile voice revenues were down 1.7%, partly on account of the marked economic slowdown observed in several countries in the region that took place hand in hand with that of the U.S."

However, the group said that its revenues in the U.S. "shot up 30.8% to 1.4 billion dollars with ARPU rising 14.9% as our mix of commercial plans continued to shift towards StraightTalk plans and as data becomes more meaningful. Data revenues more than doubled over the period and now account for 36.1% of service revenues." source: America Movil statement

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Google Could Pay Apple More than $850 million in 2013

Investment bank Morgan Stanley predicts that Google will pay Apple 877 million US dollars in exchange for having Google as the default search engine on devices running Apple's iOS operating system, according to a report on Techcrunch.

Samsung Galaxy SIII - Too Many Features and Flaws

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is a highly-capable, high-spec handset with some significant design flaws. That's my conclusion after using this Android smartphone for four months.
I am frustrated with three aspects of the user interface:

1. The touchscreen is too sensitive, so the clumsy end up doing all kinds things they didn't mean to do - taking screenshots, opening random apps and turning off features, such as screen rotation.

2. The menu buttons at the base of the handset are too small for people with large hands. When I press a menu button, I often end up hitting the banner advert at the bottom of the screen, taking me to places I don't want to go.

3. The Galaxy SIII ships with too many overlapping apps. For example, my handset came with the ChatOn app, an Email app, a Gmail app, a Messaging app, a Messenger app and a Talk app. There is also a Samsung Apps icon, as well as Google's Play Store, highlighting how the Google and Samsung ecosystems are vying for attention in this one device. I just want simplicity!

Still, the Galaxy SIII has a great screen, which makes even average photos look vibrant and appealing.   And voice calls are a lot clearer than with my old Nexus One.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Telecom Italia Forecasts Flat 2013

Telecom Italia said its group revenues fell 2.5% year-on-year on an organic basis to 7.46 billion euros in the fourth quarter after growing 1.6% in the previous nine months. Growth in Argentina and Brazil failed to offset a 9% fall in revenues in Italy.

The group said its target is for flat revenues in 2013, after growth of 0.5% in 2012. By 2015, Telecom Italia is aiming for low single digit average annual growth in revenues. The Rome-based company is planning to spend 16 billion euros on capex across 2013, 2014 and 2015, compared with 5.2 billion euros in 2012. source: Telecom Italia presentations and statements

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Vodafone Voice and Messaging Decline Accelerates

Vodafone said its service revenue declined 2.6% year-on-year on an organic basis in the quarter ending December 31 to 10.4 billion British pounds (16.34 billion US dollars), dragged down by a 11.9% decline in southern Europe. Group voice revenue was down 6.8% year-on-year (compared with 5.8% in the previous quarter) and messaging revenue fell 7.9% (5.3%), partially offset by a 12.8% (13.7%) rise in data revenue.

Vodafone said that about one third of its European customer base now has a smartphone and data traffic on its networks in the quarter ending December 31 was up 55% year-on-year. It plans to continue its "rapid deployment of HSPA+/LTE" networks. source: Vodafone presentation

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SKT Sales Lifted by LTE

SK Telecom of South Korea said its revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012 increased 4.2% year-on-year to 3.16 trillion Korean won (2.91 billion US dollars). SKT said that a "2% quarter-on-quarter increase in 4Q12 total operating revenues was led by; the rise in mobile ARPU and the increased LTE subscriber base, which increased mobile service revenues by 3.5% quarter-on-quarter." source: SK Telecom statement