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, October 31, 2013

News Feed Ads Fire Up Facebook

Facebook said its revenue rose 60% year-on-year in the third quarter to 2.02 billion US dollars, boosted by rapid growth of revenues from adverts embedded in users' news feed.

However, David Ebersman, Facebook CFO, warned: "Our best analysis on youth engagement in the U.S. reveals that usage of Facebook among U.S. teens overall was stable from Q2 to Q3, but we did see a decrease in daily users specifically among younger teens. We won’t typically call out such granular data, especially when it’s of questionable statistical significance given the lack of precision of our age estimates for younger users, but we wanted to share this with you now since we get a lot of questions about teens." source: Facebook earnings collateral

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

3G Bolsters Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel said its revenue in the third quarter of 2013 rose 10% year-on-year to 213.2 billion Indian rupees (3.34 billion US dollars). Revenues in India rose 6% to 140.8 billion rupees, while revenues in its international operations climbed 18% to 74.8 billion rupees (the growth was just 4% in US dollars). Revenue growth in Africa was 2% in US dollars.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, said: “Mobile internet is now a major engine of growth for Airtel across all geographies. Our sustained investment in this segment will further enhance customer experience and seamless coverage. The revenue growth in Africa reflects the inherent potential in the world's most promising continent. I am also pleased to see the evolution of Airtel Money into a significant service in geographies which are relatively under-banked.”

However, the company's capital spending was down 43% year-on-year at 21.4 billion rupees (just 10% of revenues). But Airtel said: "With 26,616 3G sites, Airtel has the largest 3G network in India. Further backed by inter-city and intra-city fiber networks and seven sub-marine cable systems, the company has been able to provide a superior internet experience to its customers. This has resulted in the data usage per customer increasing by 72.9% from 133 megabytes per month to 231 megabytes per month over the last twelve months. The data traffic grew significantly by 111.8% to 33.6 billion megabytes, while realisation has been stable at around 30 paise (0.5 US cents) per megabyte. Consequently, the data ARPU has increased from 43 rupees in the corresponding quarter last year to 70 rupees (1.1 US dollars) during the quarter." source: Airtel statement

Google Claims Surge in Google+ Usage

Vic Gundotra, the Google executive in charge of social networking, said the number of monthly "active" users on Google+ has risen from 390 million in May to 540 million, according to the Financial Times. However, he also said the number of people who look at content in their Google+ “stream” increased from 190 million to 300 million over the same period. The newspaper did not explain the distinction between this group and the aforementioned active users. Google has also said that people upload 1.5 billion photos a week to Google+, according to the FT. source: Financial Times article

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nokia Continues to Shrink

Nokia reported a 18% year-on-year decline (at constant currencies) in sales in the third quarter to 5.66 billion euros. Sales in the devices and services division, which Nokia is selling to Microsoft, fell 16% (at constant currencies) to 2.9 billion euros, while sales in NSN (the networks business) were down 21% to 2.59 billion euros.

Device shipments were down 22% year-on-year to 64.6 million units in the third quarter. Nokia said that sales of its Lumia smartphones, which run Microsoft's Windows software, increased to 8.8 million from 2.9 million in the same period of 2012. source: Nokia statement

iPhone Moves the Needle for Apple

Apple said its revenue rose 4% year-on-year in the quarter ending September 28th to 37.5 billion US dollars. Although iPad, Mac and iPod-related revenues all declined, revenues from iPhones and accessories rose 17.5% to 19.5 billion US dollars.

Apple said it expects revenue in the current quarter to be between 55 billion and 58 billion dollars, up from 54.5 billion dollars in the same quarter of 2012. That implies a year-on-year revenue increase of between 0.9% and 6.4%. source: Apple statement 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Samsung's Smartphones Still Surging

Samsung Electronics reported a 25% year-on-year increase in IT and mobile sales in the third quarter to 36.57 trillion Korean won (34.5 billion US dollars).  By way of comparison, Apple generated sales of 37.5 billion dollars in the same quarter.

Samsung said that total shipments of smartphones were up quarter-on-quarter led by increased sales of mass-market models. Shipments of high-end smartphones were flat quarter-on-quarter "driven by solid sales of current models with Note III launch." Tablet shipments increased sharply "due to enhanced product line-ups with Tab3 expansion." source Samsung presentation

Thursday, October 24, 2013

AT&T Sees Steady Sales Growth

AT&T said its consolidated revenues rose 2.2% in the second quarter to 32.2 billion US dollars, fuelled by a 5.1% rise in wireless revenues and a 2.4% increase in wireline consumer revenue. However, AT&T said total revenues from business customers fell 2.6% year-on-year to 8.8 billion dollars.

AT&T reported that its high-speed wireline broadband service, U-Verse, now has 10 million subscribers and is generating 1 billion dollars a month. source: AT&T presentation

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Orange Stuck in Reverse

Orange said its revenue fell 4% year-on-year in the third quarter on a comparable basis to 10.16 billion euros, dragged down by a 5.6% decline in France and a 7.9% fall in Poland. In France, Orange's mobile services revenue fell 9.4% and in Spain 11.1% (all figures on a comparable basis). The only real bright spots were a 11.5% rise in fixed service revenues in Spain and a 3.7% rise in overall revenues in Africa and the Middle East, which now accounts for approximately one tenth of group revenue. 

Still, Orange continues to invest. It said capex in the first nine months of the year is up 2.6% at 3.75 billion euros (12.2% of revenues). Orange Chairman and CEO St├ęphane Richard said: "I would like to highlight our investment initiatives, especially in 4G and fibre, which place Orange in an ideal position in these crucial growth sectors.” source: Orange presentation 

Are We Driving Towards a Productivity Boon or a Dangerous Distraction?

This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and BlackBerry

This week, I heard a senior executive from a major automaker say he isn’t sure that autonomous cars will become commonplace in his lifetime. The executive is in his mid-forties, so either that is a pretty gloomy verdict on his health prospects or the future of self-driving vehicles.

By contrast, Nissan recently promised to “bring multiple affordable, energy efficient, fully autonomous-driving vehicles to the market by 2020," according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Who to believe?

Self-driving cars still have to clear some major technological, societal and regulatory hurdles, according to a leading (and objective) robotics expert. This expert said this week he expects them to become commonplace in the 2020s.

New meaning for enterprise mobility
All-seeing self-driving tech (image from Nissan press office)
In any case, cars' growing autonomy needs to be factored into an enterprise’s mobility policy today. Self-driving cars don’t have to be fully autonomous to have a major impact on people’s lives and, potentially, the productivity of employees working in the field.  In-car automation appeals to digital natives, in particular, as they are accustomed to posting status updates whenever they feel like it.
And many sales reps would welcome the opportunity to work on a presentation on their way to meeting the client, rather than the night before. 

Already, cars are at a stage where there need very little human oversight in specific segments of a journey. High-end vehicles can be equipped with sensors that slow the car down if it gets too close to the vehicle in front, meaning cruise control requires less human oversight. Sensors can also be used to determine when it is safe to change lanes. In time, vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology could also make it easier for cars to avoid hitting each other. Cars can now be programmed to follow other vehicles. Tesla has said that its cars could be in compete control for 90% of miles driven within three years, according to a Financial Times article.

But will all this technology enable a mobile productivity boom or will it encourage drivers to take too many risks? When will an employee be able to take his or her eyes off the road to do some work? That’s going to be a really tough call.

The answer will depend heavily on how sophisticated the self-driving technology is and how fast the driver can get back in control, the traffic conditions, the road conditions and the kind of work the driver is trying to do.

Growing automation equals rising temptation
As vehicles are equipped with ever more driving aids and ICT, inevitably people will take more chances.  Advances in voice recognition technology will increase the temptation to dictate emails as your car flies along a motorway. As more cars ship with LTE connectivity, drivers will be able to create a high-speed Wi-Fi hotspot and replicate the office environment in the car. 

In the enterprise domain, the onus will be on CIOs to define safe in-car behaviour – as the legal framework is unlikely to keep up with advances in technology. For example, as cars become more autonomous, it should be okay to participate in a conference call while your car chugs along at 20mph through heavy urban traffic. But watching a video will be incredibly risky – at least for the next decade. Similarly, a driver negotiating a winding country lane probably shouldn’t be talking to their boss about a pay increase.
A dummy takes his life in his hands. (Image from Nissan press office)

Trials and test-beds
Completely autonomous cars are likely to be deployed first in clearly-defined areas, such as industrial estates, ports or university campuses where the road network can be blanketed with 4G or another wireless technology providing dedicated bandwidth for autonomous vehicles.

These test-beds should help enterprises understand the potential impact of self-driving cars on productivity and how to keep their people safe.  They will also highlight the need for an entirely new etiquette. For example, how does a self-driving car signal interact with other drivers?  Today, we tend to rely on eye contact with another driver to establish who should go first. How will we know if a self-driving car has “seen” us?

We have a lot of learning to do. 

This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and BlackBerry

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rapid Revenue Rise for China Mobile

China Mobile said its operating revenue rose 12.6% year-on-year to 159.9 billion Chinese yuan in the third quarter.  It added approximately 32 million 3G customers in the quarter, taking its total 3G customer base up to 169.5 million out of a total customer base of 755 million.

However, the group's profit slipped and China Mobile warned: "In the first three quarters of 2013, the group experienced severe difficulties and challenges arising from increasingly complex competition in the information and communications industry, greater impact from over-the-top (OTT) products on the traditional communications industry and more intense horizontal competition due to the continued increase in mobile penetration." source: China Mobile statement

Friday, October 18, 2013

Google Growth Curbed by Motorola

Google reported a 12% year-on-year increase in revenues in the third quarter to 14.89 billion US dollars. Google's own sites generated a 22% increase in revenues. But sales at its Motorola devices division declined 33% to 1.18 billion dollars. Larry Page, CEO of Google, said:  “We are closing in on our goal of a beautiful, simple, and intuitive experience regardless of your device.  source: Google presentation 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LTE Lifts Verizon

Verizon, one of the big two telcos in the U.S., said its revenue grew 4.4% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2013 to 30.3 billion US dollars. Wireless service revenues were up 8.4% year-on-year driven in part by continuing strong uptake of LTE - Verizon said it activated another 6.8 million LTE devices in the quarter, taking the total number of LTE devices on its network to 36 million. source: Verizon presentation

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Twitter's Revenue Growth Accelerates

Twitter said its revenue in the third quarter of 2013 was 153 million US dollars, up 123% on the same quarter in 2012. That implies Twitter's growth is still accelerating - in the second quarter, revenue was up 113% year-on-year.  Twitter said it had 232 million monthly active users in September 2013, up from 218 million three months earlier. source: Twitter IPO filing

Friday, October 11, 2013

Twitter's Revenue Set to Double in 2013

Social network Twitter said it generated  254 million US dollars in revenue in the first six months of 2013, up 108% from the same period a year earlier. In the second quarter, advertising accounted for 87% of the 139 million dollars in revenue. The rest came from licensing data.

Twitter said 
it had 218 million average monthly average users in the second quarter, a 44% increase from the same period the year before. In the second quarter, 75% of the monthly average users accessed Twitter from a mobile device, including mobile phones and tablets, and over 65% of Twitter's advertising revenue was generated from mobile devices. Twitter said that the proportion of active users on, and advertising revenue generated from, mobile devices, will continue to grow in the near term.

Twitter also said its users create approximately 500 million Tweets every day. source: Twitter IPO prospectus