DoCoMo 4G The Wizard of Hz - Orange Landline Landmines - BT's FRED for free - Swisscom's 5in1 for 99
Bubbles start popping again. Vodafone concede their assets were overevaluated, Florentino Perez concedes the wealthiest club on earth may not the healthiest, and BT concede their disruptive "broadband dialtone" concept won't be free.
Following an interview in "Mail on Sunday", some believed BT would invest big sums in their 21st Century Network (21CN), plus £12M just for VoIP, just to offer broadband to anyone who wants to plug in. Make that "unlimited" instead of "free". Cardiff will go live by the end of the year and the rest of the 21CN (some 30 countries) in 2008, one year ahead of schedule. The aim of the game is for people to meet with FRED (BT's Fantastically Really Easy to use Device concept). Just like in your mid-90s slides, FRED sells convergence, optimized consumer experience, or seamless multidevice environments.
The difference is FRED does sell : BT Movio (to Virgin Mobile), BT Fusion handsets (BT Broadband at home, your MNO on the go - 13,000 units sold to date), BT Equinox (fixed-line SMS), internet radio (PC based and soon an enhanced TV based version with teleshopping, televoting and telewhatevering thanks to a new red button)... FRED will even launch - this spring - the already cult Bluephone (see "Bluephone : a 2,005 pound gorilla or a GNOME ?" 20050316).
Another former PTT keeps talking convergence and furthermore, acting accordingly. Swisscom's HSDPA coverage will reach 20% of the population mid-2006 and about 40% by the end of the year. That's the equivalent of Switzerland's main cities : it will cover more surface on the industry's newspapers than on the local maps but far enough for the operator's new devices to make sense. Less glamour than FRED, but truly "ready to use" : there is a Swisscom Unlimited PC Card 5in1 (GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA and WLAN) with a CHFR 99 / month plan, but also an Unlimited Laptops solution developped with Fujitsu Siemens and Acer (embedded SIM, one touch connection, various plans including a CHFR 5 / hour concept, TTM June 2006).
Orange are a former PTT too, through France Telecom's DNA. As expected, they now claim to be "an integrated communications provider" and intend to become "the total communications provider". Orange Landline for Business means fixed line service for SMEs with one stop shopping and billing, simplified supply chain and service support models, convergent packages and bundles, discounted rates between Orange fixed and Orange mobile number ranges or to 'Business Circle' numbers (top 10 landline contacts), Orange Business customer service with a Landline Performance Promise...
But Orange Landline for Business also means Orange Landmine for Partners : the F/MNO controls the whole chain and intends to lock the customer's entry points as fully as it does in France.
How about the mother of all PTTs ? NTT DoCoMo have been talking 4G even before releasing 3G. We knew from the start they meant business because of their capacity problems : even HSDPA / HSUPA cannot solve them and DoC is bound to lead once more in commercial TTM. From time to time, the Alchemist skillfully displays a few glimpses of his witchcraft : "by increasing the number of MIMO transmission antennas from four to six and by using 64-QAM (NB : Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), data volume per transmission was increased from four bits to six bits. As a result, DoCoMo achieved a maximum speed of 2.5Gbps, which is faster than the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R)'s proposed standard". The Wizard of Hz also pushed frequency spectrum efficiency to 25 bps per Hertz, the limit as defined by WINNER (the EU's Wireless world INitiative NEw Radio). In other words : I've been working on 4G on my own according to the rules and the guidelines of standardization bodies, but I've already beaten their expectations. So you'd better follow me if you want to go further and quicklier.
Technology's always been the MNO's main hobby, but they have some 50 million consumers to please and a few technologies to sell before they get obsolete (i-mode, V-Live, i-motion, FOMA...). So the DoCoMo - Nippon Television Network Corporation JV (each partner injecting 5 bn Yens) will start on April 3 under the D.N. dream partners LLP name. What's in a name... the Master Of DYI finally understanding what kind of partnerships he really needs to succeed ?