.XXX ? Sorry, ICANN'T - Not In My BitYard

A 9-5 vote against the ''.xxx'' domains : is the Web's Supreme Court turning conservative ?
Not exactly : the score is more balanced than ever. Because this is the third time the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) rejects the opening of Pandora's box.
Beyond the laconic comment of Chairman and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf ("This decision was the result of very careful scrutiny and consideration of all the arguments. That consideration has led a majority of the Board to believe that the proposal should be rejected"*), the ICANN gave us some good reasons, including :
- "The ICM Application raises significant law enforcement compliance issues because of countries' varying laws relating to content and practices that define the nature of the application, therefore obligating ICANN to acquire a responsibility related to content and conduct.
- The Board agrees with the reference in the GAC communiqué from Lisbon, that under the Revised Agreement, there are credible scenarios that lead to circumstances in which ICANN would be forced to assume an ongoing management and oversight role regarding Internet content, which is inconsistent with its technical mandate."

So this courageous body is worrying about the consequences : I am not the UNternet and I certainly don't have troops to send to Darfur (nor Hugh Efner's mansion, for that matter).

But don't translate this into "Not In My BitYard, folks".

What the ICANN could be telling us is this : the adult business needs to actually grow to adulthood, to stop taking the money and running only, and to invest into self regulation.

In other words : for a change, to produce some useful spent.

Also (TBC) : iPhone could be launched on June the 11th during Apple's developper conference. What's the point here ? That was for the .mob part, going on .$$$**.

** remembering "
madult content : follow the .$$$" (20050716)


TDTV and femtosales

TDTV seems to have gained a few steps since last year*. Vodafone, 3UK, O2 / Telefonica and Orange have been trying IPWireless's mobile TV solution in Bristol, and unlike for DVB-H, spectrum is available in many countries.
But IPW are facing an impressive bunch of haves and have-mores from Europe (Nokia / DVB-H), the US (Qualcomm / MediaFLO) or Asia (Korea Inc / DMB). Plus lobbying has never been their main asset. Yet Voda, 3, Telefonica and Orange do mean something in Europe. Especially when you need to speed up the delivery of handsets.
I remember the first 3G+ femtocells I ever saw working were IPWireless's UMTS-TDD dongles...
To be not seamlessly continued...

* see "
TDtv and IP fews" (20060213)


mAdSense and Google Phonies (Google Phones ?)

"Don't Be Evil" is embedded in Big G's DNA. They said we were the next Microsoft, they now say we are the next Apple. But we neither want to rule the hardware / OS entry point nor rule the hardware / DRM entry point. Do we ?
One thing is sure : if Google's plans remain evasive, their ambitions remain pervasive. And mobility a must have, whatever the path. Speculations, analysts and pundits keep fueling expectations (gPhone, WISP, M-VNO, VoIP, WiFi, WiMAX, mobile suites...), but Google shouldn't care about it.

... if it weren't for its shareholders... I don't want to spoil the party but $462 per share and $143 bn overall look like a lot of dough to me. Like that insane, neverending hike in the Vietnam stock exchange, not even dented by the Shanghai hiccup.
Come to think of it, the ultimate stage of mobile advertising by the king of online advertising will be called mAdSense.

What else ? The CeBIT is over. Which means it was open before. Talking about bomb news : cellcos are eventually realizing the golden years of mobile voice ARPU will soon be over and the bulk of mobile data is bound to go flat. At last.

What else ?
- BT and KPN are working on M-VNOs in Spain. Belgacom, Swisscom, Eircom declined to comment.
- Viviane Reding wants DVB-H to outperform Galileo and Airbus across and beyond Europe. China already decided to launch a competitor to Airbus and Boeing, another to 3GSM and cdma2000. Why not split from Europe over the GPS-killer / killee and why not launch a specific mobile.TV.cn ?
- The WiMAX Spectrum Owners Alliance (WiSOA) wants to promote both WiMAX roaming and the survival / resale of its exotic founders
- I'm still stuck with a broken foot and a broken club - I can't move and Paris Saint Germain keeps sinking towards second division. Mobility definitely sucks.


free without Boukobza

Mickael Boukobza, who brilliantly ruled for 7 years over the development of France's most disruptive player in the telecom arena, will quit by this summer. His successor took part in some of TF1's most exciting moves beyond its core business (TPS, Metro, production...). A protege of Patrick Le Lay, Maxime Lombardini leaves the TV giant just before his boss retires, and joins Iliad at a rather exciting moment : here, the whole business is about to venture in unknown territories.
free should easily reach its target of 2.8 M ADSL customers EOY 2007*, and 4 M EOY 2010 doesn't seem a totally farfetched goal... It's just that the competitive landscape and the nature of the job are bound to change with WiMAX and FTTH (not to mention 3G**). It's just that you'll have to be strong to make it in the convergent, troubled, boost or bust times ahead

The capacity to deliver, but also to anticipate and to evolve quickly have been free's trademarks under Boukobza. Let's see if this survivor of the internet bubble manages to reach yet another level with a different player at the joystick.

* EOY 2006 : 2,278,000 - 75.9% undbundled - ARPU EUR 34.5
** see previous episodes : "3G license part III - France's fourth wedding or a funeral ?" (20070309) "3G & 4G - WiMAX flirts with ITU " (20070303) "Free WIMAX and quadruple play" (20051226)


3G license part III - France's fourth wedding or a funeral ?

France's NRA, the ARCEP, reopened the 3G beauty contest for a fourth license : previous tenders were launched in August 2000 (SFR and Orange got their pass in June 2001) and December 2001 (Bouygues Telecom in December 2002). The price tag remains at EUR 619.2M (+1% of the turnover afterwards), and the first contenders look as French as the 3 incumbents.
They also look less like "beauty pageants" than like brides looking for grooms : even with reasonable coverage obligations (Bouygtel still hasn't launched but must cover 20% by April 2007), 2G national roaming agreements, and site sharing opportunities, neither Iliad / Free nor Noos / Numericable can really afford 3G as they are today, especially with their ambitious FTTH rollout plans. Iliad and Noos are even considering same-sex marriage to strenghten their position on the French market.

Who would invest in a greenfield venture with such tenderfeet ? At a time when even a Vodafone takes some distance with network management ?

Actually, the main bidders are the 3G license holders who want to get a slice of spectrum leftovers and pushed for the consultation last year. What's up for grabs ? 2*15 MHz FDD + 5 MHz TDD in the 2 GHz range. Note the FDD and TDD thing, plus the "UMTS" title over the ARCEP communique : if you intend to seize the opportunity and promote an alternative 3G technology, go knock at some other door*.

So here we have a minister saying "let them now speak, or forever remain silent" without even having a marriage to perform. Actually, his job seems to make sure no wedding will ever take place.

France is too busy filing for divorce with new entrants. And as usual, people are fighting over child care. No price tag is set yet for this not-born / not-borne spectrum. Fish to fry and money to collect for France's next president.

Big operators also put a lock on digital radio : the government seems to be pushing T-DMB instead of DAB, more popular among small players. The winners in digital TV (TNT) were also major players (TF1, France Televisions, Canal+, Lagardere...). Everywhere, infrastructure and operating know-how remain the best barriers to entry. To become a big fish in the pond, you either have to invest in them (ie NRJ Group with Towercast) or to build a media empire as quickly as possible (ie Bollore).

* 3G is mentioned in the ARCEP annex as IMT 2000. The recent courting of the ITU by WiMAX (see "3G & 4G - WiMAX flirts with ITU" - 20070303) adds some spice to the affair, considering Free already holds WiMAX licenses (recycled WLL).


3G & 4G - WiMAX flirts with ITU

Following the WiMAX Forum's whitepaper on "WiMAX and IMT-2000" (20070122), the ITU could consider mobile WiMAX as an official 3G technology. Along with W-CDMA and CDMA2000, but also EDGE or DECT.

And this time it could work, since major cellcos may not want to counterlobby the IEEE on that one. Arun Sarin recently warned fellow MNOs about the risk of letting WiMAX kill 3G but Vodafone may want to trade its nod with a permanent lock on its GSM spectrum. And cellcos don't want another battle for 4G licensing (beyond the colossal sums paid to governments, they have to cope with license fees from Qualcomm & Co, not to mention the complexity of technos overloaded with unnecessary specs). Even in the 3GSM world, WiMAX could be welcomed as a convenient cornerstone for 4G LTE (better have them with us than against us).

But the IT-telecom war ain't over till it's over, and I'm not sure European manufacturers will tolerate the gift to Cisco & Co that soon. In France, Orange, SFR and Bouygues won't let Iliad end up with 3G for Free that easily.

Unless you consider IT gave up the war and decided to join the telecom band. Not unlike Qualcomm's GSM1x, the large IEEE 802.16 family's latest avatars are advertised as the natural evolution of their main competitors (TDD inside, MBS combining DVB-H and 3GPP E-UTRA...). Even WiBro, that prodigal son, is welcomed back home. How cute... Charles Ingalls will have to cut a lot of wood for the party tonight.

IEEE 802.16m* evolution looks great, but so did 802.16n, with n the variable for the number of years before actual delivery. And this is not your own OFDMA out there, but "IP-OFDMA". Indeed, from WiFi to WiMAX and 3G, "Pervasive Computing" would completely claim the W-LAN - W-MAN - W-WAN spectrum, and fulfill its dream of stealing both seamlessness and security from the 3GSM DNA, locking a firmer than ever grip on the femtocell level, where a massive herd of wild devices roam not always peacefully.

Convergence ahead, at last ? Universal Mobile Telecommunication System ahead, at last ? Negociation ahead, for sure.

* "1Giga 4G" or rather 100 Mbps for mobile apps and 1 Gbps for fixed apps.

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