M6 Mobile and Orange celebrate

2 years after launch and one year ahead of schedule, M6 Mobile by Orange hits the 1M mark (767,000 subs EOY 2006) and claims a new target of 1.5M EOY 2008. France's most succesful MVNO is not a MVNO but a JV wrapped around a licensing agreement targeting the younger generation (15-25).

France Telecom's Lombard and M6's Tavernost confess today to Le Figaro they have other plans in mind, but not in the soccer rights field. Yet. More good news for Canal+, under pressure by France's Pro League : the LFP wants to maintain its contract at a high price in spite of the recent merger of TPS with Canal Sat, but was recently deterred (by a court ruling) from switching from a 3 to a 5 year contract in order to attract more bidders. M6 recently snatched rights for not so minor events, including part of FIFA World Cup.

M6 just developped new threads to an already impressive web (M6 Web manages over 50 sites including M6.fr, the country's second audiovisual website in audience after TF1), both in the small ads field :

  • atonservice.fr : students jobs focused on services to individuals, likely to feed M6 Mobile's core target, already under the spell of the M6 Group for music.
  • a 34% participation in PagesJaunes Petites Annonces (a PagesJaunes Group subsidiary), bound to boost another of their major verticals : cars and motors.

The fun doesn't come from Orangeworld but from a partner more fit for the job and that's OK for FT : keeping youngsters is a tough job and the Orange brand is there, ready to help them switch to more serious applications when the time comes.


Super 3G trials

NTT DoCoMo announces the end of Super 3G / LTE development in 2009, starting these days with an indoor trial at 300 Mbps downlink between two gizmos. You don't want to stay in that room unless you need a perm. DoC also created CXD NEXT, a 40/60 JV with Casio Computer mating cash registers with mobile devices. iD, FeliCa, ToruCa, and others are rumored to attend the wedding as key witnesses.

RIM announces the BlackBerry 8820, a dual mode 2GSM / WiFi smartphone. SMART enough to switch from one network to the other during a PHONE call. You wouldn't want to use WiFi for secured data sessions, would you ?

Orange UK and PC World announce the "free" laptop for £ 337 (£ 14.99 per month for 24 months, except the first 3 for half the price - and you get a 2MB connection with a monthly limit of 2 GB). You may prefer their £ 300 subsidy on a few other references, or another provider with a better and cheaper free package.

Informa informs us : 6.2% of all W-CDMA subs were HSPA at the end of Q1 2007 and 20.5% will be by EOY 2008. Oh BOY.


106.8% penetration rate for broadband

106.8% for Seoul, 99.2% for Incheon, 100.7% for Gyeonggi province... as of May 2007, 90% of Korean households had a fixed broadband connection, Jeollanam-do being the usual local laggard with a 58.4% penetration rate most G8 countries would dream of posting.
Mobility is also behind with 87.3%. Despite a nationwide HSDPA coverage, 3G remains an EVDO thing for SK Telecom (55% of total subs). With the technical help of DoCoMo, KTF reached the 1st million mark for HSDPA (about 10% of their total customer base + 42% for EVDO) and expect 2.7M for EOY 2007.
IPTV remains relatively low, but more than 500,000 households have already subscribed to HanaTV (Hanaro's VOD service), and after the recent opening by the regulator, KT can at last target 300,000 subs EOY for MegaTV (1M for EOY 2008). Mobile leader SKT is out of that race and tries to enter the PC to mobile communications business. For them, international activities and payment solutions appear once more as one of the few remaining drivers for growth.

NB : this photo "Wireless Korea" (2003) is available on SnapVillage.com as "power lines".


iPhone is not my Oyster 3G

Apple's iConic handsets started to fly off the shelves.
They do looks beautiful, provided you keep your gloves on. They have Apple fingerprints all over, but a rather black, Korean touch as well. They will give AT&T a boost, but on a 2G network and with a Blackberrish herd of servers to support the service. Jobs love Gates, but the iPhone uses the same H.264 video format as YouTube, and is meant to give Safari a boost in the nascent mobile browsing market*... are Steve and Bill considering keeping their marriage secret for another ten years ?

ip.access also offers good looking devices ; their Oyster 3G femtocells even won a GSMA's Global Mobile Award earlier this year. But Frost & Sullivan awarded IPWireless with a Technology of the Year label last march, and two months later NextWave Wireless (better known for PacketVideo and WiMAX) completed the acquisition of the TD-CDMA - TDtv champion...

What else ? 3 items picked (almost) randomly :

. The EC and Viviane Reding keep pushing DVB-H. Sorry, no spectrum. And no cash back for those insane 3G auctions either.

. Saudi Telecom, a laggard in booming Middle East, eventually joins the investing frenzy. Malaysia's Maxis is their first foreign target ever. What a coincidence... after islamic banking, there could actually be a big market for islamic telecom... Infrastructure Shariah anyone ?

. Wells Fargo & Company and Visa USA pursue their NFC mobile banking trials. After Phase I (this spring : employees, Wells Fargo Customer Experience Research Lab) and before Phase II (this summer : employees, Visa payWave enabled merchants), WFC released their new CEO Mobile services (that's Commercial Electronic Office). Real customers - 300-500 Wells Fargo Visa cardholders - won't be involved before Phase III (this autumn ?). After that, you should be hearing about some operator... beyond Visa, that is.

*Safari's web browser usage share is well below 5%, but has been significantly improving lately.

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