20080822

CREDO mobile vs Karl Rove

"Did your mobile phone support Karl Rove... or does it fight to put him behind bars, where he belongs?"

That's
CREDO mobile's sales pitch in the "Handcuffs for Karl Rove, a Handset for You" e-mail I received this morning, courtesy democrats.com (as a matter of fact and as my blogules readers already noticed, I'm not exactly Karl Rove's #1 fan).

CREDO mobile is a MVNO on Sprint's network. It joined last year CREDO Long Distance and other services (credit cards) in an effort that - according to owner Working Assets - has raised $60M since 1985 for noble causes.

1% of all charges will go to Planned Parenthood, Rainforest Action Network, Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Fair Vote, the Organic Farming Research Foundation, Wellstone Action!, Iraq War Wrong Way, Doctors Without Borders, Global Fund for Women, and McCain - Rice 2008 (well... I wouldn't bet a buck on
that last one since allocations are made according to member polls).

"Join our existing members in sending over 80,000 letters and calls to Congress, the White House and corporate leaders each month", they say. Fine, but is there any other way of getting a rebate than including Dubya and Republican Representatives in my "Friends & Family" list ?



20080821

From car jacking to home hacking

I don't have any key.
I punch a code for the building, another for the appartment*. I can even implement fingerprint recognition if I fancy that. There's a jingle each time someone enters the building using that code. Every visitor is taped for 10 seconds, and I can (but don't) watch this reality TV channel from the living room or the kitchen screen, the TV, my mobile phone... Anyway, the said visitor can't escape the hundreds of CCTV cameras covering the block's "public" areas (over 40 per parking floor).
Welcome to "ubiquitous" Korea.
Don't ask me what happens in case of blackout or hacking.



* a RFiD card takes care of the parking access, another can spare me the building code.



20080819

Free the airwaves ? "Yes we can" says Google

Google opened a brand new lobbying website devoted to their Free the Airwaves campaign (freetheairwaves.com - see also the "Time to "Free the Airwaves"" post on their Google Public Policy Blog).

They suggest that the unused airwaves between broadcast TV channels ("white spaces") be "liberated" for free wireless internet. Nothing new, except the way of proceeding : web based grassroot approach, mobilization of citizens through petitions addressed to FCC members or calls to Congress members...

Ever the chameleon*, Big G is now playing the role of
Barack Obama.

No fundraisers needed here : Google's war chest is full, and this is more likely to empty the wallet of broadcasters who will have a tough time competing on their own mediatic turf... just like MNOs a couple of months ago in the bloodless battle for spectrum**.



* starting from the shapeshifter of a logo (rather China-PC correct these days)

** see "Back To Square Auctions" (20080108) - Google eventually didn't spill any green drop



20080813

IKEA familymobile

There used to be one IKEA-style operator around not so long ago, but Tele2 didn't quite survive the death of its founder. So there is room for one of the last big names in retail to enter the mobile arena.

For the moment, familymobile is more about customer loyalty than about disrupting the whole market. And it is less about the IKEA brand than the IKEA FAMILY database.

Because IKEA wants to leverage on its IKEA FAMILY members (1.4M in the UK), build more recurrent business relationships with them, and convert more customers to this low budget but profitable club thanks to a basic but attractive offer (9p for calls, 6p for text, Pay As You Go Mobile SIM Card package through a partnership with M-VNO Mobile Partners UK Ltd on T-Mobile networks + a limited choice of handsets via 20:20 Logistics Limited, their distribution partners).

As IKEA puts it on its website (
familymobile.com), "Family Mobile has a number of shared values with IKEA: High quality, Simple, Low price, Self service, The importance of family - and family values" ("Family values" including the family budget issues : master account + individual accounts, Automatic Top-up...).

The Swedish retailer (led by Danish M-VNO veterans for its brand new mobile arm) will start filling the pipes with all its UK staff members (9,500).

Cheap, smart and simple, efficient organization and logistics... the only parts missing in familymobile 1.0 are a touch of design and unpronuncable product names.



20080805

SK Telecom's Semestrus Horribilis

The light at the end of the tunnel ?

Starting August 8, Hanarotelecom will offer quad play bundles featuring synergies with its new owner SK Telecom (probably under the SK Broadband brand). Telemarketing operations, suspended following a scandal over personal information leaks, are to resume August 11.

When SKT integrated it last February 22, Hanarotelecom claimed a 24.6% market share for broadband internet subscriptions (3.6M, 1M of which FTTH : 100Mbps optical LAN network coverning over 12M households), and 8.9% for fixed telephony (2M lines).

SKT paid a dear price for this, not to mention a few obligation imposed by the regulator (to open their mobile internet gates beyond Nate, to share access to their 800MHz frequencies, to invest massively in suburban networks...), and legal consequences of the personal information scandal. SKT considers suing former shareholders Newbridge and AIG for not mentioning this practice :
Hanarotelecom has been massively losing customers (even on the booming IPTV market : Hana TV has lost 50,000 customers over H1 2008 while KT's Mega TV gained 220,000 and myLGtv 70,000), thousands are filing for a class action suit, and even more through direct channels.

After a first half of 2008 which saw local rivals KTF and LG Telecom revive, US rival Virgin absorb Helio, and such brands as TU media and T struggle, SK Telecom has an opportunity to redeem itself, provided it delivers the goods and wages the convergence wars as a respectful leader.

A disruptive move would be to boost VoIP on a market that lags behind many others, to the risk of endangering voice revenues even in the mobile business. It's time to leverage on SKT's already multiplatform services and to restore some of the brand's fun factor.



A killer application indeed

(answer to the question is mobile broadband the 3G killer application ?*)

Killer application indeed. For the network too. And next for the consumer ?

The two main reasons why such connectivity is not improving as fast as it should :
- MNO profiles : risk of cannibalization of other golden geese in their portfolios (ie fixed accesses)
- infrastructure : peak usage has always been an issue in the wireless industry, but add broadband internet to it and you do have a problem

A third factor may rise soon : health. Femtocells + long sessions = trouble ahead.

*
telecoms.com blog.



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