Archive for December, 2009

Google, AdMob deal raises concerns…

I just read on (the San Francisco Chronicle), that

I am amazed to see this. Isn’t it a general trend in any market. Whenever some big company faces opportunity so either that company acquires another  popular company in that space or goes in for a joint venture. Then why are these groups objecting to this deal. After all mobile advertising remains highly fragmented, with more than a dozen networks like AdMob according to a report by industry publication mobiThinking that concluded that no one knows which is the biggest because none discloses revenue figures anyway.
Please share your comments…

December 30th, 2009

Now detect fake currency notes in India using mobile

Neha, a student of Vidya Vikas Institute of Engineering and Technology in Mysore says, “The increasing number of counterfeit notes in the country prompted me to develop this device. A trained eye can detect a fake note, but not the common man.”

She developed a mechanism by which a cellphone can double up as a counterfeit note detector, and for this project, she won the Rs. 1 lakh (Approx. US$ 2500) prize at the Innovation Challenge, organized by Schneider Electric India, where Neha competed with 150 entries from engineering colleges across the country, reports Gayatri Nair of Bangalore Mirror.

(Source: siliconindia news)

1 comment December 29th, 2009

Indians already thinking of 4g technology

3g is not here but Indians r already planning to use 4g technology equipments like femtocells in projects in India although not for voice and data but sparingly just for other benefits femtocells may b able to provide…

December 28th, 2009

Nokia 3210 vs. Apple iPhone 3GS: The Ultimate Mobile Phone Comparison

I found this interesting piece on web…amazing comparison worth anybody’s time. I thought, I will share this  with all our readers too, so here it is…

1 comment December 24th, 2009

Wireless Predictions 2010 for India – by CellStrat

Here is our list of Wireless Predictions for India for the year 2010 :

1) India 3G auction happens finally – but faces corruption charges and slow uptake in the consumer space. Ministry of Telecom will still make boatloads of money in 3G auction as large carriers have no choice but to get into a bidding war to get the limited 3G spectrum for future growth.

2) 3G Devices continue to lag – only select few devices can benefit from 3G. 3G Devices start catching up in 2011 finally on a broader scale.

3) India 3G Rate Plan Pricing  and expensive 3G devices keeps the lid on fast 3G adoption. However smartphones take off big time in upper middle class and corporate segments.

4) Price wars in Indian Mobile sector accelerate. Carriers press TRAI to intervene but government keeps out of it. Carriers try to differentiate using innovative new Mobile Media, VAS and Apps.

5) India continues to add new Mobile Subscribers at the rate of 8-10 million a month. Next phase of mobile adoption is in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities but revenue growth is slower in these areas due to limited financial ability of consumers.

6)  Rural Mobile on a mass scale remains a distant dream for carriers next year at least. Rural consumers will come online in larger numbers in another 2-3 years.

7) The Big 5 Carriers (Airtel, Vodaphone, Reliance, Idea, Tata) continue to innovate with new Mobile Media models and VAS services. Smaller but fast growing carriers like Tata Docomo or Aircel try to differentiate by playing on niche market segments (like prepaid or multi-member family households) or with new innovative pricing schemes (remember Tata Docomo was the first carrier to introduce the 1 p / sec pricing forcing all other carriers to drop their prices).

8)At least one major foreign carrier makes a big splash in India Mobile scene in addition to the new upstarts like ETILASAT, MTS India, Uninor (Unitech-Telenor venture) or S Tel. This could also be another big European or US operator. ETILASAT, MTS, Uninor and S Tel have the license to spectrum in India in some circles but any other new foreign operator would have to take the acquisition route. All these upstarts are primary acquisition targets as foreign wireless majors like AT&T, Orange, Deutsche Telekom or others try to penetrate the Indian mobile market.

9) Mobile VAS firms face cut-throat competition due to massive market fragmentation. A few big and fast-moving Mobile VAS firms survive and acquire the weaker ones.

10) Serious Foreign money continues to pour into Indian wireless sector in all segments including the Carriers, Mobile Apps, VAS, IT, Network Management, Back-office services, Consulting and so on.

11) CDMA looses market share as Reliance and Tata, the big CDMA protagonists before, divert their attention to their GSM arms. CDMA arms of Tata and Reliance will focus on innovative pricing models to maintain market share although it seems that India is rushing to being an all-GSM nation in due course. This makes sense as GSM offers easy and clear evolution path to UMTS/HSPDA 3G and eventually to LTE 4G, both of which are GSM-based technologies and the winning global standards for 3G and 4G respectively.

12) WiMAX sees Green Shoots in India. However it remains a niche play targeting certain market sectors and areas. Demand for alternate wireless networks like WiMAX, WiFi and Femtocell begins to increase as carriers face massive network congestion due to rapid mobile Voice and Data growth.

13) Mobile Media adoption grows – there is some shift from SMS to Mobile Web and Mobile Apps / WAP (finally). However SMS maintains its lion share of Mobile Media and Mobile Ad business. Corporate segment drives Mobile App adoption in smartphones.

14) Smartphone sector booms as upwardly mobile consumers try to spend a bigger part of their incomes on these expensive devices.

15) Apple iPhone makes a big splash in the premium market segments but faces intense competition from BlackBerry and Nokia smartphones.

16) Google Android is introduced in India. Finds limited uptake in the first year at least. 2011 will fare better for Android in India.

17) SMS advertising prices continue to fall rapidly. Firms in this sector continue to diversify into Mobile Apps business and try to find new business models to make money.

18) Mobile Money and Mobile Payments continues to grow although slowly. Until banks catch up with this technology and push it to their customers, the growth in this area will be somewhat slow although there is a strong business case for growth in Retail location Charge-ups and prepaid cards.

December 21st, 2009

Wireless Predictions 2010 – A Panel Discussion : Wireless Technology Forum, Atlanta

(from our Atlanta desk)

I attended the Wireless Technology Forum, Atlanta’s General Session meeting on Nov 19 at the Ashford Club. This session had a blue-chip panel from leading Market Research firms and Mobile Strategists world :

J Gerry Purdy, VP and Chief Analyst – Mobile and Wireless, Frost and Sullivan

Jorge Fuenzalida, VP/GM Strategy and Consulting, Incode

Jeff Kagan, Telecom Analyst and Publisher, The Jeff Kagan Report

Moderated by Hamish Caldwell of AT&T

This star lineup of Mobile Analysts presented their views of the Wireless Industry in 2010. Here are the notes from these experts’ presentations :

Mobile is turning out to be unique compared to Internet. In Mobile, both the extremes of Open (eg Google Android) and Closed (eg Apple iPhone, RIM etc) are doing well. Apple iPhone and AppStore story is well known. Google Android is the new star and giving sufficient headache to old entrenched stars like Nokia and RIM BlackBerry in the Mobile Media space.

Jorge Fuenzalida from Incode :

Jorge showed the Top 10 Predictions Incode is making for next year (these are for US primarily but some themes apply to Asia) :

i) Operators push netbooks. They see mixed success.
ii) Net Neutrality in USA remains stuck in debate.
iii) Data Capacity issues get resolved somewhat.
iv) All devices in the West move to be smartphones. Smartphones compete on features
v) Wireless Rate Plan pricing looks like airplane pricing (read – complex and unfriendly)
vi) M2M (Machine-to-Machine) Wireless leads to acquisitions (think a GSM chip in your watch, refrigerator, gym machine and so forth). In my opinion, broad M2M is a pipe dream at least several years away.
vii) Carriers get into cloud computing in a big way. Compete with Google and Amazon there.
viii) At least one major handset OS bites the dust (Palm OS – anyone ?)
ix) MVNOs bounce back with niche business models (eg eReader network)
x) Internet video via game consoles. eg XBox and PlayStation drive IPTV – cable firms feel pressure.


Jeff Kagan, Prominent Analyst has this to say :

Wireless Industry changes every 5 years or so and basically re-invents itself. Current state of Wireless Industry is Very Good and Wireless is stronger than ever in spite of (or perhaps due to?) recession. Communication thrives both in good times and bad times. It is a critical social behavior.

Apple changed the smartphone sector. It brought amazing user experience and other handset makers were forced to follow suit. Phones are doing what computers used to do. iPhone is still the fastest growing smartphone business. Why – Apple is a marketing genius. Other handset makers play catchup in marketing strength. Google is in this space now. Verizon is pouring lot of money in Google Android promotion for its Cliq and upcoming Android handsets. Customers love Google over the internet and it is free. Google’s success in Mobile is quite different than that of Apple. Google will succeed with several carrier and handset partners. Apple is limited in partner base but vertically integrated.  Google wants to be everywhere. Apple wants to be the premium player and mind-share leader. Apple is a rifle where Google is a shotgun.

Wireless will transform other industries eg Meter Reading, eReaders, Smart Grid, Healthcare. Wireless will continue to be a strong industry but it will look substantially different in 5 years from now.

Gerry Purdy :

Android is customizable. It may face fragmentation (remember J2ME or Java Mobile Edition!). But it is all about the consumer experience and Google will eventually figure it out just like it did for the Web. Apple has low fragmentation – it is vertically integrated via iTunes and iPod/iPhone and quite beautifully at that.

All speakers were also of the opinion that off-network traffic will accelerate. WiFi, Bluetooth, Femtocells all have bright future because classic wireless networks will be buried under the load of iPhone like traffic and Mobile Video.

When asked, which of the Incode predictions were more likely to bear out next year, Jorge from Incode says that it is No 5 – “Wireless Rate Plan pricing looks like airplane pricing (read – complex and unfriendly)”.

What happens one year from now :

Gerry – Apple and Google continue to do well in fast growing smartphone space. RIM (BlackBerry) remains under pressure as they have a Virtual Software environment (cloud-based mostly) and lack a good Mobile OS as capable as Apple’s or Google’s. Microsoft struggles in mobile space. Palm will probably be acquired by Nokia. Maemo – Nokia’s one of two Mobile OSes (other being Symbian), may see mixed success.

Jorge – No further Mobile OS will be seen in the marketplace as it is already too crowded.

Jeff – Things will be faster and better in wireless, one year from now.

Excellent presentation by an accomplished panel. Kudos to WTF and its board for pulling together yet another excellent General Session. The next General Session at WTF is on Jan 21 and it is focused on Investing and Funding Opportunities in Mobile and Wireless domain. Stay tuned for this session and do attend if you are in Atlanta area.

December 21st, 2009

Why mobile is a different mass media channel, and what makes it unique???

Seven unqiue abilities of the mo bile have been known for some time now…just to remind all of you…following are those seven:

1st unique ability – mobile is personal
2nd unique ability – mobile is permanently carried
3rd unique ability – mobile is always on
4th unique ability – mobile has a built-in payment channel
5th unique ability – mobile is available at the point of creative impulse
6th unique ability – mobile is most accurate at measuring its audience
7th unique ability – only mobile can capture the social context of consumption

Now we have the 8th unique ability. only mobile can offer augmented reality. Its discovery is credited to Raimo van der Klein of Layar the Augmented Reality browser, out of the Netherlands, which (Layar that is) is currently just about the hottest story in all of the mobile telecoms industry.

Now, just in case you happened not to know exactly what is this augmented reality, let me give two quick examples, both from Layar. First is their browser, and it illustrates ‘media content’ perfectly. You need to have a cameraphone for augmented reality – and two thirds of all phones on the planet are cameraphones. Usually that is not enough, like Layar itself requires also that you have a smartphone such as an Android operating system smartphone. But AR definitely requires a cameraphone. How does Layar work? You point your cameraphone at some view in your city. The normal view in the cameraphone screen is that of the city. Then you turn on Layar. You still see the city, but superimposed upon the image, are specific dots with further information – here is a Pizza Hut, here is a cash machine, here is the nearest toilet, here is the museum, this apartment is for sale, etc. To do this type of ‘augmented reality browser’ the phone needs both the GPS for precise location-positioning, and the compass ability, so the phone ‘knows’ in which direction you are pointing the cameraphone. You cannot have the dot of the Pizza Hut above the McDonald’s… Note that the ‘media content’ here is the dot that is only visible in your cameraphone screen – and then we can add information – click here to get a coupon for the museum, or click here to see the menu and prices at the restaurant, etc.

It is the same concept as fighter pilots have had for many years now, where when they look out of the cockpit, and see the view outside, the clouds and sky, and they see a couple of other jet fighters, the computerized radar and plane tracking systems of the modern jet fighter, will put little green circles around those fighter planes who are on your side, and little red circles around the fighters who are your enemies. This way, as you maneouver doing rapid turns of 6 G’s, twisting in the sky, you don’t accidentially start to shoot at your own guys. Like very many innovations in our consumer lives, this – augmented reality – found its first uses in the military. But now we have it in our phones.

What can we do with it now? The opportunities are almost endless. We can expect many games in this area, like hunting for ghosts perhaps or UFO’s as AR is very suited for showing things that do not exist in reality. It could be used to show new buildings what they look like in their intended habitat, before they are built, or as various options are considered. The beauty is that you can create 3 dimensional images that you can then ‘walk around’ and see from all sides, as is now being used in innovative ad campaigns such as Ford doing for some of its cars. And we can well imagine AR used in museums, so if you see Churchill’s desk in the real world, you could then use your cameraphone to see the Prime Minister sitting at his desk. Or you could see the bones of a dynosaur, and then through AR, see the same dinosaur but what it looked like with its skin and in its habitat. The opportunities are endless – what of the historical church, that was bombed in the war. Its been restored now, but through your cameraphone, with AR, you could see the church how it looked after the bombing, and see a recreation of the restoration perhaps…

(Source: Communities Dominate Brands)

December 21st, 2009

Key findings out of Morgan Stanley’s mobile web report

  • Morgan Stanley made the point that current mobile phones reflect a new generation of computing, similar to transitions in computing in the past. Morgan Stanely points out that with each cycle, the total reach of computing had grown by a factor of 10. So the mainframe based computing world reached about 10 million, the desktop PC world passed 100 million users before the internet PC came along, which passed 1 billion users, but the mobile internet is headed to pass 10 billion users. Great pattern in this growth.
  • Morgan Stanley pointed out that the modern smartphone of today is as powerful as a desktop of 8 years ago.
  • Acceleration in mobile is catching up on the legacy PC world, is also pointed out by Morgan Stanley, and they use the measure of mobile internet traffic vs PC based internet traffic, which lags by 9 years now, but is closing.
  • Morgan Stanley says that at least in four areas, the smartphone is better than the PC, to consume internet type content including email, VoIP/voice calls (like Skype), social networking, and news.
  • The iPhone and iPod Touch are growing to become the second most widely used portable gaming platform – yes, overtaking the Playstation Portable (PSP) and now only trailling Nintendo. Clearly one of the main uses of the iPhone is gaming (Morgan Stanley also show that most popular paid content at the iPhone is games related).
  • Blackberry has over 40% of the global enterprise market share of smartphones. The market share of iPhones and Android phones in the enterprise space is totally negligible.
  • Total (fixed) internet content revenues of 91 Billion dollars (this number excludes the broadband and dial up monthly fees), 5% was all that was contributed by the content revenues for sales of digital content, such as music, gaming, news etc. That is 4.5B dollars in absolute numbers. Compare that with the mobile internet, where content revenues were worth 37 Billion dollars, and out of that, digital content formed 54% or 20 Billion dollars. Mobile today delivers 4 times more revenues than the fixed internet. In other words…out of almost 25 Billion dollars in total digital content incomes delivered online, over 80% is earned through the mobile phone.
  • One interesting data point that comes out of Morgan Stanley report is that out of the total global SMS traffic, 57% is generated in the Emerging World. For MMS traffic, the number is even more drastic – 80% is generated in the Emerging World.

             In China already today, the newspaper industry has innovated in creating SMS and MMS versions of paid ‘mobile newspapers’ which are essentially headline services. How many use them? 40 Million paid users already. Amazing numbers are’nt they?

  • The total number. The Morgan Stanley Mobile Internet Report of December 15, 2009, reports that the total value of the mobile data industry grew 20% this past year – this year of economic crisis when the global economy declined 5% – and mobile data total revenues reached 284 Billion dollars. This is now bigger than the ‘total’ PC internet economy, ie the internet content revenues, plus internet advertising revenues, plus all subscription fees ie broadband and dial-up monthly fees, combined. Those are worth roughly speaking 250 Billion dollars (may be even less).

    This number includes SMS revenues of about 100 Billion and includes mobile advertising revenues of 3 Billion dollars this year (that number may also still be bigger, as mobile advertising is growing so strongly at this time, it is difficult for any analyst to nail the exact number..)

    But think about it – when the world total expenditure declined by 5% and we faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression 80 years earlier, the global mobile data industry grew 20%. That means, that if we adjust for the economic decline, the ‘actual’ growth was equivalent to 25% year-on-year. WOW.

(Source: Communities-dominate-brands)

December 19th, 2009

Google India launches driving direction on Google Maps

Google India has launched driving directions for users of Google Maps. Users can now navigate around locations using Google Maps on their
desktops and mobile phones using landmarks like petrol stations, banks, schools, railway stations, bus stops, local businesses & traffic circles and signals. India is the first country globally to get this feature on Google Maps.

Indians are more comfortable finding way on the streets using landmarks. Typically many roads in India are not marked with road signs and even if they are, the signs are not visible. In some cases people do not even know the road names. For instance, a friend asks you for directions to your house for a new year party, or to that nice picnic spot you recommended to celebrate a new year’s eve, you scribble some lines on a piece of paper or explain that they should take a turn from a petrol pump or a bus stop or a grocery shop! Google today enables this activity online and share with friends and family.

December 17th, 2009

Indian GSM operators unhappy about DoT’s decision to implement 11-digit numbers

GSM operators are unhappy about DoT’s decision to implement 11-digit numbers by adding an extra 9 to all mobile numbers in the country by January 1 2010. They have made detailed presentations to the government on why such a move is harmful for the industry and consumers. This representation has been made through the COAI while AUSPI, which primarily represents the interests of Tatas, Reliance and Sistema, is in favour of moving to a 11-digit numbering plan.

COAI says the move to a 11-digit numbering plan implies that over 480 million mobile subscribers will have to re-write their numbers and update personal contact lists. Further, SIM cards will have to be upgraded as the current SIM cards are linked to the existing 10-digit numbering plan. They also warn that it would require a major upgrade for billing systems, which imposes additional costs across the board for all operators.

(Source: TNN)

December 14th, 2009

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