Archive for October, 2002

TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE BALKANS AND SE EUROPE – OCTOBER 2002

Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

With no significant alternative operators, fixed-line infrastructure in all cases is owned and operated by incumbent operators.

Fixed-line penetration rates are poor with the exceptions of Greece and Cyprus. All other countries have penetration rates well below those of Western Europe. Whilst infrastructure has now been repaired, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Yugoslavia have suffered war damage but, despite the problems in these former Yugoslav countries, Albania’s penetration rates are far lower than any, due to its parlous economic state after years of isolation.

Cyprus is the only country to have 100% digitalisation of the network.

Significant data communications services exist only in Greece and Cyprus. Data communications are one of the few liberalised sectors of the Cypriot market and there are several competitors to CYTA providing a full range of services.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is well established in both Greece and Cyprus although penetration rates in Greece are far below those in most of Western Europe. Penetration rates in Cyprus are considerably higher than in Greece but are below those of northern Europe or even Slovenia. ISDN was only introduced to Albania and Croatia in 2000. It is more developed in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania but subscriber numbers are low.

New Report – 2003 Telecoms in Europe – Balkan and South East

Special introductory price US$99 normal price US$300

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FOXSPORT MOBILE – OCTOBER 2002

Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

In mid October FOXSports.com and ActiveSky Inc announced a partnership, FOXSports Mobile, which will allow users of advanced wireless devices to experience interactive Web on their phones.

Using ActiveSky technology, consumers will have access to sports coverage, information, entertainment and the FOXSports.com Website. Some of the services available, in colour graphics, will include actual sporting events, up-to-the-minute scores, news, headlines, and statistics.

See also:
Australia – Mobile Data – M-Commerce
Australia – Mobile Data – GPRS, EDGE, WAP
Australia – Pay TV – Statistics – Industry Revenues and Analysis

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TELSTRA DETERMINED TO PURSUE BROADBAND CONTENT MONOPOLY – OCTOBER 2002

Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

The end of the Telstra narrowband portal
At the same time as it was closing down its Telstra.com portal for narrowband content services the company remained adamant about keeping its broadband portal in place. This site hosts some 20 content sites.

Within the broadband portal Telstra is trying to set up a range of ‘exclusive’ services, tying customers to the company by making these services separate from their download allowance.

The underlying strategy is simple: create this exclusive zone, get users to flock to your site and use this to attract more exclusive content. If the formula worked you can start squeezing your content providers and demand a larger share of their revenues, as Telstra has the relationship with the users and in this way a nice new monopoly could be established – which, over time, could of course blossom into the bigger broadband infrastructure and content monopoly picture.

When I first encountered this new scheme I was quite upset, as I perceived the monopolist at work. However, upon reflection, I am thinking: isn’t this the same as Microsoft’s MSN service, Optus’s @home and Austar’s chello service, all of which failed? And won’t this new effort by Telstra suffer the same fate?

The continuing quest to monopolise content
The first time that Telstra tried to monopolise content was in the early 1980s, with their public online service Viatel. Then followed a range of proprietary EDI (electronic trading), multimedia, dotcom and various mobile content services. They all failed. After twenty years isn’t it time that they came up with something else, or are they going to continue to bang their heads against the same old walls? The TV frontier is still on their radar and I have already predicted – when they made their earlier advances in this direction – that this would be another guaranteed business failure.

Killer ap is communication, not content
The killer application on telecommunication networks is communication. At present this is mainly voice, but e-mail is probably generating as much traffic as voice at the moment. On mobile networks SMS is another very popular communication tool and multiparty calls, photo- and video-based communication will follow. Telco’s should move away from content to communication.

Over the last three years we have argued that the communication facility; always on high-speed Internet access, is the key to the success of broadband – not content. Telstra has only recently begun to publicly follow this line. Yet not so long ago I had heated debates with Telstra representatives on these issues. They were adamant that my predictions about high-speed Internet were wrong and that they were correct in their focus on content as the key to broadband success. Now Telstra has indicated that it has abandoned that strategy. I have had similar conversations with Telstra representatives about their push for mobile content on WAP, 3G and m-commerce-based services. I feel justified in making the comment that a lot of time, resources and energy have been wasted in these exercises.

Telstra business model is based on penalising broadband usage
The future will lie in using communication services to maximise the use of broadband systems. But what does Telstra do? It creates the greatest broadband usage disincentive in the world through usage penalties based on volume. The more you use, the higher the penalty!

This doesn’t make any sense to me. How can you construct a business model around penalising your customers? Shouldn’t you be trying to entice them to use more?

The company should change this model and let users utilise the network with their own personalised messaging, data and video communication services. Decrease prices by, say, 10% and you will see a 20% increase in usage. In this way the operators will still be ahead. We know that there is a high level of price elasticity in telecommunications services and lower prices will stimulate usage, which will exceed the corresponding price reduction.

See also:
Australia – Broadband – Developments and Analysis 2002-2003
Australia – Broadband – Content
Global – Services – Content Networks
Australia – Broadband – Research and Marketing

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DRAMATIC SLOW DOWN IN GROWTH OF GLOBAL INTERNET BACKBONE – OCTOBER 2002

Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

The evolution of the global Internet took a new turn in 2002. Since the invention of the Web browser, international IP bandwidth deployments have more than doubled each year. New data released by research firm TeleGeography reveals that in 2002, however, the growth rate of international Internet bandwidth slowed to just under 40%. The aggregate capacity between some major cities even shrank.

The maturing Internet markets of Europe contributed most directly to the global deceleration of international Internet capacity growth. Europe, which accounts for 82% of the world’s cross-border bandwidth, experienced an international capacity increase of only 35%, a steep decline from the 191% growth rate recorded in 2001. The slowdown was not unique to Europe, however. Latin America’s international Internet capacity grew only 65% in 2002 after skyrocketing 471% in the previous year, while Asia’s Internet bandwidth crept up 55% for the year, compared to 122% in 2001.

A generally conservative approach to deployments of new capacity accounted for a significant portion of the global slowdown. However, much of the global deceleration came as a result of corporate financial distress, with bankruptcies leading to partial or complete network shutdowns. Considering how much bandwidth was taken offline by companies like Energis, Carrier1, KPNQwest, and Teleglobe, it’s amazing that international Internet capacity grew at all. KPNQwest, for example, shut down a European network accounting for 192Gb/s of international Internet capacity.

Table 1 – International Internet bandwidth by region – 2000-2002 (Mb/s)
Region
2000
2001
2002

Africa
649
1,231
2,118

Asia
22,965
51,044
78,584

Europe
232,317
675,348
909,159

Latin America
2,785
15,893
26,287

US and Canada
112,222
272,187
381,904

(Source: TeleGeography Inc)
Note: Data represent Internet bandwidth (not traffic) connected across international borders as of mid-year.
Domestic routes are omitted.
From: Global Internet Geography 2003

See also:
Global – Internet – Infrastructure
Global – Infrastructure – Fixed Networks – International
Technology – Infrastructure – Long Distance 1 – Fibre, WDM, Satellite, Microwave
Technology – Infrastructure – Key Concepts

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SMS NUMBERING – OCTOBER 2002

Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

In October 2002, the ACA indicated it was considering numbering options to cater for the expected growth in services using short message service (SMS), in addition to the current way SMS is used.

SMS arrangements are examined because businesses are looking at the advantages of offering these applications and services on numbers other than current digital mobile numbers. The range of services could include weather information, competition entry, and obtaining examination results.

The numbers could also be used for future multimedia messaging services (MMS), which will be capable of adding still images, audio clips and video clips to SMS.

SMS numbering options include specifying a separate number range for the exclusive use of SMS and dual use of existing numbers by both voice and SMS traffic, as well as maintaining the status quo.
Whatever is decided, consumers would still be able to send and receive SMS messages using 04 digital mobile numbers.

An estimated 300 million SMS messages are sent each month in Australia through the major carriers, generating gross revenue of close to $75 million.

See also:
Australia – Mobile Data – SIM and SMS
Australia – Mobile Data – M-Commerce
Australia – Regulatory Environment – Numbering Issues

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