Friday, December 17, 2010

Wi-Fi Calling Contest Winners

We had great fun around the office recently judging the videos submitted for our Wi-Fi Calling video contest. The creative and earnest messages really impressed us, and it was hard to decide who would win new Android smartphones. We had put a call out for videos from people who love or need Wi-Fi calling, how and where they use it, or how it's changed their lives. We asked people to capture their enthusiasm and passion for Wi-Fi calling/UMA, and did they ever! Some of them truly made me laugh out loud.

We ask our three lucky winners to send us their wish lists of new Android smartphones, and we are sending each of them one of their top choice phones:
Maybe it was the holiday spirit, but we found it difficult to pare down the submissions to just three. We were feeling generous, so we took it a little further and awarded two more winners with honorable mentions. Kaya Smith and Jacob Garcia both get their choice of an LG Optimus or Motorola Defy.

On top of all that, we also awarded an Android to one winner of our simultaneous Twitter contest. Congratulations to @android_flash.

Congratulations to all our winners. Haven't watched the videos yet? Go check them out at WiFiCalling.net. Which one is your favorite? Let us know what you think in the comments here or tweet us @kinetowireless.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jeff Brown, Kineto Wireless

Thankful

During a long Thanksgiving weekend here in the US, I had time to reflect on Kineto's opportunity. I spent the previous three weeks in Europe and Asia visiting mobile operators of all shapes and sizes, and I realize Kineto has a lot to be thankful for.

To begin with, everywhere I went smartphones dominated the discussion. Product plans for 2011 were heavily weighted to smartphones, with feature phones quickly playing a marginalized role. Smartphones for the high-end; the mid-tier; even entry level; plus post and pre-paid…it seemed like everyone wanted to talk smartphones.

Of the platforms, Android continues to have an outsized share. I often refer to a Gartner report from November 2010 which shows Android growing from 3% to 25% of the total smartphone market share in just one year. This is staggering growth, made even more impressive because the overall market doubled in the same timeframe.

And finally, mobile operators have fully embraced Wi-Fi. It seemed that any discussion about smartphones and/or Android included Wi-Fi. It isn't a question of whether Wi-Fi technology will play a role in the mobile internet, it's just a question of how big the role will be.

With this foundation, Kineto's Smart Wi-Fi products are being embraced with open arms. Smart Wi-Fi takes the benefits of Wi-Fi to the next level, enabling operators to deliver improved coverage to their subscribers -- something that isn't available with basic Wi-Fi.

Kineto's Smart Wi-Fi Application is now available on 10 different handsets from operators in North America and Europe. Smart Wi-Fi is the right product at the right time, and Kineto has plenty to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Android gobbling up market share

Here's an abosolutely staggering chart based on data from Gartner Research released in November 2010.

The chart shows the year over year growth of the smartphone market, which nearly doubled (96%).  By itself, that is truly impressive.  But more astounding is the growth of Android market share, coming from 3% to 25% in just one year.



In a market that is doubling every year, Android was able to grow significantly faster than all other platforms.

Apple basically held it's own, growing at the same rate as the market (roughly double).  Of course the real tragities are the sub-market growth of RIM and MSFT.

With Android devices now covering the high-end, mid-tier and entry-level market segments, it's growth potential looks unstoppable.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nov. 30 Deadline for Video, Twitter Contests

Have you submitted your video yet for our WiFiCalling contest? If not, you better hurry. The final deadline for submissions is TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30! There are three chances to win a brand new Android smartphone, so the odds are in your favor.

If creativity is holding you back, just take a look at the fan videos posted on the site today - they may provide just the inspiration you are looking for.

And remember, you don't have to have a Wi-Fi Calling / UMA service to enter. Tell us how much you wish you had it. The contest is open worldwide.

If videos really aren't your thing, but you want some chance at winning a new Android smartphone, you can also enter our Twitter contest. Between now and November 30, simply tweet this message for a chance to win:
RT for a chance to win latest #Android Smartphone from @kinetowireless http://bit.ly/bZVUPA with our #wificallingcomp

Visit WiFiCalling.net for contest details and rules (there aren't many) and to submit your video.

Follow @kinetowireless on Twitter for more updates and winner announcements in December.  Good luck!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Battery Life - Keeps getting better

Engadget editor Chris Ziegler recently reviewed Motorola's new Defy.  In case you forgot, this is Motorola's new 'party phone', water resistant, scratch-proof screen, something about rolling around in the sand (watch the commercial...).  This is also the Oprah phone... the phone given to the audience members of Oprah's first show of her last season.

But I don't want to talk about all that.  The Defy comes with Wi-Fi Calling.  Some industry commentators continue to propagate the rumor that excessive Wi-Fi use drains a smartphone's battery.  That may be the case, unless that phone has Smart Wi-Fi technology.

In Chris' review, he actually credits Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Calling (aka Smart Wi-Fi), as the reason why the battery performance was "stellar."

"In our experience, the Defy seems to have stellar battery life, which is relatively hard to come by among Android phones. Not only we were able to consistently make it comfortably through an entire day on a charge, but we were surprised to find that after putting the phone away with about 75 percent charge, it was still on with 21 percent remaining two days later. Granted, it spent most of that time in WiFi calling range (which disables the cellular radio), but many smartphones give up the ghost from 100 percent charge in less time, so we were pleased to see that." 
Smart Wi-Fi... actually making Wi-Fi on Smartphones 'smarter'.

Orange UK launches LG Optimus with Signal Booster

Yesterday the LG Optimus appeared on the Orange UK website.  It's the first Android phone which supports Orange UK's "Signal Boost" feature which is based on UMA Technonology.

At press time, the phone was listed as having a talk time of 29.1 days... I'm sure that's supposed to be standby time, and I'm pretty sure it's not 29 days... but hey - there's no doubt that UMA powerful stuff.

The LG Optimus was released at T-Mobile US a couple weeks ago with the same UMA technology, albeit under the commercial name Wi-Fi Calling.

The Optimus is part of a new category of low-cost Android-powered smartphones.  The phone is free with a two year commitment at both Orange and T-Mobile.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wi-Fi Calling Comes to T-Mobile Android


Today's the day...T-Mobile is now selling four phones with Wi-Fi Calling. Finally.

With today's big push is around '4G', it turns out that T-Mobile's two flagship 4G phones both support Wi-Fi Calling.

The MyTouch 4G comes with Wi-Fi Calling pre-loaded on the handset.


The G2, the other phone in the '4G' launch, gets Wi-Fi Calling added as an 'over the air' update occuring over the next week.

In addition, two of T-Mobile's entry level Android phones are available with Wi-Fi Calling.

The LG Optimus (free with 2 year contract) and the Motorola Defy ($99 with 2 year contract) are both available with Wi-Fi Calling.

Today's the day - taking Wi-Fi and Android to the next level.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Wi-Fi Playing a More Crucial Role in US Mobile Carrier Growth

…and femtocells don’t appear to be.

I was reading Roger Cheng’s latest piece covering AT&T’s use Wi-Fi. The company announced they supported 106.9 million Wi-Fi connections in Q2 2010. It’s certainly impressive.

But was struck me more was the utter lack of discussion about femtocells. Recall that just a year or two ago, AT&T’s femtocell launch was eagerly anticipated by the company, along with the mobile (and femtocell) industry.

Yet skip ahead, and AT&T continues to laud its use of Wi-Fi with nary a word on its femtocell deployment. It's like they have fallen to the side of the road.

Perhaps it’s reflected in a release the Femto Forum put out the other day. The Forum announced that there were “more femtocells deployed that macrocells” in the US.

At first blush, that sound like good news… until the details come out.

According to the announcement, there are ‘conservatively’ 350,000 femtocells deployed by Sprint, Verizon and AT&T in the US, versus 256,000 macro cells. But with the ‘big three’ serving about 230 million subscribers, 350k femtocells deployed isn’t very impressive.

Even converting to households, it isn’t much. I found another study which says 75.8m homes in the US have broadband, a pre-requisite for a femtocell, so we're at 0.4% penetration. (versus 62% for Wi-Fi).

I know, femtocells are just getting started, and there’s plenty of room for growth. But at the end of the day, ATT is touting it’s Wi-Fi connection numbers, not it’s femtocell deployments.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Video Contest for UMA, Wi-Fi Calling Fans

If you read this blog, chances are you're a fan of Smart Wi-Fi, powered by UMA. We're trying to harness the power of the excitement of people like you with a new video contest for anyone who loves, needs or craves being able to make calls over Wi-Fi on their smartphones.

Submit your story in a short video to WiFiCalling.net, and you could win one of three new Android smartphones. 



The contest is open to participants worldwide, especially those who use T-Mobile USA’s Wi-Fi Calling, Orange’s Unik or Unique, Rogers’ Talkspot, Cincinnati Bell’s Home Run as well as people who don’t have such a service but wish they did.

We're accepting video submissions at WiFiCalling.net through November 30. On December 15, we'll announce three winners, and each will get a new Android smartphone (exact phone to be determined at time of announcement).

We can't wait to see what you come up with!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Everything Everywhere talks Smart Wi-Fi

Everything Everywhere, the new powerhouse operator in the UK created by the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, held an investor conference on September 28th.
In laying out their strategy for market domination, we happened to notice that UMA (aka Smart Wi-Fi) was to play a role.
This isn't that much of a surprise, given Orange UK has been quietly selling a UMA service for some time.  But Orange has been mum on the service...until now.  They are seeing how smart Wi-Fi can be used to help them provide everything to everyone everywhere their customers spend the most time -- the home and office.

Rogers adds UMA to new Blackberries

Rogers Wireless in Canada has offered "TalkSpot", a UMA-based service, to their subscribers for some time.  Just this week, they added two new Blackberry phones to the line-up, including the Bold (9700), Curve (9300) and Pearl (9100).  Check out the post here.  I think the upgrades were specifically to support 3G devices.

Shouting from the rooftops... with great coverage!

The CTIA show last week was very exciting. T-Mobile USA announced it's new built-in Wi-Fi Calling solution, based on Kineto's Smart Wi-Fi technology. It will be available in "a wide selection of Android™-powered smartphones, including the recently announced new T-Mobile® myTouch® and Motorola DEFY™ with MOTOBLUR™." Both smartphones are expected to be available in time for the holidays.

T-Mobile has offered Wi-Fi Calling for a few years, but this announcement is about expanding the service and committing to the Android OS. T-Mo stated in its announcement Wi-Fi Calling for Android is anticipated to be available on a growing selection of T-Mobile’s Android-powered smartphones in the coming months.

Per the press release: "T-Mobile’s expansion of Wi-Fi Calling to Android smartphones is an excellent innovation, and part of our ongoing initiatives on behalf of our customers to enhance indoor coverage,” said Torrie Dorrell, vice president, connected family products and services, T-Mobile USA.
The UMA and Smart Wi-Fi fans have come out of the woodwork recently and are making this busy time very exciting. Fans of the T-Mobile UMA Facebook page celebrated the news and other sites, such as TMoNews.com and GigaOm, wrote about it.

Follow the Kineto Twitter stream to receive up-to-the-minute news and read other coverage of these announcements.

What do you think about T-Mobile's commitment to Wi-Fi Calling on Android smartphones...will you run out and buy one?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smart Wi-Fi for Froyo

This week, Kineto announced availability of its Smart Wi-Fi Application (aka UMA) for Android 2.2 (aka Froyo).

The response was overwhelming. 

There was coverage all around TMonews, TelecomTV, even Facebook.

Personally I’ve received hundreds of emails from people asking about the App.  When will it be available, how can they get it.  Clearly there is pent up demand for Smart Wi-Fi on Android.  

Frankly, I think it was less about the actual announcement, and more related to the video we released showing the App in action (sort of… actually watching someone make a phone call is pretty dull… until you have no coverage).  




Don’t worry, as commercial details become available, we’ll keep you posted.  But for now, keep telling the world “I WANT MY UMA!”

Loyalty is a three letter acronym

Kevin Tofel wrote a piece for GigaOm today titled "With Today's Smartphones, Carrier Loyalty is Fleeting". He covers a survey by NSN which showed that smartphone owners are least likely to stick with their current  carrier.

That got me thinking... what things drive loyalty?

In the US, the iPhone has an outsized impact. It is a highly coveted device, exclusive to a single operator. In the article, Kevin offers his own insight, saying to generate loyalty, operators should strive to provide great coverage at a reasoable price. And if they can supplement their network with some desirable value-add service, all the better.

With that said, how about Smart Wi-Fi (aka UMA)?

In a Sept 13th post, Om Malik said the reason he sticks with T-Mobile is because of UMA technology on his  Blackberry Bold.

Wow. Here's a tech trendsetter who eschewed iOS and Android because of a feature on a phone provided by his carrier. Powerful.

But dig deeper, and read the comments posted to Om's article. You can immediately get a feel for the passion and emotion people have about UMA and T-Mobile:
- "UMA for us is a godsend."
- "I agree that [UMA] is a great differentiator…"
- "I rely on UMA to keep me connected…"
- "I love UMA on my Nokia phone…"

It goes on and on.

So mobile operators, the next time you're thinking "What can I do to increase loyalty?"  I would check out Smart Wi-Fi (aka UMA).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jeff Brown, Kineto Wireless

Wi-Fi for Mobile TV

If there was one thing (aside from the great competition) that those of us in the mobile industry took away from the World Cup earlier this year, it was that consumers want their mobile TV. Unfortunately for operators, this is yet another burden on their already overworked networks. I can only imagine what's going on this week with the US Open final delayed until Monday.

Once again, it is so clear to me that Wi-Fi, more specifically, Smart Wi-Fi, is the ideal solution.

Ericsson reported in March 2010 that data traffic had overtaken voice traffic for the first time in the mobile industry's 25-year history. In June 2010, UK operators O2, Orange and Vodafone teamed up to test a TV broadcast service which would enable consumers to view television channels on their handsets. IMB, the selected broadcast medium, requires costly transmitters that must be added to base stations. Moreover, new handsets need to be developed that have integrated IMB chips. This is a costly and complex undertaking.

There is a better solution. With Smart Wi-Fi, all mobile services are securely delivered to the smartphone over the Wi-Fi connection. Operators achieve complete network offload, as all voice, data and internet traffic, and not just internet/web services, can be routed over wi-fi.

Read the article I wrote recently published in Mobile Marketing Magazine for more on this topic.

Can you blame people for not wanting to miss a minute of those compelling games? With Smart Wi-Fi, operators can give the people what they want, for a fraction of the price.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

T-Mobile remains quiet on Android/UMA

Yesterday Om Malik, a committed UMA enthusiast, wrote that T-Mobile has not made any direct statements about support for UMA on its burgeoning line of Android devices.

T-Mobile's true plans for UMA remain locked in Seattle, where hopefully we'll get some clarity in the coming months.

Meanwhile, read the comments posted to Om's article by other UMA fans. There is a LOT of pent up demand for UMA on Android. Or check out the new T-Mobile/UMA Facebook fan page created by T-Mobile customers hungry for UMA on Android.

It should be noted that Kineto, purveyor of UMA/GAN technology, announced availability of its "Smart Wi-Fi Application" for Android back in March 2010. Smart Wi-Fi is their UMA/GAN-based client.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

In US, 62% of Internet connected homes have Wi-Fi

A while back there was an EU study which showed that 50% of internet connected homes in the EU had Wi-Fi. I found that number very impressive.

Here's a newer study which shows Wi-Fi in a 'staggering' 62% of US internet connected homes (page 9).

For those interested in the US market, this is an informative report. It was sponsored by Arbitron, a company which tracks radio usage. Therefore there is quite a bit on how consumers listen to traditional radio along with internet radio. But it also looks at overall trends in the population with respect to social media and traditional mass communications mediums. Check out the bit about FM radios in cell phones.

However, one thing is clear, in developed markets (the US, EU,…), Wi-Fi is the preferred method for service delivery within the home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Walt reviews femtocells

Walt Mossberg, the venerable consumer technology editor for the Wall Street Journal, reviewed femtocells today.  Specifically, he reviewed the AT&T microcell.

The interested reader can check out the whole article here.

Be sure to read to the end, when Walt describes what it took to make the femtocell work in his son’s basement apartment.  In the end, they needed to use Wi-Fi to extend an Ethernet connection into the basement.

It took Wi-Fi to make the Femtocell work.  Ironic.

Of course, with a Smart Wi-Fi App on the phone, Walt and his son could have gotten the coverage boost of a femtocell, using the Wi-Fi which was already in the apartment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Become a Fan on Facebook


Looks like there is a new fan page for T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling service on Facebook.

Take a moment, become a fan.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wishlist for Droid X: Smart Wi-Fi (UMA) Support

Motorola's Droid X, the newest high-end Android device from Moto for Verizon, was recently reviewed by Hubert Nguyen at Ubergizmo. Hubert's only wishlist item for the phone: Smart Wi-Fi (UMA) support:

Wishlist

UMA: given that Verizon's CDMA isn't compatible in most international networks, it would be very nice if the Droid X could have UMA support. UMA would let users reach the carrier's network over WIFI. Unfortunately, T-Mobile is the only US carrier to support UMA at this point.

We understand, we wish for it too.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Rogers Adds Wi-Fi-Based Services for Subscribers

Rogers Wireless in Canada has announced new a host of new services, including a BlackBerry Rogers student plan for those with smartphones which support UMA or Wi-Fi - these subscribers can now get unlimited Wi-Fi calling. Plus, calls made from Wi-Fi access point don't count towards monthly minute allowances, which is perfect for students on Wi-Fi enabled campuses.

These improved unlimited family and student plans make it easier for students and their families to stay connected during the school year.

The Unlimited Student Plan also delivers an extensive list of unlimited features for students, such as unlimited messaging, unlimited social networking and unlimited evenings and weekends.

This was reported first on RedBoard, the official blog of Rogers Communications, and we read about it on Phones Review UK.

Recent Wi-Fi survey results tell us that 78 percent of people in the United States and 74 percent of people in the United Kingdom who own smartphones with Wi-Fi capabilities would be interested in an application that would use Wi-Fi to deliver 'five bars' of coverage at home or in the office.

It's great to see Rogers, a long-time proponent of UMA and using Wi-Fi to improve coverage, offer discounted calling and keep subscribers happy, once again lead the marketplace with new Wi-Fi-based service offerings.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Smartphones on a tear

The Q2 2010 numbers are in, and people love smartphones! According to Strategy Analytics, and covered in a piece on RCR Wireless, smartphone shipments jumped 43% year over year. More impressive is that 60m units were shipped in Q2. That works out to nearly 20% of the total number of handset units sold worldwide. Very impressive.

As a result of a recent smartphone survey sponsored by Kineto Wireless, we know that over 80% of all smartphones have Wi-Fi. The next step must be Smart Wi-Fi.

MobiTV App Prohibited From Working over Wi-Fi

For mobile operators, there is an ugly truth about basic Wi-Fi offload that no one wants to talk about: the packet services you can collect revenue for can not be offload to IP, or worse yet, aren’t even accessible when Wi-Fi is on.

MobileCrunch writer Devin Coldewey covered the story of trying to run AT&T’s MobiTV service on his Android phone.

AT&T supports ‘basic’ Wi-Fi offload, which means the Wi-Fi radio dumps web traffic directly to IP, but must maintain a 3G connection for any operator hosted service.

But the problem with basic Wi-Fi offload is that revenue generating packet services, like MobiTV, can’t be offloaded to Wi-Fi because there’s no secure connection from the mobile core network to the smartphone. Whoops.

Smart Wi-Fi addresses this specific problem. Smart Wi-Fi creates that secure connection between the handset and the mobile core network so paid packet services like MobiTV (and visual voice mail, and MMS, etc…) can be delivered to the subscriber over Wi-Fi.

Throw in 3G data caps, and Smart Wi-Fi is better than sliced bread.

The operator wins two ways: first, they can continue to sell data services that actually make money, rather than simply transporting non-revenue generating YouTube traffic. Second, they can offload those valuable data services to Wi-Fi.

The subscriber wins two ways as well. First, they get access to the service over lightening fast Wi-Fi. Second, by using Wi-Fi they avoid the tiered data cap.

Wow, Smart Wi-Fi looks like it’s a win-win-win-win situation.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Give us our Wi-Fi! US & UK Survey Reveals Consumer Demand for Wi-Fi Services

Seventy eight percent of people in the United States and 74 percent of people in the United Kingdom who own smartphones with Wi-Fi capabilities would be interested in an application that would use Wi-Fi to deliver 'five bars' of coverage at home or in the office.

Eighty eight percent of these people in the US, and 80 percent of people in the UK would also be interested in a service from their mobile operator that would give discounted calling when the phone was connected to Wi-Fi.

It's interesting to see how similar the US and UK numbers are. These numbers are the results of two online surveys conducted in Q2 2010. The surveys were completely independent of each other and were conducted by two different companies. Yet, the level of interest in more Wi-Fi-based services is high across both geographies.


The US survey was done by MarketTools Zoomerang of 330 US smartphone owners. The UK YouGov online omnibus survey focused on the 23% of nearly 2,200 respondents in the United Kingdom with smartphones.


I encourage you to read the full survey overviews for more data and graphics available at Kineto.com.


More highlights:


In the US -

  • 43 percent of people who own smartphones with Wi-Fi capabilities use the Wi-Fi every day.
  • 45 percent of those people use Wi-Fi because it provides easy access to the Internet, and 43 percent use it because it is faster than the cellular network.
In the UK -
  • 50 percent of people who own smartphones with Wi-Fi capabilities use the Wi-Fi every day;
  • 40 percent say they use the Wi-Fi because it is faster for accessing the internet; 50 percent say because it is easier.

Smartphone users are embracing Wi-Fi and seem to want to be able to use it more. There's an opportunity for mobile operators to tap into this tremendous interest and encourage Wi-Fi usage to increase network offload, improve network coverage/performance and gain increasing benefits by offloading traffic to the fixed network.


Read all the rest at Kineto.com. And there's plenty more. Then, tell us what you think in the comments.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Telefonica launches mobile VoIP

About 9 months ago, Telefonica purchased VoIP service provider Jajah for $207m. Today, it was announced that Telefonica is rolling out a new service called 'O2 Gloabl Friends' based on the Jajah technology.

Certainly we're glad to see mobile operators taking the VoIP threat seriously. Telefonica, with large operations in Europe and South America, may have been feeling the heat of Skype, now the largest service provider of international voice traffic.

For other service providers, there is an easier way than buying a VoIP provider. Based on the 3GPP GAN specification, it's possible to turn existing voice services into VoIP services.

No new VoIP gear, no new VoIP systems, it's all based on the existing voice network already installed. GAN turns the internet into a generic access network for all your mobile services, including voice. Products exist today!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Affordable Androids Abound

Android devices are showing distinct signs of picking up speed, as evidenced by Orange's recent announcement it will launch a low-cost LG Android smartphone in Europe later this year.

Orange also reveals its new 'affordable smartphone strategy,' which includes Huawei, ZTE and Gigabyte devices, among others. Lowering smartphone costs will make services more accessible to a larger group of subscribers. So it appears it will be a win-win for Orange - top-notch phones on a strong operating system pulling in more subscribers.

Patrick Remy, Orange's vice president of devices, said: "At the beginning of 2010, 15% of Orange portfolio was smartphones. This will rise to 30% by the end of the year, and will be 50% by 2013."

That seems right in line with the smartphone growth analysts are predicting and other operators are reporting globally.

Why a femtocell is 'of no value'

I'm not sure I agree with everything Andy Abramson says in his recent blog post titled "Why a femtocell/microcell is of no value once Apple iOS comes out", but he's certainly spent some time thinking about the issues. Any anyone who gives props to Smart Wi-Fi (aka UMA) is on the right track for this blog.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Video Interview: Jeff Brown Comments on AT&T's Move to Tiered Data Pricing

Kineto Wireless CEO Jeff Brown took a few minutes to comment about AT&T's announcement yesterday that the company has created a new tiered data-pricing structure for subscribers. The move is making waves in the industry.

Jeff talks about the changing role of Wi-Fi to mobile operators, evidenced by this and last week's announcement that AT&T is launching a free public Wi-Fi trial in Times Square, New York.

He touches on how Smart Wi-Fi could be the next step for operators to maximize the use of Wi-Fi for network offload.

Jeff says he thinks we'll see more and more operators moving to Wi-Fi to give users a really good experience, whether they're on the 3G network or the Wi-Fi network, which should be transparent to the user.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Operators Rushing to Wi-Fi

Light Reading Mobile reporter Michelle Doneghan reported last week that Deutsche Telekom is the latest operator to announce it is using Wi-Fi to offload its 3G networks.


businesspeople_running.jpgOlivier Baujard, DT's CTO, keynoted the Open Mobile Summit in London last week and told the reporter, "the operator would like to offload 20 percent of its cellular data traffic in an outdoor environment onto WiFi hotspots, and that it is now offloading just "a few percents" of its traffic."


The article also references a Heavy Reading report published recently and authored by Gabriel Brown, "WiFi Offload for Mobile Operators," that talks about the many active Wi-Fi engagements mobile operators have undertaken as they've moved "from a position of hostile objection to passive acceptance, and now active engagement."


The next logical step will be for them to realize there are ways to get more from their Wi-Fi services and make the customer experience smarter and better. This will result in improved indoor coverage and battery performance, easier access to Internet and data services, churn reduction, competitive VoIP response where operators are still keeping subscriber minutes on Wi-Fi, and even greater increases in network capacity.


As someone who has been evangelizing Wi-Fi for years now, I say woo hoo! I thrill to the sound of mobile operators embracing the benefits of Wi-Fi. Now, let's see the leaders take it to the next logical level.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Video Interview: Smart Wi-Fi Saves Company Money

We've been seeking out enterprises that use Smart Wi-Fi services, such as T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling. Here, Steve Robey, Kineto's IT Manager, talks about his experiences with Wi-Fi Calling and how it benefits the company with notable cost savings. (Lots of Steves here.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jeff Brown, Kineto Wireless

Today, I'm pleased to introduce a new guest blogger, Jeff Brown, CEO of Kineto Wireless, the key innovator and leading supplier of solutions that enable delivery of mobile services over broadband.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Smarter Wi-Fi for Smart Phones


I just concluded a whirlwind tour down-under. It was my first time visiting Australia and New Zealand, and both countries certainly were beautiful. And, mobile services and smartphones are exploding in popularity there, just like in the US, Europe and Asia.


It turns out there is quite a bit of overlap in the work day between Kineto's home office in California and Sydney, so much so that I found myself making and receiving numerous calls throughout the day. Like many international travelers, I rely on email from my smartphone. However, history has taught me that roaming, particularly for data, can be very costly.


I found myself relying heavily on Wi-Fi to stay connected. Fortunately, office buildings, hotels and airports and even ferry terminals all had Wi-Fi coverage.


Yet the best tool I had was Kineto's own Smart Wi-Fi application for Android devices. The application, that I'm testing, works on my Android smartphone in conjunction with my mobile operator's services in the US to provide me a virtual connection over Wi-Fi anywhere in the world.


When my phone was on Wi-Fi and the Smart Wi-Fi application was attached, I had a virtual local connection in the US. No international roaming bills; I paid standard rates for all the calls I made to the US. That saved me a bundle.


For international traveling, I found the benefits really add up quickly.


Now that I'm back in the US, as always I'm still using Wi-Fi for better indoor coverage, faster data access and more reliable 3G services.


T-Mobile offers this as a service -- Wi-Fi Calling. It's based on UMA/GAN technology and is available on a range of BlackBerries today. There's no additional cost for Wi-Fi Calling, and many corporate customers have used it to significantly reduce their phone bills.


The service is also available from other operators in other countries, like Rogers in Canada, as well as Orange in the UK and France, to name a few.


I strongly recommend T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling service, especially for anyone traveling internationally. We use it extensively and it has saved us huge amounts on roaming costs for both data and voice.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stand up and be counted!

The time has come for those of you who can't live without UMA/GAN to stand up and be counted.

Google tracks user interest in features/capabilities on Android. Item number 6242 is "UMA enabled Android OS". Click on this link to get to this screen:

Now do two things:

First, make sure to 'Star' the feature. This is simply clicking on the grey star in the top left to make it yellow.

Second, take a moment to add your comment and write up how much you love UMA. Tell Google that UMA/GAN support should be native in the OS.

Companies like Kineto are already working with individual handset manufacturers to add UMA/GAN support into their individual platforms, but native support in Android would dramatically increase the availability of handsets supporting Smarter Wi-Fi.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Smartphone handsets surge

Gartner released some figures on the mobile phone market, and smartphones in general. The information was covered in this article in Total Telecoms.

Last year we picked up a report by RBS projecting a full 50% of all handsets sold in the world in 2014 would be smartphones. They projected something like 1.6b units, and 800m are predicted to be smartphones.

Along comes this report to show that the world is well on it's way. While Gartner is projecting the global handset market to grow 11-13% in 2010, they are reporting 49% year over year actual growth for smartphones. With 54.3m smartphones shipped in the first quarter of 2010, it's easy to project 325m units in 2010, easily extrapolated to 800m units in 2014.

However, consider the implications of 800m smartphones shipped in 2014. Today networks are groaning under the impact of a tiny fraction of that many smartphones. And one trend which I haven't seen reported, but seems to be true in my focus group of one, is that the longer people have smartphones, the more data they use.

I think consumers become confortable with email, then venture into different elements of the smartphone experience, moving pictures, recording videos, hitting Facebook, watching YouTube videos and streaming Pandora. These last two are particular new favorites of mine.

I don't listen to the radio in the car anymore, I just start Pandora and let my smartphone deliver internet radio to my car. And YouTube has become a very easy way to kill time when I'm waiting... for the kids at soccer practice or at the airport or whereever.

The need for Smart Wi-Fi is growing as fast as the shipment of smartphones.

Guest Blogger Shannon Lucas of T-Mobile on Differences Between MVS & Wi-Fi Calling


Recently, I've received a lot of questions from customers about the difference between RIM's new MVS 5.0 with Wi-Fi Calling (based on SIP) and T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling (based on UMA/GAN). There are some pretty important differentiators between these two services.

I see them as complementary solutions that address different user profiles. Customers who are mostly campus-based can take advantage of MVS with SIP while they are in the office or connected to their enterprise network through a VPN.

T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling allows customers to extend their PBX extension to their mobile phone over Wi-Fi and provides seamless mid-call transitions between the cellular and Wi-Fi networks. The T-Mobile solution also allows you to use MVS over Wi-Fi in public locations without having to have that VPN back to the corporate network.

T-Mobile launched Wi-Fi Calling four years ago, and the technology has had a lot of time to mature in the market place. It can also be used without MVS to provide coverage and the ability to make calls for free while on Wi-Fi. It's also simple to set up and use.

Both solutions offer benefits to enterprise users, but T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling provides a level of freedom and free calling for enterprise customers even when not connected to the VPN.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Responding to VoIP

In my mailbox this week are several emails from Ovum touting their new report "Mobile Operator Response to VOIP: the six steps". We don't have an Ovum account, so I don't know what the six steps are, but there are several steps operators can take, using their existing infrastructure and a Smart Wi-Fi solution based on 3GPP GAN, to address mobile VoIP.


1. Turn Mobile Voice into Mobile VoIP. Mobile operators have a huge technical, market and competitive advantage with their existing circuit voice service. The 3GPP GAN specification enables operators to turn Mobile Voice into Mobile VoIP. The existing voice service is transformed into a new, cutting edge VoIP service... and the best part is that it doesn't require a massive new infrastructure upgrade. With Smart Wi-Fi, mobile voice becomes a Mobile VoIP icon/application which can be distributed far beyond the confines of the mobile phone.

2. Compete where the competition is. Most mobile VoIP occurs over Wi-Fi. Subscribers have access to Wi-Fi in the home and at the office. With Smart Wi-Fi, the mobile operator can create a low cost calling service that's available only when the mobile phone is attached to Wi-Fi. The advantage? Mobile operators don't have to drop prices when the user is in their car or traveling, only in the same places where there is actual mVoIP competition, when there is Wi-Fi available.

3. Bundle your mobile VoIP service with USB dongles. USB dongles have been a tremendous success for mobile operators. The mobile operator now has a platform on the subscriber's 'other' device, their laptop. And yet operators haven't chosen to embed a mobile VoIP client into the USB dongle. With Smart Wi-Fi, a mobile VoIP client using the existing mobile voice network can easily be embedded with the USB dongle. This is certainly better than giving subscribers high-speed mobile data service, and then leaving a gaping hole for voice that requires a quick download from Skype.

4. Embed mobile VoIP onto the iPad. While launched here in the US, the iPad 3G is about to take off in Europe. Guess what's missing? Any type of voice service, operator-based or otherwise. With Smart Wi-Fi, operators could easily have their own mVoIP app pre-loaded onto the iPad. Sure, users may still choose to download Skype, but at least they have the option to use the operator's service.

5. Extend mobile VoIP to non-cellular devices. Once the stodgie old 'mobile voice' service has been transformed into a shiny new Mobile VoIP service with Smart Wi-Fi, it can be used on non-mobile devices. It can be downloaded to laptops, desktops, iPads without 3G, the list goes on and on.

6. Address the ILD disparity. This is the most controversial decision to make. Kineto Wireless conducted a survey several months ago and found that the primary use for a third party mobile VoIP application is to place (outbound) international long-distance (IDL) calls. I have a colleague who only turns on Wi-Fi on his iPhone to place Skype calls to relatives around the world. As long as there is a tremendous arbitrage opportunity, subscribers will jump through the hoops to use alternative mVoIP services. This is immensely profitable for operators, so there is no hurry to collapse the market.

But I think everyone sees the same evolution which transpired in the fixed network coming to the mobile network. Today calls to fixed lines in most developed markets are about $0.02/minute. As mobile termination rates continue to decline, mobile ILD will continue to decline as well.

It's clear to me that there are two major trends occuring in the mobile voice market. One is that the revenue per minute is declining, and will continue to decline for some time.

The second trend, which I think is coming faster than people realize, is that the total number of minutes served will begin to decline. There is a new generation of subscribers who talk less. They view the mobile phone as a text, email, IM, Facebook tool. Making a voice call is distinctly secondary. We can see it in the network trends (Ericsson: data overtake voice traffic), in Smartphone UIs (Blur, Sense, ...), in the service plans (Vodafone: £15/month gets 300 min voice, unlimited texts).

The implications are profound for mobile operators. Less revenue per minutes, less minutes overall, sounds a lot like the fixed line voice world.

To conclude, mobile operators have tremendous influence in the market, they have spent billions to create brand awareness, and now with Smart Wi-Fi, they can leverage their most valuable service, voice, beyond a mobile phone.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rumor Mill: T-Mobile getting UMA on Android?

Two articles showed up yesterday, one on the Android Guys blog, and covered again on Electronista. The comments to the Android Guys post were pretty funny. There are still a lot of people who love their UMA. I don't think T-Mobile helped the situation by changing names of different products because it does get pretty confusing.


"Wi-Fi Calling" is the name of the original UMA service. The original name from T-Mobile was HotSpot@Home, but that got changed to Wi-Fi Calling.


Then they launched their fixed line VoIP product called "@Home". But HotSpot@Home and @Home are not the same things.


As for the $10/month all you can call plan, I'm not 100% sure, but I think they dropped new sales of that. When T-Mobile dropped prices aggressively on unlimited plans in early 2009, it was difficult to charge extra for unlimited Wi-Fi Calling.


We have been saying for a while that T-Mobile should just make calls over Wi-Fi free, like nights and weekends. No fee, just free!


This is something available to enterprise customers today.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Wi-Fi Turns 25... and I feel old

Last week there was a great article by Peggy Albright covering 25 years of Wi-Fi. I guess 25 years ago, the FCC made a decision to open up three spectrum bands, 900 mHz, 2.4 gHz, and 5.8 gHz with little oversite other than to suggest that devices 'play nice with others'. These three sandboxes were opened up for entrepreneurs to create the future.


Wi-Fi, Cordless phones, Bluetooth and certainly many other products/technologies have flourished in the unlicensed playspace. Entire industries have formed based on the availability of the spectrum, and organizations have developed specifically to sheppard the tenant of 'playing nice with others' into an impressive range of innovations and specifications that have resulted in products that actually work together.


I could wax on about the wonders of Wi-Fi or the importance of local wireless networks, but it dawns on me that perhaps the most important lesson to take away from this is that, given the right set of circumstances, human creativity is nearly unstoppable.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Guest Blogger Shannon Lucas of T-Mobile on MVS + UMA

I talk to customers every day and ask them to tell me what's on their wishlist to meet their technology and communication needs. Just yesterday, I sat in a room with a customer who spoke to me about how he can't wait for the day when all the networks converge; when users have one device that seamlessly moves back and forth between Wi-Fi and next generation mobile networks.

I sat there with a knowing smile, just nodding, because the solution that I was about to propose addresses all of his needs and then some.
The RIM Mobile Voice System solution with T-Mobile's UMA BlackBerries can provide the PBX extension that he (and many other companies) is looking for. MVS not only gives users single number reach capabilities, but it also allows users to make on-net international calls, reducing the international long distance spend. UMA allows companies to make Wi-Fi based calls for free, even internationally. Now, they can work together.
After I had gone over the MVS/UMA ROI slide with my customer, I asked if I could move on. He replied, "No. I am in love with this slide."

It really is fun to be able to give customers exactly what they want.

T-Mobile offers Wi-Fi Calling with MobileOffice(SM), an exclusive solution that enables organizations to extend their desktop phone functionality to a mobile device. Customers using Wi-Fi Calling with MobileOffice can now use the BlackBerry(r) Mobile Voice System (MVS) to mobilize PBX systems, bringing office phone features to BlackBerry smartphones. This will further improve productivity and reduce telecom costs, and I'm going to continue to spread the good news.

Read more from Shannon Lucas on this blog.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

RIM, MVS and UMA

This is the week of RIM's big Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) event in Orlando. Hence the flurry of announcements related to new RIM devices, the new RIM 6.0 OS, and the addition of Wi-Fi calling to the MVS product.

Considering T-Mobile offers a UMA-based 'Wi-Fi Calling' service and offers MVS with 'Wi-Fi calling', there may be some confusion in the market. Is MVS competitive or complementary with UMA? The short answer:

They are complementary solutions.

UMA is the delivery of mobile services over Wi-Fi. With UMA-enabled BlackBerries (in this case), subscribers use their mobile services the same over Wi-Fi as over the GSM/cellular network. UMA offers two specific benefits to the subscriber: improved mobile coverage via Wi-Fi; and lower-cost calling, primarily due to T-Mobile's 'unlimited Wi-Fi Calling' offer for enterprises. We like to say that UMA makes the mobile phone "work better and cost less".

MVS addresses a different problem. The new Wi-Fi calling feature in MVS extends a subscriber's fixed-line PBX extension to their BlackBerry. Personally this isn't something I would want. If I really want someone to get ahold of me, I give out my mobile number. If it's not urgent, I give out my desk phone. But there may be subscribers (or enterprises) that want to push the fixed line onto a BlackBerry. More importantly, I think there are enterprises interested in managing how employees use their mobile phones and how accessable they are on their fixed lines. But I digress...

The point is that both MVS and UMA offer an overlapping benefit: lower cost calling. With UMA, it takes the form of mobile calls over Wi-Fi not using the bucket of minutes assigned to the enterprise. With MVS, it comes by not using the mobile network (and therefore the mobile operator's billing system) and routing calls through the enterprise PBX (and over negotiated fixed line contracts).

Therefore, it is possible to deploy MVS (ie put a PBX extension on a BlackBerry) with or without UMA. And conversely, it's possible to have a UMA-enabled BlackBerry without the MVS client. Ergo - it is also possible to have a BlackBerry with MVS *and* UMA.

For IT managers, what's better? Well, it comes down to what problem is being solved. UMA offers two benefits: lower cost mobile calls and better cellular coverage.

MVS offers at least two benefits: lower cost calls through by routing Wi-Fi calls through the PBX, better management/control of mobile calling and the ability to put a fixed line on the mobile phone.

For mobile operators, it's clear that UMA retains control of the call through the mobile network, where MVS takes Wi-Fi calls off the mobile network and into the fixed-line PBX.

To conclude, MVS and UMA are not competitive, they are complementary technologies, solving different problems for the enterprise.

Smartphones Overtake Feature Phones in US by 2011

Just consider the title of this post: Smartphones will overtake feature phones in the US in a little more than 18 months. That is a truly impressive prediction.

Roger Entner, the SVP of Research with Nielsen's telecom practice recently posted an article explaining why the research company believes that the US market is rapidly moving to smartphones.

What makes this statistic even more impressive is that today (Q2 2010), Nielsen concedes that just 21% of US consumers have smartphones. They are projecting a 30 percentage point swing in phone ownership in the next 18 months.

Personally, I completely believe it. I have likened the jump from feature phone to smartphone in my life to the jump I made from dial-up to DSL 10+ years ago. I remember thinking "Dialup is fine, I don't really do that much on the computer." People would gush about how wornderful DSL was, but concrete benefits (beyond "it's faster") were hard to come by. But once I moved to DSL, I knew at that moment I would never go back to dial-up.

I think it's the same with smartphones. I can never go back to a feature phone. I was at a little soiree this weekend talking with a fried who works at Cisco. He never seems to be at the office.

He whipped out his iPhone and showed me why. Cisco has an internal instant messaging application with an iPhone client. He opened the client, changed his status, and suddenly he was 'working' to his contacts wtihin the company. Then he showed me the WebEx client for the iPhone. He can listen to the conference call while viewing the slides, all from his iPhone. Unless someone walked by his cube, no one would know he wasn't in the office.

The implications are staggering on many dimensions, but since this is a blog about smart Wi-Fi, I'll circle back to the need for coverage, capacity and offload. To actually work from your iPhone, a subscriber needs a strong signal for voice and good throughput for data apps like WebEx .

The cellular network is already straining with 21% of the population using smartphones. Imagine when we get to 50% penetration 18 months from now. Smart Wi-Fi is a critical technology for making the smartphone vision come true.

Monday, April 19, 2010

O2 To Compete With Skype

In an article posted to Fierce Wireless Europe, it appears that O2 UK has developed a new pricing structure for subscribers to make low-cost International calls on their mobile. As reported in the post, O2 will offer subscribers the ability have 'unlimited' (subject to a 5,000 min "fair use" cap) to call one (presumably fixed line) number in one country for just £5/month.

This is a good first step.

Checking O2's International Calling page, this offers significant saving over their published rates, or over their "International Traveler Service" (or ITS) rates, which shows the current retail rate to call the US at £1/minute. Ouch.


O2_Intl_Tariffs.PNG

In a survey on how consumers in the UK market use mobile VoIP (conducted by Kineto Wireless), the primary use of a mobile VoIP client was to make discount International calls. This makes sense to me. A VoIP client on a smartphone requires the user to decide to launch the application and place a call.

Taking a look at Skype's pricing page, and they offer unlimited calls to any landline in Europe for $7.95/month, or to any of 40 countries around the world for $12.95. [Ed note: No asktrik for 'unlimited' on the Skype page]

We believe that mobile is the next battlefield for VoIP, and International calling is where the battle will be fought.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Can Wi-Fi Marginalize Mobile Operators?

I'm paraphrasing in the title, but Ian Scales' article at Telecom TV titled "Are mobile operators in danger of losing their 'default' status" was an intriguing tag line which hooked me in. smoking_hut.jpg

The premise is that a phone vendor like Apple may decide to simply make Wi-Fi the preferred connection method and leave the macro network as the fall-back status. The article likens the situation to the current 'no smoking' bans in many countries.

Cellular service is relegated to the places where you can smoke... in your car, outside on the street, in the park. But it's not available in the places where you spend most of your time, at home, in the office, in the coffee shop (or pub, depending on your inclination...). [Ed note: a tip of the hat for that analogy... very clever!]

Regardless of the cleverness of the analogy, I must disagree. I don't think this will be the case any time soon. Operators deliver tremendous value through the macro network. And while Wi-Fi is 'everywhere', it's still not actually 'everywhere'.

However, there is a technology which enables mobile operators to continue to deliver service over Wi-Fi as if it were part of their macro network. That technology is called "Smart Wi-Fi", and it's based on the existing 3GPP GAN standard.

So if Apple, or some other vendor, did decide to make Wi-Fi the default connection preference, a Smart Wi-Fi application on the phone would deliver all the operator's revenue generating services (voice, SMS,...) to the subscriber as if they were attached to the macro network. The Smart Wi-Fi App also uses Wi-Fi to improve indoor 3G coverage.

Don't worry mobile operators, Smart Wi-Fi has you covered.

Informal Surveying

We have an informal survey on the home page of UMAToday.com that we use to capture some information and opinion from our visitors. It's not scientific, nor is it a well-distributed audience, but we do get pretty good responses.

For example, for the past few months, we asked visitors to answer: Do you plan to get a femtocell at home?

After tallying up several hundred votes, nearly 40% (or 39.6% to be exact) answered they never plan to get a femtocell at home, because they use Wi-Fi. Another aha moment for me. That's why we're talking about how to make Wi-Fi smarter and more beneficial to subscribers and operators. As we can see, customers are already using it to solve their coverage problems.

Ironically, another 40% (or 39.7% to be exact) answered they would get a femtocell 'as soon as they're available from my operator.' Is our audience clamoring for femtos? Certainly there's interest. In fact, 13.6% of our respondents told us they have femtocells now, but 8.1% said they'll never get a femtocell, because they don't need it.

It would be fun to dig into the responses in more detail, but these numbers give us an overall glimpse and, quite frankly, the numbers speak for themselves. Ready to vote again? We've got a new survey up today.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Guest Blogger: Shannon Lucas

Today, I'm excited to introduce another guest blogger. It's been a while since we had a guest featured on this site. I think Shannon Lucas, fixed-mobile convergence architect with T-Mobile US, will have a lot to add to the dialogue. The floor is yours, Shannon:

________________________________________________________

Guest blogger: Shannon Lucas, FMC Architect, T-Mobile US

I appreciate the opportunity to guest blog on this site. I've long been a believer in UMA technology. As an FMC architect for T-Mobile, I've come across a number of technologies. This is one I believe in and that, in my opinion, benefits subscribers and mobile operators.

UMA is important to T-Mobile, and our customers love it. It seems like every day I receive positive feedback from our customers using UMA. They appreciate the improved coverage and the lower bill they get from calling over Wi-Fi. For some, the biggest benefit is using UMA when they travel outside the US and can make low cost calls back to the US.

I'm looking forward to being more vocal on this blog and will be picking some topics to write about. Feel free to make suggestions. More to come soon.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Smartphones are Taking Over

It's not a secret. Smartphones are EVERYWHERE! I (and others) have been singing that tune for a while.

This week, research firm NielsenWire reported "Smartphones to Overtake Feature Phones in U.S. by 2011."

According to specific statistics:


"the share of smartphones as a proportion of overall device sales has increased to 29% for phone purchasers in the last six months and 45% of respondents to a Nielsen survey indicated that their next device will be a smartphone."

Other useful stats:
- 81% of smartphone owners are satisfied with their device; only 66% of feature-phone owners are satisfied with theirs.
- 50% of smartphone users utilize their phone's Wi-Fi to satisfy the need for fast downloads; this is 10-times the percentage of feature phone owners using Wi-Fi on their phones.
- The percentage of people who use their phone for only voice communications drops from 14% among new feature phone owners to 3% of smartphone owners.

NielsenWire_March2010_us-smartphone-growth.png

In an analysis of the research on Enterprise Mobility Today, Andy Patrizio writes:

"For the most part, Nielsen attributes the shift to smartphones to a groundswell of new smartphone devices, in particular the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones, plus an 'explosion' of new applications for them and the significant and continued decrease in the prices of those phones and carriers' data plans."


The smartphone revolution is upon us, now let's talk about the traffic demands of all those users.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Growth of Mobile traffic by OS

This week Gizmodo published the latest data from Admob. [Ed note: It seems that Admod has become the de facto tracker for mobile data]. The chart, from Admob, is very telling:


Admod_traffic_Q1-2010.PNG


First, this is traffic in the US. So the iPhone chart is particularly impressive because it's one device on one operator's network. Look out when the iPhone goes CDMA...


Second, I think the spike in Android tracks tothe launch of the Droid phone on Verizon in Q4 2009. Certainly growth in Android traffic was trending up nicely through the first three quarters of 2009, based primarily on the MyTouch from T-Mobile, but there is a definite acceleration of traffic in Q4.


Third, I think it's a bit depressing to see the RIM, webOS and WinMo numbers. These are all good products/technologies, but I think it highlights the emerging split between 'smartphone' and 'web phone'.


Finally, while this is an absolute market share chart, it doesn't capture the overall market growth in traffic. At what rate are these number accelerating? AT&T said traffic on their network was up 5,000% over the last three years. While Android is gaining absolute market share, data traffic in general is skyrocketing and will certainly become an issue for every mobile operator.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Offloading in Barcelona

"The major network technology issues to take center stage in Barcelona are fairly evident; we identified these in our annual prediction piece earlier in the year. Absent from this list, however, is a theme that stretches across multiple technologies: offload," writes Peter Jarich, a leading analyst with Current Analysis, in an article published on Connected Planet.

Call it offload, traffic offload, smart offload or intelligent offload - it will surely be a key theme at Mobile World Congress next week. Hopefully, live demonstrations and in-depth, in-person discussions will separate the weak from the relevant and viable solutions.

Consultant Dean Bubley agrees with Peter. On his Disruptive Wireless blog, Dean wrote: One of the major trends I'm seeing at the moment is that of mobile network offload - typically "dumping" traffic onto WiFi or other networks to avoid congestion from mobile broadband. I'm expecting it to be a huge feature of this year's MWC / 3GSM in Barcelona."

Peter highlights Wi-Fi and Femtocells as two key offload technologies. Clearly, Wi-Fi is a successful technology and has seen widespread adoption. Operators just need some additional technologies to better maximize the use of it. Operators interested in femtocell deployments can provide subscribers low-powered 3G base stations to provide ‘five bars’ of cellular coverage and better utilize them.

At MWC, Kineto will be demonstrating its Smart Wi-Fi and Femtocell Solutions that solve the capacity crunch; resolve the 3G indoor coverage challenges; and address the mobile VoIP threat.

Dean writes: "What's not clear to me is which of these techniques is the most effective or important overall."

Dean and I have faced off before, and I'm going to try to convince him, rather show him, which is best.

Visit Kineto's stand at MWC in Barcelona February 15-18: Hall 1, Stand A45.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Smart Offload for Smart Phones

Last week, Kineto and T-Mobile presented a free webinar - Smart Offload for Smart Phones - with Lynette Luna of Fierce. The discussion centered around a new challenge for mobile operators. With the deluge of smartphones in the marketplace, subscribers are becoming accustomed, and in fact are demanding, always-on access to web services at the touch of a finger. And they want it all with perfect coverage, high-speed data delivery and no disruptions in service.

Mobile operatos must handle this flood of data usage, while increasing service performance and improving coverage to maintain customer satisfaction, while keeping costs under control. No easy feat. So what should they do?

In the webinar, T-Mobile and Kineto explain the operator challenges and how Wi-Fi can provide the answers. It is a critical tool for managing offload for mobile networks.

Omar Hassan is senior manager, product development with T-Mobile US, and a Wi-Fi Alliance Board Member. He leads T-Mobile's Wi-Fi product development. Some of his key points included:
• There are 246 million data-capable devices in consumer hands today.
• Operators can leverage popular Wi-Fi to meet and exceed consumers needs.
• Wi-Fi will be critical to mobile operators.

The Kineto portion focused on Wi-Fi solutions for mobile operators:
• Basic Wi-Fi does not improve coverage or solve the capacity problem.
• Kineto's Smart Offload Solutions turns existing Wi-Fi access points into seamless extensions of mobile network.
• With Kineto's solution, there's an App for capacity and coverage.
• Read more about Kineto's smart offload solutions.

The Smart Offload for Smart Phones webinar replay is available now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kineto Turns UMA into "Smart Wi-Fi Offload"

Today Kineto, a leader in the UMA space, announced a new "Smart Wi-Fi Offload" solution. For all intents and purposes, it looks like they have renamed UMA into "Smart Wi-Fi Offload".

Not that it's a bad thing...

In the four years since UMA was introduced, there have been some major shifts in the market. Early UMA deployments were on focused on fixed-mobile substitution (FMS), and relied on feature phones (remember the Samsung G709?).

At the time, FMS (and FMC) were hot topics, but the mobile industry had never heard of an iPhone and mobile operators all believed that had more network capacity than they could ever want or need.

Skip ahead to 2010, landlines are a dying breed, subscribers are getting larger buckets of minutes and FMS is a natural occurrence. But the industry has been blind-sided by the meteoric rise of the smartphones, specifically web-driven devices like the iPhone and my Touch.

I was in a meeting with an industry analyst the other day who casually mentioned that he believes mobile operators will need to increase their current network capacity 10x in the next 3-5 years.

Consider that number for a minute. It’s staggering.

Now consider this: what are the options for an operator to increase their network capacity by a factor of 10?
  • Add more segments and channels onto existing cells? A good, but finite, idea.
  • Install more macro cells? Certainly that continues to be important, but even doubling the current number of towers probably wouldn’t increase network capacity 10x.
  • Femtocells? Certainly this is an important technology, but there continue to be a range of growing pains.
  • Wi-Fi is a great option. It’s already installed in the homes and offices of these ‘smartphone’ users, it doesn’t interfere with the macro network, and now with Kineto’s solution, it can be added as an application to the range of offending smartphones.

The reality is that to achieve a 10x increase in capacity, mobile operators are going to need to do all these things in earnest, starting today.

I think Smart Wi-Fi Offload is a good first step.