Archive for category At&t
Understanding the interplay between the wireline and wireless worlds is important as value shifts occur. You can’t have a blockbuster iPad2 launch without Wi-Fi. And 55% to 60% of the embedded home Wi-Fi base is coming through cable modems. Apple Inc.’s success eventually results in Comcast Corp.’s, Time Warner Cable Inc.’s, Verizon Communications Inc.’s FioS and even AT&T Inc.’s U-Verse’s success.
With the next generation of tablet and phone devices (Apple’s iPad2 and the HTC Corp. Thunderbolt, for example) comes the front facing camera. We wrote about this with the column “The iPhone without a contract” last Labor Day. Sprint Nextel Corp.’s HTC Evo 4G launched last year with a front-facing camera using the WiMAX network and QiK (now owned by Skype) as the pre-installed app. New hardware begets new software. And this new software is high BPS (bandwidth per second). The higher the BPS, the faster the app.
The next $100 billion of value in the telecommunications industry (inclusive of software) is going to be created by the fast app ecosystem. Combine secure cloud computing with gigabit Ethernet backhaul and dual-core processors and you have the makings of an entirely new industry. It’s not that Groupon brought millions of us daily deals – it’s that they now bring them to us in 1080p (or whatever form factor your device can support). I can now see next year’s holiday blockbuster toys in action at Amazon.com (or through their app), not still photos. And video communication, including a revamped Pandora + YouTube, is now connected to my television. Why do I have a V-Tech cordless phone (and a $40 per month bill)? Why do I have a premium digital video tier?
It’s an exciting world to dream about, and developments are coming very quickly, thanks to companies like Apple and Google Inc. The highest returns can only occur, however, when you expand the market from portable (Wi-Fi) to mobile devices. In car. On train. On bus. If you are moving, you need mobility, not portability. And mobility requires bandwidth that moves with you.
This is where the wireless carriers come in. They hold the keys to mobile fast apps. As much as the developer community wants to circumvent or ignore relationships with the wireless carriers, they cannot achieve a high common denominator (“fastest app”) without the ability to achieve consistent bandwidth speeds and consistently low latency. Said another way, those applications developers that invest in the network interfaces and carrier relationships will create differentiation (and value) faster than those who dumb performance down to the lowest levels. When technology moves quickly, value is created from those companies who can expand with the market, who can achieve the highest and best result instead of the lowest and least. The bandwidth disparity created by 2G/3G/4G and Wi-Fi networks operating simultaneously is too great.
The only way Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA Inc. (combined or separate) can grow 10 to 20 million net adds in the next three years is to partner with the fast applications developers. Multi-player Angry Birds in 3D with optional voice chat does not happen without network integration – the connections are real-time, not “push” and servers need to be very close to the network. Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA may need more growth than 10 to 20 million net adds over the next 3 years to remain relevant. Dropped calls be damned – what about dropped apps?
So we have a willing development community, at least two willing carriers (on top of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility who will definitely not take this lying down), and capital waiting to earn disproportionate returns. Where do we get started? Three ideas:
1. Multi-player Angry Birds in 3D with optional voice chat takes applications to a new level. Maybe an “all green” AB on March 17?
2. Facebook (or their replacement) could reinvent video communications singlehandedly (and take advertising to a new level).
3. Cloud-based communications directories with caller identificaton (app free version includes a mini-advertisement delivered on every incoming call).
One of the biggest reasons for any directory is discovery. In the old days of White Pages, we discovered a street address and a phone number associated with a name. With the advent of fast apps, I may want to know if you have FaceTime and if you are available for a quick chat, even if you are not in my contact list. Where’s the FaceTime (or Skype or Fring or ooVoo or YouTube or Facebook) listing on my BlackBerry? It doesn’t exist. Then how do I discover that you have FaceTime (meaning an Apple device that has a front facing camera on a participating carrier that has optimized FaceTime for their 4G network)? We need a better discovery engine to make FaceTime or their competitor a more relevant communications application.
The directory needs to protect privacy. I need to be able to turn off applications from being used by some and make an entirely different set of applications available to others. The directory needs to be connected to individuals, not Exchange (which, as explained in the last paragraph, doesn’t have room for these listings anyway). Privacy is easiest with an independent source – friendly to but free from wireless carriers, handset manufacturers, and operating systems.
Finally, the directory needs to be free. Listed or unlisted, private, user-controlled and free. This is not to say that there aren’t charges for “end caps” (featured fast apps), or that larger corporate or association directories don’t pay some fees, or that we show a mini-message on every incoming call in exchange for a free app, but this is not the calling name data storage margins of the past. And, if it can bring in 10 to 20 million customers for Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA (together or separate), it’s worth the carrier effort.
Fast apps are the next $100 billion opportunity in the communications industry. A well executed fast apps strategy by T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel (combined or separate) can break the current duopoly (or Verizon Wireless can execute it on its own with LTE and cripple their competition). To make fast apps a reality, the discovery process needs to be radically simpler, privacy needs to be protected, and it needs to be free to the end user. We need an independent directory.
Here come the fast apps. Are you ready?
Jim Patterson is CEO and co-founder of Mobile Symmetry, a start-up created for carriers to solve the problems of an increasingly mobile-only society. Patterson was most recently President – Wholesale Services for Sprint and has a career that spans over eighteen years in telecom and technology. Patterson welcomes your firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past six months there has been lots of buzz about mobile payments. High-profile companies such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Visa have all indicated they are exploring ways to make money from mobile payments. And at last month’s Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain, the momentum around mobile commerce and Near Field Communications seemed to grow even stronger. In fact, several firms including Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Deutsche Telekom and Orange all talked about how they were incorporating mobile commerce and/or Near Field Communications technology into their future plans. Some companies even went so far as to designate 2011 as the year for NFC payments.
We are under the impression that cellphone manufactures will be offering a secure mobile payment method – Near Field Communication
(NFC) short-range wireless technology and includes real-time anti-fraud alerts and other features designed to protect consumers from fraud.
Fine-tuning the business model for this nascent service is challenging. Wireless carriers, platform providers, device makers and financial institutions all want a piece of the revenue pie. It’s not surprising, considering that many analysts estimate that the market potential for these services is enormous. According to Portio Research, mobile payments volumes worldwide were $68.7 billion in 2009 and are forecast to reach $633.4 billon by year-end 2014. The biggest potential markets for mobile payments are Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, Portio says.
But for mobile payments to reach the potential predicted by Portio, a lot of diverse players will have to fit together to make a compelling and lucrative solution. How that will happen is unclear. All we know for sure is that there is a lot of experimentation in the market today.
To help spur the market, the GSMA is heading up a NFC-related initiative with several of the world’s biggest operators including America Móvil, Axiata Group Berhad, Bharti, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT Corp., MTS, Orange, Qtel Group, SK Telecom, Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telekom Austria Group, Telenor and Vodafone. The operators have said they intend to launch commercial NFC services in select markets by 2012.
In the U.S., mobile payments have made headlines lately because of the new initiative Isis, which is a joint venture from Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA. The carriers plan to leverage Discover Financial Services’ network to process payments; Barclaycard U.S. will be the first issuer. Isis has inked deals with merchants but so far has not revealed the names of those merchants or more details about when it will launch.
Meanwhile, Sprint has decided to go it alone with its mobile wallet initiative, called Sprint Mobile Wallet. Unlike the Isis project, Sprint’s wallet will let customers make purchases using their existing Visa, MasterCard and Amazon accounts. Sprint is going to eventually hit the big one, you have to admit they always have their hat in the rink, and sooner or later they are going to hit one out of the park.
Clearly for mobile payments to become a success, merchants, financial services, operators and device makers need to come together to make a viable solution. Perhaps all this experimentation in the market will result in less fragmentation and more cohesiveness. We are exploring those issues and more in “Cashing in on Mobile Commerce,” a new eBook from FierceWireless. In this eBook, we take an in-depth look at the overall potential for the mobile commerce market, profile some successful mobile payment implementations and explore some of the latest initiatives in barcodes, mobile coupons and more.
AT&T Open Call Contest
Do you think you have the next great mobile app? Would you like an opportunity to get your content in front of a panel of AT&T staff and experts? Well now is your chance! The AT&T Developer Program is hosting its annualOpen Call Contest at CTIA Wireless 2011, Orlando, FL, on March 23 and 24, and we want to hear about your exciting new mobile application or content. This contest gives you the chance to win a share of $40,000 in prize money and get your content or application out to more than 95 million AT&T wireless customers!
Choose Your Category
Enter your mobile application or content into one of four contest categories:
Gaming Platform: AT&T now supports the OpenFeint gaming platform. We are looking for games that capitalize on this platform—challenging, competitive games that demonstrate high performance, social integration, and monetization.
HTML5: In this track, we will review innovative Web-based applications that use HTML5. We want to take advantage of the HTML5-capable browsers that are now proliferating across Smartphones and that promise to be the wave of the future.
Social Good:AT&T wants to recognize developers who are creating applications for social well-being. In this track, we are seeking applications that are sustainable, focus on disabled or mature segments, or cover anything around the social good.
Open: This category is open to all entries. We would like to see applications that use native code but, remember, we welcome all app submissions in this category.
The deadline to submit your content or application is Midnight Pacific Time, March 1. The top developers will be invited to a second round of judging and will pitch to the panel of AT&T staff and experts at CTIA Wireless in Orlando. Enter now!
Recognition and Rewards
The winner of each category will:
Be awarded the coveted AT&T Open Call Award.
Take home a $10,000 cash prize.
Get potential exclusive go-to-market and promotion opportunities.
All participants must be present at the Awards Reception on March 24 in order to win.
Want more info?
Get contest details and rules, and submit your application or content now at http://developer.att.com/opencall
The AT&T Developer Program Team
Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) said it stopped taking pre-orders for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4 at 8:10 p.m. EST yesterday, and that the pre-order sales broke company sales records–an echo of the flood of traffic that greeted AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) when it took pre-orders for the device in June.
Verizon began taking pre-orders at 3 a.m. EST Thursday for existing customers. According to the carrier, within the first two hours Verizon sold more phones than any first day launch in its history. Verizon said online pre-orders will begin again Feb. 9 at 3:01 a.m. EST, and that its stores will open at 7 a.m. local time on Feb. 10 for the official launch. Apple stores also will open at 7 a.m. local time on Feb. 10; Best Buy will offer the CDMA iPhone then as well.
The launch was not without glitches. Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney told Reuters that the majority of the carrier’s customers were able to get their orders processed, but that some customers received error messages. She said Verizon is trying to sort through the issues.
Meanwhile, other carriers are working hard to blunt the impact of the Verizon iPhone. AT&T said Thursday it will throw its marketing muscle behind the Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) Atrix 4G. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) will host a media event in New York City Monday to unveil an “industry first.” And T-Mobile is offering two free G2 smartphones when customers sign up for an unlimited, two-line family plan, which costs $179.99 per month. Additionally, the No. 4 carrier, which is kickstarting a company-wide turnaround plan, set up a special website to hype its smartphones and HSPA+ network, which it markets as 4G.
Its been our experience that At&t tends to block any type of APP that circumvents their operating system. If you have some experience with this APP please let us know.
Slightly more than a third of all U.S. subscribers used a downloaded mobile application in November 2010–up 1.1 percentage points over the previous three-month period–according to digital research firm comScore. In addition, 67.1 percent of subscribers used text messaging services in November, up 0.5 percentage points, and 23.5 percent accessed social networks or blogs, a 1.0 percentage point increase. comScore adds that mobile gaming attracted 22.6 percent of the U.S. wireless audience, and 15.0 percent tuned in to mobile music services.
According to comScore, about 61.5 million U.S. subscribers own smartphones as of November, up 10 percent over the preceding three-month period and a figure certain to increase even more significantly following the recent holiday season. Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry operating system continues to lead the U.S. market at 33.5 percent of subscribers, but its dominance is shrinking rapidly, decreasing 4.1 percentage points over the previous three months. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android is now in second overall at 26.0 percent market share (a 6.4 percentage points leap), edging past Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS at 25.0 percent (up 0.8 percentage points). Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone fell further off the pace in November, sliding 1.8 percentage points to capture 9.0 percent of the U.S. smartphone market.