Posts Tagged Sprint Nextel
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 email@example.com.
The faster the network, the better your MobileURL’s operate | Sprint could deploy LTE nationwide by year-end 2013 | RealtyGo_blog
Should Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) decide to deploy LTE as part of its Network Vision network modernization project, the company could have a live LTE network this year, with nationwide LTE coverage by year-end 2013, a senior Sprint executive said.
Speaking at a Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference Wednesday, Steve Elfman, Sprint’s president of network operations and wholesale, said that the company will not make a decision regarding LTE deployment until mid-year. He added that if Sprint does decide to deploy LTE it could turn it on quickly and have LTE devices by 2012. Elfman added that the reason the company will not make a decision until mid-year is because Sprint wants to establish and announce a strategy that is still being determined by the company and its partner Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), which runs a mobile WiMAX network.
Elfman also discussed Network Vision, the $4 billion to $5 billion network modernization project that Sprint is undertaking over the next three to five years. Sprint currently runs an EV-DO network in the 1900 MHz PCS band, has a wholesale deal with Clearwire to use WiMAX in the 2.5 GHz band and owns an iDEN network in the 800 MHz band. Sprint has said it will begin phasing out the iDEN network in 2013.
Elfman reiterated that the company plans to enhance its CDMA coverage in the 800 MHz to improve in-building coverage. In addition, he said that Sprint will deploy a CDMA-based push to talk solution from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and will have new PTT devices by the third quarter of this year that will use the enhanced PTT solution.
Regarding Sprint’s relationship with Clearwire, Elfman said that Clearwire has been a good partner to Sprint and that the company is “in the middle of some positive negotiations with them.” The two companies have been locked in a dispute over wholesale revenue sharing, and Clearwire has said that resolving the dispute is key to moving forward on securing new funding. Clearwire expects to announce a decision on new funding sometime in the second quarter.
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.
WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a telecommunications protocol that provides fixed and fully mobile Internet access. The current WiMAX revision provides up to 40 Mbit/s with the IEEE 802.16m update expected to offer up to 1 Gbit/s fixed speeds. The name “WiMAX” was created by the WiMAX Forum, which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard. The forum describes WiMAX as “a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiMAX
Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) said it expects to raise over $1.1 billion through new debt offerings, a move that offsets its urgent need for new funding as it continues to build its mobile WiMAX network.
Clearwire said the new debt will come in three separate offerings: one offer of $175 million in first-priority senior secured notes due in 2015, $500 million of second-priority secured notes due in 2017, and $500 million of exchangeable notes due in 2040. Analysts have said that the company likely will need billions more to continue building its network over the next few years.
“This solution appears to be the least attractive of the many that we have considered,” wrote TownHall Investment Research in a note explaining its decision to lower its rating on Clearwire from Buy to Avoid. “With a maximum of less than $2 billion anticipated in this raise, the company remains well short of its longer term funding needs and will likely have to further curtail some of its 2011 build-out plans. Additionally, we believe this approach represents a funding of last resort after the company has been unable to piece together a non-public financing that might have included T-Mobile as a new partner and distributor. With this funding, the company may have done little about investor long-term funding concerns, other than to kick the can down the road.”
The company announced a series of measures last month to conserve cash as it searched for new funding options. Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow said at the time that the company was considering a range of funding options, including new equity funding from existing shareholders as well as non-strategic investors; debt-based financing; or selling spectrum that the company does not need.
Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), which holds a 54 percent stake in Clearwire, has said it is in negotiations with Clearwire over funding, but has given no indication that more equity financing will be forthcoming. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse stopped short in November of promising more funding, though he did say that Sprint has “historically injected more cash into the company.”
In other Clearwire news, the company said Sprint nominated William Blessing, Mufit Cinali and Hossein Eslambolchi for the three open seats on Clearwire’s board. Blessing is a consultant to Burns & McDonnell where he advises clients on smart grid and telecommunications strategy; Cinali is a managing director with Springwell Capital Partners; and Eslambolchi is a technical advisor to Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and the University of California School of Engineering.
In late September, Hesse, Steve Elfman, Sprint’s president of network operations and wholesale, and Keith Cowan, Sprints president of strategy and corporate initiatives, resigned from the board. Clearwire said the changes were made out of an “abundance of caution to address questions raised by Clearwire regarding new developments in antitrust law.”
Clearwire also launched a new modem, the “Clear Modem with WiFi,” that supports both WiFi and the company’s WiMAX service. The modem will retail for $120.
Cisco also in the news with their new Modems and At&t See an article here: http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/37788
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