China 3G

WSJ writes:

After years of deliberation, analysts and industry executives say, Beijing probably will start awarding licenses for so-called third-generation, or 3G, networks in the next six months or so, to give state-owned phone companies time to prepare services for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. China already is the world’s largest mobile-phone market, and the upgrade will create what is likely to become the world’s biggest 3G wireless network.

Huawei and ZTE are expected to be big beneficiaries of all that spending. They have become major competitors in the global telecommunications industry in recent years, but they were in their infancy when China built the bulk of its existing cellphone system in the late 1990s. As a result, the two companies accounted for a combined share of only about 5% of sales of current-generation equipment in China, analysts say.

Huawei and ZTE have been pouring resources into 3G. Each company claims it has about 6,000 engineers developing 3G equipment and handsets, and they have already sealed 3G deals with smaller operators overseas.

Managing Innovation

Knowledge@Wharton has a series of articles. From one of them:

To understand innovation, you first have to distinguish it from invention; too many people confuse them, according to Linda Sanford, an IBM senior vice president. Invention is just the starting point, one of the participants noted. A companys portfolio of patents reveals its smarts as an inventor. IBM, for example, remains formidable in this regard, racking up record numbers of patents for the last decade. But patents arent enough. Their technology has to find its way into products.

Not all innovations are created equal. Paul Schoemaker, a Wharton adjunct professor of marketing, pointed out that many people cite only of hits like the Blackberry or Starbucks coffee shops when talking about innovation. But some companies dont play that game, he said. They play a percentage game of incremental innovation, like Toyota. And some companies arent really innovators at all. They play a loss-avoidance game. Think about the airlines.

Barry Diller’s Internet Play

Barron’s writes about IAC/InterActiveCorp:

In no small measure, Wall Street’s disinterest in the shares — IAC will have more revenue than Google this year, but boasts less than 10% of its stock-market value — reflects the company’s convoluted history and complex structure. Google is a simple story; IAC is not. Crunch the numbers, however, and IAC looks like a bargain.

IAC is a holding company for a host of brands, most but not all of them offering products or services on the Web. Its largest single unit, which accounted for 52% of revenue and 47% of operating income in last year’s fourth quarter, is its retail arm, which includes the television shopping channel HSN, its associated HSN.com Website and Cornerstone Brands, a recently acquired collection of catalog retailers.

CarSpace

Business Week writes about a MySpace-like site built around cars: “When you log onto CarSpace, you know the people inside are there to chat and post about chrome rims, the new Bimmer at the auto show, or to help you find a trusted mechanic in Butte, Mont. So you can upload those jpegs of your tricked-out Scion xB, bash controversial BMW chief designer Chris Bangle, and search the profiles for your dream date: ‘must love NASCAR, cigs, and CSI.'”

Mabber for Mobile IM

TechCrunch writes: “Mix open instant messaging protocol Jabber with mobile phones and you get Mabber, a new product from a team based in Cologne, Germany. The team at Mabber were early adopters of the Jabber protocol and with the lower mobile data charges in their home country decided to develop an application that would allow mobile users to communicate with each other using the protocol, thus save on SMS costs. Mabber is a product of New Media Management, a German company.”

TECH TALK: 3GSM World Congress 2006: Mobile IM, VoIP and IMS

One of the big announcements at 3GSM was that of mobile IM. BBC News has more:

Fifteen operators, including Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and China Mobile have agreed to work together to make it easy to IM across networks.

The motivation to get IM working on mobiles is driven by its huge success on the net. By getting people using IM on a mobile instead of a PC, the operators believe they can start to generate decent amounts of money for data services.

The mobile phone industry is looking to repeat the success of text messaging.
Under the initiative, the 15 operators covering 700 million mobile phone users have agreed to use a single standard for IM, which would work across networks.

The operators are looking to launch instant messaging mobile services later this year.

Silicon.com adds: The operators have agreed to charge mobile IM users for outgoing messages but incoming messages will be free. According to Arun Sarin, CEO of Vodafone, this will cut down on unwanted nasties being sent to users’ mobiles.

An entry on mopocket discusses the impact of Nokias Mobile VoIP phones that will be coming soon: I think that individuals, as well as and especially business’, will jump at the chance, if given, to use a VoIP service on their mobile phones to either conserve minutes and or make communication 10X more cost effective. Think about what would happen, for example, to Cingular’s International Roaming and International Long Distance Plan’s if people knew that they could just use their mobile phone’s WiFi connection (or even Cingular’s very own data network) to call Aunt Beatrice in Germany for 5 cents a minute instead of 36 cents. While in Barcelona, Cingular will be charging me 99 cents a minute to make as well a s receive phone calls; so you better believe I will be using my VoIP services as much as possible, and would, if I could, use it on my mobile.

IMS was another dominant theme at 3GSM. Light Reading wrote:

IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) has, not surprisingly, been one of the dominant acronyms at this year’s 3GSM event, with all the major, and many of the minor, vendors talking up their network and service convergence capabilities.

“IMS is going to play a strategic role in our future service delivery,” noted the operator’s head of Global Supply Chain Management, Detlef Schultz, in a prepared statement. “We intend to pilot the next generation of services using this technology and will start interoperability testing with other operators as soon as possible,” he added.

So, what exactly is an “IMS-ready deployment”? Alcatels COO of mobile activities, Marc Rouanne says that’s where technology conforming to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) ‘s IMS standard protocols, such as SIP, is already installed and ready to be part of a broader convergence archiecture. He cites applications servers, softswitches, gateways, and HSSs (home subscriber servers, the master customer database) as typical examples of such elements, and notes deployments with the likes of China Mobile Communications Corp. and T-Mobile USA as commercially deployed references.

Tomorrow: Hot Issues

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