Recently, some very interesting news on the wireless broadband market has been
emanating from China. A couple years ago, through a reverse merger between
Mortlock Ventures, Inc., a publicly traded Nevada corporation, and Trussnet USA, a small,
U.S.-based, over-the-counter traded company named ChinaTel was formed.
With experience in the design, construction, and deployment of more than 20,000 wireless
projects, management of the ChinaTel Group, Inc. is experienced in development activities,
including engineering, deployment, and operations services of wireless broadband
telecommunications networks. Originally entering China by deploying a Wi-Fi network in
Beijing in support of the 2008 Olympics, ChinaTel has had eyes on a bigger prize—
broadband wireless access.
After purchasing a minority stake in CECT-Chinacomm, which can be increased to 49
percent, ChinaTel begins to realize its broadband vision by utilizing Chinacomm’s operator
licenses from the Chinese goverment for the construction and operation of a 3.5 GHz
wireless braodband system in a 29-city coverage area.. Chinacomm is one of five BTS
license holders in the People’s Republic of China. The three largest carriers, China Mobil,
China Unicom and China Telecom, are focused on mobile telephony and not the wireless
broadband market segment.
Additionally, ChinaTel has upped the ante in China, acquiring a stake in
Golden Bridge Network Communications Company, LTD (Golden Bridge), which gives it a
nine-city, last-mile 4G wireless network, expandable to 100+ cities within China.
Until recently, ChinaTel has been relatively quiet, blocking and tackling, taking care of
day-to-day business, and working behind the scenes setting up these and other
relationships. But is more to come?
Read the rest at: HERE
ChinaTel Group (ChinaTel) is working furiously to deploy a WiMAX network in the 3.5 GHz band across 29 markets in China, including large population areas such as Shanghai and Shenzhen. With roots and a history as a network engineering and design firm building wireless networks for Sprint Nextel Corporation and T-mobile, the company originally entered the Chinese market in 2007, rolling out commercial Wi-fi networks in Beijing to support the 2008 Olympics. Today, with aspirations at gaining millions of broadband subscribers, ChinaTel has has between 400,000 and 500,000 people paying for access to its Wi-fi network that covers parts of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
ChinaTel’s move into the WiMAX market and away from Wi-fi has both business and technical reasons. After rolling out the Olympic Wi-fi networks, the company, through its partnership with CECT-Chinacomm Communications (which was granted spectrum licenses by the government), will build out a wireless broadband network using the 802.16e WiMAX specification.
WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is the IEEE 802.16 standards-based wireless technology that provides MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) broadband connectivity. Unlike Wi-fi, which has an average commercial hotspot range of 150-700 feet, WiMAX's range is typically measured in miles.
WiMAX is an Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems, also known as the IEEE WirelessMAN air interface. WiMAX-based systems can be used to transmit signals as far as 30 miles. WiMAX can offer a solution to what is normally called the "last-mile" problem by connecting individual homes' and business offices' communications.
WiMAX supports ATM, IPv4, IPv6, Ethernet, and VLAN services and can provide either traditional Time Division Multiplexed (TDM) voice or IP-based Voice, also known as Voice over IP (VoIP). WiMAX-based solutions include many other advantages, such as robust security features, good QoS (Quality of Service), and mesh and smart antenna technology that will allow better utilization of the spectrum resources. With that being said, WiMAX offers a rich choice of value added service possibilities to voice and data network service providers.
In addition, WiMAX provides an ideal wireless backhaul technology to connect 802.11 wireless LANs and commercial hotspots with the Internet.
The WiMAX-based solution is set up and deployed like cellular systems using base stations that service a radius of several miles/kilometers. Given ChinaTel’s history of deploying complex cellular networks for T-mobile and Sprint, the move to WiMAX should prove to be no problem. The most typical WiMAX-based architecture includes a base station mounted on a tower of building and is responsible for communicating on a point to multi-point basis with subscriber stations located in business offices and homes. The customer premise equipment (CPE) will connect the base station to a customer as well; the signal of voice and data is then routed through standard Ethernet cable either directly to a single computer, or to a Wi-fi hot spot or a wired LAN.
Limitations of Competing Technologies
Currently, there are 3G wireless, cable and DSL broadband access services in the Chinese marketplace. But, their practical limitations in features and deployment have prevented them from reaching many potential broadband Internet customers. Theoretically, WiMAX networks generally provide speeds that are many times that of 3G wireless networks without the delayed ping latency of 3G.
The wired broadband connection provided by cable and DSL is a labor intensive and expensive process. Traditionally, DSL can only reach about 18,000 feet (roughly three miles)-36,000 feet (roughly seven miles) from the central office switch, and this limitation means that many urban and suburban locations may not be served by DSL connectivity.
More than 20 Chinese cable operators have ISP licenses, yet very few of these deliver commercial broadband and those that do are mostly niche players. Without their own international gateway and sometimes backbone networks, cable operators have to pay large fees to telecom operators.
Another limitation of cable is that many older cable networks have not been equipped to offer a return channel and converting and deploying these networks to support high-speed broadband can be expensive.
What this all Means
Earlier this year, CNNIC (China’s Internet Network Information Center) reported that China now has over 400 million broadband users up from 100 million in 2005. (That’s roughly 1/3 of the entire Chinese population and roughly the size of the US, Canada and Mexico combined.) But when you scratch below the surface, 60% of those broadband subscribers only have 3G wireless broadband access.
While nice to have, 3G wireless broadband doesn’t provide the same quality experience that WiMAX or other broadband technologies afford. By providing WiMAX service, ChinaTel should be able to capitalize on the desire for uniform high speed connectivity.
I’ve often wondered “why in the world is there such a desire to have front-facing cameras in mobile handsets and tablets? Sure it would be nice to do a 2-way video call or a multi-person conference call, but is it practical? With problems like jitter, latency and difficulty of set-up, would I do it?” Until now, the answer is probably no; but my perception has been radically changed over the past 24 hours.
Last night at Showstoppers (an event held before the official start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona), I experienced just how easy it is to do a multi-person video call with high-def quality over a myriad of networks from different parts of Europe including the shared network of the Rey Juan Carlos I hotel and several different Wi-fi devices in the ballroom. Set-up was not an issue. Click a link and you’re there. There was no noticeable latency; holding the discussion was seamless. And the only jitter experienced was probably the shaking of my hands at the thought of really doing video conferences any time, anywhere, over any device and any network.
Congrats Vidyo. Let’s wait and see what other things you have up your sleeve this week.
Earlier this week, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop sent a scathing memo to employees. The jest of the email: “fix it or else!”
“The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things” states Mr. Elop in the memo. “Our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we’re going to have to decide how we either build, catalyze or join an ecosystem.”*
That was Monday...
And today, another huge announcement. Big changes are in store for Nokia and a change in direction is in store for Microsoft. After struggling mightily for the past few years against the onslaught of innovative smart devices from Research in Motion, Apple, and Android, Nokia has abandoned its “Symbian for Everyone” mantra in favor of a tie up with computing industry behemoth Microsoft.
Microsoft has also had its fair share of problems in the mobile space. While promising to bring its industry leading PC operating system to mobile phones everywhere, Microsoft has stumbled through several failed attempts to gain user acceptance and with its latest release of Windows Phone 7 may be at the end of its rope with many Microsoft hardware partners.
What does this partnership mean? While Nokia has struggled, losing market share over the past four years, they are still the largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world. And while Microsoft has yet to recreate its “desktop dominance” for the mobile world, the pairing of the two industry giants must be seen as a major development.
After taking the helm of Nokia last year, Stephen Elop has an unenviable position – to keep the company in the number one spot of mobile sales, increase shareholder value, improve mindshare among consumers, strengthen the weakening industry partnerships while growing and expanding relationships with the ever-important US tier-1 service providers. Phew, that is a lot of work.
So what did he do first? Nothing. Like any good brand new manager, he stepped back, took a deep breath and examined just what works for Nokia and what doesn’t. Next, he evaluated his management team with a particular focus on just who would be able to carry out his marching orders. Next, he looked at existing partnerships and other areas to strengthen partnerships. Finally, he made some hard choices, floated an internal “flaming” memo and began to make surgical cuts to certain areas of Nokia.
Many pundants have called Windows 7 the “make or break” mobile OS for the company, saying that if Microsoft doesn’t have significant success this time around, it will be “all but done” in the mobile industry. Well, the relationship with Nokia could well just mean that this cat got another 9 lives. A tie up between the two largest organizations in their respective fields means investment will be made, mistakes will happen, accomplishments will be measured in inches and not miles, and success is viewed by both organizations as inevitable.
"Nokia is at a critical juncture, where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward," said Elop, as he announced the company's new direction earlier today.
"Today, we are accelerating that change through a new path, aimed at regaining our smartphone leadership."
Nokia will continue to make phones running Symbian, focusing these devices at emerging regions and the lower end of the market, thus continuing to reap rewards of previous investments in the platform.
MeeGo, the joint software development between Intel and Nokia will continue; however MeeGo leader Alberto Torres is leaving the company. That means that MeeGo release en masse will not be happening anytime soon. Because MeeGo was the pairing of Nokia’s Maemo platform with Intel, MeeGo was expected to be widely available by now. MeeGo now looks to be Nokia’s next-generation operating system; or perhaps Nokia, Microsoft, and Intel will work together to create the next Wintel platform.
What’s next for Nokia? Let’s see how they address analyst concerns at Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry’s most important trade show next week in Barcelona. And after MWC, let’s take some time to let the shock wear off in Espoo. It’s a very important time for Nokia and Microsoft and the next 90 days could well tell the tale of a marriage made in heaven or two companies in Apple and Android hell.
*source of memo: engadget
What are they thinking?
The folks at rising star Groupon may be busy making deals for you, but they are not looking to make a deal for their company. After turning down an offer estimated at between 5.3 and 6 billion (yes, BILLION) dollars, Groupon is going it alone.
Earlier this year, independent companies valued Groupon at $1.3B. In December 2009, Tech Crunch ran a story that estimated that Groupon was worth $250M.
Growing in value from $250M to $1.3B over a one year timeframe is fantastic (and points out the value consumers are placing on saving money right now), but does it mean they’ll be worth more than $6B tomorrow?
We all need to remember that the $6B for Groupon is measured in Google-dollars. My advice to entrepreneurers: “any time you can get Google-dollars for your company, take it.” Google-dollars are better than “Monopoly Money” because as Google has shown; if they can’t buy it they will build it.
Adding local community based advertising would be great for Google; however how valuable is Groupon right now, really?
As an early adopter of "all things tech", I am a Groupon subscriber. In the months that I have subscribed, there have only been a couple items offered that I would purchase. Because of that, I have been questioning the daily emails that get sent. Most of the offers are just as valuable as the unsolicited SPAM that ends up in my inbox and it is almost hard to distinguish what I have "subscribed" for and what I haven't.
Anyway, I may be the exception. Perhaps there is that consumer who wants hair removal, guitar lessons, chai tea, pizza, discounted zoo tickets, car washes, Laser Tag, skin analysis, belly dancing classes, bad furniture, yoga lessons and haunted house tickets in a two week time frame.
Google is about getting eyes and that is the core of their business model.
Google first emerged as a powerhouse getting companies to invest in paid search. Who would have thought that companies would pay millions for Words that are already in Webster's dictionary? But as we’ve found, Google has made a monstrous business by getting eyeballs on to those words (and web pages).
How do they expand on this? By community building and getting every eye to a Google property. That is why the Google/Groupon deal makes so much sense.
Groupon should get back to the table with Google, or fear being talked about like Yahoo and Jerry Yang after spurning Microsoft.
By James Brehm, Senior Consultant
It's true. Wi-fi in the education market is growing by leaps and bounds. Almost daily higher educational institutions are voting with their checkbooks and selecting solutions to upgrade their infrastructure.
Three years ago, just less than 15% of colleges and universities offered campus wide wireless access. We've seen a steep uptake over the past couple of years and believe that by 2014, 85%-90% of colleges and universities will provide campus wide access.
Universities have tremendous bandwidth demands. In addition to using the network for research, lecture halls must serve a large number of users with multimedia content at any given time. Universities are breaking new ground by using video over WiFi in a number of innovative ways, providing lectures over IP, podcasts, video conferencing, and streaming content directly to the students' laptops no matter what the location is - the library, dorm room, campus cafe, or "quad".
The Higher Education Market is a compelling use case for wireless access. Drivers for growth include:
(1) Older buildings with limited wired/data access...often times it is easier and more cost effective to "light up" a campus than rewire a building.
(2)Savings on convergence costs...Universities can go to use converged voice and data using high data rate wireless to save on costs.
(3)Competitive necessity...Once upon a time, it was only "cutting edge" institutions who had wireless access, now if you don't you are left out in the cold in the battle for students.
(4)Changes in faculty classroom processes...the classroom has changed, web conferencing and presence applications are the norm. Schools from Duke to Oklahoma Christian University to the University of California at San Diego supply iPhone and iPod Touch devices to students who use apps and wifi for time and attendance, location and presence in real time to determine who is in class and who is taking the test. Video is now a mainstay in the curriculum. Using 802.11n, bidirectional two way video can be supported.
(5)Security...If you deploy wifi access across the campus, it is very easy to also deploy IP video surveillance for student protection. also by deploying layered security from companies like AirTight Networks, your wireless network can be more secure than a wired LAN. Additionally, you can have real time location based services support and manage high value assets 24x7, 365.
(6)College Students come to school expecting and used to having Wi-Fi access. Nearly all have experienced some sort of wireless access (in the home or in schools) prior to going to University and it is an expectation, and not a "nice to have".
(7)Universities can often times act as Service Providers when setting up their campus networks. Instead of being a Cost Center, an IT department (like the one at Texas A&M) can become a revenue generator by using Fixed Mobile Convergence technologies and becoming the students' VNO.
While having an "unwired campus" sounds like a security risk, upon further investigation the opposite is true. Both logical and physical security can be enhanced using wireless. The University of Cincinnati has set up a system for emergency call location using wi-fi. Additionally, once the campus is "lit", it is very easy to also deploy IP video surveillance for student protection.
While areas of higher learning and research are benefitting from having wireless on campus, they will also lead us into new uses for the technology. By consuming more video, having strict security requirements, and the most transient of populations, as higher educations learns how to use 802.11n, they'll surely teach other vertical markets how it is done.
Who’s Going to Run HP Next?
8 Names to Watch
By James Brehm, Senior Consultant, Frost & Sullivan
Like most others in the tech and business world, I was surprised by the news that Mark Hurd, President, CEO and Chairman of HP was stepping down immediately. Sex scandals are nothing new (just ask Tiger Woods, Jesse James or Bill Clinton) but for someone like Hurd who was brought in by HP 5 years ago to provide stability and operational excellence, this is something rather shocking.
After former CEO Carly Fiorina’s challenged tenure, HP looked inside and outside the company to find a leader with the operational excellence and fortitude to carry forth on the HP vision and integrate the acquisition with Compaq that had been made some 3 years prior. Over time, he did more than that, leading HP from being a printer and server company into a true tech giant, through the professional services acquisition of EDS and mobility acquisition of Palm. Employees liked the stability, customers enjoyed the vision and Wall Street, by way of stock price, found another darling.
One thing HP and Hurd did right was to assemble a strong management team. The strength in leadership they have, with Cathie Lesjak as CFO and Acting CEO, Todd Bradley leading consumer and Ann Livermore leading enterprise, should allow them to remain stable and growing amid this crisis.
What’s not known is where the next leader for HP will come from. Will they go inside or outside the company for the leader? Only time will tell as a succession plan is not something I'm aware of. Why create a succession plan for a 53 year old CEO who is at the top of his game?
HP has a strong board and they have assembled a search committee to begin the task immediately. They will have to be careful to bring in somebody that understands technology, mobility, the enterprise, as well as consumers. Given that this incident is a large distraction for the firm, bringing in a woman might mitigate this. There are multiple phenomenal candidates internally, or they can go outside the company and look to other candidates. The question is, do you find a best-of-breed CEO, a strong manager (without CEO experience) from a very large technologically and operationally excellent companies like Cisco or IBM, or do you get someone who can help HP build a cult-like brand (a la Apple)?
Finally, let’s look way outside the box. HP doesn’t have a cult-like following or tremendous brand affinity. Companies like Apple, Nike, Starbucks, Salesforce.com, Rackspace, Harley-Davidson, Coca-Cola, BestBuy, and Ben & Jerry’s are recognized not only for their size and not only for their brand strength, but also for the affinity and loyalty they command.
Customers of these companies are loyal and they identify with the brand and its promise. Additionally, there is a certain peer-group approval for using the brand. Could HP harness an executive from one of these organizations to create such affinity? One has to wonder given the mix of diverse customers, products and services – but it certainly is interesting to think “what if…”.
On my list of potential candidates:
Tied for number 1: Todd Bradley and Ann Livermore
Todd currently leads the Personal Solutions Group at HP and has a spectacular resume, including stints at GE Capital, Dunn & Bradstreet, FedEx, Gateway and Palm. After leading Palm, is he the right guy to lead HP down the path of mobility?
Ann has had a spectacular 28-year career at HP and currently leads the $54B Enterprise Business Unit. Ann was a strong candidate when HP brought in Hurd to succeed Fiorina in 2005. I’m not sure the board was ready to go with back-to-back female CEOs in 2005, but anyone who’s met Ann or seen her deliver a keynote certainly knows she has the chops for the position. Given the nature of Hurd’s departure, does Ann have a leg up on Bradley?
Number 3: Padmasree Warrior
I personally believe any company would be remiss in not considering Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco and former CTO of Motorola, for a position like this, given her leadership at these companies. (And she also has nearly 1.4 million followers on Twitter.) If providing a vision around combining complex communication solutions and leading an organization by example is what the HP board wants, here you go.
Number 4: John Chen
Another option for HP right now, given their focus on mobility and strength in the enterprise would be to get someone like John Chen, CEO of Sybase. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking personally with John Chen, you’ll find that in addition to being an extremely bright and energetic CEO, he has the uncanny ability to convey complex ideas in easy to understand terms. An executive with operational excellence who has delivered true shareholder value (through the sale of Sybase to SAP), John is respected and revered on Wall Street. Chen built Sybase around the vision of the Unwired Enterprise which fits HP’s current model. His ties to China could be invaluable.
Number 5: Ursula M. Burns
With perhaps the person on this list with the most storied career at a single company is chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation, Ursula Burns. Starting as an engineering intern, Ursula now commands the highest office of one of the most well-known brands in printing and document management. Additionally she was appointed by President Barack Obama as vice chair of the President’s Export Council in 2010. Does she want to go up to the big leagues?
Number 6: Safra A. Catz
Safra Catz is President of Oracle Corporation. With an investment banking background and 11 years under her belt at Oracle, Safra is in a great place. But with Larry Ellison firmly entrenched and not leaving Oracle any time soon, how long does Safra Catz want to be number 2?
Number 7: Virginia Rometty
Ginni Rometty is Senior Vice President, IBM Global Sales and Distribution. With global responsibility for IBM's worldwide sales results, which exceeded $95 billion in 2009, Ms. Rometty may be considered a dark horse in the HP race because as HP begins its search for a replacement for Hurd, IBM continues its succession plan for IBM Chief Sam Palmisano. Even so, we can’t overlook her as she is consistently viewed as one of the most powerful women in business, as ranked by both Forbes and Fortune magazines.
Number 8: Jim Steele
Jim Steele is Chief Customer Officer for Salesforce.com. Mr. Steele has a technology leadership background which began 32 years ago at IBM. With a resume that includes Salesforce, Ariba and IBM, could Jim create Salesforce-like affinity at HP?
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