José Ribamar Smolka Ramos
Outubro 2009 Índice Geral
• José Smolka - Duas notícias: "Mobile carriers need an app store - yesterday" e "FCC issues net neutrality rules in face of Congress and carriers" + Comentário de José Roberto S. Pinto
de J. R. Smolka <firstname.lastname@example.org>
responder a Celldemail@example.com
para wirelessbr <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
data 23 de outubro de 2009 11:17
assunto [Celld-group] Duas notícias...
Mobile carriers need an app store - yesterday
By MATT LEWIS
Published: 23 October, 2009
AT&T's recent acquisition of the mobile widget platform provider, Plusmo, is a clear validation of the importance which widgets hold for mobile carriers. While several carriers have launched widget services based on third party solutions, AT&T has dipped into its pockets to bring the technology in-house. This should enable the carrier to quickly rollout a cross platform app store solution to a wide base of both its smartphone and non-smartphone users, ensuring that the first mover advantage enjoyed by the likes of Apple and Nokia do not eventually lead to AT&T's exclusion from this important opportunity.
While the debate continues to rage over which type of handset application will ultimately prevail - embedded verses native verses widget - the fact is that mobile operators are quickly losing ground to other industry stakeholders in the fight to be gatekeeper to their users' application discovery and download experience. While major carriers like Vodafone and Verizon are investing heavily to build and manage their own app store services, offering applications for a range of mobile platforms, these will take time to establish and flourish - and will be largely targeted towards smartphone devices. Smaller carriers, with a large base of non-smartphone customers and without the scale of a Vodafone, will find it difficult to justify the investment into such infrastructure. Widgets are an alternative which represent a lower investment and faster time to market for carriers attempting to secure gatekeeper status in application retail and distribution.
So far, carriers are being outmanoeuvred by the OEMs. Nothing underscores this more than the two billion plus application downloads which Apple's App Store has experienced in such a short space of time. When it comes to the iPhone, Apple controls the app experience, and the carrier sees little upside. But the iPhone's market share is miniscule. Of more concern to mobile operators is the rapid-fire genesis of app stores from virtually all OEMs with a handset market share greater than a couple of percent.
If it isn't already, Nokia's Ovi should be causing carriers many a sleepless night. In the past 12 months, Ovi has been joined by RIMs BlackBerry App World and Google's Android Market, amongst others from Motorola, Samsung and LG.
At the moment, integrating app purchasing within the carrier billing system is seen as important to promoting downloads and driving sales, and much was made of Nokia's inability to get Ovi inside a US carrier in time for its launch (although AT&T has now agreed to offer the service). True, carriers do receive a small share of app revenue and they may feel that position in the value chain is secure owing to the importance of their customer billing relationship - but this is a false perception. Just as all iPhone app purchases take place outside the carrier owing to the ingenious micropayment system supported by iTunes, the BlackBerry App World supports payment through PayPal and Android Market uses Google Checkout. While Nokia says it prefers to work through carriers, Ovi supports its own credit card payment system.
As the online industry evolves and consumers find themselves in a plethora of billing relationships from agents as diverse as Amazon and Skype, it is only a matter of time before the value of the carrier billing relationship diminishes. Those carriers who rely solely on the OEM app store, or another third party offering, will see their revenue share position threatened.
Widgets are not rocket science. A mobile widget is basically a small portable application built using standard web technologies, but which execute outside the browser. They typically enable easy access to the mobile Internet, providing a narrow range of functionality within a single context. However, it is this simplicity which enables a carrier to relatively quickly establish an app store offering with a decent catalogue of applications. Carriers can source the technology from one of several specialist widget platform vendors, many of which provide both the client solution and backend systems - outfits like ACCESS, mPortal, Myriad, Opera, Qualcomm, SurfKitchen and, of course, Plusmo.
Looking at Plusmo's pre-acquisition business model, the company generated revenues through a share of premium content accessed through its widgets and from advertising revenues. For example, the Plusmo's popular Cricket widget provides play-by-play cricket match information updated via text as a free widget. Users are also able to access video highlights provided by Willow TV though the widget. Video highlights require a $5 monthly subscription, of which Plusmo keeps 50%. Usage of the Plusmo service has grown from 10 million page views a month in May 2008 to 100 million in April 2009.
While acquiring Plusmo will likely turn it into an AT&T-only offering, the carrier now has an app platform which it can rollout to most of its 80 million subscribers base, particularly its huge portion of customers who're still using a non-smartphone. If AT&T can entrench this position today, it stands a much better chance of staying the app store gatekeeper as customers upgrade to more sophisticated devices.
Some argue that the low-level nature of widgets means they are, at best, a stop-gap solution which deliver cross platform compatibility in the narrow period as the market converges towards a select number of application environments. This might be true (despite the fact that one way of ensuring ridicule in this industry is to predict timelines for the consolidation of handset operating systems) but carriers don't have the luxury of waiting for this convergence to occur - because by then the market will already be sewn up by the OEMs.
FCC issues net neutrality rules in face of Congress and carriers
By CAROLINE GABRIEL
Published: 23 October, 2009
As the FCC approves draft proposals on wireline and wireless net neutrality in the US, the Supercomm show in Chicago this week has been dominated by the carriers' angry response. One by one, senior executives used their keynote spots to argue that heavy regulation and neutrality will damage network and service quality, because it will deter players from investing heavily in new technologies.
This was the message from Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who warned: "This is an analog policy that is not built for a digital universe", while the firm's EVP of public affairs, Tom Tauke, said that net neutrality rules failed to address core issues of network management, opening up dangers of security breaches and poor service performance.
"You've got to be careful and not do something really stupid," he said.
Private equity groups and other investors expressed fears that neutrality would make return on investment in telecoms even more uncertain and accelerate the flight of capital that has been seen over the past three years.
With such comments ringing in its collective ear, the FCC published its proposals nonetheless, and was immediately countered by proposed legislation to block the actions. Introduced by former presidential candidate Senator John McCain, the Internet Freedom Act would prevent the FCC from enacting rules to stop broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing certain internet content and applications. Net neutrality rules would create "onerous federal regulation", wrote McCain, calling them a "government takeover" of the internet that would stifle innovation. The wireless industry has "exploded over the past 20 years due to limited government regulation," McCain said in the statement.
The rules proposed by the FCC, which would formalize recommendations in place since 2005 and extend them to wireless, would allow web users to run any legal applications and access any legal web sites unfettered by the carriers, and would require service providers to use "reasonable" network management to reduce congestion and maintain quality of service. The rules would also require them to be transparent with consumers about these efforts and the quality of their networks.
The FCC now will seek public comment on its proposed rules, with the goal of finalizing them some time next year. The rules almost certainly will be challenged in court as well as Congress.
Meanwhile, the FCC's broadband coordinator, Blair Levin (executive director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative) told Supercomm that mobile broadband would be the biggest driver of growth , but only if the US gains more spectrum, which will mainly rely on clearing current bands of incumbents. "I hope policy makers understand the seriousness of it," Levin said, adding that the plan needs to be formulated now, since it can take six to 13 years to clear spectrum.
Comentário de Jose Roberto de Souza Pinto
Quem se interessar sobre os planos do FCC existe documento interessante para o periodo 2009 - 2014. Recomendo consultar o FCC Strategic Plan, disponível para acesso em FCCStrategicPlan@fcc.gov
Vai dar um pouco de inveja quando comparar com os Planos da ANATEL, mas nem tudo é perfeito.
Jose Roberto de Souza Pinto
ComUnidade WirelessBrasil BLOCO