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 Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The World Economic Forum today released its study on Scaling Opportunity: Information and Communications Technology for Social Inclusion, an analysis of how ICT is evolving to address the social and economic needs of the poor. The study notes that, as 4 billion people have access to the global communications infrastructure, the opportunity to create innovative and inclusively tailored solutions for connecting the unconnected is extraordinary.

Along with highlighting the rapid adoption rate of mobile phone usage within emerging economies, the report focuses on the question: “What’s next?”

 

(Source: eGov Monitor)

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eGov Monitor

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 11:45:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 25, 2009

That television set you discourage your children from watching may not be the greatest threat to their wellbeing. Instead, the mobile phone is the gateway in introducing children to the world of cyberspace, posing a great risk to their safety, a lobby group said Tuesday.

According to The Cradle, the unmonitored use of technology is increasingly exposing youngsters to the risk of harm and violence. "Only 24 per cent of children in the study reported to their parents or an authority of online or cell phone harassment,” Cradle programme manager Brian Weke told journalists. The study also revealed that 77 out of the 96, who had the incidences reported to them, took no action and ignored the seriousness of the matter.

 

(Source: Daily Nation)

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Daily Nation

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:51:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Developing countries risk missing out on the benefits of information technology because of their lack of broadband infrastructure, a U.N. agency said.

Lack of broadband Internet access deprives countries of the possibility of building up offshoring industries, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report late on Thursday. It also prevents people from tapping into all the advantages of mobile phones, whose use is exploding in poor countries. "What is known as the broadband gap for example is becoming a serious handicap for companies in many poor countries," he told a briefing to launch UNCTAD's Information Economy Report.

 

(Source: Reuters)

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Reuters 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 11:19:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A mobile phone-based health project is helping the Peruvian military to keep disease at bay. The initiative, dubbed Alerta DISAMAR, has allowed doctors in the navy to report disease outbreaks and ask for help with treatment. The scheme was set up following the deaths of two Peruvian sailors in 2001 from malaria and is part of a wider mHealth project by the United Nations-Vodafone Foundation. Since it was set up in 2003 it has provided invaluable information for epidemiologists and enabled them to track the spread of diseases. It is also a useful way of gathering statistics on disease for health planning. To date, over 80,000 cases have been reported - everything from snakebites to yellow fever.

The US navy helped establish the product and a firm called Voxiva developed the technical aspects, under advice from Ernesto Gozzer, a doctor who specialises in public health.

Source: BBC

Read full Report: here

 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:18:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 01, 2009

Accessing your bank account using your mobile phone might seem safe, but security experts say would-be hackers can access confidential information via a simple text message seemingly from your service provider.

People in the industry aware of the risk see it as extremely small, as only a few people use handsets to access their bank accounts, but it is growing as mobile Internet usage rises.

 

(Source: Reuters)

Full story

Reuters website

Monday, June 01, 2009 2:51:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 24, 2009

A new report of the mobile industry shows that some progress has been made by the 26 mobile operators signed up to the "European Framework for Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children” brokered by the Commission in February 2007 (IP/07/139). These operators serve around 580 million customers, 96% of all EU mobile customers. "The new report of the mobile phone industry association shows that mobile operators have started to take seriously their responsibilities to keep children safe when using phones," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.

50% of 10 year-old, 87% of 13 year-old and 95% of 16 year-old children in the EU have a mobile phone, but half of European parents worry mobile phone use might expose their children to sexually and violently explicit images (51%) or bullying by other children (49%), according to a survey. The European Commission today called on mobile operators to do more to keep children safe while using mobile phones by putting in place all the measures in the voluntary code of conduct, signed by 26 mobile operators in 2007. The report published by the GSM Association, the trade body of the mobile phone industry, showed that national self-regulatory codes based on the framework agreement brokered by the European Commission now exist in 22 Member States, 90% of them in line with the 2007 agreement, and 80% of operators have put in place measures to control child access to adult content.

Read the full EC press release from 20 April 2009 here.

More information on the GSMA report onimplementation of the framework agreement on "Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children" can be found here.

Friday, April 24, 2009 8:03:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 16, 2009

A new report from ITU, highlights some harsh realities for the global ICT industry. The report, Confronting the Crisis: Its Impact on the ICT Industry, considers how the industry can position itself for recovery in the future.

Confronting the Crisis: Its Impact on the ICT Industry draws on analysis from leading industry experts and international institutions. As the established order is overturned, it says, convergence in the ICT industry will accelerate, with the emergence of new players with new business models. Firms’ ability to weather the economic storm will depend on their ability to invest for the future and explore new opportunities to benefit from the eventual upturn. For an industry founded on innovation, the current turmoil will create openings for nascent ICT companies.

Confronting the Crisis finds that although credit is now less abundant and more expensive, with financing costs for operators on average 3 − 4 per cent higher year-on-year, savvy operators can take advantage of the economic turmoil to reposition their services for the upturn. Funding is still available for players with sound business models, established demand and early projected cash flows. Alternative sources of financing are now needed, with a growing role for government financing and economic stimulus packages.

Many analysts contributing to Confronting the Crisis underlined the need for ICT as vital services and suggested that fixed-mobile substitution and consumers’ decision to switch to mobile telephony may gain momentum in developed markets during a prolonged recession. The report also notes that long project lead times for the satellite industry mean that it has been less affected in the short term, with strong recent growth in demand from developing countries. The financial difficulties facing the private sector could add to pressure for government intervention in the financing of national backbone infrastructure. Governments are already stepping in to diminish the impact on the transition to next-generation networks (NGN), which can carry voice, data and media services simultaneously. Several administrations have announced commitments to invest in their national backbone infrastructure, while others, such as the European Union, have included the roll-out of broadband networks in their economic stimulus packages. Although the financial crisis may delay investment in NGN, it has also led to a widespread reaffirmation of the importance of building advanced telecommunication infrastructure as part of an economic stimulus package.

See the full press release from 16 February 2009.
The report is available for download here.

Monday, February 16, 2009 1:49:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 14, 2008

According to an article on The Citizen (Dar es Salaam) on 10 May 2008, toll-free mobile services are on its way to selected remote areas in Africa aiming to save lives by connecting people with emergency medical cases to health personnel. Under the initiative launched in Nairobi on Wednesday, health workers will also be trained through mobile phone sessions on day to day skills like collecting and sharing basic household health information.

Telecommunication equipment provider Ericsson and mobile phone service provider Zain have entered into a partnership that will ensure they provide network access, mobile phone handsets, sim cards and toll-free emergency numbers in remote areas in order to stimulate demand for cellular phone solutions in those areas. The initiative is being rolled out in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. In Kenya, Ericsson and Zain subsidiary, Celtel, are rolling out a pilot programme in North Garissa in Dertu village targeting some 5,200 inhabitants.

According to the President of Ericsson, Mr Carl-Henri Svanberge, the partnership also includes the Earth Institute and will benefit 400,000 people in Africa. "The partnership will provide the development of a comprehensive voice to data coverage and a telecommunication strategy in the villages to drive up mobile connectivity," said Mr Svanberge. The phones will use solar charges which according to Ericsson are capable of charging 30 mobile phones a day.


Read the full article here.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:04:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 17, 2008

The Washington Post's Security Fix features an article on vishing scams reporting three recent vishing attacks and how these attacks were done. According to the article, a series of well-orchestrated wireless phone-based phishing attacks against several financial institutions took place last week illustrating how scam artists are growing more adept at fleecing consumers by exploiting security holes in seemingly unrelated Internet technologies.

"The scams in this case took the form of a type of phishing known as "vishing," wherein cell-phone users receive a text message warning that their bank account has been closed due to suspicious activity, and that they need to call a provided phone number to reactivate the account. Victims who called the number reached an automated voice mail box that prompted callers to key in their credit card number, expiration date and PIN to verify their information (the voice mail systems involved in these sorts of scams usually are run off of free or low-cost Internet-based phone networks that are difficult to trace and shut down)."

The article also pointed out the importance of installing the latest security updates on the Web servers as well as the use of non-obvious passwords to help mitigate these kinds of vishing attacks.

Read the full article on the Washington Post.

CYB | Cybersecurity | Malware | Spam | Mobile | Privacy
Monday, March 17, 2008 3:43:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 28, 2008

Speech recognition technology has been an accelerating technological development and is now making its way to the mass market. Among these companies providing speech recognition technology is Vlingo Corporation. "Vlingo’s service lets people talk naturally, rather than making them use a limited number of set phrases. Dave Grannan, the company’s chief executive, demonstrated the Vlingo Find application by asking his phone for a song by Mississippi John Hurt (try typing that with your thumbs), for the location of a local bakery and for a Web search for a consumer product. It was all fast and efficient. Vlingo is designed to adapt to the voice of its primary user, but I was also able to use Mr. Grannan’s phone to find an address. The Find application is in the beta test phase at AT&T and Sprint." Other companies offering speech recognition technology to their customers include Nuance with its Nuance Voice Control system recently released last August, and Microsoft with its purchase of TellMe Networks last March. According to Opus Research, speech recognition has reached a $1.6 billion market in 2007, and they further predict an annual growth rate of 14.5 percent over the next three years. "Dan Miller, an analyst at Opus, said that companies that have licensed speech recognition technology would probably see faster revenue growth, as more consumers used the technology."

Speech recognition technology has also been available on personal computers since 2001 in applications like Microsoft Office but with a weaker following. It is also already used in high-end G.P.S. systems and luxury cars from Cadillac and Lexus, and is now spreading to less expensive systems and cars. The speech technology chief at I.B.M. Research, David Nahamoo, adds that the company has an automotive customer testing speech recognition to help drivers find songs quickly while driving. SimulScribe, on the other hand, uses speech recognition to convert voice mail into e-mail.

More on this article on the The New York Times.

Monday, January 28, 2008 11:15:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A new mobile system where one makes calls directly between phones, for free, is being trialled by TerraNet, a Swedish company, in hopes of dramatically improving communications in the developing world. "TerraNet has developed the idea using peer-to-peer technology that enables users to speak on its handsets without the need for a mobile phone base station. The technology is designed for remote areas of the countryside or desert where base stations are unfeasible. Projects backed by TerraNet recently launched in Tanzania and Ecuador. The TerraNet technology works using handsets adapted to work as peers that can route data or calls for other phones in the network. The handsets also serve as nodes between other handsets, extending the reach of the entire system. Each handset has an effective range of about one kilometre. This collaborative routing of calls means there is no cost to talk between handsets. When a TerraNet phone is switched on, it begins to look for other phones within range. If it finds them, it starts to connect and extend the radio network. When a number is dialled a handset checks to see if the person being called is within range. If they are, the call goes through. While individually the phones only have a maximum range of 1km, any phone in between two others can forward calls, allowing the distance to double. This principle applied many times creates a mini network. However, TerraNet founder Anders Carlius admitted that this has created big problems with having enough available frequencies. The system can also be used to make calls to other TerraNet mesh networks via a net-connected PC fitted with an inexpensive USB dongle."

Currently, this new system only works with a special handset, but "Mr Carlius said he hopes that it will eventually be a feature available on all phones, like Bluetooth. He said that were this to happen, it could potentially spell the end for the current Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications model which is used by about 70% of all mobile phones." Most large mobile companies seem skeptical at the moment, but according to Mr Carlius, mobile phone manufacturer Ericsson had invested around £3m in TerraNet.

Read the full article on BBC News.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:02:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 04, 2007

World Information and Communications Development Trends, a presentation by Robert Shaw, head of the ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division, ITU Telecommunication Development Sector, is now available. It was presented to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in Hanoi, Viet Nam on 27 August 2007 discussing issues related to transition to new technologies and Next Generation Networks (NGN). For more relevant information, visit the CYB website.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007 1:20:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 28, 2007

GigaOM, on an article by Om Malik, "All Hail SMS," discusses the growing popularity of Short Message Service (SMS), aka text messaging, despite rumors of its pending demise. The technology's relative simplicity and ease of use, despite the high tariffs imposed by carriers around the world, makes SMS usage more and more popular. According to Paul Ruppert, a veteran of mobile business and now a consultant, every year, 2.1 billion global mobile users send 3 trillion SMS messages. Even in markets like the U.S., which lagged in embracing the ease and power of texting and seemingly preferred email and Instant Messaging, text messaging has become an intimate aspect of daily lives, especially for those 15 to 25. Commonly used communications applications embedding direct-to-SMS functionality, such as the new Yahoo Mail, which comes with free text messaging to mobile phone numbers (available in the U.S., Canada, India and the Philippines), have also become apparent nowadays.

Om Malik also writes that "some (mostly entrepreneurs and venture capitalists) believe that like email, SMS is the vehicle for add-on-innovation. There are gaming companies that have turned SMS-based voting into a big business. Voice SMS is being talked about as the next big thing."

To read the full artcile, click here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 9:34:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, February 04, 2007

Under the "Shaping Tomorrow's Networks Project" and in line with the stated objectives of the WSIS Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (November 2005), that “… ITU and other regional organisations should take steps to ensure rational, efficient and economic use of, and equitable access to, the radio-frequency spectrum by all countries ….”, ITU and the Ugo Bordoni Foundation (Italy) jointly organized a workshop to identify global trends and good practice in radio spectrum management.

The Workshop on "Market Mechanisms for Spectrum Management" was held from 22 to 23 January 2007 at ITU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland.  

In preparation for the workshop a Background Resources Website on Spectrum Management was created. This website aims to provide a number of background resources on regional and national initiatives as well as some background information on spectrum management policy and regulation in general.

Background papers as well as Contributions to the workshop can be found here.

To download the Speaker's Presentations, please click here.

Link to Workshop Webcast Archives is available here.

More information about the Shaping Tomorrow’s Networks Project can be found here.

More information about the workshop can be found here.

See the full ITU Press Release for the event here.

We would like to inform all workshop participants that the Chairman's Report will be made available at the event website in the next few weeks.

Sunday, February 04, 2007 8:52:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 19, 2007

The ITU workshop The Future of Voice held on the 15th and 16th of January 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland looked, inter alia, at the voice traffic and revenue trends in the last fifteen years.

On the global level, local and national long-distance reported telephone minutes per capita were growing in the 1990s and stably falling since the beginning of the new decade. A notable exception of the general rule is the US experiencing continuous growth in the number of local minutes: in 15 years, the number of local minutes per capita has grown four-fold. The international outgoing traffic grew significantly over the last fifteen years: in the Republic of Korea, in 2005 it was 15 times more intensive than in 1990, in the US – five times. Even though, since the beginning of the new century, the international voice traffic tends to slowly decrease.

If we look at the global telecom revenue, we will see the stable global expansion of the sector over the whole period. Voice revenue as a percentage of the total remains stable, while the traffic generated by users has doubled. In 2004, as in 1991, voice constituted more than 80% of telecom revenue surpassing, by far, income from any other source. In the coming years, voice is expected to stay strong driven by falling prices and increasing volumes of traffic.

What are the drivers behind these trends? Enlarged number of users, competition and market liberalization, enhanced innovation and emerging alternative communication platforms, migration to all-IP environment or all of these and more? The dynamics of development of the telecom sector is driven today by multiple factors in an increasingly complex environment both in developed and developing countries. Pressures are forcing change at different levels – market, regulation, type of technology, framed by the shift towards the emerging global economy.

For more insights of the debate on the future of voice, see the complete presentation of Tim Kelly, Head and Jaroslaw Ponder, Policy Analyst of the Strategy & Policy Unit of ITU.

More presentations and background materials on the subject can be found at the Future of Voice website.

Friday, January 19, 2007 2:59:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 04, 2006

The eighth edition of the ITU Internet Reports, entitled "digital.life" was prepared especially for ITU TELECOM World 2006 (December 4-8 2006, Hong Kong)and is available now online. The report examines how innovation in digital technology is radically changing individual and societal lifestyles.

Chapter one: going digital outlines the meanings of "digital" and reflects on the many ways of being digital. Around one in every three people on the planet now carries a digital mobile phone around with them wherever they go. Globally, more hours are spent consuming digital media, such as the internet, than any analogue media, including television and radio. Digital technologies are transforming businesses and governments, and changing the ways we live and interact. We are witnessing what has been termed a “digital revolution”, which had its beginnings in the early 1980s and refers to the replacement of analogue devices and services with their digital successors. This technological shift has brought about considerable change in the human condition itself, especially in its socioeconomic and cultural aspects.

The transition from narrowband to broadband digital networks (figure below) is now well-advanced in the fixed-line world where there were some 216 million broadband subscribers across the world at the end of 2005, amounting to just over half the total number of internet subscribers and around one-fifth of total fixed lines.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, new challenges and important dilemmas arise for businesses and policy-makers. Private individuals, too, are faced with a bewildering number of choices for their information and communications needs.

If you are eager to discover more about these challenges as well as about the importance of being digital and digital ubiquity, you can download chapter one: going digital.

The full text of the report is available online at the digital.life website.  For more information about the report, contact lara.srivastava(a)itu.int.

Monday, December 04, 2006 2:52:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A major new study prepared for the UMTS Forum by Booz Allen Hamilton quantifies the economic benefits of maintaining a harmonised approach to spectrum management across EU Member States.

To download the study click here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 9:02:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ofcom published its second annual Technology Research and Development Report which provides an overview of emerging technologies that have the potential to make more efficient use of the radio spectrum.

More information can be found here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 10:58:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Om Malik points to an article in French that discuss how Free.fr, the world's leading multiple play provider based in France is now quickly moving into wireless mesh networks with its new Freebox HD set-top box/wiifi offering. To understand the quantitative advantages of wireless mesh networks, see this presentation from Dave Beyer from 2002 that explains how mesh coverage has the interesting property of increasing coverage and capacity as the more subscribers are added (since the subscribers are part of the routing infrastructure).

Free recently announced the delivery of their 300,000 Freebox HD, which they say creates a wi-fi mesh network that allowing their new wi-fi based phones to roam.

Olivier Gutknecht reported on some of this in English back in April 2006.

Free is also going to do a rollout of FTTH to every home in Paris which they say they will unbundle to competitors.

They also now have a national WiMax license acquired through the acquisition by their parent company, Iliad, of Altitude Telecom.

This recent presentation on Iliad's mid-2006 results provides a good overview of their strategic direction and their financials. What is next?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:20:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Economist has an article entitled Your television is ringing that discusses service providers build-outs of Next Generation Network (NGN) converged platforms.

In fact, although the industry likes to depict convergence as a great boon for customers, it actually involves a technological shift that, in the first instance at least, will primarily benefit network operators. At its heart, convergence is the result of the telecoms industry's embrace of internet technology, which provides a cheaper, more efficient way to move data around on networks. On the internet everything travels in the form of “packets” of data, encoded using internet protocol, or IP. The same system can also be used to encode phone conversations, text and photo messages, video calls and television channels—and indeed anything else.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:09:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 06, 2006

‘Teledensity‘, or the number of phones per 100 inhabitants, is one of the more useful measures of an economy’s ICT infrastructure. In the early 1990s, ITU carried out research on the progress of Asia-Pacific economies in achieving the ‘teledensity transition‘ in their fixed-line networks (see left chart). The ‘teledensity transition‘ may be defined as passing from a teledensity of 10 lines per 100 inhabitants to 30 per 100. Below a teledensity of 10, access to telecommunications is restricted to a small part of the population and few businesses and therefore the impact of telecommunications on the economy and society is limited. With a teledensity above 30 per 100, access to telecommunications is available to a majority of households and virtually all businesses. Thus, the use of telecommunications can be expected to have a comparatively greater impact on the economy and society.

For the developed economies in the Asia-Pacific region, it took between 8 and 35 years (average 16 years) to make the transition between 1935 and 1995, with a progressive acceleration over time. However, for a sample of developing economies in the same region, it took only between 2 and 6 years (average 3 years) to make the transition between 1995 and 2006 (see right chart).

The main difference between the two charts is that the developed countries made the transition using fixed-line networks, whereas the developing economies have invariably made the transition using mobile networks. Mobile networks can generally be rolled out much more quickly, and more cheaply, and are more convenient for users (e.g., through pre-paid cards). Furthermore, mobile networks are relatively ‘development-neutral‘, in the sense that developed economies made the mobile teledensity transition only marginally more quickly (2.6 years) than developing ones (3.1 years).

For more insights from telecom transition and digital opportunity in the information society, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Friday, October 06, 2006 5:16:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

Europe is the most advanced region with a DOI score of 0.55, considerably higher than the world average (0.37), followed by the Americas (0.4). DOI scores show that basic telecom access and affordability are the main areas of achievement for most countries.

European countries, which are mostly developed economies, provide good digital opportunity for most of their inhabitants, with extensive infrastructure, generally low prices and widespread use of new technologies. Poorer European countries generally have medium DOI scores (e.g. Albania, Belarus, Turkey and Ukraine). Poland and Russia are among the top 15 gainers in the DOI worldwide over the period 2000-2005, making significant progress in ICT infrastructure.

The economies from the region are also leveraging their investments in infrastructure well in order to widely introduce new technologies and yield more advanced forms of usage. One interesting aspect of mobile Internet usage is the wide variation in access among countries of similar economic or geographic circumstances. Almost a third of Slovenian households and one fifth of Finnish households use mobile phones to access the Internet, while in other countries, less than five per pent of households use mobile phones to access the Internet.

Despite the favourable global picture, disparities in connectivity within the region persist and many are concerned about the European digital divide, which is likely to result from the sometimes modest convergence between the economies.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 5:39:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The map illustrates the strong lead taken by Asia, together with Europe and North America, in realizing digital opportunity. Two Asian countries top the world rankings – the Republic of Korea and Japan, and the average DOI scores for the region are higher than the world average of 0.37. Central Asian countries are catching up fast with large infrastructural investments and strong gains in mobile and internet subscribers, including 3G mobile technologies (CDMA 2000 1x and W-CDMA). It is worth noting that five out of the top 15 gainers in the DOI come from the Asian region: these are India, China, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The Asian Tigers, together with Scandinavian countries lead in internet subscriptions, with around a third of their population subscribing to the internet, but only half of these subscribed to broadband services. This is in contrast to the Republic of Korea, where virtually all internet users are broadband subscribers, with access to faster, advanced services such as video, teleconferencing, multiplayer gaming and triple play. These different profiles of internet usage could result in the development of more varied skill sets and contrasting rates of innovation and, over the longer term, may shape the Information Society differently, according to the type, speed and capacity of internet access available. However, there are often large differences in the level of development within the region - the Asia-Pacific region contains both high-income and Least Developed Countries. In many economies fixed line telephony has been challenged by the worldwide growth in mobile phones.

However, there remains a strong need for basic connectivity in Asia, where connectivity is the main factor driving the digital divide and limiting access to ICTs.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:31:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The Americas are the second most advanced region in terms of ICT development, following Europe. DOI scores show that basic telecom access and affordability are the main areas of achievement for most countries. In low income Latin American countries, digital opportunity mostly derives from access to cellular service and affordable telecoms. Meanwhile, high-income North-American countries are successfully realizing digital opportunity through high-performance infrastructure (e.g., broadband) and the use of advanced technologies.

In North America, the economies provide good digital opportunity for most of their inhabitants, with extensive infrastructure, generally low prices and widespread use of new technologies. From the Latin American countries, Chile is the highest-ranking Latin American country at 40th place in the DOI for 2005, followed by Argentina at 51st place.

Four of the Top 15 gainers in the DOI over the period 2001-2005 are from Latin America – Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Peru – the latter two are also among the very rare cases where Utilization exceeds Infrastructure. The strong gains in Utilization in Chile and Venezuela resulted from early policies for privatization and a vibrant private sector has successfully promoted telecommunications and the higher-margin broadband segment in these countries.

Caribbean states also generally do well in the DOI. This may be due to an ‘island effect’, where small islands may specialize in ICT intensive offshore industries reliant on telecommunications. Barbados, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda all have high DOI scores.

The DOI registers a steady expansion in the number of mobile Internet subscribers, reflected in the steady increase in Utilization over time. Most notably, the DOI shows that mobile Internet and 3G services are no longer the preserve of high-income countries and are now offered in many developing countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in central and eastern Asia. The 2005 Mobinet study on global mobile usage reports an upward trend in the percentage of multimedia phone users in Latin America browsing the internet or using mobile e-mail at least once a month on their phones, which jumped from 32 per cent in 2004 to 64 per cent in 2005.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 4:56:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 02, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The DOI scores for 2005 are sharply differentiated according to region. Africa, the region with some of the poorest countries in the world, is greatly impacted by the digital divide. Europe, the Americas and Asia all have average DOI scores higher than the world average of 0.37, while Africa has an average DOI score of 0.20, mainly due to limited Utilization and fixed line infrastructure. When compared to other regions, Africa ranks last with an average regional DOI score of barely one-third that of Europe (0.55). The African strong-performers are Mauritius, the Seychelles and North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt).

The DOI map of Africa here below shows a pattern of high scores among the North African economies (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) - Egypt is also the only African country in the Top 15 gainers in the DOI, having realized a gain of 32 per cent in digital opportunity over the period 2000-2005. By contrast, low-ranking economies are mostly inland, in the Sub-Saharan region, and also include economies such as Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Niger and Sierra Leone.

Nevertheless, despite the overall situation, many African countries are making progress in reducing their internal gaps. As a region, Africa has the highest growth rate in mobile cellular subscribers of any region, with a 66 per cent growth rate in 2005, with Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa accounting for 60 per cent of the new mobile subscribers added in the region. In 2005, Nigeria alone added 9.7 million subscribers, which represents about 7 per cent of its total population. Mobile phones provide more than three-quarters of all the phone connections in 19 countries in Africa. As Africa shows, the tendency of developing countries to promote mobile coverage and utilization over fixed services makes the DOI’s mobile components particularly useful for monitoring advances in regional markets.

From a telecommunication policy perspective, high-ranking countries illustrate the influence of liberalization and competition in promoting opportunity and infrastructure deployment. Most of the North African countries, as well as Senegal and South Africa, have opened their fixed and mobile markets to competition and are rapidly increasing high-speed network deployment. Competition is helping to reduce tariffs and introduce service packages that respond better to the needs of the population. In Algeria, for instance, the entry of a third wireless cellular provider triggered new strategies for prepaid services that had not previously been offered by the incumbents.

For more analysis on these and other issues related to measuring digital opportunity, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Monday, October 02, 2006 5:55:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 12, 2006

European Commission published three studies by external consultants on the review of the EU 2003 regulatory framework.The three studies are the following:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:53:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 28, 2006

A presentation entitled "Booming Broadband for a Wireless World" was given by Lara Srivastava of ITU on 22 August 2006 at BroadbandAsia 2006 in Shanghai, China. Other speakers included, inter alia, L. Ladid (President, IPv6 Forum), T. Poulos (Asia-Pacific Head, Global Billing Association), A. Hassan (Executive Director, Wi-Fi Alliance), J. Wang (Secretary-General, TD-SCDMA Forum), S. Ramaswamy (Senior Vice President, Bharti AirTel).

Monday, August 28, 2006 9:24:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 11, 2006

"As cell phones and PDAs become more technologically advanced, attackers are finding new ways to target victims. By using text messaging or email, an attacker could lure you to a malicious site or convince you to install malicious code on your portable device."

The U.S. CERT (Computer Emergence Readiness Team) recently published a list of tips for users on how they can protect themselves against these increasing threats.

What unique risks do cell phones and PDAs present?

Most current cell phones have the ability to send and receive text messages. Some cell phones and PDAs also offer the ability to connect to the internet. Although these are features that you might find useful and convenient, attackers may try to take advantage of them. As a result, an attacker may be able to accomplish the following:

  • Abuse your service;
  • Lure you to a malicious web site;
  • Use your cell phone or PDA in an attack;
  • Gain access to account information.

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Follow general guidelines for protecting portable devices;
  • Be careful about posting your cell phone number and email address;
  • Do not follow links sent in email or text messages;
  • Be wary of downloadable software;
  • Evaluate your security settings.

Read the full article on the U.S. CERT website.

Friday, August 11, 2006 11:05:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 13, 2006

The European Commission recently published the draft of the new roaming regulation to bring down the high roaming charges within Europe.

What will the regulation mean for consumers?

  • "Prices paid for international roaming when travelling within the European Union will not be unjustifiably higher than the charges for calls paid within the user’s country.
  • Consumers will benefit from lower prices for making calls in the visited country, back home or to any other EU Member State.
  • Consumers will make considerable savings when receiving calls.
  • Prices operators charge each other (wholesale charges) will be considerably lower than what they are today. This ensures all operators will be in a position to offer lower retail tariffs.
  • Transparency of roaming charges for consumers will be enhanced. Mobile operators will be required to provide customers with full information on applicable roaming charges when subscriptions are taken out and to update consumers regularly about these charges. Consumers can ask for information on roaming charges free of charge either via SMS or voice call.
  • National regulators will also be tasked to monitor closely the development of roaming charges for SMS and multi-media message services (MMS)."
  • Etc.

Read more about the roaming regulation on the EC website.

This article was accessed through Richard's Blog for VoIP and ENUM.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 1:21:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 07, 2006

A presentation entitled Networks in Transition: Emerging Policy and Regulatory Challenges of Next Generation Networks (PDF) was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the Masters of Communication Management (MCM) Annual Conference, Goodenough College on 6 July 2006 in London, England.

Friday, July 07, 2006 12:05:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The International Herald Tribune in their recent article on Wireless: From zero to 3G: A cellphone utopia? , noted that "Executives in the cellphone and computer industries are fond of speaking about bridging the digital divide, the gap between people with access to technology and those without. But translating the talk into action is not easy. In addition, the benefits of high-tech gadgetry for the poor often are not evident. How do you bring Internet access to remote villages in Africa? And are people's lives going to improve once they can get online? The GSM Association, a trade group that represents mobile phone operators in 213 countries, has a plan for the first question and responds with a resounding yes to the second."

"This month, the association introduced a "3G for All" program that aims to make multimedia phone services and mobile Internet access available to people on the fringe of the digital world. Bringing cellphone services to the two-thirds of the world's population that does not yet use them has long been a goal of the association, which last year promoted a project to build the cheapest possible telephone. Thanks in part to that initiative, the wholesale price of the cheapest cellphones has dropped to less than $30, but now the association wants to take that a step further by encouraging the production of a low-cost mobile phone that works on third-generation networks. Those phones today are typically expensive and advanced, nearly mini-computers themselves."

The aim is to have a group of GSM Association members to define a core set of requirements that the low-cost 3G handsets must have, and then several manufacturers will compete to design the phone that best meets those requirements at the most competitive price.

Read the full story on the International Herald Tribune website.

Access the GSM Association Press Release on the 3G for All program.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 11:40:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU held an international workshop under its New Initiatives Programme on the topic "The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services" in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006. The final report [PDF]  of the chairman has now been published.

Workshop presentations can be found here. Background documents, including country case studies and thematic papers are also available on the workshop homepage.

 

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:08:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Will Content Be King?, presentation by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the 7 June 2006 conference Digital Content: a Modern Fairy Tale or the Old King in the New Clothes in Vilnius, Lithuania. The event was organized by the law offices of Norcous & Partners, in association with the Communications Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Lithuania and Vilnius University Faculty of Law.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 1:21:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU has just published an Issues Paper on the Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, available for download here (.pdf format).

The paper was prepared by Lara Srivastava, of the Strategy and Policy Unit (ITU), and Ingrid Silver & Rod Kirwan of the law practice of Denton Wilde Sapte.

Together with case studies (on Germany, China, Hong Kong SAR) and a thematic paper on spectrum flexibility, these background papers will form part of the input material for an international ITU New Initiatives Workshop on The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, to be held in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006, and jointly hosted by Germany's Federal Network Agency.

The Advance Programme for the workshop is now on-line, and will be regularly updated.

More information about the ITU New Initiatives Programme can be found here.
More information about the international workshop on the topic can be found here.  

 

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 11:03:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The 5th Annual Mobility Roundtable was held in Helsinki from 1-2 June 2006, hosted by the Helsinki School of Economics. Since 2002, mobility roundtables have been held in Tokyo (Japan), Stockholm (Sweden), Austin (United States), and Hong Kong, China. The main objectives of the roundtables are:

  1. to build and support a sustainable international network of research and industry best practices for the mobile communication and computing business, market and industry;
  2. to exchange research and knowledge about best practices for different mobile modes of business; and
  3. to facilitate communication and collaboration among global researchers, practitioners and policy makers.

The 2006 programme, and all final papers can be found here. There were four keynote speakers at the event: Jarkko Sairanen (Vice President and Head of Corporate Strategy, Nokia), Dr. Elizabeth Keating (University of Texas at Austin), Ari Tolonen (CEO, InfoBuild), and Lara Srivastava (ITU).   Lara Srivastava is a member of the international advisory committee for the mobility roundtables. Her keynote address was entitled "Mobiles for a Smaller World" and is available here.

The 6th roundtable will be held in Los Angeles (California) in June 2007, hosted by the University of Southern California.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 10:35:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The graph below shows the 15 countries with the largest number of mobile subscribers. China is by far the overall leader with 393.4 million subscribers, almost twice as many as the United States in second place with 201.7 million.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 5:04:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 28, 2006

The German government is preparing a law that would allow the use of mobile phone jammers during major events and in prisons. The blocking of mobile phone use by criminals is seen as an important measure in the war against crime and terrorism.

By transmitting on the same radio frequencies as the mobile phone, a phone jammer can effortlessly stifle annoying chatter in movie theatres, at funerals or in hospitals. However, in many countries, including Germany, the technology is officially illegal. Phone jammers not only disrupt licensed services operated by the mobile carriers, but might also disrupt other services operating in adjacent bands.

Read the full article from The Register here.

Sunday, May 28, 2006 8:15:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The winners of the third annual Mobile Entertainment Awards (the "Meffys") were announced by the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) this week in London.

The mobile games award went to Digital Chocolate, the mobile music award to Warner Music's WAMO Packs, the mobile content award to Chooz Active Content's Foreplay, and the mobile entertainment handset award to Nokia's N70. Wiinners in other categories included Bango, France Telecom, 3 UK and Yospace.  The special recognition award was given to Jim Brailean, CEO/President and Founder of PacketVideo. The top entries for each category were selected by panels of independent industry media and analyst experts.

The Awards took place alongside Mobile Entertainment Market (MEM) 2006 at Islington's Business Design Centre in London (UK), at which the MEF also revealed its new Board of Directors. Ingrid Silver (Partner, Denton Wilde Sapte) was newly elected to the MEF Board and attended the Meffys reception with ITU's Lara Srivastava. Ingrid Silver and Lara Srivastava (with Rod Kirwan of Denton's) are presently co-authoring a paper on "The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services" as part of the ITU's New Initiatives Programme. The paper will be presented at an international workshop on the topic to be held in Mainz, Germany from 21-23 June 2006.

 

Sunday, May 28, 2006 7:10:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, May 27, 2006

Philips Semiconductors and South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom join forces to launch a trial in Seoul using Near Field Communication (NFC) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies.  The trail will enable selected mobile phone users to use their phones to download content, unlock doors and pay for goods and services.

The trial will include about 400 participants. A wide variety of partners are involved, including operators, service providers, handset manufacturers, credit card companies, consumer electronics manufacturers, and retails. More information can be found in the RFID Journal article here.

 

Saturday, May 27, 2006 7:41:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 26, 2006

Winners of the Prix Ars Electronica 2006, one of the most important awards for creativity and pioneering spirit in the field of digital media, have been announced. The competition called for entries in 7 categories, including a youth competition and a grant for young creative talent:

  • Digital Communities

  • Computer Animation / Visual Effects

  • Digital Music

  • Interactive Art

  • Net Vision

  • u19 – freestyle computing

  • [the next idea] Art and Technology Grant

The 2006 winner for the Digital Communities category was "canal*ACCESSIBLE". Canal Accessible was chosen because it addresses the accessibility or inaccessibility inherent in the topographical surroundings of people who have difficulty walking. The city of Barcelona was taken as an example:  handicapped individuals document the problems they encounter on their way through the city by using images and, in a few cases, sound recordings. This material is posted to the website, and the places at which each one was created are specified on a city map. These locations can then be accessed using a built-in “find” function. ITU's Lara Srivastava was Jury Member for the Digital Communities category, which explores the promotion of the social use of ICTs and the creation of common public goods, the sharing of knowledge, and the narrowing of the digital divide. This category was introduced to the Prix in 2004 by Jury Member Andreas Hirsch and Howard Rheingold. The other Jury members were: Steven Clift (Chairman, e-democracy.org) and Peter Kuthan (Founder, Tonga Online).

The prizes will be awarded at the annual Ars Electronica Festival (31 August - 5 September 2006). More information about the winners can be found here.

Friday, May 26, 2006 11:41:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 22, 2006

This brochure summarizes the results of a workshop on Tomorrow’s Networks Today, held in Saint Vincent (Aosta), Italy from 7 to 8 October 2005. It was prepared by Cristina Bueti and Marco Obiso on the basis of specially prepared case studies, input documents and contributions to the workshop. The enclosed CD-Rom contains the background materials and documents of the workshop as well as a wide range of background resources related to tomorrow’s networks.

More information can be found here.

Click here to buy the brochure.

Monday, May 22, 2006 4:52:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 18, 2006

17 May 2006 On 17 May, World Information Society Day, ITU together with other partners (including UNCTAD and the KADO) launched a new series of reports entitled World Information Society Reports. It is intended to be an annual report, tracking progress in implementing the outcomes from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The reports will include a new benchmarking tool, the Digital Opportunity Index, which is a composite index for measurement of the information society, endorsed by the Tunis Phase of the WSIS. The summary of the report is available on the website at www.itu.int/wisr. The report itself will be published in June 2006.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 11:46:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Filipino telecoms watchdog, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), says it will revoke the mobile licence of any operator found guilty of breaking its guidelines on unsolicited broadcast messaging via SMS. The amended rules and regulations also require content providers – alleged to have sent out spam promos to subscribers – to register with the NTC.

This will serve as the basis of an application with the Department of Trade and Industry that grants permits to allow companies to advertise promos. Mobile phone operators and content providers risk being blacklisted if found guilty of violating the agency’s rules.

More information can be found here.

The Draft Amendement to the Rules and Regulations on Broadcast Messaging Service is available here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:20:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mobile Industry Outlook 2006, a new 180-page report from Informa Telecoms & Media answers the most significant questions facing today's mobile operators, equipment vendors and handset vendors as they seek to plan their strategy in 2006.

The report is available here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:20:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 05, 2006

3 Italia has launched Walk TV, the first digital TV mobile broadcast using DVB-H technology in Europe. Programming will initially consist of channels from state broadcaster RAI, Mediaset and News Corp unit Sky Italia. And in June, the TV services will expand to include 3 Italia's own La3-branded channels, and World Cup soccer action, for which 3 Italia has bought the DVB-H Italian territory rights.

The 3 Italia DVB-H service reaches 65% of Italy's population and customers will need specific handsets to access the content.

More information can be found here.

Friday, May 05, 2006 8:58:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Singapore’s mobile users – 99.8% of Singapore’s population, according to the Infocomm Development Authority’s (IDA) February 2006 stats – will have more protection against mobile spam in the future. IDA has put its foot down on this issue, warning of “swift enforcement” of penalties should mobile operators continue to fail to resolve mobile spam issues satisfactorily.

A strong warning letter was sent to SingTel, StarHub and M1, the three mobile operators in Singapore. In addition, IDA decided to make an example of errant content operator mTouche in the highly publicized mTouche spam case. Between 30th January to 5th February this year, 300,000 mobile end users were billed S$1 for unsolicited SMSes sent by mTouche through the three telcos.

More information can be found here.

Friday, May 05, 2006 11:26:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new mobile phone payment system has been launched in has been launched in the U.K. and Germany. LUUP (called LUUPAY in Germany) allows consumers to use their mobile phone like a wallet to shop with retailers or send and receive money on a person-to-person basis - with cash, debit/credit card and bank account functions built-in. 

Friday, May 05, 2006 9:00:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 01, 2006

A new wave of spam could be on the way that tricks recipients by looking like it’s a message sent from their friends' e-mail address. This sort of spam would bypass even those filters that currently weed out 99% of the bad stuff, says John Aycock, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Calgary.

Aycock and student Nathan Friess conducted research and wrote a paper dubbed "Spam Zombies from Outer Space" to show that generating such customized spam -- such as in the form of e-mail replies -- would not be too difficult, as has been assumed in the past. Spammers have leaned toward bulk e-mail generation that is less customized.

More information can be found here.

Monday, May 01, 2006 10:08:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 28, 2006

Juries began deliberating at the International Competition for CyberArts 2006 (Prix Ars Electronica) in Linz, Austria this morning. Over 4'300 projects from around the world are being considered.

Since 1987, the Prix Ars Electronica has served as an interdisciplinary platform for everyone who uses ICTs as a universal medium for implementing and designing their creative projects at the interface of art, technology and society. The Prix Ars Electronica is one of the most important awards for creativity and pioneering spirit in the field of digital media.

The event calls for entries in 7 categories, including a youth competition and a grant for young creative talent:

  • Computer Animation / Visual Effects

  • Digital Music

  • Interactive Art

  • Net Vision

  • Digital Communities

  • u19 – freestyle computing

  • [the next idea] Art and Technology Grant

ITU's Lara Srivastava is Jury Member for the "Digital Communities" category, which focuses on the promotion of the social use of ICTs and the creation of common public goods, the sharing of knowledge, and the narrowing of the digital divide. This category was introduced to the Prix in 2004 by Jury Member Andreas Hirsch and Howard Rheingold. The other Jury members are: Steven Clift (Chairman, e-democracy.org) and Peter Kuthan (Founder, Tonga Online).

The Net Vision Jury includes Marko Ahtisaari (Director of Design Strategy at Nokia) and the Digital Music Jury includes Rob Young (Editor-at-large, The Wire Magazine).

The Computer Animation Jury includes such names as Mark Dippé (Director of Spawn and Visual Effects Supervisor for Jurassic Park, The Abyss, and Terminator 2), Rick Sayre (Visual Effects Supervisor for Pixar's Toy Story, A Bug's Life and The Incredibles), and Shuzo Shiota (President and CEO of Polygon Pictures).

Results from all categories will be released during the third week in May. Awards will be handed out at the Ars Electronica Festival in September 2006. Check this blog for further news!

 

Friday, April 28, 2006 12:24:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 24, 2006

Looking back, 2005 saw a rise in profit-driven attacks. These were reflected by phishing, which now represents as much as one percent of the global e-mail traffic and is far more effective than spamming.

Viruses, worms, and malicious software are becoming part and parcel of information and communications technology. According to Trend Micro's report, called Virus and Spam Roundup 2005 and Predictions for 2006, this year will see more spy phishing and spear phishing on the Internet.

More information can be found here.

Monday, April 24, 2006 5:08:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Though the United States is making progress in the war on unsolicited commercial e-mail, or spam, it still generates more than any other nation in the world, according to recent statistics from Sophos, a provider of anti-malware solutions.

Sophos ranked spam outputs of the top 12 countries and top six continents based on messages it received in its “global network of spam traps” between January and March, according to the group’s release.

More information can be found here.

Monday, April 24, 2006 5:01:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) joined 29 other countries in calling for increased cooperation between nations in combating spam. The FTC signed off on a set of anti-spam recommendations by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a coalition of 30 countries organized to promote economic growth and trade.

More information about OECD activities on  countering spam can be found here.

Please clik here to read the article.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:50:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The ITU has released the Results of its 2006-2007 Questionnaire on Future Topics  for workshops under the ITU New Initiatives Programme.

The top three winners are as follows:

1. Pushing the Boundaries - Wireless Networking

2. The Future of Voice

3. Privacy and Data Protection in Telecommunications

More information about the ITU New Initiatives Programme can be found here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 3:03:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 30, 2006

"The European Commission launched a new website which aims to help consumers get a better deal when using their mobile phones abroad. For this purpose, the website makes public roaming tariffs from the operators in all 25 EU Member States. The launch of this site was signalled in July when Commissioner Viviane Reding highlighted the high cost of using mobile phones abroad and the need to ensure greater transparency of these charges. By means of tables of sample tariffs and direct links to EU mobile operators, the website intends to give EU consumers a concrete idea of the level of tariffs they are likely to face when going on holiday as well as guidance and tips on how to manage their international roaming bills. Since the announcement of the website before this summer, there are signs that competition is starting to develop, in particular with some operators offering special holiday and other tariff packages."

More information can be found here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 9:19:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A public talk was given on 22 March 2006 at Michigan State University's Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law on "The Changing Face of Cyberspace" (Lara Srivastava, ITU). 

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:10:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 16, 2006

The 4th International Conference on Communications Convergence was held in Mumbai (India) and hosted by the Indian Merchants Chamber on the theme "Connecting India: The Global Challenge".  Lara Srivastava (ITU) spoke on the topic of connecting rural communities in India in a talk entitled "Connect! Developing Rural Perspectives".

Thursday, March 16, 2006 4:55:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The OECD hosted a workshop entitled The Future of the Internet in Paris on 8 March 2006. Presentations given at the event will serve at "food for thought" for future OECD work.


The Economist has a related article entitled Reinventing the Internet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 10:09:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The March 2006 edition of ITU News focusing on “ICT for Development: Making it Work for All”, brings attention to ICT penetration in Qatar, the host country for the 2006 ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC).

A peninsula on the western coast of the Arabian Gulf, Qatar is home to about 813 000 people. Despite its small size, it is a high-income economy with a well-developed communications infrastructure.

The ITU News article explains that "The expansion of information and communication technologies (ICT) in Qatar has taken the country to a leading place in this field among its neighbors in the region. It comes fourth in ICT penetration rates among the Arab States, behind Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The incumbent telecommunication operator, Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel), was partially privatized in 1998, and the Supreme Council for Communication and Information Technology (also known as ictQATAR) was created in 2004 with the mandate of regulator and enabler of the country’s ICT sector."

Qatar has seen particularly strong growth in the number of mobile phone subscribers, which overtook the number of fixed telephone lines in 2001.


Source: ITU World Telecommunication Indicators Database.

Read the full article featured in the March edition of ITU News.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 2:22:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At a workshop on ICT Indicators for performance benchmarking, held in Delhi 1-3 March, under the auspices of LIRNEasia and TRAI, representatives from the region's national statistical offices and regulatory agencies committed themselves to developing a set of ICT Indicators for the region based around "core set of ICT Indicators" defined by the Partnership for Measuring ICT for Development. This methodology means that they will be able to apply the composite "Digital Oppoportunity Index", which has been developed by a multi-stakeholder partnership, including ITU, KADO and UNCTAD, for the measurement of the digital divide within the region and within individual countries.

The proceedings of the conference, which included presentations from TRAI, LIRNEasia, ITU, OECD and NRRI, are avaialble on the LIRNEasia website.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 8:49:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 02, 2006

A study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) has found that cell phones and other portable electronic devices, like laptops and game-playing devices, can pose dangers to the normal operation of critical electronics on airplanes.

"We found that the risk posed by these portable devices is higher than previously believed," said Bill Strauss, who recently completed his Ph.D. in EPP at Carnegie Mellon.

"These devices can disrupt normal operation of key cockpit instruments, especially Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, which are increasingly vital for safe landings." Strauss is an expert in aircraft electromagnetic compatibility at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Patuxent River, Md.

For more information, please click here.

Thursday, March 02, 2006 9:21:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Italian mobile operator 3 Italia has launched a VoIP service, allowing calls to 23 countries for EUR 0.05 an hour, up to 10 hours a day. The 'International No Limit' service costs EUR 15 to activate.

The service is valid for calls to the fixed network in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan, and to fixed and mobile numbers in the US, China, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong.

3 Italia's parent company Hutchison announced last month an agreement with VoIP provider Skype to offer the services across all its mobile networks in Europe. [Via TelecomPaper]

Thursday, March 02, 2006 12:32:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Vodafone's Face Sensing Engine uses a 3.2-megapixel camera to authenticate a user's facial features and eliminate the need for passwords or fingerprint verification.

A face recognition technology with a one second validation feature from Oki Electric will be offered on a Vodafone Group handset in Japan this April, according to an announcement Tuesday by Oki.

For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 7:44:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A group of security researchers claims to have found the first virus that can jump to a mobile device after infecting a PC.

"Crossover is the first malware to be able to infect both a Windows desktop computer as well as a PDA running Windows Mobile for Pocket PC," the research group said.

For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 7:34:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

In Japan, the ima doko (where are you now) service allows parents to track the location of their children through a mobile handset or a P-doco?mini device. One can pull up location data using the internet or even with a 3G NTT Docomo handset to see location data on a map (scroll down for sample maps displayed on the i-mode handset.

This flash animation shows a Japanese mother pulling up a map that locates her daughter's mobile handset.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 7:07:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has news of a joint ITU-T Workshop and IMTC Forum 2006 on "H.323, SIP: is H.325 next?" to be held 9-11 May 2006 in San Diego, California. 

The rollout of NGN will bring with it in a new era of multimedia communications and with that a need to consider updating or replacing the currently used H.323 and SIP multimedia protocols. The question is whether to pursue development of a new protocol and a new generation of multimedia communication systems, or define new multimedia capabilities and functionality for existing protocols. Perhaps some consideration needs to be given to service control interface specifications. With work already underway in ITU on a new protocol dubbed H.325, the industry must decide whether to invest more time and resource into this pursuit. The answer to this question will be one of the more fundamental issues addressed at this IMTC Forum and ITU-T Workshop, which will have to consider: market acceptance/need and benefit to end users, service providers and to enterprise information technology (IT) staff.

More details on the workshop are available here. For a primer on H.325, see here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, February 26, 2006

Liberal political action group MoveOn.org is organizing a petition drive against America Online's certified email service, whereby advertisers could pay a per-message fee to guarantee their messages will bypass AOL's spam filtering technologies and be delivered directly to AOL users.

Claiming the service amounts to an "email tax" by granting large email senders preferential access to AOL users mailboxes, while leaving other email users (like small businesses, friends, family members, charities, and co-workers) in the dark, wondering if their mail will get through.

For more information, please click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 12:55:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ahmed Bin Ali, Manager Corporate Communications, Etisalat, said: 'We are happy to make this option available to all our valued customers, and we are empowering them to be able to decide what content they receive and from whom. Our customers have shown interest in a service like this, and we have taken all the steps to make this option available at the earliest.'

For more information, please click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 12:50:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Programs that fight viruses have become a necessary evil on Windows PCs. Now the antivirus industry is turning its attention to mobile phones, but it's running into reluctance from cell service providers, who aren't so sure that the handset is the best place to handle security.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 12:46:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 24, 2006

The proliferation of mobile communications in developing countries has the potential to bring a wide range of financial services to an entirely new customer base. This report explores the use of mobile phones to expand financial services in the Philippines.

The proliferation of mobile communications in developing countries has the potential to bring a wide range of financial services to an entirely new customer base, according to a new report commissioned by the Information for Development Program (infoDev) in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the GSM Association.

For more information on the Report, please click here.

Click here to read the Report.

Friday, February 24, 2006 5:38:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 17, 2006

ITU Study Group 15 (Study Group focusing on access network transport and optical technology) has consented a Recommendation that will address a key concern in the evolution to next generation networks (NGN).

With the proposed move to packet switched networks, carriers, mobile operators and system integrators all have a need to support time-division multiplexing (TDM) over packet networks. TDM, experts say, today forms all of the transmission network and a good part of the access network.

The role of this Rec - G.8261 - is to outline the requirements for the support of a crucial part of TDM's operation in packet networks. The Recommendation's authors say that without proper synchronization, applications such as mobile telephony simply will not work.

G.8261 analyses synchronization aspects in packet networks, with particular focus on the Ethernet, and outlines the minimum requirements for the synchronization function of network elements. In particular it focuses on the transport of synchronization information required for the transport of TDM signals over packet networks. The transport of SDH signals is for further study.

Read more about Study Group 15 activities.

Friday, February 17, 2006 3:30:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the behest of the GSM Association (GSMA), fifteen network operators have founded a joint initiative against the spread of spam via mobile communications networks and published a "Code of Practice" (PDF file).

The initiative is focusing on spam sent as a text message or MMS, which has been divided into three categories: first, advertising that the cell phone user did not request; second, messages that directly or indirectly lead to calls of expensive premium services; and third, fraudulent content, such as the spoofs familiar to users of fixed Internet.

For more information, click here.

Friday, February 17, 2006 11:52:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Eli Noam: Moore’s Law at risk from industry of delay:

"So, in technology, Moore’s Law is alive and well. But technology does not operate in a vacuum. No business or government institution can change at 50 per cent a year. While stability and tradition are important, if a fundamental technology progresses far beyond society’s ability to absorb its impacts, a growing disconnection occurs. When, in the 19th century, technology proceeded at a rapid pace while social institutions did not, the results were upheavals and revolutions. Today, again, the key elements of the information economy are progressing at a scorching rate, while private and public institutions are lagging behind.

Examples include the way the US lost leadership in mobile wireless and broadband internet because of interminable governmental processes in spectrum allocation. Around the world, it has taken more than a decade to set the rules on interconnection among telecommunciation carriers, and they are still far from settled. This has slowed the entry of new-style carriers.

The question of whether new broadband services should be treated in the same time-consuming way as traditional telecommunication has tied regulators in knots and recently created a confrontation between Brussels and Germany. In South Korea, video over the internet requires a broadcasting licence, which has slowed how much the network is used. Patent offices every­where are falling behind their workload. It may soon take more than five years to get a patent in the US."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 12:49:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Via Brough's Communications blog comes news that the GSM Association has announced a new instant messaging initiative.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 10:19:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 13, 2006

The ITU is hosting a workshop on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) from 14-15 February 2006, bringing the spotlight on the emergence of a so-called "Internet of Things", enabling ubiquitous network connectivity, anytime and anywhere. The agenda and an accompanying press release are available.

Update: The workshop is being audiocast live and archived.

Monday, February 13, 2006 11:23:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 06, 2006

More regulation while competition is increasing? That does not sound right, according to the GSM Association. Instead, given the innovative nature of 3GSM, its embryonic status and the current lack of market and legal certainty, regulatory forbearance is advisable.

10 Regulatory Principles:

1. Regulators should continue to seek a balance between the benefits and costs of intervention, on the one hand, and regulatory forbearance, on the other.

An overly interventionist approach, which could lead to short-term benefits, could potentially stifle a dynamic market process with inevitable and adverse competitive, economic and even social consequences on the longer term. In general, competition is deemed to be a better approach to economic efficiency than regulation, and the regulators must encourage sustainable competition for the long term.

2. Regulation should be based on clearly defined goals and policy objectives and should be kept to the minimum necessary to meet these objectives.

Once effective competition is established or there is a reasonable prospect of a effectively competitive market in the near term, regulatory forbearance should prevail (with competition law providing appropriate safeguards).

3. Regulators should acknowledge that 'normal' competitive markets reflect a range of operator return and should not intervene in competitive markets where one or more operators' return appears to be above the 'norm'.

In the mobile market, the reality is that some operators have made good returns (on invested capital), while others have not. This situation is not of itself a cause to regulate away 'excess profits'. If a regulator judges from the highest standard, and regulates accordingly, then the less performing companies will unavoidably hit, thus further reducing already inadequate returns and threatening long term competitive development.

4. Regulation should fit (reflect) the market situation and balance the micro and macro views.

For example, when in certain cases mobile termination or roaming charges may appear high to regulators in certain countries, these cannot be judged in isolation.

5. Regulators should be publicly accountable and act in a transparent way.

Regulatory intervention should only be imposed after an appropriate public consultation process, which in most cases, will include market definition and assessment and a further assessment as to the appropriate regulatory remedy. A full right of appeal both on grounds of law (substance) and procedure (process) is an essential element of the checks and balances, which are necessary between operators and regulators.

6. Governments should adopt licensing practices that encourage new investments in telecommunication infrastructures and facilitate competition within the sector.

Un-harmonized license award procedures together with varying license conditions/obligations may lead to varying investment incentives in national markets and may eventually give rise to some discrepancy with respect to the levels of mobile service developments. Licensing policies and procedures must be applied judiciously] since not only they can influence market entry but also the post-entry conditions affecting competitiveness and market development. For auctions to contribute positively to economic welfare, they must meet a set of stringent preconditions (all potential bidders must be fully informed as to any Government imposed terms and conditions, including fees and changes to fees). When designing auctions, policy-makers should seek to achieve efficient resource allocation rather than primarily aiming to raise surplus government revenue. High license fees in some developed countries may constrain the ability of operators to invest in developing countries.

7. Spectrum should be allocated on the basis of achieving economically efficient, competitive and structurally desirable outcomes rather than to extract monopoly rents from the industry.

If the market is the best allocator of scarce resources, as most economists would argue, it is important that countries should be able to develop their own spectrum trading arrangements. In principle, regulators should allow for secondary trading of spectrum within planned internationally frequency allocations, after a thorough consultation process with the industry (i.e. mobile operators) evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of spectrum trading.

8. The feasibility and commercial desirability of sharing of facilities and infrastructure is a matter, which is operator and market specific.

In certain circumstances, sharing can be beneficial by, for instance, driving efficiencies through accelerated network rollout, the potential elimination of unnecessary cost duplication and the minimization of certain adverse environmental impacts. Accordingly, regulators should enable commercial negotiations on facility sharing among mobile operators to proceed subject however to license conditions not prohibiting the proposed form of sharing and competition not being materially and adversely impacted by the proposed form of sharing.

9. Restrictions on the deployment of mobile networks should be based on science and substantiated studies, and not in response to 'public concern' which is without scientific basis.

10. Adequate consumer safeguards against the inappropriate use of customer data are in place in most countries.

In overseeing the implementation of those safeguards, regulators should balance the interests of consumers to data privacy, on the one hand, and timely and easy access to services and information on the other. Further, regulators should look first to relevant self-regulatory industry initiatives to achieve those objectives.

Monday, February 06, 2006 2:26:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has published updated indicators on mobile penetration and growth in India. TRAI reports that:

"India has become one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world. The mobile services were commercially launched in August 1995 in India. In the initial 5-6 years the average monthly subscribers additions were around 0.05 to 0.1 million only and the total mobile subscribers base in December 2002 stood at 10.5 millions. However, after the number of proactive initiatives taken by regulator and licensor, the monthly mobile subscriber additions increased to around 2 million per month in the year 2003-04 and 2004-05. For the year 2005-06, the first 9 months have seen an addition of 26 million mobile subscribers, which translates into average addition of 3 million subscribers monthly. The additions in the month of December 2005 alone have touched around 4.5 million."

With currently about 76 million subscribers, TRAI says that monthly mobile growth rates have reached those of its neighbour, China.

Monday, February 06, 2006 1:01:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pan Asia Networking (PAN) at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is pleased to share two interactive maps with you. The first of these maps provides information about the ICT market structure, regulatory functions, and the national regulatory agency for countries in Asia. You can access the map here.

The second map provides a list of indicators (including population, GDP per capita, main telephone lines, mobile cellular subscribers, radios, televisions, and internet users) in Asia since 2001. In addition, this map allows one to compare an indicator across up to three countries. An animated instruction guide for this map is attached. You can access the map here.

Monday, February 06, 2006 8:25:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 27, 2006

At an early December meeting of ITU-T's Study Group 2, agreement on the allocation of a high-revenue international short message service (SMS) number to two international organisations for the purpose of fundraising was made. An official announcement in ITU-T's Operational Bulletin will be made following the decision of the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

The number +979 0767 was granted following a request from the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It will allow the two organizations to launch relief campaigns across national boundaries, and will encourage regular donations by introducing a recognisable and non-changing number. The 767 portion of the number spells out SOS.

Texting emerged as a popular way to contribute to relief efforts during fundraising for the earthquake in Bam , Iran , 2003 and the 2004 Asian tsunami. [via the ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, January 27, 2006 12:47:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 23, 2006

An entry on Richard Stastny's blog (VoIP and ENUM) points to a number of interesting presentations made at an ERO hosted event on scenarios for NGN naming, numbering and addressing, interconnection and QoS.

Monday, January 23, 2006 1:33:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Another take on marketing the Internet of Things (via IP). The source can be found here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 9:55:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Malaysia has recently launched its latest 5 year ICT master plan called MyICMS 886.

[Via James Seng's blog]

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:14:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The European Commission has released a new draft proposal to update the EU's "TV without Frontiers" Directive. In a press release, the Commission notes the proposal is intended to keep pace with rapid technological and market developments in Europe’s audiovisual sector. Highlights from the press release:

  • The proposal will create a level playing field for all companies that offer TV-like services, irrespective of the technology used to deliver them (e.g. broadcast, high-speed broadband, third generation mobiles).
  • The Commission proposes replacing disparate national rules on protection of minors, against incitement to racial hatred and against surreptitious advertising with a basic, EU-wide minimum standard of protection for audiovisual on demand services.
  • Under the Commission proposal, the modernised TV without Frontiers Directive would govern TV and TV-like services. To open up the present EU rules to technological developments, the proposal distinguishes between “linear” services (e.g. scheduled broadcasting via traditional TV, the internet, or mobile phones, which “pushes” content to viewers), and “non-linear” ones, such as on-demand films or news, which the viewer “pulls” from a network. Today’s TV broadcasting rules would apply to linear services in a modernised, more flexible form, whereas non-linear ones would be subject only to a basic set of minimum principles, e.g. to protect minors, prevent incitement to racial hatred and outlaw surreptitious advertising.
  • More flexible advertising rules: For scheduled broadcasting, the Commission proposes to remove red tape, make existing rules more flexible for new forms of advertising, and encourage self- and co-regulation. Instead of detailed prescriptions on how often and under which conditions programmes may be interrupted by advertising, the modernised Directive would simplify the existing EU rules. In the future, broadcasters would be able to choose the best moment to insert advertising in programmes, rather than being obliged, as they are now, to allow at least 20 minutes between advertising breaks. However, the quantity of advertising would not be allowed to increase as the Commission proposes to maintain the existing 12 minutes per hour ceiling.
  • The new Directive would also support new forms of advertising, such as split-screen, virtual and interactive advertising. Product placement would, for the first time, be explicitly defined and provided with a clear legal framework. Except in news, current affairs and children’s programmes, clearly identified product placement would be permitted in Europe, both in linear and non-linear audiovisual services. To prevent surreptitious advertising, consumers would be informed at the start of a programme that product placement is in use. These new rules should remove legal uncertainty, provide additional funding for European productions and thus enhance the competitiveness of Europe’s audiovisual sector.

[Via Roger Darlington's blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:23:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The internet as we know it is set to transform radically, according to a new ITU Internet Report entitled The Internet of Things, specially prepared to coincide with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis in November 2005. From an academic network for the chosen few created in the late 1960s, the internet is now a mass-market, consumer-oriented network being accessed by over 900 million people worldwide, through personal computers, mobile phones and other wireless devices. But this is only the beginning. According to ITU’s report, we are standing on the brink of a new ubiquitous computing and communication era, one that will radically transform the Internet, and with it, our corporate, community, and personal spheres. The new ITU report looks at key enabling technologies for ubiquity (e.g. RFID, sensors and sensor networks, telematics, robotics, nanotechnology) and how they might impact the future human and technological landscape.

At WSIS, the report was launched at a Press Conference and Panel Debate moderated by Kenn Cukier of The Economist. The lively debate included the following speakers and panelists: Nicholas Negroponte - MIT Media Lab, Olivier Baujard - CTO of Alcatel, Hitomi Murakami - VP General Manager of KDDI (Japan), Jonathan Murray - VP and CTO, Microsoft EMEA, Walid Moneimne, Senior VP and Head of EMEA Networks - Nokia, John Gage, Chief Researcher and Director of the Science Office - Sun Microsystems, and from the ITU, Lara Srivastava, lead author of the report.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 4:59:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Dr. Roger Marks, the Chair of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access has announced that a mobile version of IEEE 802.16 has been approved (now officially called IEEE Std 802.16-2004). The amended standard specifies a system for combined fixed and mobile BWA supporting subscriber stations moving at vehicular speeds in licensed bands under 6 GHz. The official press release announcement can be found here. The WiMAX Forum will now expand their certification process to include mobile as well as fixed systems.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 2:22:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The WSIS Stocktaking Report has been officially launched during the World Summit on the Infrmation Society in Tunis. The report has been prepared on the basis of activities entered to the WSIS Stocktaking Database that by November 2005 contained more then 2500 entries. 

For the launch presentation see Stocktaking.pdf (1.47 MB).

For the WSIS Stocktaking Database see here

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:50:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 11, 2005

From the soon to be released ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things comes this fresh survey data showing the breakdown of 3G mobile technologies according to markets. ITU research shows CDMA 2000 1x technology currently has 115 million subscribers while W-CDMA technology has 18.8 million subscribers at the end of 2004. 

 

Friday, November 11, 2005 4:35:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the soon to be released ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things comes this fresh survey data showing the top 10 3G mobile markets worldwide, by millions of subscribers and type of technology (CDMA 2000 1x and W-CDMA) at the end of 2004. The USA leads in total number of 3G subscribers with 49.5 million (16.7% of the population) but the Republic of Korea has the highest national percentage with 57.4 of the population using 3G services (27.5 million subscribers).

Friday, November 11, 2005 3:55:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 20, 2005

NTT Docomo has announced a new 3G handset that can receive S-band satellite broadcasting. Korea has also deployed what it calls Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) to handsets in its native market. The definition of DMB according to a proposal from Korea to the ITU Standardization Sector to include DMB in the reference architecture for NGN Release 2 efforts is:

DMB Service is the next generation digital broadcasting service for indoor and outdoor users. The DMB users can enjoy CD quality stereo audio services and real-time video/data streaming services anywhere while moving at the speed of up to 200 km/h. ...There are two kinds of DMB services, terrestrial DMB and satellite DMB.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:38:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Economic Impact of Telecommunications on Rural Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction: A study of rural communities in India (Gujarat), Mozambique and Tanzania. Project managed for the UK's DFID by Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation.

The last five years have seen tremendous growth in telephone ownership and use in developing countries. Until the mid-1990s, telephones were only available in the urban centres of poor countries. Some African countries had telephone densities as low as one per thousand people. Since then, mobile telephone networks have spread rapidly in most low income countries. Many people, even in low income communities, now own telephones; and most adults make some use of them, wherever they are available, usually relying on public kiosks, phone shops or airtime bought from individual phone owners. The mobile phone has become a symbol of the use of new information and communication technologies (or ICTs) in the developing world.

But what impact has the telephone had on livelihoods – on how people live their lives, protect themselves against vulnerability and take opportunities for a more prosperous future? Do people use the telephone for social or business purposes? How important is it to them in emergencies? Does it make a difference to how they obtain the information they need to run their lives? And how does it fit into the pattern of other communication channels they have available?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 7:20:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 17, 2005

The Finnish technical research center VTT has developed a new technology that makes it possible to identify the user based on their physical movements such as walking style. This feature is said to prevent unauthorized use of portable devices such as laptops or mobile phones. The research center said that in the future this technology could also be used for credit cards to verify a user's identify based on their physical movements before approval of payment transactions.

The new identification system provides users with the advantage of increased security and reduced risk in situations where a portable computer, mobile phone or other digital device has ended up in the wrong hands due to loss or theft. The technology makes the device non-usable in the wrong hands. For example, the identity of a mobile phone user can be verified before the phone can be used for banking transactions. Compared with passwords and traditional bio-identification, the new method is simple: confirmation of identity takes place as a background process without any need for user's intervention.

For more information go to IT News Online.

Monday, October 17, 2005 6:56:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 30, 2005

European Commission press release on advancing a single market for radio spectrum:

The new Commission strategy in addition advocates overcoming the rigidity of traditional radio spectrum management approaches, where administrations tie usage rights of individual spectrum bands to specific transmission technologies and too narrow service definitions such as broadcasting or mobile communications. A greater flexibility in access to spectrum will give market players more freedom to use radio resources as they choose. This is an essential condition for achieving the full potential of radio spectrum resources and for keeping pace with technological advances and convergence both of technology platforms and of services.

As part of its spectrum reform strategy, the Commission also proposes that, between now and 2010, the exclusive usage rights for significant parts of the radio spectrum ought to be made tradable according to common EU rules. Independent estimates indicate that significant net gains (around €8-9 billion/year) could be achieved by introducing market mechanisms in order to put spectrum to its most promising uses throughout the EU.

As a de-regulated access to spectrum can encourage the development and use of innovative technologies, the Commission’s new strategy inally foresees investigating further the opportunities to make available licence-free radio frequencies to allow different users to share bands as lready the case for WiFi radio access. This will ultimately widen the choice of the wireless applications for the consumer.

Friday, September 30, 2005 7:31:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 29, 2005

According to Computer Business Review Online, NeuStar Inc has won a high-profile contract to provide internet addressing services for the world's GSM carriers, the company announced yesterday. NeuStar will operate a private root DNS server system serving the .gprs suffix, which will only be usable by participating GSMA member companies.

Update: There has been a lot of subsequent debate about the significance of this deal (mostly on Dave Farber's IP list and Nanog). In this post, James Seng tries to sum up what he sees are the main issues and points to the viewpoints of some other experts.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 2:21:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 26, 2005

To further encourage the development of a ubiquitous network society, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley are hosting a Workshop on "Tomorrow's Network Today" that will be held in Saint-Vincent (Aosta), Italy on 7-8 October 2005.

This Workshop will discuss specific measures to help overcome potential challenges and determine possible future actions.

One session will be dedicated to Next Generation Networks (NGN) as a framework to harmonize the worldwide technical and functional basis needed to extend the use of integrated ICTs to as many users as possible.

During the workshop there will be an Exhibition which will bring together a wide range of leading industry participants as well as high-level representatives from government and regulators.

Click here for more information about the event.

Monday, September 26, 2005 9:46:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 12, 2005

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), in collaboration with the Attorney-General's Chambers of Singapore (AGC), has issued a second public consultation paper on the proposed Spam Control Bill in Singapore. The proposed Spam Control Bill includes, in addition to email spam, legal measures to manage mobile spam in Singapore. The Bill also proposes that anyone who suffers damages or loss arising from spam be given the right to initiate legal action against non-compliant spammers. The draft Bill also proposes that if found guilty, non-compliant spammers can be directed by the court to stop their spamming activities or pay damages to the affected parties.

Details on the proposed Spam Control Bill can be found on the IDA website.

This information was accessed through James Seng's blog.

Monday, September 12, 2005 5:01:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) recently announced a Public Consultations on Number Portability and as well as results of their Numbers Auction inconjunction with the launch of ENUM pilot trials. 

1. Public Consultation on Number Portability (pdf)
IDA intends to review the implementation for number portability for fixed line and mobile telecommunications services in Singapore. The review is in with IDA's policy objectives of promoting competition in the infocommunications sector to benefit of consumers and businesses in Singapore .

According to James Seng's blog; what Singapore currently has "Call Forwarding" and the country is aiming trying to move to "Onward Routing" or "All Call Query". Both will provide true number portability (ie, the Caller ID will match your number) but the true significance is in the efficiency of the system. If a small percentage of users do number port, then Onward Routing is more efficient and if a large percentage of users do number port, then All Call Query will be more efficient.

2. IDA Announces Results of Numbers Auction & Launches ENUM Pilot Trial
To ensure that Singapore's scarce number resources are managed in an efficient, objective and transparent manner, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) announced the results of its fixed-line, Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and mobile numbers auctions conducted in early September 2005. At the auction, 4 operators got "3" level number (ie. +65 3xxx xxxx).

To leverage on the convergence of Internet and telecommunications technologies and to take advantage of the wide range of applications supported by such convergence, IDA is also inviting companies to participate in an Electronic Numbering (ENUM) pilot trial to see how numbers can be used innovatively for multiple services in addition to IP Telephony. The IP Telephony numbers auction and ENUM pilot trial is a follow-up from IDA's launch of the IP Telephony and ENUM policy framework in June 2005. The framework is designed to facilitate the entry of companies interested in offering IP Telephony services in Singapore and is expected to bring about reduced costs and more choices in providing telephone services.

For further information, see the IDA website and James Seng's blog.

Monday, September 12, 2005 11:22:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 03, 2005

China mobile phone subscribers totals 363 million: China had 363.2 million mobile phone subscribers and 337.4 million fixed-line telephone subscribers as of the end of June, accounting for 28% and 26% of its current population, according to statistics published by China’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII). For Internet-access services, China had 31.7 million broadband subscribers, of which 21.9 million (69.1%) used xDSL.

From DigiTimes via Ewan Sutherland's weblog.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 6:31:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 3:44:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 10:44:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 21, 2005

Finnish citizens are to be offered the opportunity to use mobile telephones equipped with digital certificates to identify themselves when conducting business online.

The first SIM cards equipped with the security certificate are now being offered by Elisa, Finland's second-largest mobile network operator, for official transactions with the Finnish Population Register Centre.

If, for example, a citizen wants to register a move to a new home online, he opens the corresponding page on the Internet, fills out the form, and receives a message from the registration office on his mobile telephone requesting him to enter his mobile signature for the online request. The citizen enters a personal PIN to permit the generation of the digital signature. This is generated by the SIM card and returned to the registration office as a special encrypted message.

Citizens who want to use the mobile signature can register at a local police station and sign up for the service. The 128KB, Java-based SIM cards have been supplied by Giesecke & Devrient and are currently available at selected Elisa outlets.

By the end of 2005, the Finnish OKO Bank, the social insurance agency, the Tax Administration, as well as the Ministry of Labour want to offer the mobile citizen certificate as a new form of authentication for their services.

The article above was published on the Finextra.com website.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 11:11:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A brief history of mobile phone texting in the United Kingdom described below.
(Source: Media Center):

  • The first text message was sent in December 1992.
  • SMS was launched commercially for the first time in 1995.
  • 1998 - Interconnect between UK Operators O2, Orange, Vodafone and T-Mobile.
  • The first recorded monthly text message total was 5.4 million, in April 1998.
  • The first TV programme to use text messaging in a storyline was Eastenders, in 2000.
  • August 2001 was the first month in which over one billion messages were sent in the UK.
  • The first local and mayoral electoral vote in the UK by text message took place on 23rd May 2002.
  • December 2002 - 1 billion SMS per day were exchanged globally
  • On New Year's Day 2003, the number of text messages sent in one day topped one hundred million for the first time.
  • 92 million text messages were sent by Britons on Valentine's Day 2005
  • In December 2004, 2.4 billion text messages were sent in Britain as the traditional Christmas card was dumped in favour of a seasonal text message.
  • A-Level - 81 million messages were sent throughout the UK on August 19th 2004, compared to 67 million text messages on A-level result day, August 14th 2003.
  • The Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP became the first UK Prime Minister to use text message technology to talk directly to the people on 25th November 2004, answering questions submitted in advance by text message from members of the public as well as in real-time in a mobile phone chat-room, transmitted live from No. 10 Downing Street.
  • On New Year's Day 2005, the total number of text messages sent reached 133 million, the highest recorded daily total.
  • Annual SMS totals: 1999 -1 billion; 2000 - 6.2 billion; 2001 - 12.2 billion; 2002 - 16.8 billion; 2003 - 20.5 billion; 2004 - 26 billion.
  • The MDA has forecast that a total 30 billion text messages will be sent in the UK by the end of 2005 compared to the figure of 26 billion for 2004.
  • 53 million UK subscribers were registered as active on UK networks as of the end of September 2004, of which over 70% send text messages.
  • Text messages contribute up to 20 % of operator revenues.
  • 95% of 16-24 year olds use text messaging regularly, each sending an average of 100 texts per month In 2004, UK mobile phone owners sent an average of 72 million text messages on a typical day across the four UK GSM network operators
  • On average, over 3 million messages are sent every hour in Britain.
  • The peak hours for texting are between 10.30pm and 11.00pm.

The full article can be accessed here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 12:22:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 15, 2005

European Commission and roaming charges: The European Union is planning a web site to help cut mobile phone charges.

Phone companies charge consumers too much for using mobile phones while abroad, the European Commission stated, promising to publish details of charges in an effort to let market forces push down prices. The European Union executive has been probing international roaming charges for years amid accusations that mobile phone operators are ripping off customers who make mobile calls while on trips abroad. Together with telecoms regulators from the EU 25 nations, the Commission has now concluded that "retail charges in the European Union are currently very high without clear justification." Roaming charges are also very complex and murky for most users which prevents full competition, the Commission said. The Commission's remedy is a Web Site from this autumn that lists all charges when mobile phone users travel from one country to another, Commission spokesman Martin Selmayr told a daily news briefing.

Deutsche Telekom's (DTEGn.DE) T-Mobile unit rejected the Commission's charges. "We don't think that is justified. We have recently taken several measures to cut roaming fees and to make them more transparent. Apart from that, we can only pass on what the foreign operators charge us, and we see some discrepancies there especially when it comes to southern Europe," said a spokesman for T-Mobile International.

For the full story see Yahoo! news article (Reuters article)

Friday, July 15, 2005 11:56:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 02, 2005

In the framework of its Technology Watch activities, ITU-T has recently published a technical paper on radio frequency identification (RFID) and opportunities for its use in mobile telecommunication services. RFID enables data to be transmitted by a tiny portable device, called a tag, which is read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application. It is only recently that the technology has begun to take off in the mass market. Analysts predict that RFID will revolutionize areas of industry, such as supply chain management and the retail business, for example by reducing costs with better stock management. The technical paper presents several ideas for applications of RFID technology in mobile telecommunication services as well as possible areas for standardization efforts. Apart from purely technical concepts, the challenging aspects of security and privacy are discussed. A PowerPoint presentation of the paper is also available.

ITU-T recently set up a correspondence group on RFID in the framework of its Technology Watch and a dedicated e-mail reflector on the matter for initiating studies on the technology. Additionally, ITU-T is to hold a workshop on RFID standardization issues in the first quarter of 2006. [via ITU-T Newslog]

Thursday, June 02, 2005 12:15:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 26, 2005

Communications has a post on the recent IMTC Forum 2005: The Future of Next Generation Networks: Convergence of VoIP, Videoconferencing and Mobile, May 10-12, 2005.

The IMTC is an industry association best known for championing video telephony.  Many of the attendees have devoted 10, 15, even 20 years of effort to making video telephony work. 

All of the presentations made at the Forum are linked to in this document (Word) on the IMTC web site. Some presentations worth highlighting include:

Thursday, May 26, 2005 2:47:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies of the EC Joint Research Center (JRC) has released a report on the "Demand for Furture Mobile Communication Markets and Services in Europe". 

"In order to prepare for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Word Radio Conference in 2007 (WRC'07), where national delegations will consider the future demands of wireless services for radio spectrum, efforts are being made to reach agreement on future traffic volumes within the European Union. This study forms part of this effort and was led by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS1), on the request of DG INFSO. It aims to explore (qualitatively) the way that citizens will use future wireless communications services over mobile networks, and to assess (quantitatively) the traffic that will be generated by 2010, 2015 and 2020."

The report explores different possible scenarios for Europe for the future. "Disposable income determines consumption – what is bought and how it is bought. The failure to understand this or to grasp the real utility to the user of the service, combined with affordability and accessibility, has led to many errors in estimating demand for services in telecommunications. Too often, a technocentric view of new services has resulted in demand being vastly underestimated or overestimated. Thus while some of the biggest product launches in communications services over the past 20 years have delivered flops, seemingly trivial services have exploded. For instance, the impact of a simple service, SMS, has been greatly underestimated and was largely unforeseen by the industry."

"The initial European impacts over 2000 to 2004 of WAP (Wireless access protocol) for mobile web access to rich data services were greatly overestimated for its first form - only now is its utility being seen. We should also note that in wireless services, a regional market such as the European Union will be increasingly shaped by a global market. In 2020, there could be of the order of 5 billion mobile users, shaping technology, services, content and pricing."

For the full report, see here.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 9:12:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 22, 2005

Mobile Phones Change Ways Africans Live and Do Business

The rapid growth in mobile phone use throughout the developing world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, is helping to transform national economies, producing a thriving entrepreneurial class and marked growth in private capital, according to Leonard Waverman, an economist with the London Business School.

Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington May 5 on a panel of fellow economists and representatives of one of Europe’s largest wireless telephone providers, Vodafone UK, Waverman pointed to the extensive use of mobile phone accounts in the developing countries as a new source of economic development in Africa.

Although mobile phone penetration is only about 9 percent in Africa generally, mobile phones account for approximately 75 percent of all telephone connections in 19 of the poorest African countries, Waverman said, adding, "If you look at it globally, the growth in the number of mobile telephone subscribers in developing countries is twice that in the developed world"

In most instances, he explained, mobile phone infrastructure is easier to set up and cheaper to maintain than the standard fixed-line telecommunications systems that were technological holdovers from the colonial past and often controlled by the government. The new systems sidestep the control issue, have fewer technical problems and are having a noticeable effect on the future of telecommunications in Africa, as antiquated analog networks are being replaced with newer digital ones.

Scott Wallsten, formerly an economist at the World Bank and now a fellow at AEI, added that "mobile telephony often succeeds in developing countries because state monopolies rarely view [the companies] as a threat -- until they are established. By then, the investment has been made, and the customer base has already been set up."

Waverman stressed that a good communications network is important in producing economic growth in developing nations by transforming the enterprise sector and spreading wealth as far as the voice can be carried through the ether.

"Information is power. Providing information to everyone takes the power away from the few. And we are seeing this [dynamic] occurring across much of Africa today. We are seeing the emergence of a new middle class," he said, as new businesses and businessmen emerge with new capital for growth.

[US Dept of State via my weblog]

Sunday, May 22, 2005 9:13:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Lucent Bets on Wireless and IMS

In a tail-wags-dog story, Lucent Technologies, long associated with telecom big iron, is literally throwing its weight and its product development into the air. “We see the wireline business eroding. Mobility has higher growth, and it appears mobility is the best target for the new services architecture—IMS (IP multimedia subsystem),” said Rand Edwards, Lucent’s director of strategy and marketing-network operations software group.

Lucent will make its migration policy very clear at next week’s Telemanagement World conference in Nice, France, where it will showcase its IMS-driven VitalSuite software, demonstrating how service providers can migrate it into their systems to expand offerings into more complex architectures that start first with next-gen services and applications on wireless networks.

Canadian wireless operator Telus has bought into the VitalSuite for its trouble-patterning capabilities to do detailed network surveillance through analysis and network problem identification.

IMS “is a pretty complex service delivery platform and being able to isolate where a problem might be occurring gets more difficult (and) might not be observable from a traditional fault or performance type of view,” Edwards said. “This type of diagnosis or analysis is going to become increasingly important.”

From [Telecom Flash via my weblog]

Mobile | NGN | Standards
Sunday, May 22, 2005 3:23:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 19, 2005

Japan's Vodafone K.K. announced today (PDF) new anti-spam measures to make its Vodafone live! mobile internet service more dependable for customers. As a measure to prevent nuisance mails, the number of SMS that can be sent to from a Vodafone K.K. 3G handset within one day will be limited to 500 starting 31 May 2005. Handsets that exceed this limit will not be able to send additional SMS for the following 20 days.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 11:04:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 13, 2005

A policy paper funded by Vodafone provides insights into the economic and social impacts of mobile telecommunication. Recognizing that mobile telephony has a positive and significant impact on economic growth, and this impact may be twice as large in developing countries as in developed countries.

Through the study, researchers found that "people in Africa use mobile phones very differently. Most strikingly is the accessibility of mobile as the overall impact of mobile extends well beyond what might be suggested by the number of subscriptions alone."

For more information, see the report summary and key facts or click here to download the report in full.
Friday, May 13, 2005 10:32:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 04, 2005

CommsWatch has a post on the challenges to content regulation with convergence:

"It is not obvious why, in a news item today, the "Guardian" should highlight the challenge to conventional regulation of broadcasting posed by the growing trend to put broadcast material over the Internet. After all, it was 20 January 2005 when Ofcom published its Annual Plan for 2005/06 which contained the following statements:

  • "We will prepare for further change, for example, by examining how digital platforms and services are likely to evolve and the implications for regulation, including regulatory withdrawal. (para. 1.5)
  • "We will also look forward by conducting a review of digital, multi-media platforms. We hope this will facilitate a wide-ranging public debate about whether content, including internet content, could or should be regulated in a converged world, and, if so, how. (para. 2.15)
  • "In setting the agenda for media literacy, we will complete a major research programme and seek to identify areas of concern relating to emerging communications technology and services, particularly relating to fixed and mobile internet content. We will encourage public debate and engagement on key issues such as labelling. (para. 3.30)
  • We will carry out a review of digital platforms that will address the regulatory issues associated with content becoming available via a range of different media. (para. 3.47) andWe hope this review will facilitate a wide-ranging public debate about the future development of content and the implications for regulation, if any. (para. 3.48)
  • "Media literacy agenda setting: Identify areas of concern relating to emerging communications technology and services, particularly relating to fixed and mobile internet content, and encourage public debate. (Annex 3, section 3)

There [i]s obviously a theme here: Ofcom wants a debate on Internet content and it intends to encourage, facilitate and inform such a debate. It is now up to broadcasters, Internet service providers, and others to engage in that debate. Today's "Guardian" piece suggests that the issue has "come to a head" because of the European Commission's review of the Television Without Frontiers Directive. However, it was 21 March 2005 when the new European Commissioner Viviane Reding used a speech to the Council of Presidents of UNICE in Brussels to state:

  • "Let me be clear. The Television without Frontiers Directive can no longer just be concerned with broadcasting. Television is now on the Internet; it is also going mobile. Admittedly, for the moment TV on the internet is small scale but it will grow. We have to make sure it grows strongly and correctly. And for this we need the right, modern framework. I will only regulate this new market where absolutely necessary in the concerns of European citizens for diversity, quality, decency and safety from abusive uses. Also, convergence means increased competition between media. This indicates relaxing regulatory restrictions to leave more to the market and to consumer choice than in the traditional media world. In particular, I am thinking about easing advertising restrictions.""
Wednesday, May 04, 2005 11:59:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 03, 2005
 Monday, May 02, 2005

Dissemination and Acquisition of Knowledge in a Mobile Age (PDF), Paper Abstract (PDF), presented by Lara Srivastava, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, 28 April 2005, Seeing, Learning and Understanding in a Mobile Age, Institute for Philosophical Research - Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Budapest, Hungary). The conference website and other papers are available here.

Monday, May 02, 2005 10:19:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 29, 2005

The May/June 2005 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine has an article entitled Down to the Wire by Thomas Bleha with the summary:

  • Once a leader in Internet innovation, the United States has fallen far behind Japan and other Asian states in deploying broadband and the latest mobile-phone technology. This lag will cost it dearly. By outdoing the United States, Japan and its neighbors are positioning themselves to be the first states to reap the benefits of the broadband era: economic growth, increased productivity, and a better quality of life.
Friday, April 29, 2005 7:40:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 28, 2005

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) has published its statistics on the number of Internet Users in FY2004. Over 75 million Japanese access the Internet through mobile phones. [via my weblog]

Thursday, April 28, 2005 12:52:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 22, 2005

Telecommunications Magazine has an article on ITU's recent Ubiquitous Network Societies workshop.

  • So what does ubiquitous really mean? One take has a future where everything is connected to everything else by some type of wireless network. Alongside this is a future that sees superconvergence of everything from fixed to mobile networks spanning multi-platforms, multi-functions and multi-applications.
  • In short, it sounds like the long-held dream of all telecom professionals everywhere, providing services and applications to everyone regardless of their location. “Technology and network access will become an afterthought to daily activities,” predicts [ITU Secretary-General Yoshio] Utsumi.
Friday, April 22, 2005 11:04:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 21, 2005

According to new ITU research, here are the top 10 mobile operators by proportionate subscribers in the world, as of December 2004. China Mobile is in first place with over 204 million subscribers.

Thursday, April 21, 2005 1:25:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Niklas Zennström's keynote presentation (PowerPoint) entitled A Vision For Global Telephony from the Voice on the Net Canada 2005 conference. [via Jeff Pulver Blog]

Mobile | VoIP | Wireless
Wednesday, April 20, 2005 2:57:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

VoIP and ENUM, Om Malik and Stuart note that Lenn Pryor, Channel 9 founder, is leaving Microsoft and joining Skype. VoIP and ENUM also points to news of SkypeMobile in MobileMag:

At the Voice On the Net (VON) conference in Toronto, Skype Technologies co-founder and CEO Niklas Zennstrom reported that a mobile version of Skype will be available this year.

“We will encourage hardware manufacturers to deploy Skype on their devices.” said Zennstrom. SkypeMobile for mobile devices (our unofficial name for the new Skype) will be targeted to hardware manufacturers for integration into new dual-mode (GPRS + WiFi) mobile devices once made available to carriers. Our guess is that whichever manufacturer will adopt Skype first is the platform SkypeMobile will be released for.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 6:25:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The UK mobile phone operators, O2, Orange, TMobile, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and 3, have today appointed a body to oversee the self-classification of new forms of adult commercial content on mobiles. The new body, which is named the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB), is a subsidiary of premium rate regulator ICSTIS, and has been formed for this purpose. It has now launched a classification framework (press release (Word)) against which providers of commercial content to mobile subscribers will be able to self-classify new forms of content such as still images and video clips. [Via Ewan Sutherland's blog]

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 2:22:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 04, 2003

At the next meeting of ITU-T Study Group 16, an important high-performance video encoding/decoding standard is likely to be approved, entitled Recommendation H.264, "Advanced Video Coding for Generic Audiovisual Services". H.264 is the result of work by the Joint Video Team (JVT) which combined the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). This article in vnunet.com discusses a possible application of the emerging standard, which includes videoconferencing, digital storage media, television broadcasting, and Internet streaming (also see this earlier vnunet.com article and CNET article. H.264 can deliver the same quality as MPEG-2 (e.g. used in DVD players) but with much less bandwidth.

Friday, April 04, 2003 4:17:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 26, 2003

[from E M E R G I C . o r g] Rafe Needleman writes about Opera in his article Browsers on Cellphones on the new generation of web browsers for cellphones (like the Sony Ericsson P800). The PC was where the action was in 1996, but it's not where it is today. Today the most interesting technological developments are happening in game consoles, handhelds, and cell phones. That's also where the money is: Some 400 million cell phones are sold worldwide each year, yet only 137 million PCs will be sold in 2003, according to Gartner.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003 1:37:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 14, 2003

According to a press release by the Mobile Data Association (MDA), the total number of chargeable person-to-person text [SMS] messages sent across the four UK GSM networks in 2002 totalled 16.8 billion.

  • "For the year ahead the MDA forecasts continued growth with text messaging expected to reach 20 billion for 2003, equating to 55 million messages per day compared to an average of 43 million for 2002. The MDA will monitor the situation with a monthly statistics review - every month the MDA will post the numbers along with a reconsidered forecast for the 2003 figures on its website www.text.it."
Friday, February 14, 2003 4:30:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

3G News is reporting that Korea Telecom will start beam 9 TV channels to 3G phone users this month for for about 25,000 South-Korean Won (about US$ 21) per hour.

Friday, February 14, 2003 2:57:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Infosync has an in-depth review of the new Sony Ericsson's P800, the first palm-sized Symbian OS converged mobile. Not surprisingly, one of the first applications ported to the P800 is Doom.

Friday, February 14, 2003 2:47:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 13, 2003
 Friday, February 07, 2003

Paul Klemperer, the Edgeworth Professor of Economics, Oxford University, advisor to the UK government on its spectrum auctions, argued in an article in the Financial Times in November 2002 that 3G spectrum auctions should not be considered the culprit for the telecom industry woes (PDF).

Friday, February 07, 2003 2:31:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 31, 2003

The IEEE has just announced it has approved the 802.16a extension to the 802.16 broadband wireless access (BWA) standard. See Roger Marks' tutorial on 802.16 (Zipped PowerPoint) to understand why this is important for providing broadband wireless access. 802.16a provides improved support for mesh networks, where each subscriber access point is also part of the routing infrastructure. For a general overview of the growing interest in non-line-of-sight wireless broadband systems, see the IEEE's Spectrum article: Wireless Broadband in a Box. For a more in-depth technical explanation with regard to mesh networks, see Dave Beyer's recent (November 2002) presentation on Wireless Mesh Networks for Residential Broadband (PDF), demonstrating some extremely important characteristics of mesh networks, namely:

  • mesh coverage and robustness improves exponentially as subscribers are added;
  • rapid area coverage with only a few subscribers (easy to seed);
  • increasing subscriber density increases overall network capacity.

Some earlier articles here on mesh networks can be found in "Cheap Wireless Mesh Networks", "Watch this airspace and parasitic networks" and "Seeding Mesh Networks".

Friday, January 31, 2003 2:37:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Easing Wireless War in India: "India's telecommunications regulator has announced a new pricing system in an effort to temper an intense fight over interconnections and revenue sharing in the country's fiercely competitive wireless market, one of the fastest growing in the world." [New York Times: Technology]

Wednesday, January 29, 2003 11:34:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 24, 2003
Friday, January 24, 2003 2:32:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 23, 2003

Guy Kewney's Mobile Campaign has a fascinating article on Locustworld's affordable wireless mesh network solution, Meshbox. LinuxDevices.com has a primer explaining the MeshBox - a Linux-powered wireless mesh repeater by Jon Anderson, its creator.  As Guy Kewney's article notes: "However, there are going to be some controversial areas in the Locustworld experiment. The cheekiest move was the setting up of an IP address numbering authority, WIANA, or The Wireless Internet Assigned Numbers Authority." Also see my earlier articles on wireless mesh/parasitic/symbiotic networks in Watch this airspace and parasitic networks and Seeding Mesh Networks.

Thursday, January 23, 2003 2:08:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Looks like Hutchison 3G UK, a unit of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, will be the first to deploy 3G production services in Europe branded "3" although the launch date is still unclear (there's a "Founder" program for early users). They've released their prices and list of initial and planned services.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002 10:34:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Coinciding with ITU TELECOM Asia 2002,  the ITU has published its 5th edition of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Indicators. A presentation (PDF) with highlights and extracts is available as is a related summary of the report. The report demonstrates the Asia-Pacific region has now become the world's largest telecom market. Asia-Pacific also leads in advanced Internet technologies such as broadband access and mobile data. The Republic of Korea and Hong Kong, China, are the top two economies in the world in terms of broadband Internet penetration. In mobile Internet, Japan and the Republic of Korea were the first two nations to launch third generation cellular networks commercially. The region also has the largest percentage of Internet users. These exploits corroborate the view that the global telecommunications epicentre is shifting from North America and Western Europe to the Asia-Pacific region. Also see the related ITU Press Release.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002 12:20:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, July 28, 2002

CSS Mobile Profile Candidate Recommendation Revised. 26 July 2002: The CSS Working Group has revised CSS Mobile Profile 1.0 to incorporate review suggestions, comments by implementors, and deliberations of the Working Group. The specification defines a subset of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Level 2 tailored for mobile devices such as wireless phones. Comments are welcome through January 2003. Visit the CSS home page. (News archive) [The World Wide Web Consortium]

Sunday, July 28, 2002 4:37:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 25, 2002

In a follow-up to my note last month referencing the INTUG paper on Mobile Termination Rates, the UK telecommunications regulator, OFTEL, has formally asked the UK Competition Commission to investigate whether the charges that the four mobile network operators make for connecting calls to their networks are too high.

Thursday, July 25, 2002 5:16:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Talk about timely. CommsDesign has a recent piece on the development by Motorola of an "isochronous network, developed with input from Nintendo Co. Ltd., Sony Corp. and other game platform developers, [that] will be extended into other markets to serve as a "feeder" for future ad-hoc mesh-based piconets that use 802.11 wireless technology as their underlying infrastructure". Slashdot also has a related thread. Isochronous ad-hoc mesh-based piconets? This almost seems like it could have been generated by dack.com.

Thursday, July 25, 2002 2:27:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Last month, I mentioned the arrival of "Wind-up Mobile". There's now a first review of the Motorola Freecharge in ZDNet UK. Just like prepaid rechargeable GSM cards, I imagine this will become very popular in developing countries.

Thursday, July 25, 2002 12:49:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Ken Binmore, the designer of the exceptionally lucrative UK 3G mobile phone auction two years ago, has slammed telecom executives for "whingeing" that they paid too much and dismissed calls for the consumer to foot the bill. [Ananova]

Tuesday, July 23, 2002 1:06:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 22, 2002

Motivating the Masses, Wirelessly: The term smart mobs has been coined by the author Howard Rheingold to describe groups of people equipped with high-tech communications devices that allow them to act in concert — whether they know each other or not. [New York Times: Technology]

Monday, July 22, 2002 12:44:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 19, 2002

Infosync has got a review of the new colour display Nokia 7650 that's got an integrated digital camera for picture taking and sending, support for the MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) that's a step up over SMS, a photo album for storing pictures, GPRS, Java support, joystick navigation and a  Symbian-based user interface.

Friday, July 19, 2002 5:58:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 11, 2002

From the cool new NTT Docomo FOMA 3G devices front: NTT Docomo has announced that it will market a new 3G-compatible two-part terminal, the SH2101V, with a PDA base unit that communicates through Bluetooth with a separate wireless handset. The base unit has a built-in camera that enables 64kbps real-time videoconferencing - while the wireless handset is used for voice communication. The handset can also be used, via the PDA, as a simple voice phone or for checking e-mail (even when the PDA is folded away) or as a remote control when playing downloaded music on the PDA.

Thursday, July 11, 2002 2:23:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

O.K., it's a busy news day for predictive text input. Further to my note earlier on "Dasher", the Economist today just happens to have an article entitled More Power to the Thumb, discussing a new text input method from Eatoni Ergonomics called Letterwise. The Economist says it's a worthy competitor to T9, who is owned by AOL.

Thursday, July 11, 2002 1:04:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Although more and more of us are carrying around smartphones or PDAs, I've always been frustrated that we can't just point our devices at what we want and instantly pull information out of magazines, off advertising posters, or dump train or flight schedules into our calendar applications. Because most smartphones and PDAs of the future will have cameras built into them (like this or this or this), it was just a matter of time before someone would recognize a market opportunity. As reported in Wireless Week, International Wireless and Bango.net have recently announced they will use CodePoint so that users can point a handset at a bar code and deliver content directly into a device. Hope something like this will be available in every handset in the future.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002 4:00:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In the search for the optimum input method where a keyboard is not practical (e.g., PDAs, mobile Internet handsets), there's been some novel research going on at the University of Cambridge. The Dasher project has produced an unusual text-entry interface driven by pointing gestures. A prototype version can be downloaded for a Pocket PC. There's work going on to produce an eye-tracking version which they hope would allow users to visually write text as fast as normal handwriting. It's also now an open source project at SourceForge.net.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002 2:35:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Nokia to Join With I.B.M. in 2 Ventures on Software: Nokia and IBM. will develop digital rights management software for what wireless operators call light content — ring tones, games, logos and pictures. For example, portions of popular songs can be downloaded for a small fee and used as the ring tone on a cellphone. The current market exists mainly in Europe and Japan, where wireless services are more advanced than in the United States, and among young people, 25 and under. In Europe, the market for such light content is $500 million a year. [New York Times: Technology]

Tuesday, July 09, 2002 1:16:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 05, 2002

Now That Ringing Cellphone May Be a Telemarketer's Call. Cellphones have long been safe from the marketing that bombards kitchen phones and e-mail in-boxes. But that electronic cocoon is starting to fray. [New York Times: Technology]

Friday, July 05, 2002 11:26:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 26, 2002

From the covergence file: The Register is reporting on Coming soon: SMS TV. For readers in countries who aren't aware of the popularity of text messaging over mobile phones, NUA gives one example by reporting that, according to the Swedish regulator, PTSSwedish mobile users sent over 1 billion SMS messages during 2001. [Only for statistics mavens: I always thought it'd be interesting to plot the growth of SMS messaging vis-à-vis Internet email traffic but I'm unaware of where to find any real good indicators on email traffic. Anyone who has an idea on how to estimate this is invited to contact me.]

Wednesday, June 26, 2002 12:18:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 25, 2002

The Economist has an article on wireless telecoms: Four disruptive technologies are emerging that promise to render not only the next wave of so-called 3G wireless networks irrelevant, but possibly even their 4G successors. For me, the most fascinating wireless technology is the concept of mesh networks, similar to Peter Cochrane's concepts of 'parasitic networks' requiring zero infrastructure. This seems to me to offer the possibility of rapid organic network growth once the network is initially 'seeded'.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002 11:38:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 20, 2002

One sees lots of criticism in the press and elsewhere about the deployment of 3G mobile systems. This paper (Word, PDF) by Audrey Selian of the ITU provides some good perspective on the historical development of GSM and how we are moving to IMT-2000 (3G) mobile systems. Not surprisingly, there were plenty of GSM naysayers in its early days, just as there are today for IMT-2000 systems.

Thursday, June 20, 2002 5:11:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Reuters is reporting on British engineers who have have invented a revolutionary tooth implant that works like a mobile phone. The 'tooth phone', designed by James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau, consists of a tiny vibrator and a radio wave receiver implanted into a tooth during routine dental surgery. Even more bizarre, this comes at the same time that Reuters is reporting studies that show that mobile phone radiation can cause changes in human cells that might affect the brain.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 10:45:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, June 15, 2002

The mobile operator O2 is launching the XDA, an integrated phone and PDA based on the Pocket PC operating system with support for General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). It's already available in the Netherlands according to Infosync. Infosync has an article on the XDA's Action Engine service framework which offers a browser-like interface to various operator services.

Saturday, June 15, 2002 7:49:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 13, 2002

The European Commission yesterday refused to give the green light to the renegotiation of third generation mobile phone licences - despite pressure from the cash-strapped industry. However, Brussels left the door open to some licence changes in exceptional circumstances. It estimates European telecommunications companies have spent some €110bn ($104bn) in acquiring the 3G licences. [FT]

Thursday, June 13, 2002 12:55:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nearly 200 of the world's leading mobile operators, device and network suppliers, information technology companies and content providers have announced the formation of a the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA).  

Thursday, June 13, 2002 12:21:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 12, 2002

The International Telecommunication Users Group (INTUG) has posted a submission it has made to ITU-T Study Group 3 concerning Termination of international calls to mobile networks. The executive summary claims:

  • an increasing number of mobile cellular operators are creating a separate tariff for the completion of international calls to their networks 
  • these wholesale prices can be as much as 1500% more expensive than calls to a fixed network in the same country
  • the mobile operators are leveraging their domestic power in the call termination market into foreign markets for call origination
  • with the growing importance of mobile cellular networks, other operators have no alternative but to connect, even when they are unable to negotiate and must pay the price levied by the terminating network
  • consequently retail prices to foreign mobile networks can be higher by 10 to 30 cents (Euro or US) per minute
  • consumers are frequently unaware of these higher prices
  • even if consumers do know that a call will be at a higher price, they frequently have no obvious alternative
  • INTUG wishes to see the principle of cost orientation applied to the termination of calls on mobile cellular networks 
  • INTUG also wishes to see signatories to the WTO GATS Reference Paper enforce implementation of their commitments to the interconnection of international calls to mobile cellular networks

Wednesday, June 12, 2002 4:41:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

CNN has an article on the deployment of 3G systems in Asia: "People have long been hearing about the brave new world of "3G" or "third-generation" technology, which enables users to take photographs, play full-color games or browse the Internet, all on a cell phone." 3G is part of ITU's IMT-2000 initiative, a vision of global wireless access in the 21st century.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002 1:24:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 11, 2002
Tuesday, June 11, 2002 6:02:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Wind-up calls without the stress: "The wind-up radio, invented by the UK's Trevor Baylis, has become an icon of benign technology. Beloved of environmentalists and design gurus alike, it has already shifted over 3m units worldwide. Now the company that bought the idea from Baylis has moved into the mobile phone market" This month, Freeplay will launch a wind-up mobile phone charger... [Guardian

Tuesday, June 11, 2002 11:17:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 07, 2002

Mobilennium, the on-line newsletter of the UMTS Forum, reports in its June 2000 issue, on the debates in the UMTS Forum about a mobile-specific Internet top level domain (M-TLD). The article also mentions ENUM. The newsletter report is somewhat more positive than the 60 page initial internal report entitled Benefits and Drawbacks of Introducing a Dedicated Top Level Domain within the UMTS Environment (2 page executive summary also available). The report indicates that at this time "a majority of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) were reluctant to favour the concept". This follows reporting in an ICANNWatch article on a .gprs top level domain being used for the private DNS of a GPRS Roaming Exchange (GRX) network.

Friday, June 07, 2002 12:28:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 06, 2002

NTT DoCoMo announced that it will begin selling the FOMA P2002 3G mobile phone equipped for DoCoMo's i-motion video clip distribution service on June 13, 2002. The i-motion service enables compatible FOMA handsets to download audio/video content at up to 384 Kbps (uplink at 64 Kbps) from sites accessed via DoCoMo's official portal. The model has a 2.2-inch, 65,536-color TFD LCD.

Thursday, June 06, 2002 12:53:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 03, 2002

For those of us who use both a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and a mobile phone, the Holy Grail is a single integrated device. I've always wondered which side of the market would drive convergence of devices. On the one hand, the Palm OS and Windows Pocket PC devices have slick intuitive user interfaces with thousands of applications. On the other hand, the market clout and distribution channels of the major mobile handset manufacturers (e.g., Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson) suggested they could eventually dominate. So I kept my eye out for the perfect personal device hoping that this would suggest which sector would eventually be in the driver's seat. When Ericsson released their R380 smartphone, based on the Symbian platform and an innovative new form factor, I thought this might be a winner. Ericsson kindly lent to me one of the first versions but I finally put it aside. Despite its definite coolness factor it was still too large to comfortably carry around, somewhat too fragile and the software crashed too often. Later, when Handspring announced their Treo communicator and I read some glowing reviews, I thought this might be my perfect device. However, after seeing and handling one I still wasn't convinced. Something still wasn't quite right.

I had noticed during my trips to Asia that handsets in those markets are small, beautifully made and often hang around necks on cords - they're more like fashion accessories than phones. Slowly, it's been dawning on me that the perfect personal device is more about form factor and quality than anything. Last year, I was in Stockholm and met with Göran Skyttval, Ericsson's Director of 2G and 3G Terminals and Applications. I explained to him the "quality" problems I had experienced with my R380 and we got onto the general topic of quality in manufacturing as well as specifically with respect to handsets. Interestingly, Göran had just come back from a stint in Japan where he was in charge of Ericsson's i-mode handset development for the Japanese market. Now anyone who has had to do business in Japan knows that the average Japanese consumer is very demanding about quality, packaging and design. In fact, many companies have had to completely redesign and repackage their products for the Japanese market. Göran discussed with me these Japanese concepts of quality and demonstrated subtle differences such as in the texture of materials. He explained how he was trying to introduce these higher standards into Ericsson's handset manufacturing. Subsequent to our meeting, Sony and Ericsson combined their handset manufacturing and marketing.

This is a round-about way to say that I think I've experienced directly the results of Göran's efforts. My latest personal device, the Sony Ericsson T39m, is beautifully made, synchronizes with my contact list and calendar in Outlook/Exchange, provides GSM tri-band support, has a POP3 email client, T9 predictive text input, Bluetooth, GPRS, a long-life battery, and best of all, it has a small and elegant form factor which just feels right. It fits in any pocket and really is the first device that I don't mind having with me anywhere, anytime. So the T39m has my vote as the current perfect personal device. Bravo to Ericsson.

Monday, June 03, 2002 12:05:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 30, 2002

The Guardian: Mobile phone companies should be offering irresistible incentives to encourage would-be entrepreneurs to dream up new services for them. "The sooner they realise that the balance of power between content providers and delivery networks is about to change dramatically, the sooner they will discover what they crave - a long-term revenue source to pay for their huge investments."

Thursday, May 30, 2002 6:53:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |