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February 9, 2007

NEC Warns on VoIP Spam

Link: NEC Warns on VoIP Spam

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, VoIP, Telecoms by Brian Turner

NEC, the networking vendor, expects telephony spam levels to soar to between 40% and 70% of all calls.

While sending junk messages is too expensive over traditional networks because of call charges, NEC believes that the volume of telephone spam, created via Botnet platforms, could explode as more telephony is delivered over IP networks.

NEC has developed a software add-on to its PBXs, which claims to stop up to 99% of unsolicited VoIP calls, which are known as Spam over Internet Telephony (Spit).

The company’s Seal software uses a variety of criteria to detect spam calls, such as a high volume of calls originating from on IP address. The software can reject these calls or send them to voicemail. It is also able to blacklist callers by caller ID or IP address.

NEC will demonstrate the software at the 3GSM World Congress which will be held in Barcelona in February.

China First to Launch 4G Standard

Link: China First to Launch 4G Standard

Filed under: Internet, Mobile, Wireless, Telecoms by Jan Harris

China has launched the world’s first fourth-generation standard despite the fact that it has not yet released 3G telephone services in mainland China.

According to the official ‘China Daily’, 4G has been rolled out in Shanghai by a group of 10 Chinese organisations. The group launched the B3G (Beyond 3G)/4G research project in 2001 under the label Future Technology for Universal Radio Environment, or FuTURE Project.

The 4G system, which will allow data to be transmitted at up to 100 megabytes per second, cost 150 million yuan to roll out - around $19.3m. It will now be subjected to field tests and then trialled in commercial use until 2010.

4G will be able to transmit data as quickly as optical fibre, bringing significant improvements in the streaming of high-quality images and data services through wireless transmission.

China has experienced long delays with developing its 3G service, but the issue of third-generation licenses, allowing domestic telecom operators to build 3G mobile phone networks, is expected to commence later this year.

Urban WiMax Providing Free London Service

Link: Urban WiMax Providing Free London Service

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Wireless, Telecoms by Jan Harris

Urban WiMax has revealed £4.4m plans to launch a free WiMax service in London.

According to Urban WiMax this will be the most advanced service available in the capital to date. The free trial will run from April through to July, when a full paid service will be launched.

Around 250 central London businesses will be connected in the trial period and if this is successful the service will be rolled out to nine other cities in the UK.

Urban WiMax claims that its offer will be the UK’s first true WiMax service. It is based on the 802.16d standard kit and will cost only 50% to 70% of the price of BT’s SDSL prices at wholesale levels.

The 5.8GHz waveband is expected to deliver 10Mbit/s of symmetric bandwidth, CCTV through business and critical voice and video services. It will be available to customers within approximately 1.5km of the first Urban WiMax station in Westminster, central London.

The number of WiMax networks in the UK is expected to double by 2007.

February 8, 2007

Europe leader in IPTV subscriptions

Link: Europe leader in IPTV subscriptions

Filed under: Internet, Technology, IPTV, Mobile, Telecoms by Jan Harris

A study by analyst firm Canalys found that Western Europe accounts for two-thirds of worldwide IPTV subscribers. The main reason that Europe is leading the way in IPTV is the increased investment in networking technology in the region.

According to the research, overall IPTV industry revenues are $1bn a year, on total IPTV subscribers of more than 3.6 million.

According to Canalys, IPTV networks are expected to become the most complex and bandwidth intensive that have ever existed. Although there has been substantial investment in network upgrades, it is still unproven if IPTV networks can scale into the millions without loss of performance and slower response times.

The IPTV market is very tightly focused and many regions still do not have a reliable service, so the top five providers make up 60% of the total market.

Canalys identifies the leading global IPTV providers as PCCW with 18.2% market share, France Telecom with 16.8% and Free Telecom with 14%.

Asia and North America are considered potential growth area for IPTV. AT&T and Verizon are already pushing nationwide roll-outs of IPTV services in North America.

BT Talks To Wi-fi Sharing Network

Link: BT Talks To Wi-fi Sharing Network

Filed under: Internet, Technology, Mobile, Wireless, Telecoms by Jan Harris

According to a Reuters’ article, BT is talking to Spanish wi-fi sharing network FON about a landmark deal that would strengthen BT’s mobile service.

BT has recently started promoting the use of wi-fi as part of its Fusion fixed/mobile, broadband and mobile service.

BT has thousands of Openzone access points across the UK and abroad, where customers can access the internet via wireless technology with no download limits. BT’s fusion handsets work in the company’s Openzone hotspots, allowing BT to establish a mobile network based entirely on unlicensed spectrum.

FON operates a community where users make their home wi-fi routers - which FON provides at a subsidised price - available for public use. This creates a network of hotspots which users can log-on to for a fee.

BT and other ISPs currently discourage the use of FON and similar networks. If BT does enter into a deal with FON it will be a public endorsement of FON’s business model.

A deal with FON would allow BT customers to start sharing access to their home Wi-Fi networks. BT Fusion mobile customers, who have mobile phones that can connect to a short-range wireless Wi-Fi network, as well as a cell phone network, could use their phones when they are in the vicinity of one of these Wi-Fi “hotspots”.

They could use their phones on the home networks of around 250,000 global FON members, known as “foneros”, 10,000 of which are based in Britain.

BT has said that it does not have a deal with FON that it can talk about at the moment.

February 6, 2007

3 Reaches 90% of UK With 3G Services

Link: 3 Reaches 90% of UK With 3G Services

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Wireless, Telecoms by Brian Turner

Mobile operator 3UK has announced that its third-generation services now cover 90% of the UK population.

3, which is owned by Hutchison Whampoa of Hong Kong, is now the leading UK 3G provider, followed by Orange which covers 85% of the UK population. Vodafone has nearly 80% coverage, T-Mobile covered 70% of the UK at the end of 2006 and expects to hit 80% by the end of 2007, while O2 currently has around 60% coverage.

In the four years that it has operated in the UK, 3 has built 7,250 base stations across the country.

Since 2005, its 3G rollout has been managed in conjunction with Ericsson, which is responsible for the management, operation and performance of the network and its underlying IT infrastructure.

3 aims to roll out HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), which allows for higher data transfer speeds than 3G, across its network by the end of 2007.

February 1, 2007

Skype To Improve Workplace Security

Link: Skype To Improve Workplace Security

Filed under: Internet, Security, VoIP, Software, Telecoms by Jan Harris

Skype is planning to enter into a partnership with a security company in an effort to help organisations gain control over usage of its Internet telephony service at work.

The partnership is with FaceTime Communications, a California-based security company which manufactures software and appliances to monitor and secure the use of instant message tools on business networks.

Whie Skype has major security advantages - all calls are encrypted and there is not central server which could be attacked - it poses a problem for IT administrators because it can find ways to make a net connection despite strong firewall controls on corporate networks.

Difficulty in controlling Skype usage by employees can cause compliance problems in industries were security is vital such as in the financial sector. Skype provides instant message functionality and in the US, Securities and Exchange Commission regulations require that all instant messages be logged.

The security partnership is a key element in Skype’s strategy to position its Internet telephony application as a business tool.

Over 30% of Skype’s 171 million users are business users, and there is a huge range of Skype equipment available for use.

January 16, 2007

The Venice Project launches Joost

Link: The Venice Project launches Joost

Filed under: Internet, Technology, IPTV, Software, Telecoms by Brian Turner

The Venice Project - developed by the founders of Skype to provide IPTV - have announced it’s official launch as Joost.

The intention is to provide full-screen broadcast quality internet TV, and to provide free programming that is funded by advertising.

However, concerns have already been raised about the bandwidth requirements involved, and that some users may end up breaking the conditions of their broadband contracts, especially where bandwidth limits apply.

So far initial press has been unimpressed with Joost’s programming schedule, but it’s certainly a project that could offer potential.

After all, similar negative comments were made about Channel 4 when that channel launched in the UK, but it now has a healthy following.

Additionally, Channel 4 now offers Channel 4 on Demand in association with British Telecom, which allows users to pay for downloads of individual episodes and films from it’s programming.

Or so the site states - no list of the actual available inventory is provided so people must sign up before they can even find out what may be worth downloading.

Overall, the move towards IPTV is gathering real pace - Platinax News has reported on the technical developments and deals that took place in 2005 and 2006 - 2007 offers to be the staging ground for a ground-breaking service looking to mature.

January 11, 2007

Apple sued over iPhone - more to follow?

Link: Apple sued over iPhone - more to follow?

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Apple, Legal, Hardware, Wireless, Telecoms by Brian Turner

After the high-profile launch of the Apple iPhone on Monday, Cisco has stepped in with a legal suit for trademark infringement.

Cisco-owned company Linksys already owns the trademark on the iPhone, and has done since the purchase of Infogear in 2000.

Although talks between Apple and Cisco had taken place, and although it was believed a licencing arrangement was close, Steve Jobs announced the iPhone before the talks could reach agreement.

A potential sticking point is that Cisco is believed to have wanted the Apple iPhone to be compatible with Linksys VoIP products, to create interoperability and reduce consumer confusion over the products.

Now that Apple are claiming rights to the name without agreement, Cisco has filed a lawsuit for trademark violation.

According to a Cisco spokesman, Cisco had acted in good faith, and accused Apple of trying to repeatedly acquire the trademark directly and indirectly, not least via front company.

An Apple spokesman is reported as stating the Cisco claim is “silly”, because the trademark does not apply to cell phones.

It’s not the first time Apple - now renamed Apple Inc, from Apple Computers Inc - has run foul of trademark issues.

Previously they contested a trademark dispute with the Beatles’ Apple Records label - and the ensuing court case, heard in the UK, ruled in favour of Apple being able to use the name because of the clear disparity in products would not cause confusion.

While the difference between a VoIP phone and cell phone is enough to allow Apple to use the trademark will now be left to the US courts to decide.

However, this may only be the start of Apple’s battles.

Apple have claimed that the Apple iPhone is a revolutionary new touchscreen phone - but LG recently launched the LG KE850, a slimline touchscreen phone which has a remarkably similar design.

The LG KE850 has already won a Product Design Award for 2007 from the International Design Forum.

We’ve already seen RIM - the maker of the iconic Blackberry - take Samsung to court over similar design and potential brand confusion.

It remains to be seen if any legal action, justified or not, may follow over this issue, and leave Apple embroiled in legal cases around it’s biggest new product for years.

January 9, 2007

VoIP connects with Phillips DECT and Netgear

Link: VoIP connects with Phillips DECT and Netgear

Filed under: Internet, Technology, VoIP, Telecoms by Brian Turner

The world of VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol - saw a boost today, when Phillips and Netgear both announced dual-use VoIP and Dect phones.

Phillips began the foray, announcing the launch of the VOIP841 and VOIP443 at CES.

Both are dual-use DECT and VoIP handsets - which means that they can be used as ordinary cordless phones, and also for VoIP applications. The VOIP841 additionally allows for a different call tone for landline and VoIP calls.

Additionally, Skype has also announced a new set of DECT digital cordless phones from Netgear.

Netgear is a more common name to wireless products, and it’s SPH200D is a dual-mode DECT and VoIP phone as well. Ipevo and Topcom also announced phones for the VoIP market.

All of the digital phones are certified for use with Skype, which recently launched Skype 3.0, an upgraded service that allows for community-led text discussions, live moderated conversations, as well as games functionality for Skype users.

Overall, with over 150 certified products from Skype, the VoIP market shows real signs of continued expansion. The additional of dual DECT/VoIP phones from Phillips shows the introduction of mainstream manufacturers into the market - a sure sign that it is receiving very serious attention.