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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

To 3G or Not To 3G

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The DOT officials are pondering over this question heavily it seems, as per Unstrung. It has been months since TRAI recommended a policy and the first trials started. But in typical fashion, the final decision on the spectrum allocation has been postponed from one month to the other. The reason it seems are lots of unsolved issues, but none are mentioned. I guess among them would be that the spectrum in question is being used by the Defence Forces, as was the case with WiMAX.

The intriguing part is how and why WiMAX is playing into all of these. There seems to be a lobby favoring WiMAX driven by the vendors. But again the spectrum released for WiMAX is 3.3 GHz and the bandwidth is 100 MHz. Since this is not the spectrum the rest of the world is using for WiMAX, it means that India will not benifit from economies of scale. So even if we go for WiMAX, will it be really affordable? The rural broadband angle is being unnecessarily played up, I think.

Maybe DOT does not want to go either way. Maybe its thinking about following China as it did with TD-SCDMA. Wouldn't that do wonders for Telecom startups in India!

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posted by Rajiv, 9:17 PM | link | 0 comments |

MoMo March

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The topic this time is Building Websites for Mobile Users and the speaker is M. T. Raghunath from Google India. After that we have a demo of Mango Technolgies' Mobile Application Development Platform.

So see you there.

posted by Rajiv, 6:25 AM | link | 0 comments |

Convergence and Operators

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Red Herring has a carefully worded article on the status of Fixed Mobile Convergence. It is the latest and the hottest convergence technology in Telecom nowadays and promises to solve all the problems associated in juggling between the home/landline connection and mobile connection. The landline phone's days are numbered if this technology picks up.

Unfortunately its not. And Red Herring places the blame squarely on the Operators. Either the backend network cannot handle the seamless handover between WiFi and mobile worlds or the Telco's haven't marketed it properly. One of the enabling technologies for FMC is IMS. But IMS is still being trialled. So the only option is to deploy GNA (the new name for UMA) which adds additional costs.

The other problem, which the report fails to mention, is that WiFi is something the operators are not really happy about. The combination of VoIP (read Skype) and WiFi can become a nightmare for the Telcos. Already their cash cow, voice revenues are at the lowest. And this combination has the ability to hurt that even more. Its only logical for them to resist this change. Their preferred way of doing it would be to replace the WiFi router in the home with a Pico or Femto cell. This approach removes the threat posed by the free VoIP services and keeps their revenues intact.

But again, WiFi is the incumbent at home. Its popular, cheap and proven to work. Virtually all devices at home are getting WiFi enabled. So how long will the operators be able to resist this onslaught is the question.

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posted by Rajiv, 2:14 AM | link | 0 comments |

Vodafone and Skype

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some news about the mutiny of the smaller operators. Vodafone has demo'ed a prototype called Starfish which allows you to use Skype and other Internet VoIP calling services! The reasoning given by the article is that Vodafone is the market leader and it has to keep up pace with its rivals. Which in turn means that X Series is a successful product and is drawing customers away from Vodafone. It might not be launched but this but at least 3 has managed to force Vodafone's hand.

The X Series launch had drawn a lot of opinions from everyone around. There was speculation that this might be the watershed in Telco. history. That was followed up with news of Sprints intention to build an Open Mobile WiMAX network. No updates on that one yet. But going by the trend, it seems a more open minded approach is picking up. And its ultimately the business factors which are forcing them to do it. Dont you love the way free markets work!

Its been long overdue. The operators really need to stop thinking about "subscribers" and start thinking about "customers".

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posted by Rajiv, 12:36 PM | link | 1 comments |

Barcamp Bangalore 3

Monday, March 12, 2007

For those who dont know yet, the Barcamp Bangalore 3 has been announced. Its happening on 31st March and 1st of April and is picking up steam. This time around the topic is Social Impact of Technology. And the second day is dedicated to Demo's. I am planning to provide a sneak preview of our product ThinFone. So if you are going to be there, dont miss it.

Also there is talk of a Demo Camp and Barcamp India going on. Things are heating up in Bangalore. Is this the year for entrepreneurs? Lets wait and watch.

Previous Coverage: Barcamp 1, Barcamp 2, Barcamp 2 Experiences.

posted by Rajiv, 5:05 AM | link | 7 comments |

OT: My Heritage

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Random Wikipedia browsing one of my favorite ways to kill time. To my surprise, I came across few pages that I never imagined would be there. About times and places long gone by and forgotten. Here is a sample.

This is the place that I hail from. My parents are from interior villages of Bhagalpur, most commonly known for its Riots. During my childhood we used to visit there every summer vacation. The last time I was there was 7 years ago and am sure that I wont ever visit it again. I still fondly remember the places and times but. Village life is so much different.

My mother tongue is this. I have vivid memories of one of my distant uncles telling me about it during one of our trips. He was a local school teacher. My mother still speaks it, but neither my brother nor me can speak it anymore. Its not going to get passed down to our kids obviously. Which is a bit sad.

I was born at this place. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years here. Silchar is still the place I call my hometown and identify the most with. I used to speak the local dialect of Bengali (called Sylethi) fluently although that is also fading now. Reminds me of a strange story. The house next mine was under construction. One day I woke up with a feeling of deja vu. I though I was in Silchar. The reason was the workers on the next bulding were speaking fluent Sylethi. It was surreal. Took few moments for me come back to reality.

All this just goes to illustrate why Wikipedia is the most important repository of cataloged information today. Its an amazing piece of work.

posted by Rajiv, 10:04 AM | link | 3 comments |