Tag: telco

Three was hacked

maxresdefaultOne of Blighty’s biggest mobile phone companies, Three, has been hacked and its customer upgrade database may have been nicked.

The cyber security breach could put the private information of two thirds of Three’s nine million customers at risk.

A spokesthree said that the upgrade system does not include any customer payment, card information or bank account information.

However, the company said that is not the only bad thing that has been happening to the outfit. For the last month, it has been hit by a wave of attempted handset fraud.

“To date, we have confirmed approximately 400 high-value handsets have been stolen through burglaries and eight devices have been illegally obtained through the upgrade activity,” Carter said.

“This has been visible through higher levels of burglaries of retail stores and attempts to unlawfully intercept upgrade devices.”

At least the hackers appear have been identified. Three men have been arrested in connection with the breach at Three, the BBC said this morning.

The National Crime Agency arrested a man from Kent and two men from Manchester on Wednesday, the Beeb said. All three have been bailed pending further enquiries

Nokia back in the black

amy winehouseFormer Finnish rubber boot maker, Nokia is now back to black after selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft.

Nokia reported a surprise rise in second-quarter profits, helped by high-margin software sales and fewer low-priced contracts at its mainstay telecom network equipment business.

Nokia appears to be rolling in it and in April proposed a 15.6 billion euro take-over of its French rival Alcatel-Lucent.

Operating profit at its network unit was $343 million in the second quarter, or 11.5 percent of sales.

That was up from $307 million euro a year earlier, and well above analysts’ average forecast of a profit of $257 million euros and a margin of 8.3 percent.

Network equipment sales were $2.99 billion

The company also said its strategic review of its Here navigation business was now in an advanced stage.

Last week, Reuters claimed that Nokia was closing in on a deal to sell the maps to German car makers for about $3.29 billion.

Watchdog actually growls at US comms companies

angry-puppyUS comms companies are in a tizzy after it is looking like the watchdog put in charge of monitoring them is actually doing its job.

For a while now the comms companies had a wizard wheeze of charging customers twice for the same service by insisting that if they stream content they will have to pay more. In the good old days they would present the plan to the FCC which would promptly roll over and do what it was told. This time the comm companies are collectively fleeing from the building with a figurative chunk of their pants missing.

On May 1st, a group of organisations including AT&T, CenturyLink, USTelecom, and wireless trade association CTIA petitioned for the FCC to delay the implementation of its Open Internet order, which would reclassifying broadband as a service. They claim that it is against the public interest because customers are keen to play more for no marked improvement of service and love to be throttled for not paying up.

Normally that would have done the trick and the FCC would have fallen into line.

But the FCC denied the petition, issuing an order that states its classification of broadband internet as a telecommunications service “falls well within the Commission’s statutory authority, is consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and fully complies with the Administrative Procedure Act.”

The petition had argued specifically against the reclassification, stating that it would lead to “unrecoverable losses” for broadband providers, and “significant costs” that would hurt people.

To be fair, the organisations involved did not complain about the three rules that stop providers from blocking legal content, throttling subscribers, and from offering paid prioritisation. What they wanted was to stop the idea of the internet being seen as a service.

FCC head Tom Wheeler is sure the Open Internet order will get through, bringing in a new and fairer set of rules for the internet, but we expect a few more problems to come.

Chinese roll a Cuban

big_cuban_cigarThoughts that US companies might make a killing if it relaxed trade sanctions against Cuba received a bit of a wakeup call this week as the Chinese outfit Huawei looked set to scoop up some lucrative contracts.

Cuban finance minister Lina Pedraza said that Cuba is in advanced talks with Huawei to do more business on the Communist island.

According to Reuters, many companies are in negotiations with Cuba but it appears that Huawei has got its foot in the door.

Pedraza confirmed that Huawei is advanced in negotiations with a Cuban company. He said that the Cuban telecoms sector would be open to all foreign companies but also noted that the country wanted to avoid the “negative parts of the internet”. Good luck with that – no-one has ever managed to stop Lol cats.

Nokia about to buy Alcatel-Lucent

nokia-in-advanced-talks-to-acquire-alcatel-lucents-wireless-business-reportsNokia has announced that it is in talks to buy Alcatel-Lucent.

The deal could create a European telecoms equipment group worth over $42.16 billion, if the regulators love it of course.

A purchase of Alcatel-Lucent by Nokia could cause problems in France. French officials have promoted the idea of creating pan-European giants to compete globally, in the model of Franco-German aerospace firm Airbus. But Alcatel-Lucent is also a major employer and symbolic of French industry.

One French government official said that any deal involving Alcatel-Lucent would likely have to be structured to keep a significant French influence in the new company for the deal to pass muster in Paris.

Such a deal would put the fear of God into the market leader Ericsson

In a joint announcement, the pair said “there can be no certainty at this stage that these discussions will result in any agreement or transaction.”

The deal currently under consideration is a “full combination” that would entail Nokia making a public offer for Alcatel-Lucent stock, the companies said. The deal could still fall apart, they added.

It isn’t clear if the parties have agreed on a valuation. Alcatel-Lucent’s market capitalization stands at roughly $11.63 billion, while Nokia’s market capitalization is about €28 billion.

Talk about a merger has been going on for years.  Many have considered a good idea as it would reshape the telecommunications-equipment business by creating a company with a combined 2014 revenue of €25.9 billion and more than 100,000 employees in businesses spanning wireless communications and Internet routing.

ISPs and telcos have to admit data stuff-ups

The EU has brought in new regulations that force ISPs and telcos serving European customers to confess any security or data breach within 24 hours of the event happening.

According to an EU statement, any telecom operators or ISPs operating in Europe who suffer from a data breach that leads to loss of personal data or theft of such data is compromised in any way will have to notify national data protection authorities within 24 hours.

Telcos or ISPs will have to reveal the nature and size of the breach within the first 24 hours. If they can’t provide that information straight away they must give “initial information” and provide all the details within three days.

They will have to tell the world+dog what information has been compromised and the steps they plan to take to fix it.

It seems that the companies will not have to make a public statement unless the breach “is likely to adversely affect” personal information or privacy. Then it has to take steps to warn affected businesses and consumers.

This appears pretty much like the status quo in the EU. Rules like this have existed since 2011.

However, these new regulations are more specific about the timeframes within which such incidents have to be reported. The new regulations require companies to pay specific attention to the type of data compromised.

There are still get out of jail free cards. ISPs and telcos will not be required to pass on the data in cases where there are “justified national security reasons”. If data is encrypted the companies will not have to tell anyone.


Steve Jobs wanted his own telco network

Apple messiah Steve Jobs did not want to use the carriers and instead wanted his own network that would use unlicensed spectrum rather than rely on them

Wi-fi doyen John Stanton said that Jobs wanted to create his own network with the unlicensed spectrum that Wi-Fi uses.

According to IT World, Stanton, currently chairman at venture capital firm Trilogy Partners, said he spent a fair amount of time with Jobs between 2005 and 2007.

They both wanted to work out how you could create a carrier using the  wi-fii spectrum.

Around 2007, Jobs gave up on the idea. But he managed to have a major impact on wireless operators, Stanton said.

Jobs was responsible for a power shift in the relationship between carriers and the manufacturers. Companies like Apple and Google, which develops Android, sell a variety of software and services that capture revenue screams that might have otherwise gone to the operators.

Stanton warned that unless operators took  some chances with new phones and services rather than invest too heavily in established offerings, they would be toast.

Sprint was silly for making a $15.5 billion four-year deal with Apple to sell the iPhone. When Stanton was head of Voicestream, the operator that became T-Mobile, his company invested in Danger, the company that invented the Sidekick and whose developers went on to build Android. It also had a small investment in Research In Motion (RIM).

The Sidekick had a very dedicated following, which is something the carriers need to replicate rather than just chasing Apple, he said. 

T-Mobile USA loses 99,000 contracts in Q1 2011

In T-Mobile USA’s Q1 2011 earnings report, filed today in the small hours on the wires, it revealed that it has lost 353,000 more contract customers since the same period last year. Net customer losses sat at 99,000 for Q1 2011 compared to 77,000 in Q1 2010. 

The total contract customers who left by the end of the first quarter of 2011 was 471,000, compared to 318,000 the previous quarter and 118,000 for the first quarter of 2010. T-Mobile USA claims that the decline is down to “continued high contract churn due to competitive pressures” – in other words, the competition is hot and it is losing out.

Its competitors in Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are still outperforming T-Mobile USA, ZDNet points out, as it lacks the same reach for devices and networks. 

The attrition rate is the problem, says T-Mobile. CEO of T-Mobile USA Philipp Humm said in a statement: “We still have challenges facing our business as evidenced by high contract churn and contract customer losses in the first quarter of 2011.”

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) looked a little more attractive, as Humm optimistically hummed: T-Mobile has “seen some positive trends in the quarter as evidenced through data ARPU growth rates.”

ARPU held 46 percent in the first quarter of this year, which T-Mobile USA says is consistent with Q4 2010 and Q1 2010. Contract ARPU sat at $52 in Q1 2011, up from $51 in Q1 2010. 

Hacked version of Android allows updates

Android users, who are fed up with waiting for their phone maker, or wireless telco,  to upgrade to later versions of the operating system, can avoid waiting by installing a new hack.

One of the biggest problems for Android users is that phone makers have been dragging their feet allowing older models to upgrade to newer versions of the OS.

CyanogenMod has released another version of its Android OS ROM, CyanogenMod version 7.0.

The software replaces the stock ROM which comes with your phone with a new one. This is a tweaked versions of an OS which contains firmware upgrades that come out faster than official updates from the makers of the OS.

All a user has to do is gain root access to the phone, and run the custom ROM on your phone using an app like ROM Manager.

It works on more than 30 devices including the Barnes and Noble Nook Colour and the G-Tablet.

It is available free here

Installing the software allows you to update the keyboard and texting tools. Gone are the days of problems with selecting text for cut and pasting, apparently. You also have more detailed reports on battery use by app. There are also some minor updates including a list of all the apps you’ve downloaded and an update to the camera app which makes it easier to switch between cameras.

As you would expect, the mod provides access to Gingerbread’s better features, including tools for CPU clocking and the ability to install more apps to your phone’s SD card. There are some improvements with the music-playing software that allows you to use the camera button to pause.

What this should be warning hardware makers is that if they don’t pull finger and upgrade the Android fast enough, then someone “out there” will do it for them. 

Nortel wants $900 million from Google for 6,000 patents

Here comes the stalking horse, and its name isn’t Pestilence but Google

Nortel, the telco and manufacturer of telco equipment, has entered a stalking horse asset sale agreement with Google – where it wants to sell off all of its remaining 6,000-ish patents and patent applications. Remaining is the word to look at here: Nortel has been flogging assets for some time.

Ruined Nortel recently sold off a ton of IPv4 addresses to Microsoft for $7.5 million

The sale, if it goes through, will see Nortel handed $900 million from Schmidt And The Gang. It’ll be for every patent left in its portfolios, including data networking, wireless, 4g, voice, semiconductors and other unnamed important slips of paper. 

Bankrupt Nortel is filing the agreement with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Nortel says that common shareholders probably won’t receive “any value from the creditor protection proceedings” and it thinks that the proceedings will mean the cancellation of equity interests. 

Regulators will have to be satisfied with the sell first and awaits approval. 

Here, Google says from its bog, that the agreement comes after a “lot of thought”. Kent Walker, speaking as General Counsel, says that the portfolio will hopefully help it fend off potential legal squads from going sue-crazy, while it’ll also be helpful to the open source development of both Android and Chrome.