28.12.06

MVNO for success or failure ?

MVNO stands for mobile virtual network operator.
Currently, according to some estimates, there are about 230 MVNOs in the world.
Some of them are success, but some of them are failure.

The main characteristics of such an operator are:
- does not own licences frequency spectrum ,
- resells wireless/mobile phone services ( phones, calls, ''stuff'') ,
- strong brand,
- utilisation of the network of other mobile operator ( owned by big corporate groups and major telecom players in the country )

Speaking about success, Virgin Mobile is considered success and speaking about failures , ESPN Mobile and easyMobile could be mentioned as a flop.

According to some research I read , successful MVNOs do these things:
- Distribution – shelf space and access to audience
- Churn/loyalty programs – new phones every xy months, goodies, minutes
- Technology aligment with ''host'' operator – roadmap to future compatible products


Other things successful MVNOs do:
- management gets ''wireless'' tech,
- target segment is wisely choosed,
- asset-light investment strategy,
- win-win contracts
- understand content and wireless economics
- they are different
- keep things simle

MVNOs are ventures with great focus. They are either ''discount'' or ''lifestyle'' operators.
Virgin Mobile is discount MVNO, and Helio and Amp d' Mobile are lifestyle MVNO.

When I first taught about MVNOs back when they were first grabbing headlines ( in 2005 ) , there was allways question poppping in my mind about motivations of major mobile operators to lease their networks .
They were competitors indeed, but it has logical calculation.

Main motivations for T-Mobile, Vodafone or Verizon Wireless are these three and explain everything:
- Segmentation-Driven Strategies –it can help them attack specific, targeted segments.
- Network Utilisation-Driven Strategies – it can help them create economies of scale for better network utilisation.
- Product-Driven Strategies – specialised service requirements and get to customer niches that mobile operators cannot get to.

MVNOs have operational cost much lower but must invest very wisely into marketing.
It's a myth that MVNOs appeal only to consumer segment. Wireless Maingate is a company that targets enterprise customers.

At the first glance and with little opservation of MVNOs web sites, there could be reached easy conclusion on how they present their offer to potential customers which is their modus operandi and purpose of existence ( better business model in the end ) :

- offer shiny/new/fresh/exciting branded phones ( better cool phones ) ,
- simple plans ( prepaid dominates, post-paid is by minute and tailored to usage ) ,
- cheap talk ( is cool ) ,
- added value that appeals to targeted demographics – music, social network, multimedia ( you, that's cool ) ,
- superior customer service and loyalty ( cool ! )
- granular distribution deals with shopping chains and local stores ( for kits and prepaid minutes)

It's not all that shiny for them, though. Profitability is hard to achive. Management must be smart and explore every opportunity, scale their business, maintain good partnership deals and retain creative marketing people and must make plans for evolution into possible new products and services ( sometimes it is paradox, but what gives ).

As of December 2006, in Croatia are operating two MVNOs: Tele2 which is using Vipnet infrastructure, and the other is Tomato , which is Vipnet's branded MVNO for simple wireless services.

But let's go back to business model. These MVNO sharks are fast to the market, know their customers and are highly focused, but most of them will have to evolve into something convergent and triple-play ( laugh ) – I meant data and messaging ( paradox ).
Yet, I am skeptical for much of this risky business and I will watch this space more closely over the upcoming years.

You know , I heard somewhere on the net Apple will try next year become MVNO ( US only ) which is not so smart move if he does try, IMHO.
Europeans won't give up their Nokias or Motorolas in favour of
Apple phone , I think.

( still to do outside linking later on )

27.12.06

Switch to ''new'' Blogger

I moved my blogger account to ''new'' blogger.com. Finally !
Now, I can login with my Google account .
How shall I call this action ? Unified Google experience ;)

Dollar Outlook 2007


WestLB, a German bank , gave prediction for the state of global economy in 2007.
Some portions of report are of interest to me.
I consider WestLB as higly reliable source for economic data.
What caught my eye in this report is -->

Falling real estate prices in US...:

In the US, falling real estate prices are restricting the amount of money available for consumption, which is slowing GDP growth. Even if we only see limited risks of a recession on the other side of the Atlantic, this is likely to bring about a turnaround in US monetary policy.


German economy should be OK:

German companies' improved competitiveness is likely to tone down the negative effects on exports and investments arising from the slowdown in global economic growth.


Fed to cut rates sometime in May 2007 :

we expect the Fed to start cutting its rates in May 2007 due to a less promising growth outlook and an improving inflation prospects. We expect to see three small rate cuts by the summer, which will bring the Federal Funds Rate down to 4.50%.

ECB moves rates up in 2007.:

As far as the ECB is concerned, we are reckoning on a further rate hike to 3.5%, a neutral interest rate level, in December. There are many indications that this will not be the end of the rate hikes.


Which will bring us to:

Differing regional growth patterns are likely to lead to divergent monetary policy trends.


US dollar to be in 2007.:

Indeed, we believe the US dollar will lose further ground in the face of the reducing growth and interest rate differential. However, it should be remembered that slower growth in consumer spending tends to tone down another factor weighing on the Greenback; i.e., the still-high current account deficit. As a result, we do not believe the dollar will veritably tumble in value, but instead feel it will settle down at around 1.35 $/€. However, the possibility of it reaching 1.40 cannot be ruled out.


That's all I wanted to know. The fate of US dollar in 2007.

26.12.06

Firefox chaos list

In a spirit of previouse post, just to bookmark few things about communication agency Denuo Group. Found that via my firefox ''chaos'' list. It's a list where I put all my web links I don't know what to do with them, but I have a feeling I'll be interested to explore sometimes later.
Acctually, I will bookmark only web link. You can't do copy paste action and quote from their site cause it's made with Flash.
Instead, I'll highlight something from an interview with Denuo's Nick Pahade:

Our Ventures component is clearly unique because it allows us to align with the media owners of tomorrow-- those who are shaping the touchpoints of the future. We can help bring those media to life and generate first mover opportunities for our clients in the process.

We are also an incubator of new thinking and skill sets. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great digital shops out there, but that's not really our remit.


That's what I like. Fresh and ''renewable'' thinking.

Why are you doing it again ?

Why publishing online again ?
To clarify my mind, connect with other people, learn, bookmark ideas, remember places on the Web, test ideas and publish my words.
I have still something to say, and I don't mind if nobody's reading. I get used to this all these years.

Quick reminder

For those of you just introduced to this blog, I am back after 9 months.
I began publishing with Blogger in early 2002.
First, it was written in croatian and now it's in english.

It was personal diary at first, and later on I began writing more about World Wide Web services, apps and products, about media and business, Croatia etc.
Just to remind myself with an old quote why I made a switch to english:
I am starting to write this blog in english. The desicion starts as of today.
Not sure yet whether it'll be pure english -worded blog or coctail regarding blog language. Croatish, somehow :))
Obviously, it depends a lot on my mood and inspiration. Yes, and time !
There are few reason for this sudden change.
First, my english skills aren't as good , and blog writing could be incentive for learning .
Second, it's about challenge ,too.

I'm back !

Testing, testing... ;)
I'm publishing again. Now, that's something.
Weird, I was on hiatus for months. I was busy. So, now back to publishing.
Is there anyone out there ?

19.3.06

Amazon's S3 vault

Deflation of storage and inflation of web start-up boom ?

You know, attention matters on the web.
I almost missed Amazon's S3 web service. Call it ''partial attention''.
First guess/tag/, you name it - giant hosting tarantula for all your web building needs. As someone said '' it's what for the architects is cheap land''.
From the FAQ:

Amazon S3 is based on the idea that quality Internet-based storage should be taken for granted. It helps free developers from worrying about where they are going to store data, whether it will be safe and secure, the costs associated with server maintenance, or whether they have enough storage available. The functionality is simple and robust: Store any amount of data inexpensively and securely, while ensuring that the data will always be available when you need it. Amazon S3 enables developers to focus on innovating with data, rather than figuring out how to store it.


Now, let's build something huge and Amazon will take care for hosting. Pay as you go.

So, what kind of company Amazon wants to become ? Maybe they should split their Amazon Web Service division into separate company ? With Alexa Web Search and Amazon's Mechanical Turk on board, they are operating in a different space then its retailing business, IMHO.

18.3.06

The battle for search icon in China

One touch to begin search magic with your thumb.

Chinese search engine Baidu and Nokia are teaming up for easy and convinient screen interface. They have both interest in finding a clearly and easy way of searching on mobile phones.
Nokia has an application called, of course, Nokia Mobile Search Application ;) and Baidu searches local resources. For these high-end Nokia mobile phones, Baidu's search button will be easly accessible from the main interface.

Google is not even ''option'' for Nokia searches in China.

Defibrillator in your chest

Watch out, you brave heart, it's me - The doctor

People who suffer from heart problems will be able to get help via transmitter that sends data about heart conditions over mobile networks to their doctors.
Australian newspaper reported about a victorian man that became first australian with heart implantant called defibrillator.


The device, already in the chests of 30,000 Europeans and Americans, means doctors can monitor their heart patients from the comfort of their own home - regardless of where the patient happens to be in the world.

Nice to have real time data over mobile, but what about response in emergent situation ? It is more about state's health system than technology.

I can imagine doctor sitting in the comfort of their home with leggs up on the desk, smoking cigar , sendind SMS message that you should slowdown because you risk another burnout ;)

Could my privacy be in danger if my doctor use insecure IT system and secret service gets data about your heart activity ? Or your spouse ?
Just joking ;)

Goomobile search tech

Goomobile.com

It's not search engine, but it's a very valuable resource for those researching mobile search technology.
My passion is mobile technology as well, so I'll check this site often.
Have I said I got new mobile phone ? Finally, I got ''that'' Sony Ericsson I allways wanted ;))

11.3.06

Intuition game with 580 million

Rupert Murdoch really understands The Next Net ( business 2.0 coined term ).
News Corp is getting digital all over the place, and it has few smart people on board.

I was amazed today reading some words Fox Interactive President Ross Levinsohn spoke recently.
Fox Interactive is essentially internet arm of News Corp. and they are pro-actively seeking web properties that intenet users acctually ''USE''.
They bought MySpace last year.
Here's that famouse quote by Ross Levinsohn that struck me a lot:
He said he didn't go to business school, doesn't look at spreadsheets and basically goes on instinct. The primary question he asks is, "Will consumers use it?" He said that Intermix (Myspace) was acquired over a two-day period in Century City, CA. "I was scared to death, spending 580 milllion of someone elses money," Levinsohn said. "We are approaching it differently than anyone else out there. There is not another company on planet that could move with speed we have. Rupert [Murdoch] and [Peter] Chernin (Fox's #2] are fearless."

Levinsohn also described the conversation he had with Chernin about whether to buy Myspace or IGN, a game site. Chernin asked him which one he preferred.
Levinsohn thought about it and finally gave an answer, but he was enamored of both.
Chernin's answer–buy both, which he did for over $1 billion. "At Fox Sports, we needed seven signatures to hire a $20,000 secretary. It's Rupert Murdoch's company–no other media company can move like that."



( source: IBDN Network event )


7.3.06

AllPeers for the Next Net

The new exciting Firefox plug-in called AllPeers, still unreleased , brings new exciting promises for effective file sharing on the web.

Allpeers is a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing application that will enable millions of users to share their audio, video and other files with their friends and families directly from web browser interface without waiting and uploading.

At least, that's the promise.

Take a look at their FAQ explanation, and watch Technorati tag for new updates or official blog.

The news is that they just got funded by some venture capital firms. The founders of successful web phone Skype got in the game

I've seen some screenshots of the AllPeers plugin, but I had mixed feelings, just like in this article.

Are plug-ins mass markets ? Are they intended to be ? This is mixture of peer-2-peer and bittorent philosophy, and will have to fly on network effect to make really useful.

Still, if there's a promise to invest in this thingie, one should ask about business model. At first, I can't find logical business model. Or, is it just me ?

19.2.06

Videoblogs in Croatia

The first croatian videoblogging tool is released and can be found on www.4ytv.net.

Their aim is to become premier place in Croatia for sharing video content over the internet.
Noble aim, indeed.

Currently, broadband connections are on the rise in Croatia, but far from the point where network effect could be sustainable and beneficial for videoblog service providers.

For the production of 4ytv.net is responsible croatian team Tramot d.o.o. - a Zagreb web developing company with 20 employees. At least, that's what could be found in the notice.

The users can create account with 100 MB free space for their videos ( all kinds od files are supported ) and put them on their blog.
It's very fresh service , and not completly finished ( I would say half-finished and rushed ) so users will have to - yet to come.

What makes me confusing is the fact that for the backend of blog engine is responsible BlogSystem – a commercial engine which could be bough for 499 dollars .

So, whether backend was acctually designed in Croatia or customized ? I don't know.

What makes me happy is the fact that croatian cyberspace follows current trends on the global web.

The proactive and fresh approach started, IMHO, in year 2004 with the advent of croatian blogging tool Blog.hr. Since then, many ideas about newest web apps were popping up over the croatian web, and enthusiasm grows every day and we are reconnected with global web trends.

Since then Pogodak.hr, Vau.hr , X portal, and the now 4ytv.net find their place under the sun or eventually they will.
It's ideas that matter and execution will come.

We'll see what follows next.




9.2.06

PBWiki perfect for online notebook

Several times in the last year I was looking for appropriate wiki engine. I wanted to have a wiki web page .

I used some free wiki farms before and played with ''simple'' free wikis .
But it sucked.
After a while I wouldn't have passion to return and write wikis. Even Wikipedia engine was too cluttered for my taste.

Then I had stumble onto something called PBWiki. Immediatly I fell in love with the simplicity and control I have over my wiki under choosen subdomain.
Bonus – it had password protection. Now, that was killer for my taste. See PBWiki FAQ to understand my passion more.

Although before I have allways had a goal to use wiki with other contributors as a community resource, this time was different and I felt I could use it for my simple personal organizer and online notebook.

It felt right for the first time. Nothing to get killed or bored ;) Simple interface, simple navigation. Search function works fine.

I allways had a attitude that wikis are ugly and not for the average users. Mostly, that's mainstream view and it's probably true.
If they are not ugly, they are too geeky. If they are not geeky, they are feature-rich and user is very often lost .

PBWiki changed the view I had.

Today, I am using PBwiki to add and sort blog posts , newspaper articles or, most often, articles I do not publish somewhere else.
It's simple my writing portfolio and it's there for future reference.

It's my organizer of writing portfolio defined by categories related to web and internet techonologies and essays about social impact of these technologies.
For my eyes only.

Moreover, I organized in the sidebar all my links I need in my daily surfing habits. These are all web related links to the stuff I use and do on the web: like my blogs, contributor Ids, rss, wiki, chat, forums, VOIP, bookmarks, podcasts, photo sharing, web analytics, hosting. It looks nice in the sidebar.

Other parts of my PBWiki are pages created to fill in my writings. There's one box commited to generation of random ideas. Just like in normal notebook.

It's simple and useful. But , please, don't edit your wiki in a hungry mood. They have a sandwich logo for PBWiki and even copywrite sentence ''wiki as easily as a peanut butter sandwich''.

They have a FAQ and tour to take and it'll explain in more detail.

28.1.06

Internet statistics for Croatia

As I was doing research to have an informed discussion about some aspects of internet ''market'' in Croatia and southeastern Europe, I've been looking heavy at available statistics. I wanna share some main findings.

Statistics about internet usage in Croatia. The poll was conducted in November 2005 by Gfk Croatia ( web site down ).
It'a about croatian internet users, internet penetration rates in Croatia, housholds who own PC, users habits, and structure of croatian internet users.
For understanding wider context, please see CIA's WordFact book, World Internet Stat page.

The main findings:

  • - 35 % people said they are internet users ( among those 15 years older ),

  • - 48 % croatian housholds has a PC at home ( 7 % of them have laptop computer ),

  • - 35 % said they have internet access,

  • - 0,6 % has a broadband ( Turkey leads southeastern Europe by 0,7 % broadband rate , exluding Slovenia )- though, this number is at the end of January much higher ,

  • - 50- 50 % internet usage by gender,

  • - Users among those 15- 24 years 34 %, those among 25- 34 % - 27 %,

  • - Usage among croatian regions: 35 % Zagreb capital, 20 % Dalmatia ( southern Croatia ) , 14 % Istra and Primorje, 13 % northern Croatia, 12 % Slavonia and Baranja ( eastern Croatia ),

  • - Usage by households monthly earning : 30 % - 6.000- 8.000 kunas ( about $ 1150 ), 30 %- more than 8.000 kunas ( more than $ 1150 ), 25 %- 3.500-6.000 ( about $ 740 ),

  • - The point of internet acces, ( most used ): 68 % at home, 20 % at work , 6 % at education institution,

  • - The frequency of use: 37 % - every day, 28 %- several days a week, 12 % - once a week ,

  • - The reason for using internet: 66 % - email, 59 % - daily information and news, 47 % - literature, 26 % - games and music, 17 % - travel, 15 % paying bills, 14 % - chat, 7 %- shopping ,

  • - Average time spend on the net ( weekly ) : 37 % - 2,5 hours, 25 % - 2,5 to 5 hours ( 9 % of users said they consider them self internet addicts ),

23.1.06

Dayparting matters

See how Google defines dayparting.
It's about time of a day and the web site's content .
Of course, and his majesty User.

Seattle PI tested those dayparting concepts and learned the lessons.

It's useful after all, but not for all purposes and radical intervention of user interface.
It's about content. Picking up potentially most interesting content during the day which matches user's expectations . Think how television serves eary moring programmes and in the evening ''prime-time'' programming.
Still, on the internet is similar analogy not possible having in mind it's not broadcasting as we know it.

In the world of allways-on connections, people will be using more video and audio content on the internet.
Judging for myself, let's suppose, in the morning I'll be more willing to consume news/weather info doses and in the evening I'll be coming to my preffered web site ( networkd/ring) of choice looking for entertainment.
Brands who can give me such a ''complet'' daily experience will be my preffered media on the web. Sometimes it's tricky , though.

But in the reality , it's the abundance of information on the web that makes me to choose few content providers so I can quickly and efficiently get informed and entertained.

Related:

21.1.06

Office Live to break low-end hosting ?

After reading PC World's article about Microsoft Office Live services coming to pre-beta phase, one thought poped up in my mind.

If Microsoft says that Office Live will be at first aimed at business users including triple-bundle of free web domain ( subdomain ), hosted site and e-mail app, could it put pressure for low-end hosting companies ?
Microsoft released pre-beta e-mail for Office Live about two weeks ago that said the service will offer a free Web site with a domain name, hosting services, online business applications, and e-mail, according to LiveSide.net.

Microsoft stated before its intent to gain users among SMB crowd.

So, logical step for Google would be to make similar tactics ( Gmail's way ) and make triple- bundle including domain names, hosting ( significant storage and building app ) and e-mail app.

Hosting is commodity these days, and Google would get opportunity to sell ads on basic accounts ( pro versions would be paid , just like MSN's ), and users will get more choice , in straightforward manner , for internet presence.

19.1.06

Birthday post

Just a quick note; today's my 4th year of blogging.
Nice.
It all started with blogger.com and the story goes further ;)
Yes, I tried many other tools and places...
I re-discovered myself....

6.1.06

The new normal TV

Engadget is covering live Intel's announcement from Las Vegas and is covering all things related to Viiv.

Clickstar services is praised by Morgan Freeman as ''the future''. Maybe they should look for a while here in Croatia to see what small company Vodatel has been doing with its eTV concept and Media Center ( croatian lang.)

And, as Paul Otellini ( Intel's CEO ) says ''Welcome to The New Normal.'' Think hype ;-)

Bluetooth renaissance

2006 ? The year of Bluetooth ? Nokia thinks so.

Me too.
Here's why. The danish city of Aalborg and its practical use of bluetooth. This space , apps having in mind, is positioned to boom.
Europeans seems to be leading the path.

UPDATE , on January 12th 2006.
. Oh, boy, I was right.
Strategy Analytics asserts that the market for Bluetooth-enabled devices grew to more than 272 million units in 2005, twice the number of units shipped globally in 2004, as outlined in "Bluetooth Doubles: CSR Still Gaining Momentum."

User generated mobile guide

Ubimate featuring IBM Zurich.
UbiMate is a mobile city guide which utilizes the collective power of the mobile user community to generate customized recommendations. It looks at what like-minded user have done in the past under similar context (e.g., location, weather) to predict what the current user may like to do. It currently has two location setups, New York and Zurich.

Nice. Looking for network effects to make more sense. The city of Zurich and NY are supported.
Here's New York Ubimate with weather and other recommendations.



Chitika delays payment to web publishers

Chitika advertising network caught my eyes few months back with nice adverts ( eMiniMals ) placed between blog posts. It looked nice and unobtrusive. The concept was promising, in my view.

That's how should blogvertising look and even light web marketing for micromedia.
Jensense.com reports newest problems publishers are having with Chitika.

Payment is no easy task.
Dealing with money is allways sensitive, and it should be treated so.

Some bloggers were apparently naive and greedy, and now this is their pay off ;-)