Tuesday, 24 March 2009

5 and 10 euro with Google Earth image of Manhattan

This is certainly one of the nicest designs for money ever. On the one side Manhattan as it was 400 years ago and on the other side Manhattan as it is now as seen by Google Earth. You can literally feel Ground Zero. You can buy it online The design is by Ronald van Tienhoven

Also see this design from a  while back

Credit crisis hits KPN and Reggefiber's FTTH plans

The Dutch "Financieel Dagblad" reports that Reggefiber is finding it hard to find banks, both Dutch and foreign,  willing to loan it money for its ambitious €4 billion Fiber to the Home project. Reggefiber is operating in a joint venture with KPN.  KPN and Reggefiber are both paying 25% of the costs of the network. The other half needs to come from banks and they aren't willing. If they do loan money its in small tranches.

Reggefiber is now looking for pension funds and local governments to invest in its plans. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs is looking into rules for local governments under what conditions they can invest in these plans.

The project has attracted alot of attention recently with its plans and the regulatory approval that the Dutch regulators OPTA and NMA gave to the joint venture. The whole Dutch telecommunications sector seems to be against the plan as most cable companies and alternative operators have filed objections to the regulatory approval.

Monday, 23 March 2009

How I calculated that the iPhone uses 640MB of mobile data/month

I got a question on how I reached the conclusion, that the iPhone uses on average  640MB of mobile data per month on T-mobile NL.

The T-mobile data I calculated from the combination of two news reports. They seem to have been mentioned by T-mobile in a press release that isn't publicly available. A press release in december does say that mobile data usage has grown 7-times since last year and is now at 2 terabytes per day. 

My calculation was based on data cited on Tweakers.net and Emerce.nl  and goes as follows:
Tweakers says that in December 2008 20,5TB per week was used by mobile users, in June this was 3.1TB. In Januari 2008 this was only 2.5TB per week. If we would have seen a "normal" growth rate, then T-mobile's weekly data usage should have been at 4.5TB maximum. The rest can be attributed to a phenomenon... being the iPhone 3G. 

Emerce.nl reports that there were 100.000 iphone users and also reports they use between 30 to 40 times more data  than normal mobile users. They also report that mobile data users Iphone and other use 67TB of data or 3TB per day. (It looks like they mixed up two numbers here, 67TB/30days is 2TB. So it looks like Tweakers is more accurate. 

So roughly mobile data usage is at 82TB/month, 18 is used by non-iphone users -->64TB is for 100,000 iPhone 3G users= 640MB (and 640 is a magical IT number, so I went with that one)

It's not perfect, but even if we allow for a 20% margin, it's still above half a gigabyte.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Iphone users use 640MB/month

As reported yesterday, T-mobile NL saw a great increase in mobile data usage from the introduction of the iPhone 3G. The monthly usage of mobile increased from 12Terabyte to 80Terabyte a month How stunning a number that is, I only realized last night in bed. The average iPhone user uses 640MB per month. T-mobile also said it was 30-40 times more than the average mobile data user at 16-22MB per month. 

Telenet in Belgium has a Basicnet (fixed line internet) version that has a 1GB limit. I would suspect 20% of mobile users would hit that cap straight away. 

640MB isn't that expensive for T-Mobile NL. Even if they had no peerings, then it would still amount to less then 3 cents a month at €5/mbit/s/month (100GB) in Amsterdam. In Australia the costs would be 60 cents/user/month. (which also shows how much money is currently made on all you can eat data plans at €9.95, which are a top up on normal subscriptions)

However if this kind of usage continues to spread to users of other mobile devices then I do suspect mobile backhaul would be in serious need of an upgrade. On the other hand a standard DSL should be able to carry the traffic 

Monday, 2 March 2009

Mobile broadband customers want it, telco's don't get it

Four stories came together today:

  1. T-Mobile NL reported that iPhone users surf the web 30-40 times more than other mobile data users. In the first half of 2008 the usage of mobile data at T-mobile grew from 2.5TB per week to 3.1TB per week. In the second half this grew from 3.1TB per week to 20.5TB per week. An eight fold increase !
  2. Ars Technica reports that the mobile industry's price plan is discouraging the usage of mobile data. The way they do this is by giving every device a different price plan and discontinuing price plans that become too popular for their price bracket. The article also mentions devices like Kindle that come bundled with bandwidth but are often limited in what they can do over the network.
  3. The iPhone App Store is the best App store around and we'll see it and other app stores making loads of money in the future. ABI projects mobile app sales to rise from "hundreds of millions of dollars" this year to over a billion dollars in 2010.
  4. Orange and O2 in the UK are up in arms over Nokia's idea to put Skype by default on the N97. They threaten not to sell it on their networks . (Thanks to Hendrik Rood on Arch-econ-mailing list.) The best quote is: One operator source told Mobile: ‘This is another example of them trying to build an ecosystem that is all about Nokia and reduces the operator to a dumb pipe. Some people like 3 may be in a position where it could make sense to accept that. But if you spend upwards of £40m per year building your brand, you don’t want to be just a dumb pipe do you? ‘Nokia have tried several ways to own the customer over the years and operators have had to say no.’
What amazes me in the stories is that it shows that the holy Quadrangle is there:
1. Users want it
2. Device makers can make it
3. App developers have the software
4. Networks can deliver it
Except the last one, the network, doesn't want to play anymore. They are taking the football home, because they can't be the star player of the team. They don't want to be a bit pipe. "Yo no soy marinero, soy capitan". 

This is what is killing developments in the mobile market. The kid that has the football, but no talent to become the star of the field, only wants to play if it can be striker and make all the goals. It could have a great afternoon playing football. None of the other guys on the pitch wish it anything bad, they are willing to share their candy with the network. (nobody says networks shouldn't make a return and T-mobile NL made 352 million Ebitda on 1.8 billion turnover this year alone)

Why do we continue to let incompetent sales and marketing people call the shots at Mobile telco's? Accept that your a pipe... not a dumb one, but a smart one. Lean, mean, charging everyone who wants access and not involved in all the pipe dreams of the over the top providers. Tomtom, Amazon, Smart Meters need access for devices, sure pay a little and your my friend, Europe wide, sure.. 

If the telco got out of the way, bandwidth usage would grow through the roof, because all we really want is to be connected and communicate