It was uncomfortable watching a peer like Mark Rushworth having to defend the impossible on Campbell Live. He was earning his money tonight and did a pretty good job. Rite of passage that stuff.
Comparing data pricing to what I saw in the UK last week, one of the big contributors to sky high data prices must be international broadband prices.
For the iPhone is the breakthrough mobile device it should be then I think data pricing needs to be at the Sky subscription level. Say $75 per month. UK mobile data was about that for 5GB.
Say that $150 of the $250 monthly cost is international traffic then $100m of investment in more international capacity, at a 10% cost of capital, could be covered by as few as 5500 customers.
It just reinforces the business case for driving international connections to a cost plus model. An unconstrained digital lifestyle and the small business transformation that is possible with abundant connectivity is just not possible in New Zealand by the current market. Not great for brand NZLiving on 3G
Coming up to the end of a quick week in the UK and I’ve been living on 3G.
Our team in the UK are on a £25 5GB per month plan which they use at home as well as work. This seems to be enough for heavy road warrior use.
3G does not feel as fast as wifi, it’s just slightly sluggish but quite acceptable. The big benefit is that it is ubiquitous. On the train, any cafe, you’re connected. It’s fast enough for demos.
The price, 5GB of data and ubiquity is such that you just use it without thinking. That’s how it should be.
The new devices are just small USB sticks. I assume they’ll be embedded like wifi next year.
Good to see that Voda NZ is going wide with 3G so that it will be available all over New Zealand.
Ubiquity is key (as well as reasonable price/data caps of course).
Berg Insight reports the number of mobile broadband enabled PC laptops is set to rise to almost 50 million by 2013 so mobile broadband is a huge enabler for SaaS offerings.
As I’ve been traveling for the past week I’m on email, Xero (of course), so able to stay on top of teh admin. You can be completely connected to the information you need while out growing the business.
So I’m really looking forward to 3G arriving in NZ. It really does transform the way you work.New red socks campaign
The NBR asked if I’d submit a few articles for NBR online. He’s the first.
This came out of a KEA workshop hosted by Stephen Tindall a few weeks ago. I think he coined the ‘Broadband could be our new red socks campaign’ idea.Nokia’s dilemma: operator friend or foe?
DougalW flicked me an interesting Telco 2.0 article on how the industry is changing from the perpective of Nokia.
Worth a read.
Lot’s of good stuff.
Nokia has to yet to build an acceptable telephone. And it’s taken Apple to come along, release a cruddy 2G phone with zero “computer” features (download an app? nope!), and fix one of the deep problems of standard telephony: the voicemail user interface.
… going forwards, Nokia needs to become a different beast: an original services manufacturer. It’s the services that the users value most, well above the budget for a sexy new handset.
$1 a day
Which operator (until recently) had the highest ARPU and customer satisfaction? Answer is…. Nextel. Motorola built a custom push-to-talk service, where the handset, network and software worked together perfectly to solve a core communications need. The era of that particular product is past, but the lesson lives on.
Woohoo! We needed something like this to change mobile data habits. Nice one Vodafone.
Vodafone launches $1 a day mobile broadband
Vodafone has blown apart the mobile data market with the launch of its new casual rate of $1 a day.
From July 28, customers will be able to surf the net, download music and games and play on their favourite sites without committing to a fixed monthly data contract.
The $1 a day casual rate gives customers up to 10MB of data – more than enough for most casual users on their mobile devices. Customers who go over that limit will be charged at $1 per megabyte and users who regularly need more can take advantage of our suite of data plans.
Vodafone’s GM of Products and Services, Kursten Shalfoon, says the new casual rate will change the way customers use the internet on their mobile devices.
“Over the past year we’ve increased network capacity, the handsets are evolving rapidly and now we’re able to bring mobile internet alive with sharper prices.”
To make sure customers can take advantage of the new rate, Vodafone’s network is optimising websites for viewing on customers’ mobiles – a first for New Zealand.
“There’s nothing to install at the customer’s end, and it works with all our WAP-enabled mobiles. It means customers don’t spend ages downloading a page they can’t read on their mobile device. Instead they’ll get a page that’s optimised for their own personal device making the experience that much better for all concerned.”
The new pricing is simple and affordable, and now applies to almost all internet data, including the Vodafone Live! portal. Sky Mobile TV and Vodafone Compass will continue to be free of data usage costs.
“We have great content deals, and Vodafone Live will still bring the best of the internet to Vodafone customers, but it means the customers can decide what they’ll want to look at and what they want to get involved with.”
I’m sure there is non-iPhone stuff going on somewhere in the world. This will be my last iPost for the week, I promise.
Chatting to one of the 2500+ iPhone users in NZ this morning - who was not a technical user.
He just got got a bill for $900.
I showed him how to turn on wifi.iPhone take two
After a day to digest the iPhone news I have a few more thoughts.
They are going after a very broad market:
- Kids. Addition of parental controls makes sense and I’m not aware of any other phones doing that. Clever.
- Consumers. They are hitting a price point that makes this a fairly compelling device at the moderate to high end consumer level.
- Small Business Owners. Integrating the iPhone with push email and shared contact services gives smb’s access to services normally associated with enterprise software. Questions remain over if they will allow hosted domains, or if the client applications will work with Google Mail.
- Enterprise. It may take another version but this is a credible first offer to Enterprise customers.
The breadth of this is also noticeable in the simultaneous launch in 20 countries, coordination of device and hosted services with MobileMe and embracing Windows users. Even the way that the country sub-sites all updated was impressive. This is an awesome execution project. Compare to HP who launched 50 new products today, including a gorgeous looking laptop, that I can’t find on HP.com.
They are also going Enterprise. Not just iPhone but broadly with Exchange support in Snow Leopard, the next update to the MacOS. This was overshadowed but is big news on its on.
Apple have become a broad execution company. What other companies are executing simultaneously on so many fronts - to this quality?
As well as this, it’s hard to think of another company that can hype up the entire world like Apple can. They have the marketing side cracked as well. Nuts.
There are a few potentially insidious bits. Coated in sugar.
The distribution network of iTunes is potent and quite reasonable priced at 30% margin which includes hosting and credit card payments. As it goes to so many countries all ISV’s need to think - do we have an iPhone app strategy just to get access to that channel. That is very interesting for SaaS vendors. Software + Services to get the distribution.
The application notification service ties Apple into such a wealth of information. Yet it makes sense to solve the background application issue. This is a scary/brilliant part of their strategy. Very, very clever.
The MobileMe applications were slick. The demo’s looked like some of the the best web apps I’ve seen to date. More importantly, here is a compelling Software + Services model.
So Apple gets hardware, software, clips the ticket on apps, and has regular SaaS revenue. A multilevel, vertically integrated cash machine.
Who is doing this stuff at Apple? The very few exec’s they wheel out don’t really blow you away and have gaffed a few times. It can’t just be SJ. There must be a very tight strategy team in there somewhere.
Will I get an iPhone? Depends on the soft keyboard experience. I assume they’ve learnt a lot in the last year and it will be improved. The BlackBerry is still the ‘power email’ device.
I don’t think Vodafone locally know too much yet but the burning questions are
- What if you’re already on an Enterprise plan?
- Visual Voicemail?
- Mobile data rates?
A lot of stuff came together today. A few holes but the breadth of execution is unprecendented. Fanboy or not, that’s what impresses me.July 11
New Zealand is on the official country list for July 11 iPhone 3G launch. Who’d have thunk this a few months ago?
About to skim through the keynote but from what I can tell there are some interesting hooks.
- After panning RIM for a single point of failure in their email service Apple does the same with an central, Apple only, app notification service, instead of background applications
- The have developed their own push email service. I wonder what Google will do with their mail - can they use the same push mechanism or will it be Apple only?
More later …
Q: I wonder if MobileMe supports hosted domains?
And on fake Steve …
Did you see it? Were you watching? Were you there? People, word up. That. Just. Happened. A faster, better iPhone, for as little as 200 bucks. Yeah. You should have seen the faces in the crowd. For a moment they were all just sitting there with this glazed, worshipful, vaguely confused look on their faces. It was the same look Joan Baez had on her face the first time she slept with me, right after I finished — just this curious look like, Who are you? What planet do you come from? Why do I hear angels singing? How did you do that to my lady parts, you strange intense monkey man?
Just saw this …
Snow Leopard will also include out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 and is scheduled to ship in about a year.
Mac goes Enterprise!?!3G iphone will run on Telecom’s new network
Confirmation looks to have arrived on what chipsets are in the new 3G iPhone to be released this Tuesday.
quad-band GSM support (as we currently have), A-GPS, and tri-band UMTS / HSDPA — which would make the new iPhone(s) 3G-capable in just about every market in the world.
It covers 850MHz and 2100MHz which is the new Telecom network.
Lost of shipping information around that Apple has been flooding the US with unmarked boxes and even Australian retailers have received packages embargoed until Tuesday. So iPhone 3G units may be available in volume sooner than expected.
We should know all Tuesday morning.Sky, TVNZ and FTTH
Good to see business leaders like Simon Botherway getting into it …
We are definitely entering into looney times in regard to what the government intervenes in so as Sky investors you can see why he is motivated to squash this.
But it was also interesting that Simon mentioned this …
… there are numerous distribution pathways to the household. Not to mention the imminent prospect of broadband distribution.
The Internet is close to replacing traditional broadcast distribution as I mentioned here …
TVNZ through the Freeview consortium is in a ’walled-garden’ battle with Sky, resulting in the New Zealand tax payer and television viewer required to buy dual hardware unnecessarily to get the full suite of available content.
The NZ consumer is going to be mighty pissed soon when they realize they won’t be able to record HD content even after laying down their loot for two new decoders.
In parallel with this there is the Fibre to the Home aspiration. (I’m not a supporter of FTTH, and feel that the NZ broadband debate is drifting back to internally focussed FTTH and broadband for all rather than the much more important international links and getting businesses connected - but I digress).
The reality is there is only so much money available per household for content services. That means newspapers, telephony, magazines, pay tv, video rentals and mobiles. Maybe it’s $100- $300 per month.
The market for people that will pay for both a PayTV subscription and a super high speed broadband subscription is a lot smaller than the market that would pay for either of those.
FreeView feels less regulated than Sky. Already people are connecting to FreeView using commodity tv cards and PVR software like EyeTV. I believe they can record programs in HD. Adding a computer to the mix starts to blur broadcast TV and IP based TV.
So as the Government owns both TVNZ and needs to build a business case for FTTH perhaps a strategy that TVNZ can use is to lead the world in IP based television. Deliver TV content over an internet connection and suddenly the money a household spends on television can be diverted into contributing to a fibre connection.
IP TV is coming anyway. TVNZ could embrace it and while the government makes the case for FTTH much more compelling and reduces take up risk.
Now that would be a game changer.Pocket Accounting
Out today is an iPhone version of Xero.
I’ve been using it for a few days and it’s really cool. With the upcoming launch of the iPhone 3G we wanted to get it out there and see what scenario’s people want. Expense claims is an obvious one we’ll add soon.
Here is the press release …
Xero now available on the iPhone
Xero announced today the release of a customised Apple iPhone version of their popular online accounting system.
This allows people who have an iPhone (or iPod Touch) to use Xero to access all their bank balances and recent transactions from anywhere. It also provides the ability to call any contact with one simple tap.
Xero Chief Executive Rod Drury said this gives business owners easy access to crucial information at all times - one quick glance at a small device in their pocket provides unlimited flexibility and mobility.
“We believe the iPhone is a breakthrough device and with signals that a 3G version will soon be available in our core markets of New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia we believe now is a good time to introduce an iPhone version of Xero and get feedback from customers.
“We believe online accounting is the core information system for small businesses. With Xero, businesses are beginning to see the power of linking their mobile front line staff to the back office.”
Xero for the iPhone is available immediately to all Xero customers at no extra charge, customers can simply login at http://m.xero.com. It’s also available for anyone to try for free by signing up at www.xero.com.
We also added blog comments today as we shifted to WordPress. Tell us what else you want here.8700, my old friend
Managed to get back up and connected with my old BlackBerry 8700 that seems to have been passed through the office. While the 8700 is chunkier it immediately feels easier to use than the smaller and newer BB 8310 Curve. The click wheel is much more natural to use than the trackball and the keys are better spaced.
When submitting my Curve for repair our tech guru Keith quipped … you may have exceeded the lifetime number of messages a blackberry can send.
I got a cheap phone in Queenstown to get by for a couple of days and it was awful having to do txt on a kybrd. Smartphones are so much easier to communicate with.Blueberry
Just into a multiday trip and my BlackBerry died. No email, no phone, blank screen.
I haven’t not been continuously connected for 5 years. This is very weird.
To avoid throwing up I’ll try to treat it as an experience. No mobile for 2 days. Don’t like it.Vodafone gets the iPhone
Well that happened faster that expected.
If you think the iPhone is a break through device, like I do, then this is a very significant announcement for the local mobile industry.
Previously the Vodafone Global CEO has ruled out the Apple dance. So it appeared that Telecom NZ had a great chance to scoop an exclusive iPhone deal.
The first wave of the carrier deals done by Apple favoured the challenger carrier that did not have an investment in content. Locally Vodafone is doing a roaring trade here on music downloads so getting the iPhone would mean some complex business issues.
In contrast Telecom had everything to gain.
As the mobile challenger launching a new, non differentiated, network the iPhone would have given Telecom a big leg up, made it instantly cool, and provided instant content. Having iPhone pricing in the product line up would have been useful alongside expensive world mode phones. Telecom would have had an easier job rebuilding their brand around an exclusive iPhone deal.
While a positive step for Vodafone the marginal benefit to them is much less than the marginal loss to Telecom.
So Vodafone needs to work out what iPhone/iTunes means to it’s current services. Telecom missed an awesome opportunity. It would be interesting to know how far into it they got. Would be tough being a single carrier from NZ competing against a multi-country Vodafone group.
For content developers I hope we see a Vodafone partnering program that provides an opportunity to develop here and use the Vodafone global network as a channel to market.
This is a significant event for the industry.New Telecom Data Card
Just upgraded my data card.
My Telecom 3G MiniMax finally gave up the ghost. The MiniMax has been great for the last year or so but as is often the case for early adopters it became an unsupported orphan. The mobile stores didn’t really know about them, the reseller doesn’t support them anymore and drivers are hard to find.
But anyway, I’ve upgraded to the new Sierra Wireless Rev A card. Installation was a snap from the Sierra Wireless site - they had Telecom specific drivers. And the Rev A speeds are noticeably faster.
The flip out USB bit works on a MacBookAir.
Very happy so far.Freeview
I had my Freeview boxed installed today, in time to watch Boston Legal in HD.
It was impressive. First up 3 News was clear and solid. The pictures flipped from wide to 4:3 frequently but the aspect looked good all the time.
Boston Legal looked great. It was a bit strange being able to see the make up on Denny. Shirley definitely looked a bit older in HD.
The little ‘uns are excited about Kids Zone.
It’s all about trade off’s. Watch Boston Legal in HD and watch ads. Or time shift normal TV and no ads on MySky.
I’m pretty sure that Sky won’t let you record their HD shows either so the dilemma will continue. Time Shifting is far more useful that HD.
The Freeview box isn’t as ugly as expected but the remote is cheap and nasty. The UI is pretty raw and EPG seemed to be an hour out on some modes. Another remote and set of instructions joins the coffee table and the grandmother babysitter has zero chance of turning the system on by herself.
If you have a flatscreen with HDMI, FreeView is a no brainer, even if just for Kids Zone. I suspect many will extend their stacks and have both FreeView and MySky HD.
Broadcast TV is so broken and so in conflict with consumers. As HD roles out the broadcasters gain a short respite but as the glass arrives near the doorstep the Internet has to win.Mobility wars heating up
The phone wars are about to heat up again with the 3G iPhone just around the corner.
The 3G Blackberry has been delayed slightly but their issue will be their browser. No developers I know develop specifically for the BlackBerry browser, but with the iPhone having a mainstream browser you do think about how your app might render on an iPhone.
It also seems that one of the major iPhone developer limitations, the ability for apps to stay resident in the background, has been fixed in the recent sdk builds.
Active Sync makes the iPhone accessible in the Enterprise (some would argue killing Windows Mobile in the process) and we’re starting to see some neat little ‘meshed’ productivity apps coming out that live both on your Mac, Phone and Web like EverNote.
I use a number of BlackBerry apps but they are not as easy to use, and screen constrained.
I still prefer the hard keyboard of the Blackberry but I have both a BB and an iPod Touch with me most of the time. So as apps get delivered on the iPhone I might trade off the keyboard.
I’m sure Apple has learned a lot about their soft keyboard over the last year so seeing how that performs in the new version of iPhone software will be interesting.Bare faced politics
Quite interesting being close to National’s broadband announcement and seeing the responses. A good case study on the political process.
Firstly David Cunliffe. I believe DC would have loved to have done this but it got stopped by Cullen and H1 after the Digital Summit, then the health hospital pass.
So he used the old ‘make up something and argue against that’ approach.
National’s plan as presented would inevitably reinforce the position of the incumbent, Telecom, as the dominant fibre provider.National’s plan replaces a narrow-band monopoly in the nineties with a
new broadband monopoly.
Err not sure where that came from, but good politics.
Next was the EPMU. They got right in there with their cause …
“If John Key thinks there is the skilled workforce available to start rolling out a project like this within the next year he may need to think again as there is an international shortage of telecommunications workers and our members are already working huge amounts of overtime simply to keep the network maintained and roll-out Telecom’s modest cabinetisation program.
Very opportunistic, but nice.
NZ First was a classic. Good emotion with headlines of Telecom Deal Outrageous and use of rapacious
And nice suggestion of a conspiracy with …
“If Mr Key has done a deal with Telecom he should come out into the open and explain what is going on. Taxpayers need to know exactly why they should pour $1.5 billion into the most rapacious company New Zealand has ever known,” said Mr Woolerton.
Note the jumping on the ‘beat up Telecom’ bandwagon there. That should get some oldie votes.
And NZ First want to just buy Telecom back anyway.
“Mr Key has acknowledged that telecommunications has been a market failure in New Zealand so perhaps it is time for New Zealand to take back the industry, like it has with Air New Zealand and will do with the railways system.
Must be great to be able to throw out policy when you have little chance of having to actually do it.
This election is going to be fun.
Update at 4:30pm
Dunne goes for the high ground …
Dunne: NZ needs broadband, not bickering
Press Release by United Future at 4:11 pm, 23 Apr 2008
UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says the future of New Zealand needs a vastly improved broadband infrastructure, not the current bout of political bickering.
“John Key has proposed a $1.5 billion broadband plan with the declared intention of strengthening the New Zealand economy so that we can compete in a global market,” he said.
“Everyone agrees that’s a good idea, but all we’ve heard so far is the Minister of Communications carping that National is being opportunistic and handing too much monopoly power to Telecom; New Zealand First is similarly outraged that Telecom is getting too much money; and ACT has delivered the standard libertarian rant that hates the Government collecting or spending any money at all.
“Surely the point is that widespread, superfast broadband is a good thing for the New Zealand economy and the only question is: how do we get there?
“It’d be excellent if politicians spent more time working out the answer to that question and not simply whacking each other over the head and feeling they’ve accomplished something.
“If direct government investment like Mr Key proposes is not the answer, then I’d like to hear two things from the critics - first, what is the alternative, and second, why has it not happened to date,” said Mr Dunne.
Very sensible.National’s Broadband plan
Just back from hearing John Key deliver his broadband investment speech at the Wellington Chamber of Commerce event.
“- If dial up could deliver Trade Me, who knows what might be delivered by fibre to the home.”
- It was the first major policy announcement from National, and probably a good choice of policy areas to start with.
- It was great so see some vision and leadership.
- It didn’t lock in a particular model - which at this stage is a good idea.
- I like the approach of being clear about a number of principles that will guide process towards a solution.
- The approach acknowledges the need to work with the private sector.
- National, and especially Maurice, must have listened and been working hard in the background since the digital summit. Great to see they listened.
- Kudos to the hard work the New Zealand Institute did on quantifying the public benefit
As I’ve mentioned before I think our industry can have some pride at moving this from a technical issue, to a business issue, to government policy. To have politicians come to terms with the complexity of our industry, the commercial sensitivities but fully understand the importance is a good win.
This is good stuff and vital to NZ. Most reasonable people would agree. Looking forward to hearing what you guys think.
Let rip.Spot the opportunity