Unwired Tap – January 2004

Published in TDAN.com January 2004

Let’s Get Caught Up On Portability and Look at the New Year

Well, November 24, 2003 has come and gone and the brave new world of portability is upon us. The new marketing campaigns have kicked into action and movement is taking place. Glitches in the
process were expected and the service providers are working through the problems. Here is one update on how one of the providers is doing:

FierceWireless, December 10 –

“AT&T Wireless today offered an explanation for its difficulties in porting subscribers over to different carriers under the new FCC wireless number portability rules. The company cited
difficulties with its CRM system. These problems pre-date the WLNP deadline last month and have prevented the company from porting subscribers as quickly as its competitors. AT&T Wireless also
shifted some blame to NeuStar, a company that handles customer verification for the carrier. The company added that the problem is now under control and that it is now porting subscribers at the
same pace as the rest of the industry. According to the FCC, more than half of the 600 number portability complaints filed as of Monday involve AT&T Wireless, more than any other U.S. carrier.
Last week the FCC asked AT&T Wireless to explain its poor performance in regards to number portability.”

Another impact of the portability change will be occurring with businesses. Mark Hachman wrote and interesting article for eWeek dated November 26, 2003. In the article he talks about the direction
that both the consumer and businesses will likely take with the new freedom that portability gives both entities. Consumers are more likely to move from plan to plan but businesses are more likely
to be more analytical about any potential moves with a focus on reducing infrastructure and supporting processes while increasing savings.

The first wave of change that can probably be attributed, in part, to the new portability rules is about 80,000. This was reported by TSI Telecommunications Services, Inc. of Tampa, Florida.
According to the eWeek article – “TSI was selected by five out of the top six wireless companies to route portability requests to the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC).
AT&T Wireless chose to manage the process itself, TSI spokeswoman Helen Harris said.” TSI did not know what percentage of the requests they received were from business or from consumers.

So, what should we do with this change and where we are now in the maturation of the portability process?

  • Be ready. If you decide to switch carriers you should have your phone number, billing address, account number and latest bill on hand when you call your new carrier. Remember that only the
    person whose name is on the account can authorize the change.
  • Be patient. The FCC set a target of 2 ½ hours for carriers to complete the transfer of a number from your old carrier to your newly selected carrier. It may take longer than that but the
    process will get smoother as time goes on. The process will be running better by the end of the year than it was during the first day or two.
  • Be aware. Consumers who have contracts with their current carriers will have to pay an early termination fee if they decide to switch before their agreements expire.
  • Be savvy. The FCC says carriers can charge their customers for switching the number but a new carrier could agree to pay the transfer fee.

Now, 0n to this new year. According to quite a few industry organizations and ‘industry watchers’ 2004 looks like a good growth year for the World of Wireless. Browse through this
edition of Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge and read about some of the following:

  • 802.11g is getting a lot of attention along with products that will begin to offer 108Mbps wireless networking, or roughly twice the speed of existing 802.11g products, as well as improved
    range.
  • As devices begin to support parts of the developing 802.11e standard they will be in line to deliver streaming media as well as data.
  • WiMax will be getting more and more attention as will the proliferation of WiFi Hotspots.
  • Intel wants to team up with gadget makers and content providers, like cable companies,to develop and market new broadband consumer applications using 802.11g. Intel is looking to launch 802.11g
    Centrino chips on devices such as cable set-top boxes, stereos, DVD players, and TVs.
  • RFID is getting more visibility
  • Intel, Cisco pushing for WiFi mesh networking standard
  • Push-to-Talk (P2T) is growing
  • The death of Notebooks – I found this a very interesting idea.
  • … and more

2004 will bring more focus to the future and facets of our wireless world. I’m not convinced that this will be a breakout year but I sense the ground-swell of interest and opportunity
building.

 

Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge

Following are a few interesting articles and discussions on wireless and the year ahead of us:

  • eWeek Wireless Update – December 15, 2003
    Jim Louderback on RFID – Jim discusses RFID and an article by Bruce Hudson on RFID – A new survey shows that a huge percentage If you’ve been reading our wireless updates
    regularly, you know I’m a big fan of RFID. These tiny cheap chips have the potential to revolutionize all sorts of businesses, from retail to manufacturing, transportation and more. Even the
    US War department finds RFID a compelling way to keep track of soldiers and material.

    But RFID’s not a slam dunk. Privacy advocates are rightfully concerned that these tiny transmitters can be used to subvert confidentiality rights. Take a lesson from British company Tesco,
    which infuriated the press and customers when it rolled out a poorly planned RFID system. We’ve put together six key strategies for RFID implementation. Find out why this important technology
    is too important to leave solely to IT.
    To read more click here

  • eWeek Wireless Update – December 15, 2003
    Wireline Customers Ready to Go Wireless – A new survey shows that a huge percentage of POTS phone customers are ready to cut the cord and go wireless. We’ve got details on just
    how many are expected to switch, along with that’s most important to these potential customers:
    To read more click here
  • Syncrologic – Mobile and Wireless Industry News – December 15, 2003
    WiMax – 802.16 or “A Solution to the Last Mile” – WiMax is the new shorthand term for IEEE Standard 802.16, also known as “Air Interface for Fixed Broadband
    Wireless Access Systems.” WiMax has an access range of up to 31 miles. This opens up a lot of options including public hotspots and more. It is also a lot closer than many people think. Intel is
    looking to bring out a WiMax version of Centrino in 2004.
    To read more click here
  • The 801.11 Report – December 17, 2003
    Number of WiFi Hotspots Grow, but not Profits – The number of hotspots around the world has risen to 40,000 in 2003, exhibiting a rate of growth higher than analysts’
    expectations. Based on current growth trajectories, there will be around 180,000 hotspots worldwide by 2007. The number of hotspot users, however, has not grown apace, and neither have profits. A
    recent Jupiter Research study found that while 70 percent of online consumers were aware of WiFi hotspots availability in public spaces, only 6 percent of consumers have used
    them. Starbucks has reported that of the 22 million customers who visit Starbucks outlets in North America in a typical week, only 25,000 were taking advantage of WiFi
    availability in the stores. With so few people using hotspots, profits are hard to come by. John Yunker of Pyramid Research says: “I do believe there is money to be made but
    (not) as a stand-alone service. The major carriers, both fixed and wireless, will be the ones who benefit,” he said.
    To read more click here
  • FierceWireless – December 17, 2003
    Siemens launches push-to-talk solution – Siemens yesterday announced its plans to enter the push-to-talk (P2T) market with both P2T-enabled handsets and network infrastructure
    products. The company said that by 2005, almost all new mid-level and above Siemens phones will have P2T. Siemens’ P2T solution uses IP-based IMS switching technology. This P2T system is
    currently designed for GPRS networks but in the future will be expanded to include compatibility with both UMTS and WiFi. Siemens said more than 10 carriers will be testing its P2T solution
    during the first half of next year. According to Siemens, these unnamed carriers are planning a commercial launch of the company’s P2T service by mid-2004.
    To read more click here
  • FierceWireless – December 17, 2003
    The Death of the Notebook? – According to some technologists, the growth of wireless technology and the continued improvement of smart phones could spell the end of the notebook
    PC. They claim users will begin to use one central PC (either at work or home) as a server, and use advanced wireless networks such as WiFi and 3G to connect to their data through their smart
    phones. Smart phones, they predict, will soon compete with notebooks in terms of computing power and at a much cheaper price. The combined effects of cheaper smart phones, inexpensive desktops
    with WiFi access, and widely available 3G cellular and WiFi networks will, they claim, allow smart phones to edge out notebooks as the mobile computing device of choice.
    To read more click here
  • FierceWireless – December 2, 2003
    Woman Looking for 3G – According to a new survey conducted by Siemens, women are “favorably disposed” towards mobile data services using UMTS, Europe’s 3G wireless technology.
    European women express interest in mobile services such as email and those polled in the survey said they are more interested than men in the possibility of sending photos and videos through MMS.
    Also of note, female professionals, especially managers, are eager for more advanced mobile data services, which they hope will simplify their schedules. The survey was conducted by Siemens among
    3,000 consumers in Germany, France, and Great Britain. Women are currently the leading users of many mobile services, including text messaging. For more on the latest European wireless
    survey:
    To read more click here
  • The 802.11 Report – December 10, 2003
    Interest in WiMAX Growing – The interest in the 802.16a (WiMAX) standard is growing, and trials of 802.16-compatible products continue apace. Nomad Digital Rail
    (NDR) this week is testing on-train WiFi and 802.16e systems in the UK. Train operators are interested in its system for delivering on-board entertainment to passengers, for security functions
    such as remote surveillance, and for monitoring vehicle conditions such as heating. NDR is looking to use the mobile version of WiMAX — 802.16e — in future deployments to deliver applications
    at higher speed than WiFi, but it will use 802.11 until 802.16e is standardized. Meanwhile, Houston County, Georgia, will become the first U.S. county with complete WiMAX-based wireless coverage.
    Intel is backing the project and is likely to use Houston County as validation of the technology it is energetically promoting. It is not yet clear who will pay the $2 million
    for building communications towers and setting up the business systems. County officials say that coverage for the whole county would require two towers, each with a 30 mile radius, and pricing
    would be around $15 to $30 per month for end users, plus a $25 PC card. Intel has chosen Houston County to be its prospective WiMAX testing ground because it is in an area with many hi-tech
    companies and military contractors. Intel has also donated a $30,000 wireless technology laboratory to a high school in the county and has carried out various education-oriented tests there using
    tablet PCs and other technology.

    For more on the WiMAX trial tests:
    To read more click here

  • WDN Daily NewsWire – December 10, 2003
    SMS Cutting Recruitment from Days to Hours – Recruitment via SMS set to revolutionize the recruitment industry – LegionONE recently launched SMS Recruiter(tm), an SMS recruitment
    solution that is currently reducing the recruitment process dramatically from days to hours.
    To read more click here
  • FierceWireless – December 04, 2003
    Intel Wants Consumer Electronics Partners, Shows off 802.11g Chips – Intel today at the WiFi Planet trade show said it plans to partner with consumer electronics manufacturers to
    launch Centrino chips on consumer electronics devices. The company said it wants to team up with gadget makers and content providers — like cable companies — to develop and market new broadband
    consumer applications using 802.11g. Intel is looking to launch 802.11g Centrino chips on devices such as cable set-top boxes, stereos, DVD players, and TVs. The company is also showing samples
    of its new 802.11g chip and said it plans to add 802.11g to its Centrino product line by early next year. The company also said it plans to add 802.11a/b/g access to Centrino by the second half
    of next year. Intel last month announced plans to add mesh networking to Centrino and to expand the chip line into the consumer electronics market.

    For more on Intel’s latest Centrino announcements:
    To read more click here

  • Jim Louderback: Wireless Update – December 8, 2003
    2004 Hugely Important to Wireless – There is just so much going on in the wireless space, I don’t have room here in today’s newsletter to go over all of it. Suffice to say that
    huge developments in Wi-Fi, RFID and others are conspiring to push the whole market ahead. Last week’s Wi-Fi Planet trade show was just the beginning of what looks like a hugely important 2004
    for wireless. For complete details from the show, don’t miss our special report on Wi-Fi in the enterprise.
    To read more click here
  • eWeek Wireless Update – December 1, 2003
    Sharp Unveils Next-Generation Zarus – One version of Sharp’s next Linux-based handheld, due early next year, will run IBM’s WebSphere Everyplace Connection Manager software,
    giving users wireless access to corporate applications.
    To read more click here
  • The 802.11 Report – November 26, 2003
    Global WiFi Market to Reach $44Billion by 2008 – According to Insight Research, the global market for WiFi equipment and services is expected to grow from $7 billion in 2003 to
    $44 billion by 2008, representing a compounded annual rate of 44 percent. Global spending on WiFi equipment and services is expected to total $163 billion over the next five years. The report
    also predicts that the public hotspot market will experience greater growth in Europe than in North America.
    To read more click here
  • FierceWireless – November 17, 2003
    Sprint PCS Launches Push-to-Talk – Sprint PCS today launched a new push-to-talk (P2T) service called PCS Ready Link. The new P2T service allows users to exchange
    walkie-talkie-like two-way radio communications anywhere across the country. The new service uses VoIP technology and infrastructure from Motorola’s Winphoria unit. PCS Ready Link is available
    for $15 per month, in addition to the price of a normal calling plan. The service is free for subscribers with plans that cost $100 per month or more. Sprint said it will offer two Sanyo handsets
    for the service, each costing around $150 with a two-year service contract and rebate. Sprint’s new service, however, suffers from some issues with latency, taking several seconds for users to
    initiate a P2T link. Rival Nextel Communications claims that its P2T service, Direct Connect, offers instantaneous nationwide service. Sprint is the latest U.S. carrier to launch P2T. Verizon
    Wireless became the first carrier other than Nextel to offer P2T when it launched service earlier this year. Nextel built its success largely on the strength of its push-to-talk service.
    To read more click here
  • FierceWireless – December 4, 2003
    Intel, Cisco Push for WiFi Mesh Networking Standard – Intel and Cisco are trying to launch an industry-wide movement to create open standards for WiFi mesh networking. Intel’s
    Steve Conner and Cisco’s Peter Eccelsine have organized a study group within the IEEE to develop a new mesh standard. The study group will meet for the first time in January at the next IEEE 802
    gathering in Vancouver. The two companies are pushing for a standard in a market filled with companies such as BelAir Networks and Firetide, which are pushing their own proprietary mesh
    networking standards. Intel recently said it plans to add mesh networking to the future generation of its Centrino chip line.
    To read more click here

 

Wireless Info Center

  • Here are some other articles that you might find interesting:
  • Here are some resource links to Mobile & Wireless info areas:

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About Robert Dominko

Robert S. Dominko, PMP, is a Principal Consultant for CIBER, Inc. in CIBER’s Global Enterprise Integration Practice located in Denver, CO.  He is a member of CIBER’s National Mobile/Wireless Team as well as CIBER’s Global Enterprise Integration Practice. Bob has extensive experience in the consulting industry where he has worked in roles such as Director of MIS, Program/Project Manager, Technical Architect, Data Warehousing Technologist, Business Analyst in global travel and hospitality, automotive, healthcare services, financial, bank card services, utilities, marketing, insurance, human resources, manufacturing, state and federal government. You can contact Bob at RDominko@ciber.com.

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