21/02/2009

Harmonised European numbers for services of social value: Allocation and charging arrangements for 116 numbers in the UK | Ofcom

Harmonised European numbers for services of social value: Allocation and charging arrangements for 116 numbers in the UK | Ofcom

Ofcom under direction from the European Commission is planning to allocate he number range starting 116 followed by 3 digits.

The first 116 numbers to be reserved by the Commission are 116000 for hotlines for missing children, 116111 for child helplines and 116123 for emotional support helplines.

Ofcom has to amend the national numbering plan and hopes to make them available in Sep 2009.

19/02/2009

Nortel cant die

Nortel will still be here in 10 years - or at least some incarnation of Nortel. It's extremely unlikely that they'll die.

Nortel are so ingrained in the large telcos that they cant die. They manufacture switches, not the kind you sit on your desk that have a few Ethernet cables plugged in, but telephony switches - the kind that have thousands of customers plugged into. There are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of these telephony switches in lots of networks and they're not the kind of thing you can replace easily.

As a telecoms provider with Nortel switches that you've paid millions of dollars for, you need them to be there. You also want to ensure they'll be supported for the next 10 years or so. When a CPU board fails, you want to know it's going to be replaced and someone needs to ensure any software bugs are fixed.

So though Nortel might be going through a bit of a bad patch, even if the company per se goes under, Nortel will still be there and their spirit at least will live on, just maybe consumed by another company - Nortel's systems are alive and well and will be for the for a while - if they aren't then don't try making a telephone call for a while.

18/02/2009

Why Android is scary

Android is an open source operating system based on Linux that runs on phones, mobile internet devices etc. It comes under the auspices of the Open Handset Alliance, but it's really Google.

Android of course isn't completely open source, it cant be (more on that later). Lots of Android is open source including the application layer bits and a lot of the core too. Google do try and make the open bits easily available and those bits can be accessed via source code.

The bits that will not be open sourced are the low level drivers, the bits that "talk" GSM (or CDMA or 3G), the baseband bits. They cant be. In order for a phone to be certified it has to go through an approval process (which in the US means going through FCC approval). Part of the approval is ensuring the network bits are certified and that means users cant play with them. It's amazing what a handset can do to a basestation or network if you know what stuff to send it. Mobile Network Operators don't want users being able to reconfigure bits of the network.

The big issue for operators and Android is people hacking it and accessing the bits they shouldn't. Most of the low level stuff is protected, but if a user can become "root" or the superuser they have access to most of the operating system and potentially have the ability to modify parts of the OS they normally wouldn't be able to. The G1 has already been hacked giving people a root shell.

Having access to the low level parts of the OS is scary, not for the users but for the operators. They don't want you messing with the network or playing with the network protocols. It's really a big issue for them.

Most phone operating systems offer the same control, Symbian only exposes the upper layers as does Windows Mobile. This is even more apparent in the iPhone where the SDK just lets you develop application on top of the OS.

Android's open sourceness may actually be it's downfall in terms of slow adoption by MNOs.

16/02/2009

3G Rollout obligations | Ofcom

3G Rollout obligations | Ofcom

Ofcom is satisfied that the 3G Mobile Network Operators have met their obligations of reaching 80% population coverage by December 2008.

Ofcom is expecting that the networks will maintain their coverage. If the networks combine infrastructure they may actually exceed their obligations.

Digital dividend: cognitive access | Ofcom

Digital dividend: cognitive access | Ofcom

Ofcom are holding a consultation on the use of cognitive devices which can be used on a license exempt basis.

There are two forms of cognitive devices, one that "scans" the spectrum and looks for unused channels which the device will then pick and use, while scanning for interference. The second type use geolocation and pick channels based on their location - devices must be accurate to 100m.

The consultation closes on 1st may 2009.

Hay Systems Ltd :: HSL 2.75G Femtocell

Hay Systems Ltd :: HSL 2.75G Femtocell

Hayes Systems have announced a femtocell which connects to a LAN and provides 2.75G services (GSM/GPRS/E.D.G.E) and supports data rates up to 414Kb/s.

No prices have been announced but this can be used for in-building data and voice services (assuming spectrum is available).

A developers version is available, now someone just needs to port the GSM stack on to Asterisk and there's a real threat to the MNOs.

Barcelona - not crowded for MWC

It seems that people are reporting that the number of attendees is down this year and the usually crowded Mobile World Congress isn't.

Ian Wood reports that vendors are saying that stand crew are also down (cut to half what they were last year).

Though MWC does have a reputation of stands mainly selling to other stands ... this year it seems there's opportunities for the general public to get a look in.

15/02/2009

Dispute between Mapesbury Communications and T-Mobile about mobile termination rates | Ofcom

Dispute between Mapesbury Communications and T-Mobile about mobile termination rates | Ofcom

MCom wanted 7.2ppm termination rates and T-Mobile wanted to pay 1.2ppm.

Ofcom have determined that MCom should be paid 4.4ppm termination rate. As MCom and T-Mobile utilise BT as a transit provider, BT will terminate to 4.4ppm to MCom and charge a transit charge to T-Mobile on top of the 4.4ppm.


MCom may have to change various pricing structures to make the new payments work.

MCom are offering low power localised GSM services, initially in Newham.

Application of spectrum liberalisation and trading to the mobile sector | Ofcom

Application of spectrum liberalisation and trading to the mobile sector | Ofcom

Ofcom wishes to liberalise the spectrum in the 900, 1800 and 2100MHz bands.

Currently O2 and Vodafone license the 900MHz band for 2G GSM services, 1800MHz is used by PCN GSM service and 2100MHz for 3G services.

Under the new regime, Ofcom will allow the bands for any purpose, but it's expected the operators will use the GSM bands for 3G use, the spectrum will also be tradable.

As part of the re-organisation Ofcom want O2 and Vodafone to release 2 x 5MHz of spectrum that will be re-auctioned, O2 and Vodafone will be given at least a year's notice to move out of the bands.

Any interested parties should comment to Ofcom by 1st 2009.