Category Archives: Telecom

Blackberry takes another hit

While RIM suffered two legal setbacks last week (the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied RIM’s motion to enforce an agreement with NTP and also refused a RIM motion to stop the court proceedings in NTP’s patent lawsuit against it while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office re-examines NTP’s patents), this week it took a hit from Gartner Group when that organization issued a research brief alerting current and prospective enterprise RIM customers to “stop or delay all mission-critical BlackBerry deployments and investments in the platform until RIM’s legal position is clarified.”

High Speed Mobile Data

From eWeek: Yesterday, Cingular Wireless launched its highest-speed data network service in several major U.S. cities. Based on HSDPA (high speed download packet access), the BroadbandConnect service provides average throughput rates of 400K bps to 700K bps, with bursts of up to a megabit per second. It is an upgrade to the company’s existing EDGE network and will be backward-compatible. Pricing is set at US$59.99 per month for an unlimited data (on a two year contract). Both Sprint-Nextel and Verizon Wireless charge US$59.99 for unlimited laptop usage of their EV-DO high-speed network for customers.
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Canadian wireless carriers don’t want any competition

In case you didn’t notice, Bell, Rogers, Fido and Telus teamed up together to offer wifi access across Canada. They’ve implemented common branding (“Hotspot”), a common website (www.canadianhotspot.ca) and inter-carrier billing (so that a Rogers customer can utilize a Bell hotspot and have their usage billed to their Rogers cell account). Each carrier also sets their own pricing for the service:
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Limited Unlimited

Techdirt asks whether advertising something as “unlimited” when in fact use is limited constitutes misleading advertising. Techdirt also references an article by Glenn Fleishmann which examines the limited unlimited plans offered by the big three US mobile operators (Verizon Wireless, Cingular and Sprint).

So while an operator may advertise a plan as being “unlimited”, such as plan may actually be limited:

(1) to specified caps;
(2) to some sort of “reasonable use”; or
(3) by prohibiting the use of certain applications that typically consume a high level of bandwidth.
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Blocking VOIP

According to an item on PCWorld:

Increasing competition from Internet phone providers like Vonage and from services such as Skype is causing traditional telephone carriers around the world to look at methods to slow or stop IP-based calls that cross their networks. The key technology, from a firm called Narus, can detect VoIP packets and either block them or deprioritize them to reduce call quality. A number of foreign telephone carriers have already enlisted the company’s services.

Narus bills their product as CALEA compliant. So carrier may end up installing it in order to comply with lawful intercept requirements and would then have the functionality to cripple third party VOIP applications.

According to Narus’ website, the product has already been deployed by a number of carriers including T-Mobile.

Rogers prioritizing traffic

As a follow up to an item about Rogers blocking podcasts, Mark Evans called Rogers who said they were not blocking podcasts but rather providing priority to email and web traffic (Saunderslog).

While it does make sense for some IP services to be provided with higher priority than others, this could take us down a slipper slope. Who decides what traffic gets priority? Would all real time traffic get priority or would real time traffic from competitive services (non-Rogers VOIP or IP-TV applications) be left with low priority? For example, if web and email traffic are given a higher priority, everything else by default would get low priority.

Canadian Bill C-37 (Do-Not-Call Law)

Canada’s Do-Not-Call Legislation (Bill C-37) has now been enacted and will come into force upon a date to be set by the Governor in Council. The legislation contains a number of exceptions in respect of a national do-not-call list (but exempt entities, except those calling to conduct surveys, must still maintain their own do-not-call lists):

– registered charities
– pre-existing business relationship (unless a do-not-call request has been made)
– candidates and registered political parties
– surveys
– solicitation of subscriptions to newspapers of general circulation