Wednesday, April 22, 2009

EU Caps Roaming Data Charges

STRASBOURG-In a welcome move from the European Parliament, it was announced yesterday that a law was adopted that will cut by up to 60 percent the price of using a mobile phone to send text messages or download data while outside a home state in the European Union.

Downloading data while roaming will cost a maximum of EUR1.0 per megabyte at the wholesale level compared with about EUR1.68 today. The BBC states that this cap will fall to EUR0.50 by July 2011. The same report adds that the current price cap of EUR0.46 per minute for an outgoing voice call will also fall to EUR0.43 in July, whilst the cap on voice calls received abroad will fall from EUR0.22 today to EUR0.19 in July and EUR0.11 by July 2011.

The caps on data roaming had already been approved by EU telecoms ministers
in November last year. The initial proposals to cap data roaming charges were made by EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding. The BBC notes that the idea is not to fix an EU-wide price, but to set a cap below which telecoms firms can compete by offering lower prices while still earning a "reasonable" return.

Data roaming charges have been often cited as a barrier to growth in mobile VAS, such as mobile social networks and location based services, due to the prohibitive cost of accessing these services when beyond national European frontiers.

The regulatory move announced, together with the ongoing trend of cheaper, flat rate mobile data tariffs, will give a further boost to young players in the mobile space to extend their reach beyond their front yard.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nokia to Close Nokia Mosh-to be included in Nokia Ovi

In today's online Webinar for mobile application publishers, Bill Perry from Nokia confirmed that they would be discontinuing Nokia Mosh and that it, together with Nokia Widsets, would be consolidated into one offering on Nokia Ovi.

Mosh has had a chequered history, being a somewhat misunderstood child of Nokia and accused of harbouring a mixed bag of (low value) applications.

The (re) launch of Ovi is on a substantial scale and is scheduled for May 2009.

It will provide a market for developers to reach over 100m Nokia customers worldwide but it comes with some limitations-small mobile developers will find the listing costs prohibitive (at over $500 a pop, per application, per language supported), given that Nokia will make Java/Symbian certification and validation mandatory.

Pasi Manninen from Ovi commented that Flash and WRT do not require signing, though this will be of little relevance outside of Asia.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kevin Kelly Highlights Persistence Paradox of Social Networks

Kevin Kelly, who I previously covered in a blog post on his 'The One' vision, recently highlighted on his own site the results of researcher Bernardo Huberman, now at HP Labs of what is defined as the 'Persistence Paradox'.


"People persistently upload content to social media sites, hoping for the highly unlikely outcome of topping the charts and reaching a wide audience. And yet, an analysis of the production histories and success dynamics of 10 million videos from YouTube revealed that the more frequently an individual uploads content the less likely it is that it will reach a success threshold. This paradoxical result is further compounded by the fact that the average quality of submissions does increase with the number of uploads, with the likelihood of success less than that of playing a lottery."

The conclusion suggests that increasing uploads improves quality but not hits.

Unfortunately, the paper does not examine the issue of photo uploads, and any link between number of uploads and user motivation/success in achieving his goals.

Had it done so, it may have offered some useful insights for Facebook, now the world's second largest online repository of photos after ImageShack (with 20bn images). Techcrunch recently reported that it has earmarked $100m to buy servers-with $30m spent this year alone with storage provider NetApp.

All of this just as relevant for pure play mobile social networks though on a lower scale-while uploading of photos from mobile is fairly standard, upload speeds for photos (let alone videos) mean data volumes still remain relatively low.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mobile Location Services 09, London 12-13 May

LONDON- Now in its 13th edition, Informa's Mobile Location Services 09 conference taking place in London at the Ambassador's Bloomsbury Hotel, is the key event of the year for all those involved with LBS-related services.

The event will look at the current and future state of the LBS market and operators will say their bit on how they are looking to drive up ARPU with new applications.

I will speaking about how to leverage social networking within LBS and strategies for achieving critical mass in community size.

Readers of my blog get a special 25% discount to attend the event so just mail or send me a tweet @ricferraro.