This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Next Gen Mobility magazine.
Much has happened in the wireless world since our last issue of Next Gen Mobility, so my column this time may be a bit like free association. But there’s a lot to talk about.
One especially interesting development in the recent past was the coming together of Facebook and the big cellcos on streamlined payments flow.
Facebook CTO Bret Taylor at Mobile World Congress earlier this year in Barcelona revealed the news, which was subsequently discussed in a Facebook blog. Douglas Purdy in the Facebook blog wrote: “We're working with operators around the world to minimize the number of steps needed to complete a transaction in mobile web apps, which will make it easier for hundreds of millions of people worldwide to purchase apps on their device via operator billing.”
Operators involved in the effort, which ties in with the W3C Community Group, include AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange (News - Alert), Telefónica, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI, SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp.
An Ovum blog noted that Taylor in his Mobile World Congress keynote said “the payment experience on the mobile web is broken for users”. And Ovum (News - Alert) added that by saying this Taylor was “clearly implying that Facebook is the one to fix it.”
Of course, this Facebook-cellco development was just one of many news announcements revealed at Mobile World Congress, an event in late February/early March that drew 67,000 people to Spain. While there wasn’t a whole lot in the way of entirely new trends at the show, small cells, hetnets, the mobile wallet, and HSPA+ and LTE all were prevalent topics at the event. All of the above is covered in more detail within the pages of this issue.
Switching gears, there’s also been movement in the last couple months on a couple of important database initiatives related to the cellular industry.
Just last month, CTIA-The Wireless Association and some of its members unveiled a plan to work with the federal government and law enforcement agencies to implement databases and take other steps to deter smartphone theft and resale. This seems to be a pretty meaningful development considering what appears to be widespread resale of used wireless devices.
Rich Tehrani, the CEO and Editor in Chief of TMC (News - Alert), Next Gen Mobility’s parent company, in December 2009 wrote about how eBay has become the world’s largest pawn shop of stolen goods. In this post, Rich mentioned that a person in the U.K. tracked down $10,000 worth of stolen goods that had been taken from him on eBay (News - Alert). The good news is this individual was able to recover them.
But while the aim of this database initiative seems to be more about cellular service providers than their end users, it could help staunch theft of this sort by assigning LTE- and GSM-based smartphones unique ID numbers that can enable service to those smartphones to be decommissioned if the devices are reported as stolen.
The GSM version of the database is expected to launch by Oct. 31 of this year. The LTE one is slated for completion by Nov. 30 of 2013.
In yet another database initiative, I also wanted to mention that white spaces database work continues to move forward. The FCC-mandated databases in this case are intended to provide wireless devices and networks with information about what radios are operating at what frequencies in an effort to prevent interference.
Ten companies have been vying to operate these databases. Spectrum Bridge (News - Alert) was the first to complete testing, as noted in the Feb. 2 CommLawBlog. And this spring the FCC gave Telcordia (now part of Ericsson) the green light to operate what the commission calls its “TV bands database system”.
But while this is a positive development for white spaces – highly usable unlicensed spectrum that some believe could create even more innovation, jobs and wealth than has Wi-Fi – the future of white spaces remains hazy in light of the incentive auctions. For more on this topic, see this issue’s Caught in the Crossfire column by Carl Ford.
Stay Connected My Friends.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi