This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2012 issue of Next Gen Mobility Magazine.
A New Face in Wireless Services?
Facebook (News - Alert) would make a good MVNO.
That’s the analysis of Strand Consult, which believes reselling wireless services would be a logical step for the world’s largest communication platform. The firm recently outlined its views on the matter in a report titled “The good, the bad and the ugly side of Facebook – A report that describes how Facebook affects the mobile industry strategically, operationally and financially.”
Just which wireless service provider it would select as a partner and whether Facebook is willing to look beyond advertising as a source of revenue, however, are in question, according to Strand.
Mobile Money Forecasts
Mobile money marketplace will account for $1 trillion in revenue worldwide by 2015 according to Yankee Group (News - Alert) estimates released last month.
The data also indicates that more than a fourth of of payment decision-makers believe near-field communications technology is ready for prime time; as a result, Yankee Group predicts NFC will not overtake QR code usage until 2016. Between 2011 and 2012, Yankee adds, “consumers using their cameras to scan bar codes almost doubled, with roughly 25 percent of consumers engaged in mobile couponing today.”
ALU Eyes Asset Sales
Struggles at Alcatel-Lucent continue, as the telecom solutions provider continues to see losses, burn cash and face a tanking stock price. The French company, which recently reported its second consecutive quarterly loss, is now considering the prospect of selling off some of its assets to help right the ship.
The company has not made clear what assets it expects to sell, according to a November piece in The Wall Street Journal, but it did report that Alcatel-Lucent’s cost-cutting will include its exit from the wireless business in parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Alcatel-Lucent had also previously announced staff cutbacks. The company is eliminating 5,500 jobs, which represents 7.2 percent of its workforce, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Chief Executive Officer Ben Verwaayen, in his fifth year in the job, is struggling to turn Alcatel-Lucent around as European phone companies spend less and Asian rivals add pressure,” Bloomberg last month reported. “With more than 2 billion euros of debt due over the next three years, the former BT Group Plc CEO is pressed to do more as thousands of job cuts have failed to stem losses.”
FreedomPop Launches Free 4G
Startup FreedomPop recently announced the public beta of its free 4G Internet service in the U.S. The company, which is backed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom and whose service runs on Clearwire’s network, provides 500MB of free data each month.
Consumers can earn unlimited additional free data or can purchase larger data plans at what FreedomPop says are rates 20 percent to 40 percent lower than those offered by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile (News - Alert).
“FreedomPop users have the ability to earn up to 1GB of data each month by adding friends to their network, or earn unlimited data each month by engaging in partner promotions,” according to the company’s press release.
Initially, the service was offered exclusively via two devices, the Freedom Spot – Photon, powering up to eight devices, and the Freedom Stick - Bolt, enabling plug-and- play data connectivity for laptops and PCs. More recently, the company began shipping iPhone (News - Alert) and iPod Freedom Sleeves.
RACO Revs Up
RACO Wireless recently came into some new money via its controlled recapitalization by private equity firm Inverness Graham, Silicon Valley Bank and others. This new relationship will provide the M2M solutions provider with “unlimited capital for the purpose of making strategic acquisitions within the M2M and complimentary market spaces.” The existing leadership at RACO Wireless, which has seen 300 percent-plus growth, remains in place following the acquisition.
The former M2M business of T-Mobile, RACO prides itself on its ability to onboard M2M applications and customers quickly. In an effort to deliver end-to-end solutions, RACO has forged agreements with Motorola Solutions, Honeywell (News - Alert) and Intermec, the three top manufacturers of ruggedized enterprise mobile devices. RACO says these relationships will enable it to develop end-to-end solutions for which each device distributed will include a SIM, access to RACO’s Omega Management Suite for full SIM management capabilities, and a comprehensive three-year service plan and warranty.
Edited by Brooke Neuman