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Wind Mobile wins over CRTC Ruling. Canada to see first new independent mobile operator in more than 10 years.

Woot! Well it’s a happy day in Canada. This is good news for all Canadians, except maybe the few carriers making up the communications oligopoly of today.

Wind Mobile received the green light from the Canadian Minister of Industry today after making some changes to their share structure and foreign ownership within the company.

From their website (and over the wire) this morning

Globalive Welcomes Gov’t of Canada Decision and Prepares to Bring WIND Mobile to Market

TORONTO – December 11, 2009 – WIND Mobile declared a new day for wireless in Canada today, in response to an announcement made by the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, to vary a recent decision of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

The Government of Canada variance is effective immediately and provides a clear path for WIND Mobile to enter the Canadian wireless market and to become Canada’s first national wireless alternative in over a decade.

“This is a new day for wireless in Canada. This holiday season we will start to provide Canadians with the competitive choice that they want and deserve,” said Anthony Lacavera, Chairman of Globalive and WIND Mobile. “We thank the Government of Canada for a decision that will serve the best interests of Canadian consumers.”

In its decision today, the Government of Canada concluded that Globalive is a Canadian company that meets the Canadian ownership and control requirements under the Telecommunications Act by varying an October 29 CRTC decision (Telecom Decision CRTC 2009-678).

“For too long, Canadians have suffered from higher prices and an underwhelming customer experience,” said Ken Campbell, CEO of WIND Mobile. “We look forward to offering the most unforgettably positive mobile experience in Canada. In return, we’re asking Canadians to make a new choice in wireless and sign up on WINDmobile.ca today.”

A national survey found that 60 per cent of Canadians are frustrated when dealing with service providers due to factors like a lack of unbiased advice, inability to change their service plans, and in particular, hidden service fees. In addition, Canadians pay an average of 60 per cent more for wireless than Americans.

“For over a year, we’ve been engaged in conversation with Canadians who have been telling us they want more from their mobile experience,” said Lacavera. “But the conversation isn’t over – it’s just beginning. We will always be listening, always inviting thoughts, comments and opinions about how to make things better.”

About Globalive and WIND Mobile

Globalive provides voice, text and data services to Canadians under the brand name WIND on a next-generation wireless network and is committed to offering a level of wireless service presently not available in Canada. WIND is built on actual conversations that are happening with Canadians who are passionate about wireless and creating a better mobile offering nationally. For more information about WIND Mobile, visit our About Us page.

For more information, please contact:

Rick Byun
Narrative Advocacy Media
416.644.4124 or rick.byun@narrativeadvocacy.com

The CRTC – Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, had put the kibosh on Wind Mobile’s progress. This action was prompted by the other mobile operators (surprise surprise) who argued against globalive’s entrance due to the company not adhering to the the Canadian foreign ownership rules. Globalive had invested 442 million dollars to buy spectrum in the last auction.

There is at least one question to ask, were there any changes made to the foreign ownership rules to accommodate this ruling? If so does that leave the door open for the other carriers to by swallowed up by even larger carriers elsewhere?

Interesting times.

Will Rogers follow AT&T's lead and allow VoIP over 3G? Yes.

Now I can get it on the App Store!

Yes, they will.

Jailbroken iPhone running VoIP over 3G on Rogers

Jailbroken iPhone running VoIP over 3G on Rogers

1. Rogers has cornered the GSM market in Canada and is the only carrier to offer the iPhone, but that is about to change. Telus and Bell have tag-teamed to erect an HSPA+ network and will be offering the iPhone as early as next month. Just in time for the holiday season and with plenty of time to ready themselves for the 2010 games in Vancouver.

It’s true that 3G is not yet ubiquitous which mean VoIP over 3G is not something that will drive massive adoption in the near term, but it will be enough of a detractor for a good percentage of the users to not choose Rogers if Telus and Bell allow VoIP over 3G on the iPhone.

2. Rumors have it that Globalive / Wind Mobile is hot on trail of Rogers and will be completing Phase 1 of their network build-out as early as this spring. They too might be carrying the iPhone. None of the big three want to get beat out by the new guy on the block.

3. Other devices on the Rogers network already have apps that deliver VoIP over 3G service. It’s not the network that is the limiting factor here, it’s the Apple app store and the contract they have with the carriers representing the iPhone.

4. Net Neutrality. I am sure that Rogers would like to avoid getting dragged into the same kind of kerfuffle the FCC has been crowing about in the US. The Internet does not stop at the desktop, so why should those it be left out of such conversations, it simply shouldn’t.

It’s should also be clear that Apple would prefer it if the carriers would allow VoIP over 3G. It would mean more devices sold and more interesting apps in the app store. I just can;t see Apple saying “no thanks” to VoIP related (product and service) revenue in the app store.

I think the question is more a matter of ‘when’ as opposed to ‘if’. Hopefully it’s soon!

Are we ready for a 3G softphone?

It’s been a while since I spent any amount of time thinking about the endpoint world but some recent developments around mobile SIP clients and softphones have my attention once again. The question is, “Are we ready for a 3G softphone?”

With 3G comes plenty of bandwidth and powerful mobile devices. The likelihood that carriers will want to cannibalize their own revenue in order to deliver VoIP on the cheap and/or free is… low, to say the least. With that being said there are rumblings that this is in fact what they are planning.

We all know that Rogers is bringing the iPhone to Canada on a 3G network. The fact that there is now an SDK for iPhone will make it rather easy to create a SIP client for the iPhone. On its own, the iPhone does not have enough of a subscriber base to drive mass adoption of a mobile SIP softphone, but it will certainly help.

I know the boys at Counterpath (Congratulations Donovan!) have been busy with FMC and it would seem as though they would be the carrier’s choice for any mobile 3G SIP softphone solution. Although, It’s not clear if a mobile SIP SDK is just a component within their enterprise offering?

So, what other 3G mobile SIP softphone solutions are there out there and which would qualify as a valid choice for a carrier?

If we search for “mobile sip” we see Nokia leading the charge. Not surprising, Nokia has been the predominant player in embedded SIP clients for years now. They have a bit of a leg up there, owning the device doesn’t hurt, or does it? From a carrier’s perspective one would think that getting further into bed with the device vendor could be troublesome but I guess it could work the other way as well.

Something else that’s interesting is that Google’s Android does not have a SIP stack. Not surprising when you think of it. After all Google Talk is still very limited in it’s telephony abilities. One would expect that with the introduction of Android, this would change.

Truphone would likely be a good choice but they are not a softphone vendor, they are a service provider, plus they currently only support Nokia devices. Although I know they have a version working on iPhone already and it would not surprise me if they were working on something for RIM devices.

So who’s left?

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