— Some Tea, Biscuits and VoIP: Tesco, the supermarket chain in UK has started selling a VoIP service for a £19.97 for a starter pack including a handset that allows free calls to other Tesco users. In addition, the company will throw in a £5 voucher that can be used for calls to land and mobile lines. Price is set at 2p a minute for calls to UK landlines at all times and 10p a minute to call UK mobiles. (The Guardian)
— IP Wireless raised more money, including $10 million from Sprint Nextel. Convulsions in the Qualcomm-Flarion camp? Could this mean Sprint-Nextel use a different 4G technology?
— Earthlink plans to use Motorola & Tropos Gear for its muni wifi networks. The deal is for five cities, but only two have been announced – Philadelphia and Anaheim. Which are the other three?
— MotoMesh. Word is that Motorola will introduce its MOTOMESH muni-wireless system next week, and will be used in the city of Riviera Beach, Florida.
— BellSouth Wireless Broadband is now available in DeLand, Fla. The company initially deployed the service last August in Athens, Ga., and has since deployed in Palatka, Fla.; New Orleans, La.; Gulfport, Miss.; Biloxi, Miss.; and now DeLand, Fla. BellSouth plans to expand the service to additional cities throughout 2006.
— First WiMAX certified gear is available. No I am be honest. Scouts honor
— Amp’d will raise another $100 million. Perhaps to spend on ads of questionable taste?
— Meanwhile, analysts at UBS say that the total mobile net additions for 2005 will be 23.6 million, which translates into approximately 205.8 million total wireless subscribers in the United States (roughly 70% penetration of the U.S. population). (Maybe Amp’d backers don’t know that!) Plainspeak: slow growth days ahead.
— Of course if they could figure out ways to send SMS to god.
— Slower growth means price cuts, at least at AT&T. They have cut their prices back to $14.95 per month after boosting them to $16.99 per month for new customers who sign up for the 1.5 Mbps downstream / 384 Kbps upstream product online. Offer will be good for six months. New sign-ups for 3 Mbps downstream / 512 Kbps upstream service will pay $21.99 per month and will get a $100 Visa gift card. Switch from cable and get another three months free. Desperation? Not sure, but one this clear, ARPU is going to tank. (via UBS Research)
— Talking about cable versus DSL, Mark Sue of RBC Capital Markets notes that the total number of IPTV users will be 33M in 2008. In Asia, PCCW remains ahead of plan in net-adds and we estimate they ended 2005 with 530,000 subscribers. In China, China Netcom has 40,000 users. In Japan, Softbank has approximately 50,000 current subscribers. In other words, lets take a collective deep breath, before we get too enthusiastic.
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Note that IPWIreless is now pushing an all downlink implementation of TD-WCDMA (this would not count in and of itself as 3G or 4G, since those are 2-way). The proposed use for such a thing is mobile TV. Another use would be for an asynchronous data network that used some additional channels for only downlink. In either case, since you generally have a nicer link-budget on the downlink (i.e. from a base-station to a mobile) you could overlay a new higher frequency network on your system using the same lower frequency build-plan — overlay 2.5 GHz on existing PCS network without adding sites. Clearly, one can see the benefit of this for a company like Sprint that has an existing PCS network and tons of unused 2.5 GHz licenses.