Sunday, February 17, 2008

Spectrum Auction: The Cash Cow is Slowing Down

17 days and 81 rounds into the 700 Mhz spectrum auction and the total bid amount is up to a whopping $19.5 Billion!

The question keeps popping up: who are the top contenders? The auction is silent so we really will not know until the auction ends. There are 214 approved bidders. Most industry experts speculate that Verizon and AT&T have been the most aggressive of the bidders. Some have even speculated that Google dropped out. Although, frankly, these allegations seems a little unfounded.

Block C is the most sought after chunk of spectrum because it is national. While some speculate Verizon has been aggressively pursuing this block, others expect a more tricky move to bid on the cheaper regional blocks.

The winner of the other national block, Block D, would have to build out a network that would have to be shared with the government to offer public safety services. Not surprisingly, the bidding for Block D has not gone as wished for by the FCC – still about $800 Million from the $1.3 Billion reserve price – and the Block will likely be put for bid at a later date.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Strides towards Openness: Funambol

Funambol offers open source email, contacts and calendars. It provides connectors between Microsoft Exchange and IBM Domino email servers, and a range of mobile devices. It also provides an open community for other open source and standard solutions that service providers and mobile device manufacturers can benefit from.

So one might ask what the value prop of Funambol is when Android promises to be the answer to mobile open source. The answer is that Android is a software stack, while Funambol is a platform. Therefore, they are very complementary to eachother.

Take the following example:

As a potential consumer of Funambol I have already found a problem using its consumer service. As usual, the problem is porting. My phone, being one of the most popular phones, the LG chocolate, is not supported by Funambol. Also, in my case, Funambol assumes Verizon’s phones are open. When I tried to set up my account Funambol gave me clear instructions on how to tweak my phone settings to synchronize with Funambol’s server. The problem is Verizon does not allow for that because they either want me to pay for the sync application on a smartphone, or to download and pay for a Brew email client on my feature device.

The bottom line is that this problem makes for a stronger case for Android and the power it has to forge relationships with operators and OEM’s, and lowering the porting barriers.

If unlike me, you do have access to an open device and furthermore, to an outlook server here are some quick easy resources to help you through the steps: setting up Outlook and Blackberry.