• Categories

  • Pages

  • Digg”
  • Statcounter

  • Shinystat

  • Expertcounter

    Free Counter, Blog Counter

Video: Palm Pre – A Launch Guide

09 06 2009 – The buzz has been building over the last few months around the newest challenger to the iPhone: the Palm Pre. Today marks the arrival of the new Palm smartphone in stores across the U.S. With its ability to run multiple applications at the same time and a touchscreen interface similar to the iPhone, it’s no wonder that people are standing in long lines to become the first to have the device in their hands.

Palm Pre ImageSince Palm Pre mania is just gearing up, you may not know a lot about this new smartphone. What can the Palm Pre do? What applications can you download with it? Is it better than the iPhone? While we can’t answer all of these questions, we’re hoping this short guide will give you better understanding of Palm’s new phone and what it could mean for the mobile market and social media.


Palm Pre: the basics


If you haven’t been following Palm Pre news, here’s the basic gist: it’s a smartphone with a lot of features similar to the iPhone. The phone has most of the standard functionality you’d expect in an iPhone competitor: camera, MP3 player, Wi-Fi, GPS, Internet browsing, 8 GB of storage, accelerometer, and Bluetooth functionality. However, here are some of the features that have people really buzzing:

3.1 inch capacitive touchscreen: The touchscreen display may be smaller than the iPhone’s 3.5 display, but it provides a lot of the same functionality. The key is that a lot of the gestures used on the iPhone, like pinching to zoom out, are available on the Pre. It also dims and ignores touch when placed next to the face, like the iPhone.

Physical keyboard: While a lot of people are happy with the touchscreen keyboard of the iPhone, others like the feel of actual keys in their hands. The Palm Pre has a slide-out keyboard that is preferred by some individuals.

Wireless charging: The Pre utilizes electromagnetic induction to fill its battery power when docked, although a USB cable can also charge the phone.

WebOS: The Palm Pre’s operating system is a Linux-based system which allows for multitasking, applications, and social media integration.

Background applications: Perhaps the biggest buzz surrounds the Pre’s ability to run multiple applications at the same time. The system is called “Cards” to handle the multitasking of applications.


Palm Pre applications


If you care about social media like we do, then applications may be the most important aspect of the Palm Pre. After all, the iPhone has thousands of applications with over one billion downloads, so clearly apps are important to the mobile consumer.

While the Palm has nowhere near the same number of applications as the iPhone, it does come with some important apps that should fulfill your social media needs. These include access to some of the most vital social tools around, including Yelp, YouTube, Google Maps, Pandora, and LinkedIn.

If you’re a fan of Twitter, there is at least one app, Tweed, available. Of course, we expect many more to appear as more developers take the time to build apps for the new Palm WebOS.


Today’s product launch


Today, June 6th, is the official launch day for the Palm Pre. The Pre is a Sprint phone, and thus is available at Sprint stores across the country. It’s also available at some electronics retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart. It retails for $199.99 if you purchase it with a Sprint service agreement.

Lines have built up for the new phone, ranging from a dozen people to 50+ (there are some great photos over at Engadget). Overall, this is smaller than the lines seen for the iPhone 3G, but is still an early indication of high consumer demand and an early hit for Palm and Sprint.

If you’re looking to buy one today, you’re probably out of luck, as most stores have sold out their inventory of phones.


What should we expect from the Pre?


Palm Pre Image

The Pre may be generating a ton of buzz now, but that doesn’t mean it will become a viable competitor to the iPhone. Pre chose to launch two days before Apple’s WWDC Conference, where they could very well launch the next generation of iPhone and take back the attention. Yet from the early reviews, this phone seems to have gotten a lot of things right.

We think that competition is almost always a good thing. It fosters innovation, makes companies responsive to consumer demands, and gives people more options to choose from. With a physical keyboard, background application support, and a solid touchscreen, the Palm Pre may very well find itself some market share.

Source: mashable.com

Σε υψηλά επίπεδα κινήθηκαν για ένα ακόμη τρίμηνο οι νέες συνδέσεις κινητής τηλεφωνίας στη χώρα μας

03 06 2009 – Συνεχίζουν να αυξάνονται οι συνδέσεις – Σε υψηλά επίπεδα κινήθηκαν για ένα ακόμη τρίμηνο οι νέες συνδέσεις κινητής τηλεφωνίας στη χώρα μας. Σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία και των 3 εταιρειών, οι νέες συνδέσεις το α’ τρίμηνο του 2009 διαμορφώθηκαν στις 737.772 με αποτέλεσμα η συνολική πελατειακή βάση να φτάσει στα 19,584 εκατ. συνδέσεις και το ποσοστό της ονομαστικής διείσδυσης στο 178,62%.

Η πρωτοκαθεδρία της Cosmote στις νέες συνδέσεις (πάνω από 70%) τη βοήθησε να ενισχύσει το συνολικό μερίδιό της, που αγγίζει πλέον το 43%, με τη Vodafone να είναι στο 30,2% και τη Wind στο 27%.
Το πρόβλημα βρίσκεται πάντως στο γεγονός ότι παρουσιάζει μία μείωση των εσόδων ανά πελάτη κατά το α’ τρίμηνο του 2009, κυρίως λόγω του έντονου ανταγωνισμού.

Συγκεκριμένα, το μέσο μηνιαίο έσοδο ανά πελάτη (ARPU) διαμορφώθηκε στα 18,3 ευρώ για την Cosmote (από 23,6 ευρώ το δ’ τρίμηνο του 2008), στα 16,7 ευρώ για τη Vodafone (από 19,8 ευρώ) και στα 14 ευρώ για τη Wind (από 16,8 ευρώ).
Η πελατειακή βάση των εταιρειών κινητής τηλεφωνίας στο τέλος Μαρτίου 2008

 

Συνολικός αριθμός συνδέσεων

Μερίδιο αγοράς (%)

Νέες συνδέσεις (δ’ τρίμηνο) 

Μερίδιο αγοράς (%)

Cosmote

8.411.609

42,95

518.465

70,27

Vodafone

5.906.000

30,16

146.000

19,79

Wind Hellas

5.266.632

26,89

73.307

9,94

Σύνολο

19.584.241

737.772

Πηγή: ανακοινώσεις εταιρειών

Wind: τρεις παράγοντες επηρέασαν τα αποτελέσματα του α’ τριμήνου

H μείωση των τελών τερματισμού για τις κλήσεις προς τo δίκτυό της, η μείωση των χρεώσεων περιαγωγής αλλά και ο ανταγωνισμός που εντάθηκε τον περασμένο Φεβρουάριο με τα εξαιρετικά φτηνά πακέτα της καρτοκινητής δείχνουν να ήταν οι λόγοι που η Wind είδε τα έσοδά της να μειώνονται και τις ζημίες να αυξάνονται κατά τη διάρκεια του α’ τριμήνου του 2009. Συγκεκριμένα, ο κύκλος εργασιών μειώθηκε κατά 12,6% (σε σχέση με το α’ τρίμηνο του 2008) στα 264,8 εκατ. ευρώ με τα κέρδη προ φόρων, τόκων και αποσβέσεων (EBITDA) να φτάνουν στα 72,5 εκατ. ευρώ (-23,4%). Οι ζημίες ήταν αυξημένες κατά 11,5%, καθώς έφτασαν στα 77,1 εκατ. ευρώ έναντι 69,1 εκατ. ευρώ το αντίστοιχο περσινό διάστημα.

Πηγή: Weekly Telecom

Σε υψηλά επίπεδα κινήθηκαν για ένα ακόμη τρίμηνο οι νέες συνδέσεις κινητής τηλεφωνίας στη χώρα μας

03 06 2009 – Συνεχίζουν να αυξάνονται οι συνδέσεις – Σε υψηλά επίπεδα κινήθηκαν για ένα ακόμη τρίμηνο οι νέες συνδέσεις κινητής τηλεφωνίας στη χώρα μας. Σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία και των 3 εταιρειών, οι νέες συνδέσεις το α’ τρίμηνο του 2009 διαμορφώθηκαν στις 737.772 με αποτέλεσμα η συνολική πελατειακή βάση να φτάσει στα 19,584 εκατ. συνδέσεις και το ποσοστό της ονομαστικής διείσδυσης στο 178,62%.

Η πρωτοκαθεδρία της Cosmote στις νέες συνδέσεις (πάνω από 70%) τη βοήθησε να ενισχύσει το συνολικό μερίδιό της, που αγγίζει πλέον το 43%, με τη Vodafone να είναι στο 30,2% και τη Wind στο 27%.
Το πρόβλημα βρίσκεται πάντως στο γεγονός ότι παρουσιάζει μία μείωση των εσόδων ανά πελάτη κατά το α’ τρίμηνο του 2009, κυρίως λόγω του έντονου ανταγωνισμού.

Συγκεκριμένα, το μέσο μηνιαίο έσοδο ανά πελάτη (ARPU) διαμορφώθηκε στα 18,3 ευρώ για την Cosmote (από 23,6 ευρώ το δ’ τρίμηνο του 2008), στα 16,7 ευρώ για τη Vodafone (από 19,8 ευρώ) και στα 14 ευρώ για τη Wind (από 16,8 ευρώ).
Η πελατειακή βάση των εταιρειών κινητής τηλεφωνίας στο τέλος Μαρτίου 2008

 

Συνολικός αριθμός συνδέσεων

Μερίδιο αγοράς (%)

Νέες συνδέσεις (δ’ τρίμηνο) 

Μερίδιο αγοράς (%)

Cosmote

8.411.609

42,95

518.465

70,27

Vodafone

5.906.000

30,16

146.000

19,79

Wind Hellas

5.266.632

26,89

73.307

9,94

Σύνολο

19.584.241

737.772

Πηγή: ανακοινώσεις εταιρειών

Wind: τρεις παράγοντες επηρέασαν τα αποτελέσματα του α’ τριμήνου

H μείωση των τελών τερματισμού για τις κλήσεις προς τo δίκτυό της, η μείωση των χρεώσεων περιαγωγής αλλά και ο ανταγωνισμός που εντάθηκε τον περασμένο Φεβρουάριο με τα εξαιρετικά φτηνά πακέτα της καρτοκινητής δείχνουν να ήταν οι λόγοι που η Wind είδε τα έσοδά της να μειώνονται και τις ζημίες να αυξάνονται κατά τη διάρκεια του α’ τριμήνου του 2009. Συγκεκριμένα, ο κύκλος εργασιών μειώθηκε κατά 12,6% (σε σχέση με το α’ τρίμηνο του 2008) στα 264,8 εκατ. ευρώ με τα κέρδη προ φόρων, τόκων και αποσβέσεων (EBITDA) να φτάνουν στα 72,5 εκατ. ευρώ (-23,4%). Οι ζημίες ήταν αυξημένες κατά 11,5%, καθώς έφτασαν στα 77,1 εκατ. ευρώ έναντι 69,1 εκατ. ευρώ το αντίστοιχο περσινό διάστημα.

Πηγή: Weekly Telecom

"Καταγγείλτε το ελληνικό κράτος στην Ε.Ε."

01 06 2009 – Του Φώτη Φωτεινού – Πρόταση – σοκ, κατά του ελληνικού Δημοσίου, κατέθεσε συνεργάτης του προέδρου της Γαλλίας, Νικολά Σαρκοζί κατά τη διάρκεια του συνεδρίου «Telecommunications Media & Technology Conference» που διοργάνωσαν οι Financial Times στην Αθήνα. 

clip_image002Ο κ. Mark MacGann πρότεινε, στις εταιρείες κινητής τηλεφωνίας της Ελλάδας, να καταγγείλουν το ελληνικό κράτος στην Ε.Ε. για τη φορολόγηση των κινητών τηλεφώνων.

«Μπορείτε να καταγγείλετε το κράτος στην Ε.Ε. Η φορολόγηση των κινητών τηλεφώνων δεν είναι δίκαιο μέτρο», ανέφερε ο συνεργάτης της γαλλικής κυβέρνησης σε θέματα τηλεπικοινωνιών και πρώην CEO της Digital Europe (EICTA). 

H Ελλάδα ανταγωνίζεται την… Ουγκάντα, τη Ζάμπια και την Τανζανία στην επιβολή των υψηλότερων τελών κινητής τηλεφωνίας. 
Κάθε συνδρομητής συμβολαίου πληρώνει σήμερα 2-10 ευρώ, ανάλογα με το ύψος του λογαριασμού του (στην καρτοκινητή δεν υπάρχει φόρος). 
Η Ελλάδα έχει 26% φορολογία στην κινητή (ΦΠΑ και ειδικό τέλος συνδρομητών), ενώ η Ε.Ε. των «27» έχει 20,6%. Λιγοστές είναι οι χώρες που ξεπερνούν την Ελλάδα, όπως η Τανζανία, η Ουγκάντα, αλλά και η Τουρκία.  
Το 2007, οι εταιρείες κινητής απέδωσαν φόρους 230 εκατ. και το 2008 περίπου 250 εκατ. ευρώ, ενώ ετησίως ο κλάδος συνεισφέρει 1,8 δισ. ευρώ στα δημόσια έσοδα.

«Πάγωμα» της φορολόγησης ζητούν οι εταιρείες κινητής τηλεφωνίας 

Οι εταιρείες κινητής τηλεφωνίας της Ελλάδας, δεν ζητάνε μονάχα το «πάγωμα» της φορολόγησης των συνδρομητών συμβολαίου, αλλά και τη μη επέκταση του μέτρου στα καρτοκινητά, κάτι το οποίο διαφαίνεται ότι θα συμβεί με το νέο «κύμα φόρων» που ετοιμάζει η κυβέρνηση.

Επίσης, αιτούνται την κατάργηση του τέλους για συνδρομητές που χρησιμοποιούν το κινητό, αποκλειστικά για πρόσβαση στο διαδίκτυο (data only συνδέσεις), εκφράζοντας ενστάσεις και για την ονομαστικοποίηση των καρτοκινητών, θεωρώντας ότι θα πλήξει σημαντικά την αγορά. 
«Αν υλοποιηθεί το μέτρο της ονομαστικοποίησης των καρτοκινητών, τότε μια αγορά 15 εκατ. χρηστών πρόκειται να πληγεί σημαντικά», ανέφερε στο συνέδριο των FT ο πρόεδρος της νεοϊδρυθείσας Ένωσης Εταιρειών Κινητής Τηλεφωνίας (ΕΕΚΤ) Γ. Στεφανόπουλος.

Πάντως, το εν λόγω μέτρο συζητείται, τόσο στην Αγγλία, όσο και την Ισπανία, την ίδια ώρα που η ελληνική κυβέρνηση δείχνει διατεθειμένη να περάσει το σχετικό νομοσχέδιο μετά τις Ευρωεκλογές.   

Μόνο 800-900 κεραίες, εκ συνόλου 6.000, υποστηρίζουν 3G

Η Ελλάδα διαθέτει περισσότερες από 6.000 κεραίες κινητής τηλεφωνίας, οι οποίες, κατά δήλωση των εταιρειών κινητής τηλεφωνίας, έχουν ελεγχθεί στο σύνολό τους από την Ελληνική Επιτροπή Ατομικής Ενέργειας, διαθέτοντας την απαραίτητη πιστοποίηση από επιστημονικά ιδρύματα.    

Σύμφωνα με την υφιστάμενη νομοθεσία για την αδειοδότηση μίας κεραίας κινητής τηλεφωνίας απαιτούνται εγκρίσεις και δικαιολογητικά από περισσότερες από 9 υπηρεσίες (αρχαιολογία, πολεοδομία, δασαρχείο, νομαρχία, περιφέρεια, ΕΕΤΤ, Υπηρεσία Πολιτικής Αεροπορίας), ενώ ο μέσος χρόνος πλήρους αδειοδότησης αγγίζει τα 2 χρόνια, αντί 2-8 μηνών στην Ε.Ε.

Το αποτέλεσμα είναι ότι, από τα μέσα του 2007, οπότε και εκδόθηκε η τελευταία κοινή υπουργική απόφαση, η οποία ενεργοποίησε το σχετικό νόμο, οι εταιρείες κινητής τηλεφωνίας έχουν υποβάλλει, στις κατά τόπους περιφέρειες, περισσότερες από 5.000 περιβαλλοντικές μελέτες, προκειμένου να εγκριθεί η λειτουργία των αντίστοιχων κεραιών.

Αντ’ αυτού, οι περιφέρειες, εξαιτίας (και) της έλλειψης κατάλληλου προσωπικού, έχουν εγκρίνει μονάχα το 10% εκ αυτών. 
«Όλη αυτή η διαδικασία, δηλαδή τα δικαστικά και γραφειοκρατικά έξοδα, σε συνδυασμό με την απομάκρυνση των κεραιών, οι οποίες κοστολογούνται στις 100-150 χιλιάδες ευρώ, στοιχίζει στις εταιρείες κινητής περί τα 100 εκατ. ευρώ το χρόνο», συμπληρώνουν στελέχη της τηλεπικοινωνιακής αγοράς, τονίζοντας παράλληλα ότι όλο αυτό το γραφειοκρατικό αλαλούμ, σε συνδυασμό με τις αρνητικές επιπτώσεις που επιφέρει στην εγκατάσταση των δικτύων, «κρατά αλυσοδεμένες» τις εταιρείες, οι οποίες δεν μπορούν να επενδύσουν σε δίκτυα κινητής τηλεφωνίας 3ης γενιάς.

Ενδεικτικό είναι ότι μονάχα 800-900 κεραίες κινητής τηλεφωνίας στην Ελλάδα υποστηρίζουν υπηρεσίες «τρίτης γενιάς» (3G), αν και η διείσδυση του mobile broadband (ίντερνετ μέσω κινητού) γνωρίζει ευρεία διάδοση. 
Στη χώρα μας αντιστοιχούν 80 κεραίες 3G ανά 1 εκατ. κατοίκους, έναντι 300 στην Αυστρία.
Πάντως, στην Ελλάδα υπολογίζεται ότι 240.000 άτομα είναι σήμερα μοναδικοί χρήστες mobile broadband, ενώ η τάση είναι συνεχώς αυξητική.

Οι εταιρείες κινητής επιθυμούν να επενδύσουν σημαντικά ποσά στην ανάπτυξη τέτοιων υπηρεσιών (η Cosmote ανακοίνωσε τη διάθεση 150 εκατ. ευρώ την τριετία 2009-11), με δεδομένο ότι οι εν λόγω υπηρεσίες αποτελούν το «αύριο» της κινητής τηλεφωνίας.  
Σύμφωνα με ευρωπαϊκές μελέτες, το 2014 το 80% των συνδέσεων στο ίντερνετ θα είναι μέσω κινητού τηλεφώνου και υπολογιστών και το 2020, 50 δισ. κινητές συσκευές θα προσφέρουν πρόσβαση στο διαδίκτυο. 

Πηγή: capital.gr

Την δυσκολότερη χρονιά της ιστορία της διανύει η κινητή τηλεφωνία

21 05 2009 – Τη δυσκολότερη χρονιά στην ιστορία της διανύει φέτος η κινητή τηλεφωνία, με πτώση 10% το πρώτο τρίμηνο στις πωλήσεις του κλάδου διεθνώς. Αποτέλεσμα της κατάστασης αυτής είναι οι αναδιαρθρώσεις στις επιχειρήσεις και η μείωση θέσεων εργασίας.

Σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία που δημοσίευσε σήμερα το Ινστιτούτο Γκάρτνερ, οι πωλήσεις μειώθηκαν κατά 9,4% το πρώτο τρίμηνο του έτους, σε 269 εκατ. μονάδες, που αποτελεί την πιο μεγάλη μείωση που έχει καταγραφεί ποτέ σε αυτήν την περίοδο.

Για το σύνολο του έτους, το Ινστιτούτο προβλέπέι υποχώρηση κατά 4,2%, που οφείλεται στην οικονομική κρίση και στον κορεσμό ορισμένου αριθμού αγορών.
Συνεπώς, το 2009 πρόκειται να είναι «λίγο πολύ πιο δύσκολο» και από το 2001, κατά το οποίο είχε καταγραφεί πτώση 3,7% στις πωλήσεις, όταν έσκασε η φούσκα του Ιντερνέτ. Μετριασμένη κατά το 2008, η μείωση αυτή θέτει τέλος σε μία συνεχιζόμενη ανοδική πορεία του τομέα τα τελευταία έξι χρόνια.

«Πρόκειται για μία μεγάλη κρίση, που δεν έχει προηγούμενο», τονίζει ο Μικαέλ Νικ, του Ινστιτούτου Οπτικοακουστικών και Τηλεματικών στην Ευρώπη (Idate), υπενθυμίζοντας πως το 2001 η βιομηχανία της κινητής τηλεφωνίας «ήταν τρεις φορές λιγότερο σημαντική απ΄όσο σήμερα», με πωλήσεις 400 εκατ. μονάδων, έναντι 1,2 δισ.μονάδων το 2008.

Το μεγαλύτερο θύμα της κρίσης είναι η αμερικανική εταιρεία Motorola, η οποία για την περίοδο αυτή, λόγω της έλλειψης επίκαιρων στις τάσεις της αγοράς προϊόντων της, είδε τις πωλήσεις της να καταρρακώνονται κατά 45% και έχασε την τρίτη θέση στην παγκόσμια αγορά, την οποία καταλαμβάνει η νοτιοκορεάτικη LG.

Η σουηδική-ιαπωνική κοινοπραξία Sony-Ericsson κατέγραψε από την πλευρά της μείωση 35% στο πρώτο τρίμηνο, τρίτο συνεχόμενο με καθοδικές τάσεις στις πωλήσεις.
Ακόμη και το πρώτο όνομα στην παγκόσμια αγορά, η φιλανδική Nokia, υποφέρει από την κρίση. Οι πωλήσεις της αυτό το τρίμηνο για πρώτη φορά στην τελευταία διετία έπεσαν κάτω από το όριο των 100 εκατ. κινητών, ενώ οι μέσες τιμές πώλησής τους μειώθηκαν κατά 18%, ελαττώνοντας έτσι τα έσοδα της εταιρείας.

Στο περιβάλλον αυτό, οι κατασκευαστές έχουν αναγκασθεί να ανασυνταχθούν όσον αφορά την στρατηγική τους. Αφ’ ενός εστιάζονται περισσότερο στη διάθεση τηλεφώνων που προσφέρουν στους χρήστες τους πολλές υπηρεσίες (κυρίως πρόσβαση στο Ιντερνέτ), ή στην παροχή υπηρεσιών.

Οι αναδιαρθρώσεις αυτές είχαν και σοβαρές συνέπειες σε κοινωνικό επίπεδο: η Motorola ανακοίνωσε από το φθινόπωρο μείωση κατά 5.000 εργαζομένους του αριθμού του προσωπικού της στον τομέα των κινητών τηλεφώνων, η Sony -Ericsson από τον Ιούλιο μείωση 4.000 θέσεων εργασίας, ενώ η Nokia από τον Νοέμβριο 4.600, εκ των οποίων οι 1.300 θέσεις μειώθηκαν μέσω του προγράμματος εθελούσιας εξόδου.

Απεναντίας, ορισμένοι κατασκευαστές γνωρίζουν ασυνήθιστα μεγάλη άνοδο, όπως οι νοτιοκορεάτικες Samsung και LG, που έχουν επενδύσει στα τηλέφωνα με οθόνη αφής (touch screen), ή ακόμη οι Apple και BlackBerry, που επωφελούνται από τη μεγάλη ζήτηση για τα έξυπνα τηλέφωνα (smartphones).

Πηγή www.emea.gr

Prepaid Wireless: Finding The Best Bargain

15 05 2009 – After the economic meltdown over this past year, many Americans are looking for ways to cut back their monthly expenses. And prepaid wireless plans offer a great alternative to expensive contract plans.

Traditional prepaid services or pay as you go services allow people to buy their own phone at full retail price and then put a certain amount of money in an account that is deducted based on usage. Some plans offer buckets of minutes for a set price, and some allow people to just put however much money they want in their prepaid phone accounts. These plans allow people to know exactly how much they are spending each month, and if they run out of minutes or money in their accounts, they simply add more online, over the phone or at a retail location.

These plans differ from post-paid plans, which offer buckets of minutes for a set price, and then bill customers at the end of each month, sometimes resulting in surprisingly high phone bills or excess charges for services that were never used.

Prepaid services have long been popular in Europe and other parts of the world, but in the U.S. these services have traditionally served only niche markets. But now prepaid is gaining steam in the U.S. And consumers of all stripes looking for good deals with no service contracts are considering canceling their post-paid services and going to prepaid.

Ideal candidates for prepaid services include people who use their phones rarely to call friends or family when they are out and about or who only own a cell phone because they think they may need it for an emergency. My 66-year-old, retired father falls into this category. Teen-agers are also prime candidates for prepaid services, especially for plans specific to text messaging, such as Virgin Mobile’s Texter’s Delight or T-Mobile’s Sidekick plan. These plans offer loads of free texting and cheap per minute voice charges.

And now a new category of prepaid services has emerged that will likely appeal to traditional post-paid customers, who talk, text, and access the Mobile Web a fair amount each month. Several carriers including Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, MetroPCS, and Leap Wireless’s Cricket offer low-cost unlimited plans that include voice calling, messaging, and unlimited Web surfing. And the beauty of these all-you-can-eat plans is that customers aren’t required to agree to a pesky one-year or two-year contract and risk paying expensive early termination fees.

While there are many benefits to prepaid, there are also some downsides. Typically, these services don’t offer the coolest, cutting edge phones. In fact, MetroPCS is the only prepaid operator offering a plan for a smartphone, the BlackBerry Curve. And the fine print in these deals can make picking the right plan with the best value difficult.

There are some very good Web sites out there that can help consumers pick the best plan for them. The most comprehensive one I have found is called Prepaid Reviews, which rates prepaid options from 24 carriers. Consumers can view the pros and cons of each operator, track which phones are offered, write reviews, and read evaluations on several categories. Also, there’s a tool that allows people to compare up to three carriers at once.

But for those looking for a quick look at what’s available, I’ve selected some of the most popular plans from smaller providers to big carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile, to help readers begin to find the plans that best match their needs.

Complete comparison breakdowns below:

Verizon InPulse

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless provider in the country. It recently bought regional operator Alltel and is integrating those customers into its service. It offers a wide range of post-paid options. And it has recently updated its prepaid service options, which include pay-as-go and pay-per-day options.

Who is it good for? Verizon’s InPulse plan is good for consumers who use their phone occasionally and don’t text much and for people who don’t care about cool, feature-rich phones. And of course, it appeals to people who don’t want to be tied to an expensive contract service.

Pros: Great network coverage and reliable service.

Cons: Available only on a handful of phones (no smartphones available); expensive compared to other plans, roaming charges apply in the areas where Verizon Wireless isn’t available, and a $25 activation may apply in some areas.

Pay as you go: Users are charged 25 cents per minute of talk time. Money can be added in various increments, but those increments vary in terms of expiration. For example, users can add $15 to $29.99, which will expire after 30 days. The next level is $30 to $74.99, which will expire after 90. And $75 to $99.99 expires after 180 days. Anything over $100 expires after a year. Text messages cost 20 cents to send and receive.

Pay per day: These day plans allow users to pay only for service only on the days they use their phone. And there are three tiers of service. For $1 a day, customers can talk as much as they want to other Verizon Wireless subscribers and calls to all other numbers are 10 cents a minute. It’s also 10 cents to send and receive text messages. The $2-a-day plan offers unlimited calling to other Verizon subscribers and unlimited calls on nights and weekends. Calls to non-Verizon subscribers during peak times costs 5 cents a minute. And texting is 5 cents per message. The $4 a day plan offers unlimited calling to anyone, anytime. And text messages are only 1 cent to send and receive.

Multimedia and picture messaging is 25 cents across all plans.

Users can also add unlimited mobile Web access (up to 5GB) for $1 a day. And unlimited texting can be added for $20 a month and unlimited in-network calling can be added for $10 a month and comes with 250 free text messages.

Roaming charges are 20 cents per minute.

Can get unlimited texting for $20 a month or for $10 a month users get unlimited in-network texting plus 250 additional text messages to anyone.

Phones: Only a limited number of Verizon handsets are offered for the InPulse service. And no smartphones are offered with this plan.

AT&T GoPhone

AT&T is the second-largest nationwide mobile operator in the country. It offers several post-paid services and exclusive phones, such as Apple’s iPhone. It also offers pay-as-you-go, pay-per-day and monthly prepaid service options all with no contract.

Who is it good for? AT&T’s GoPhone plans are good for occasional cell phone and text message users. And it’s also appealing to people who don’t care much about cool, feature rich phones, and who don’t want a contract service.

Pros: Great network coverage, reliable service, includes rollover minutes.

Cons: Limited number of handsets for prepaid service, a better value than Verizon, but pricey compared to other prepaid services.

Pay as you go: AT&T also offers users the ability to put money in their prepaid account and pay 25 cents per minute.

Pay per day: For $3 per day users can make unlimited calls to any domestic caller for 24 hours. And for $1 a day, they can make unlimited mobile-to-mobile calls. It’s 10 cents a minute to all other callers in the U.S.

Text messages on these plans cost 20 cents to send and receive, but users can buy packs of messages. For example for $5 a month, you can get 200 messages. For $10 a monthly users get $100, and $20 a month buys unlimited texting. Multimedia messages cost 25 cents a pop.

Users are charged $0.01 per kilobyte for mobile Web usage.

Monthly plans: Users can also pick a plan starting at $30 a month for 250 voice minutes. Calls are charged 15 cents after that. For $40 a month, users can get 300 anytime voice minutes, 500 nights and weekends, and unlimited calls to other AT&T subscribers. Overage charges are 13 cents per minute. The $50 a month plan offers 400 anytime minutes, 3,000 nights and weekend minutes, and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calls. Overage charges on this plan cost about 12 cents a minute. And the $70 a month plan includes 650 anytime minutes, unlimited nights and weekends, and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calls. The overage charge for this plan is nearly 11 cents a minute. Unused minutes are rolled over to the next month.

The texting, MMS, and data rates are the same for the monthly plans as they are for the pay-as-you-go and pay-per-day plans.

Phones: AT&T only offers a very limited number of phones for its prepaid service, which don’t include any smartphones. But the carrier offers refurbished phones at a big discount.

Boost mobile

Boost Mobile is owned by Sprint Nextel, the nation’s third-largest carrier, and it uses the Nextel iDEN network. It offers pay as you go, pay per day, and a monthly unlimited plan.

Who is it good for? Boost Mobile has typically catered to the young urban market. But its low-cost unlimited plan and good selection of phones also make it a great buy for any typical post-paid cell phone customer looking to ditch to contract.

Pros: Phones offer lots of features; service options suit almost anyone; walkie-talkie service offered.

Cons: Pricey handsets that are not subsidized.

Pay as you go: Users can add as much money as they like, and Boost deducts 10 cents for every minute of talk time, regardless of time of day. For $1 a day, users can get access to the walkie-talkie service. For 35 cents a day they can access the mobile Web for a day. Texting costs 10 cents a message to send and receive, and it costs 25 cents to send and receive MMS messages.

Pay per day: For $1 a day, users get the Chat Plan that offers unlimited voice minutes from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., and unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes, which includes calls to Sprint Nextel customers. All other calls are 10 cents per minute. Unlimited text messaging is also included in the $1/day Chat Plan. Multimedia messaging is 25 cents per message, and it costs 35 cents a day to access the mobile Web.

Monthly unlimited plan: The Boost Unlimited plan is $50 per month and comes with unlimited voice minutes, unlimited text, unlimited MMS, unlimited walkie-talkie, and unlimited mobile Web access all day long any day of the week.

Phones: Boost Mobile offers a wide range of phones that have lots of different features. Many of its phones include cameras, video recorders, and/or MP3 music players. Prices range from $30 to $180.

T-Mobile USA

T-Mobile USA is owned by Deutsche Telekom and is the fourth-largest cell phone operator in the U.S. It offers pay-as-you-go, pay-per-day, monthly plans, as well as a special texting plan for Sidekick users.

Who is it good for? T-Mobile has three plans that cater to the needs of many consumers. Its pay-as-you-go and pay-per-day plans are good for people who use their phones occasionally and text message rarely. The FlexPay plan is good for consumers who don’t want a contract. And the Sidekick plan is ideal for heavy texters who don’t use the phone much to make calls, i.e. teens.

Pros: Easy to use starter kits available, minutes roll over as long as the account is refreshed within 90 days.

Cons: No mobile Web services.

Pay as you go: T-Mobile offers four tiers of refill cards. For $10 a month, users get 30 minutes of talk time. For $25 they get 130 minutes, and $50 refills offer 400 minutes. A $100 refill, which offers 1,000 minutes, enrolls customers into the Gold Rewards program, which adds 15 percent more minutes for each future card.

Pay per day: For $1 a day, users get unlimited night minutes starting at 7 p.m., and unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes. All other calls are 10 cents per minute. The $1 charge only applies when calls are made.

Monthly plan: T-Mobile’s FlexPay plan allows users to choose from among T-Mobile’s most popular post-paid calling plans, but users only pay for them on a prepaid basis. They can either opt for a contract or no contract. Customers wanting a subsidized handset can sign up for a one- or two-year contract, depending on the selected plan and handset.

Sidekick: T-Mobile has a special plan for the popular Sidekick, which costs $1 per day for unlimited text messaging, e-mail, and Web browsing. And calls cost 15 cents per minute.

Texting rates apply across all the plans, except the Sidekick plan, and texts cost 10 cents to send a message and 5 cents to receive a message in the U.S. and Canada. Messages are 35 cents to send and 5 cents to receive messages from anywhere else. And multimedia messages are 25 cents to send and receive.

Mobile Web services are not available.

Phones: T-Mobile’s pay-as-you-go and pay-per-day services don’t include all of its hottest phones. But consumers are able to select from just about any T-Mobile handset for the FlexPay plan.

Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA is a mobile virtual network operator that uses Sprint’s CDMA network to offer pay-as-you-go plans, monthly, and unlimited monthly plans, and a special deal for heavy texters.

Who is it good for? Virgin Mobile offers one of the widest arrays of services and plans that could work well and provide value to almost any consumer from occasional talkers to hardcore texters and chatters, i.e. teens. But there are better deals for people who just need a cell phone for emergencies or occasional calls.

Pros: Wide array of service offerings, including a new pink slip plan that will pay the cost of a monthly service for up to three months when subscribers lose their jobs. Decent prices for those who talk more than 300 minutes a month. Voice minutes roll over. No roaming fees. Operates over Sprint’s nationwide CDMA network (which could be viewed as a negative or a positive depending on how you feel about Sprint.)

Cons: The $50 unlimited plan is cheaper than most contract plans from the large carriers, but offers fewer features than the Boost Mobile Unlimited plan.

Pay as you go: Virgin Mobile’s pay as you go plans allow users to buy a certain bucket of minutes in various denominations. The first bucket offered costs $20 and gives users 200 minutes of talk time. The $30 plan offers 400 minutes. And the $50 plan offers 1,000 minutes. As long as customers buy another package of minutes every 30 days, the balance from the previous 30 days rolls into the next 30 days. And users can have a maximum of 5,000 minutes rolled over. The company also offers a pay as you go rate that charges 20 cents per minute.

Standard texting and e-mail messaging rates are 15 cents a minute and 25 cents a minute for multimedia messaging. Text-messaging packages are also available. And for $5 more every 30 days, users can get 200 free text messages. For $10 more a month, they get 1,000 messages. And for $20 a month, they get unlimited text messaging. Starting at $5 a month users can get 5MB of mobile Web downloads and for $10 a month, they can get 50MB of data per month.

Monthly plans : Virgin Mobile offers a monthly plan that starts at $30 a month for 300 minutes of anytime talk time and 1,000 minutes of night time calling, which starts after 7 p.m. The $40 a month plan includes 400 anytime minutes and unlimited night and weekend minutes.

Unlimited Monthly: The $50 a month plan includes unlimited calling, to any number, any time of day, any day of the week. Virgin Mobile also offers a few different texting plans. For an additional $5 a month, users get 1,000 free text messages and for $10 a month they get unlimited text messaging. Starting at $5 a month users can get 5MB of mobile Web downloads and for $10 a month, they can get 50MB of data per month. Text-messaging rates are 15 cents to send and receive messages.

There is also the Texter’s Delight plans that offer 1,000 text messages for $15 a month and unlimited texting for $20 a month. Each service charges 10 cents a minute for talk time.

Phones: Virgin Mobile has a wide range of phones available, with some starting as low as $10. There are no smartphones included in the lineup but there are two phones that offer a full QWERTY keypad.

Metro PCS

MetroPCS is a regional wireless carrier that offers only flat-rate, unlimited monthly plans.

Who is it good for? MetroPCS offers the best value in the higher-tier unlimited plans for customers who are looking to replace a post-paid contract service with a service that doesn’t tie them to a contract.

Pros: Flat rate, unlimited plans are simple to understand and customers don’t have to worry about overages; mobile Web access, including a plan for the BlackBerry Curve

Cons: Limited coverage area, roaming is not included and there’s an extra charge for using the phone outside the MetroPCS calling region.

Unlimited monthly plan: For $30, users get unlimited local calling. The $35 plan offers unlimited local and long distance calling. For $40 a month, users get unlimited local and long distance calling plus unlimited text messaging. The $45 plan also includes Web access and picture messaging. And for $50 a month, users can get unlimited local and long distance calling, unlimited text and multimedia messaging, unlimited Web access, and unlimited e-mail and AOL Instant Messenger. This premiere unlimited service also includes unlimited use of location-based service Loopt as well as access to a navigation service.

Text messaging, picture messaging, and mobile Web access is not available with the $30 basic plan. Mobile Web access can be added to the $35 and $40 a month plans for $5 more a month.

Users who buy Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Curve or the touch-screen Samsung Finesse R810 must subscribe to $50 unlimited plan. And BlackBerry users can get work e-mail for an additional $10 a month.

Phones: MetroPCS offers a wide range of phones including the Blackberry Curve, which costs $449.

Cricket, from Leap Wireless

Cricket is a regional wireless carrier owned by Leap Wireless that offers flat-rate unlimited monthly plans as well as a pay-as-you-go service. It also offers 3G broadband wireless service for laptops.

Who is it good for? Like MetroPCS, Cricket offers the best value in the higher-tier unlimited plans for customers who are looking to replace a post-paid contract service with a service that doesn’t tie them to a contract. The $1 a day pay-as-you-go plans are also good for people who use their phones occasionally.

Pros: Flat rate, unlimited monthly plans with no contracts, pay-per-day options, $40 a month 3G wireless broadband for laptops.

Cons: Limited coverage area serving parts of only 21 states, roaming fees for most plans, $15 activation fee, lack of basic cell phone features, no smartphone offering.

Pay as you go: Cricket offers three pay-as-you-go plans, which it calls PAYgo. The $1 a day plan offers unlimited local calling for the day. The $2 a day plan offers unlimited local and long-distance calling and unlimited texting. And for $3 a day, users can get unlimited calling, texting, and mobile Web access.

Monthly plans:The $30 a month plan offers unlimited local calling, but roaming or long-distance minutes are not included. For $40 a month, users get unlimited local and long-distance calling. The $45 a month plan includes unlimited local and long-distance calling plus unlimited texting and multimedia messaging. The $50 per month plan offers everything in the $45 a month plan plus unlimited mobile Web access and 30 free minutes of roaming. Cricket also offers a $60 a month Cricket Nation 200 plan that offers everything in the $50 plan and 200 free roaming minutes.

Voice roaming is 39 cents per minute for all services.

Wireless broadband: Cricket offers a $40 a month 3G wireless broadband service. Voice customers can add the wireless broadband service for laptops for $5 more a month when bundled with an unlimited plan. The activation fee is $25 and the "unlimited" data is really capped at 5MB a month.

Phones: Cricket offers a modest selection of phones with features like cameras, music players, and QWERTY keypads. But they are pricey.

Tracfone

Tracfone is a nationwide prepaid-only service that offers both pay-as-you-go plans and monthly service plans.

Who is it good for? This service is good for people who use their phone occasionally and are just looking for a cheap handset without many frills.

Pros: Cheap pay-as-you-go phones; simple plans; minutes carry over, as long as users add more minutes at least every three months.

Cons: Pricey for big talkers. And the texting rates are difficult to understand, no mobile Web access.

Pay as you go:Tracfone offers a traditional pay-as-you-go service that allows users to buy refill cards to top up their phones. The cards come in four denominations. For $20 users can talk for 60 minutes. A $30 card offers 120 minutes of talk time. For $40 users can talk for 300 minutes. And an $80 card offers 450 minutes of talk time.

Also offers a $50 Double Minutes for Life card that allows users to double future minutes purchased. But this excludes the one-year cards that offer 800 minutes of talk time. The cards are good for service for 45, 90, or 365 days from the date the minutes are added to the phone, depending on which card is purchased.

Monthly plans Tracfone also offers monthly plans, and for $10 a month users get 50 minutes of talk time. A $20 a month plan offers 100 minutes of talk time, and a $30 a month plan give users 150 minutes of talk time. Users can set up the service to automatically charge their credit card every month for the service.

Text-messaging rates are basically the same for the pay-as-you go cards and the monthly plans. And they vary depending on the phone. With certain phones, users are charged 0.3 units to send text messages. Receiving text messages is free. Other phones charge 0.5 units to send and receive text messages. Mobile Web access is not available.

Phones: Tracfone offers a wide range of low-cost and simple phones starting at $10. And most phones don’t cost more than $50.

U.S. Cellular

U.S. Celluar is a regional cell phone operator offering both prepaid and post-paid service in 26 states. The prepaid services are monthly and pay as you go.

Who is it good for? The U.S. Cellular pay as you go service is perfect for people who only use their phone occasionally.

Pros: Monthly and pay as you go services available.

Cons: There are no pay per minute plans. All Talk Tracker plans mimic traditional cell phone service plans offered via US Cellular except that they require no credit check or monthly contract to get service.

Pay as you go:For $6 a month, users can get 15 cent a minute calls. And for $10 a month, they can make 10 cent a minute calls. Incoming text messages are free and outgoing messages are 25 cents. US Cellular also offers texting bundles. For $5 a month users can get 250 free text messages and $10 a month gets users 750 text messages. Unlimited texting costs $15. Multimedia and picture messaging aren’t available. Mobile Web access isn’t available.

Monthly Plans: U.S. Cellular offers four basic monthly calling plans. The $25 a month plan comes with 100 anytime minutes, and additional minutes are billed at 50 cents each. The $45 a month plan offers 350 anytime minutes. Additional minutes are billed at 15 cents a minute. For $60 a month, users get 600 anytime minutes. Additional minutes are billed at 10 cents each. And the $80 plan comes with 1000 anytime minutes and additional minutes are billed at 10 cents each.

Users who roam outside of U.S. Cellular’s calling area are charged 69 cents per minute.

Incoming text messages are free and outgoing messages are 20 cents. US Cellular also offers texting bundles. For $5 a month users can get 250 free text messages and $10 a month gets users 750 text messages. Unlimited texting costs $15. Multimedia and picture messaging isn’t available. Mobile Web access aren’t available.

Phones:The phone selection is very limited for prepaid phones. They are very basic models which are best used for just talking and texting.

Source: CBS News

It is time for telcos to get real and dump ARPU

15 05 2009 – For years now telcos in general and mobile operators in particular have spent much of their time and marketing budgets on trying to persuade customers to up their usage of services and applications, writes Martyn Warwick.

What they are trying to do is to increase ARPU (average revenue per user) a measure hitherto generally accepted by the operators themselves to be the best indicator of how well they are doing in terms of wresting more and more cash out of their subscribers. It is also the metric most usually referred to by analysts and investors in gauging the financial performance of a carrier.

ARPU then is the average amount of revenue a telco collects from each user per month and carriers try to boost this sum by bundling and selling extra services to their customers.
However, one of the problems with ARPU is that it is usually calculated in very basic arithmetical fashion, by dividing the aggregate amount of revenue by the total number of users who provide that revenue. Such numbers are, of course, static but nonetheless are usually taken as the equivalent of Holy Writ in carrier accounting departments around the world.

Another big problem with the measure is that despite all the efforts by carriers to increase it, ARPU is actually in decline. In part this is due to the continuing and irreversible fall in traditional voice traffic as users switch to the likes of Skype; services that whilst variable in quality are, to all intents and purposes, free to use. And of course the knock-on effect to falling ARPU is reduced profitability.

On the positive, indeed some might say overly optimistic, side of the equation the research house Analysys says that some telcos might be able to stop the decline in ARPU by 2011 – but only if service providers can grow their data revenues at a rate that will overtake the decline in voice revenues, and that’s a big ask.

The truth is that the current business model is played out and another is needed to take its place.

Source: TelecomTV

Video: Mobile VoIP Wars – Who you gonna call?

12 05 2009 – Mobile Voice over IP is causing a stir. Mobile operators say they’re being bypassed, but VoIP companies say they have apps that people really want to use. In this week’s Press/Play, we push some buttons on the leading mobile VoIP clients. But do they push ours back?

View Video:

Source: TelecomTV

Mobile sales ‘in record decline’

30 04 2009 – Mobile phone sales have plummeted by a record amount in the first quarter of 2009 as the global financial crisis sapped demand, a research firm said.

The number of phones shipped worldwide in the first three months of the year dropped by 13% to 245 million units from the same period last year.

Strategy Analytics said all of the five biggest mobile phone-makers had drops in sales.

But Apple’s iPhone defied the gloom to post a 123% annual gain in sales.

Strategy Analytics said the previous worst quarter for mobile phone sales was in the third quarter of 2001.

Massive declines

Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, had a market share of 38% in the quarter. That is three percentage points less than a year earlier.

MARKET SHARE: 2009 VS 2008

Nokia: 38%, down from 41%

Samsung: 19%, up from 16%

LG: 9%, flat at 9%

Motorola: 6%, down from 10%

Sony Ericcson: 5.9%, down from 8%

Its sales dropped 19% to 115.5 million units.

Meanwhile Motorola posted sales figures of £3.7bn ($5.4bn) for the first quarter of 2009 which is down by 28% when compared to last year.

It sold 14.7 million handsets which is just over half the amount it did twelve months ago

Sales were just as bad for Sony Ericsson.

The Swedish-Japanese venture sold 14.5 million mobile phones between January and March, down 35% from the first quarter of 2008.

The company made a pre-tax loss of £319m ($467m) in that period.

Samsung sales fell 1% to 46.3 million units. And Korea’s LG had a 7% drop in sales, to 24.4 million units.

The iPhone, the first phone by computing firm Apple, had sales of 3.8 million, up from 1.7 million units the previous year.

“We expect Apple to launch one or more new models in the coming months as it seeks to maintain its breakneck growth rate,” Strategy Analytics said.

Source: BBC News

Video: Intelligent Texting?

TelecomTV17 04 2009 – Phones may be getting smarter, but human intelligence is still at the heart of interactive services. Plus, the impact of the global recession on mobile commerce, O2 launches its Joggler home tablet, and an old skool phone receiver.

View Video:

Source: Telecom TV