The Register Columnists

Wireless Watch

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
Man loads in blanket into the washing machine. Photo by Shutterstock

Facebook and Google show how the world really will be blanketed in 5G

Facebook has outdone even Google recently, in its efforts to shake up the mobile industry and accelerate the delivery of broadband services (and its revenue generators) to the entire planet. This is no longer just about using balloons and new spectrum to push affordable wireless access to underserved communities. It is about …
Wireless Watch, 18 Jul 2016
Gunther Oettinger, EU digital commissioner. Photo by Shutterstock - must mark as editorial use only

EU operators’ 5G manifesto misses the point

Never before have events coincided so neatly to demonstrate the gap between mobile operators’ thinking about 5G, and how future networks will really be deployed for disruptive effect. While Europe’s leading MNOs were presenting a backwards-looking "5G Manifesto" to the European Commission, veiling pleas for net neutrality …
Wireless Watch, 13 Jul 2016
Man checks mobile while sitting on skateboard ramp. Photo by Shutterstock

Verizon, KT, Telefonica: On three continents, operators prepare for 5G

In the week of Brexit and Iceland, a London event perhaps did not need any more reminders about falling behind the rest of the world – but a final, unavoidable conclusion from last week’s 5G World was that the east Asian operators, always very technically progressive, are also in a league of their own when it comes to detailed …
Wireless Watch, 06 Jul 2016
US Navy man crawling under barbed wire in tough mudder competition

Ericsson: 5G migration won't be a terrifying slog. No. We have ‘plug-ins’

Analysis All the network equipment providers are engaged in major operator projects which they hope will guarantee them a place in those MNOs’ 5G rollouts in the coming years. This week, it was certainly the turn of Ericsson to score 5G marketing points, with a series of operator engagements around the world, and the announcement of 5G …
Wireless Watch, 24 Jun 2016
Google's car puts it in the pink

If Android’s wings are clipped, other Google platforms may gain

If Google's Android wings are clipped in the mobile market by European Union judgments, other elements of its portfolio may gain heavier strategic weight as it pushes to create a dominant platform that looks well beyond PCs and mobile devices, and into every object which will have a web connection in future. Like Facebook, the …
Wireless Watch, 25 Apr 2016
shutterstock_236128771

5G is looming, but network innovations are needed far more urgently

In all the excitement about 5G, it is easy to forget that the most intensive innovations of 2016-2020 will go on in "4.5G" – in Release 13 and 14, of course, but more importantly in the way the carriers and their vendors reinvent their cellular networks with new approaches like virtualization and HetNet, in the desperate bid to …
Wireless Watch, 18 Apr 2016

Ruckus: A strong buy for Brocade, but leaves Juniper isolated again

Comment Pity poor Juniper. The networking company’s alliance with Ruckus Wireless last summer raised hopes that it would strike it third time lucky in the Wi-Fi market, filling the gaping wireless gap in its platform. Now Brocade has snatched carrier Wi-Fi leader Ruckus from under its rival’s nose with a $1.2bn acquisition. It's the …
Wireless Watch, 13 Apr 2016
Philips Hue Starter Pack

Hue, not Three, could be Hutchison’s crown jewel as MNO model morphs

The European Commission has two months to decide whether to allow the takeover of Telefonica’s O2 UK arm by CK Hutchison, owner of 3UK, and if it does, what conditions will be imposed. One of the most likely demands will be for the merged entity to divest some of its infrastructure for a new entrant, or at least to earmark a …
Wireless Watch, 04 Apr 2016
Promo pic of Intel-acquired Replay Technologies FreeD product.

Intel in 3D and virtual reality dash

Comment Intel and Qualcomm are increasingly extending their reach beyond their core chip technologies and into surrounding technologies and even applications. Both seek to enhance their revenues and account control with end-to-end offerings in key emerging areas of technology such as virtual reality. Last week, Intel acquired Replay …
Wireless Watch, 21 Mar 2016
Hiker checks dead battery on smartphone... against wild valley backdrop. Photo via Shutterstock

Intelligent Energy secures $7.5m to develop smartphone fuel cell

Fuel cell specialist Intelligent Energy has announced that it has signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with “an emerging smartphone OEM” to develop an embedded hydrogen fuel cell for powering smartphones for up to a week. The £5.25m ($7.5m) project will develop a fuel cell that will coexist with the smartphone’s existing …
Wireless Watch, 22 Feb 2016

India's ‘Facebook ruling’ is another nail in the coffin of the MNO model

Nobody could accuse India’s telecoms regulator, TRAI, of being in the operators’ pockets. This month it has, once again, set eye-watering reserve prices for the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction (see separate item), and now it has taken one of the toughest stances in the world on net neutrality, in effect banning zero rated or …
Wireless Watch, 15 Feb 2016
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Nokia kicks off pre-MWC race with tech show-and-tell

And then there were four: the Big Five mobile network vendors are reduced to a quartet, though Cisco will be hoping that its new alliance with Ericsson will admit it to the inner circle, while Samsung and NEC remain hopeful of harnessing virtualisation to improve their radio access network (RAN) business. But the fight is …
Wireless Watch, 09 Feb 2016
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Network builders: LTE costs will transform the cell tower biz in 2016

Analysis The vast cost of keeping up with demand for mobile data is intensifying the pressure on mobile operators’ capex budgets and accelerating their moves to improve their infrastructure cost base. Major agreements to share passive and active cell site equipment are becoming commonplace as regulators ease up on previous restrictions, …
Wireless Watch, 01 Feb 2016
Professional carbon drone with GPS. Pic via Shutterstock

Intel aims for PC-style position in drones, robots and wearables

CES 2016 The need to control not just the processor itself, but the whole surrounding software and connectivity platform, was very clear in Intel’s launches and keynotes a last week's Consumer Electronics Show. While the PC and smartphone processors or SoCs have been premium products, in semiconductor terms, in the IoT the hardware …
Wireless Watch, 13 Jan 2016
Samsung Chef Collection Oven

Samsung turns to smart home, wearables chips as mobile declines

Analysis Looking for a radical change in culture and product mix is Samsung, which has ridden high on the smartphone boom but is now refocusing its growth efforts on the IoT, chips and displays. The decade of the smartphone will end this year, and growth in sales will fall below 10 per cent for the first time ever, according to …
Wireless Watch, 11 Jan 2016
Labelled_XPoint_Diagram

2015: The year storage was rocked to its foundations

Storage year in review, part 1 The storage market in 2015 went through strategic foundation-shaking turmoil as the external shared disk array storage playbook was torn to shreds. It was a bewildering year, with rampaging and revolutionary activity at all levels of the industry. It’s best looked at from the ground up, starting with the technology vision, …
Wireless Watch, 25 Dec 2015

Nokia, ARM, twisting Intel bid to reinvent the TCP/IP stack for a 5G era

Nokia and ARM are at the heart of a bid to revamp the ageing TCP/IP stack to make it better suited to networks that need to operate at very high speed and/or low latency. Among the plethora of industry alliances at the intersection of telecoms, IT and IP, this looks like one with a genuine contribution to make to the evolution …
Wireless Watch, 14 Dec 2015

Mozilla backs away from mobile OS as Android looks invincible

If 2014 was a year of brave new mobile operating systems, challenging Android’s dominance with open platforms and modern cloud-oriented designs, 2016 looks set to be the year when their hopes die. A week after Finnish startup Jolla slashed the staff working on its Sailfish mobile system, Mozilla has announced that it plans to …
Wireless Watch, 11 Dec 2015
Internet Meme: text says Integrate all the Things

Helium has a go at Internet of Things thing – using ultra-low power tech

As the internet of things (IoT) gets closer to commercial reality, the solutions flooding into the market are increasingly targeted at a real world use case. Some of these are extremely specific – smart meters and smart streetlights are commonplace now, but startup Helium Systems says its initial focus is on smart refrigeration …
Wireless Watch, 02 Nov 2015

Finally, with W10, Microsoft’s device strategy makes sense

Analysis Microsoft stubbornly refuses to let go of making hardware, but now the reasons why CEO Satya Nadella has not followed his clear instinct to ditch devices (except Xbox) are becoming clearer. We have analysed many times why Microsoft should not make smartphones and tablets, mainly because of conflicts of interest with the OEM …
Wireless Watch, 28 Oct 2015
Rotary phone

Dell-EMC deal could be a game-changer for mobile networks, too

EMC/Dell deal As carriers race towards virtualisation, software-defined networking and increasingly complex back office IT platforms, they will increasingly bump into suppliers from the data centre world. IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and others are already very familiar to them, but now there will be a new powerhouse, if Dell’s record- …
Wireless Watch, 19 Oct 2015
Generic mast

Network vendors need something far more real than ‘5G’

MWC 2015 The big infrastructure vendors all made significant announcements in advance of Mobile World Congress, holding their beauty parades before the distractions of the event itself. While there was a lot of the inevitable "5G" vision-making on show, the main focus was on something more real: new platforms which could be deployed in a …
Wireless Watch, 02 Mar 2015
LG Prada KE850 - model

Qualcomm, ARM: We thought we had such HOT MODELS...

The history of mobile device processors is that of two companies, Qualcomm and ARM, both with unique licensing models which many envy but few can successfully copy or compete with. As the growth in the wireless world shifts to embedded and larger-screened devices, and the mobile chip balance of power moves towards China and Wi- …
Wireless Watch, 17 Feb 2015
shutterstock_184661174

TalkTalk may begin making 'Three style' low-cost mobile moves

As Telefonica looks to sell its O2 UK outfit to Hutchison Three, it is also supporting two mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deals which are adding to the quadplay mayhem of the UK market. BSkyB and TalkTalk both have their virtual mobile services hosted by O2, and both will be harnessing these, while also investing in Wi- …
Wireless Watch, 09 Feb 2015
Google UK office logos

Should Google play carriers at their own game? There's never been a better time

Analysis In the week that Microsoft made its last, best bid for mobile relevance, Google was active all over the mobile ecosystem. It had recently announced an investment in satellite venture SpaceX, and was said to be stalking mobile payments outfit SoftCard, and even planning to launch direct mobile services via its own mobile virtual …
Wireless Watch, 26 Jan 2015