Prashant Agarwal’s Techdirt Profile

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About Prashant Agarwal

Web and mobile entrepreneur with international experience. Focus on product strategy, development and deployment.

http://www.linkedin.com/prashantagarwal



Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 1 April 2003 @ 6:45am

If You Charge Too Much They Won't Come

from the dept

Researchers at the UK-based Work Foundation are warning mobile carriers that if they charge too much for 3G services and handsets it could hurt 3G uptake (they needed a study to come up with this?). The Work Foundation believes that UK mobile operators don't understand how sensitive UK mobile subscribers are about their mobile phone bills. While 3G operators love to talk about consumers, the services aren't aimed at or priced for regular consumers at the moment. They are for early adopters who are willing to pay a premium for latest technology. The working stiffs at the Work Foundation will just have to wait like the rest of us for prices to drop to normal levels.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 1 April 2003 @ 6:30am

April Fools Round Up

from the dept

There are some good laughs to be had today from amusing April Fool's stories on wireless news sites. Check out Mobile Burn's review of the NovAtel ActionPac 8, a phone only your grandfather could love. Phone Scoop has a great set of parody news stories that poke fun at wireless announcements from the past year. My favorite has to be "Sprint PCS Launches PCS Taste."

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 31 March 2003 @ 3:20pm

Europe's First Mobile Video Music Service

from the dept

Musicwave has partnered with PacketVideo to build Europe's first downloadable wireless music video service. Sounds interesting but I really wonder if people will pay to download music videos, especially since they don't pay for music videos now. However I am willing to pay for a giant jukebox in the sky.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 31 March 2003 @ 3:16pm

Nokia Boosts CDMA Offensive In China

from the dept

Qualcomm and Motorola have placed big bets on the Chinese mobile market. If CDMA can reach US level's of penetration in China it would be a huge gain in global market share for CDMA. And now Nokia is getting in on the action by setting a up CDMA focused manufacturing subsidiary in China. Nokia has grown on the back of GSM so to see them committing such resources to CDMA really says something about the future of CDMA in China which is still predominantly a GSM market.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 31 March 2003 @ 3:09pm

Hutchison Going 3G In Australia

from the dept

With 3G services in the UK and Italy up and running the next market to go live for Hutchison on Australia. Apparently it's been a bitter battle down under with other carriers trying to steal some of Hutch's 3G thunder by announcing their own 3G-like services. The competition is so fierce Hutch is taking legal action against Optus for their 2.5G ad campaign. The whole thing is ridiculous, consumer aren't stupid. They will decide for themselves what is "next generation" and more importantly if they want it.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 31 March 2003 @ 2:32pm

Vodafone, Orange Invest in Wireless Java OS

from the dept

Wireless carriers are increasingly getting into the software business as they look for more ways to differentiate their offerings and gain some leverage over Nokia, Microsoft and Symbian. As the market moves toward smartphones software becomes more important to carriers and handset makers. One way or the other we'll end up with a dominant OS that is used across carriers and handset makers. The question remains which one and when. Vodafone and Orange are doing their part by investing is Java start up SaveJe that is working on a full Java OS for handsets. A Java OS would allow Vodafone and Orange to commission completely custom handsets with their own unique interfaces (not necessarily a good thing) while still allowing the devices to run common java apps.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 26 March 2003 @ 11:09am

Vodafone Live Hits The Jackpot

from the dept

Ever since the rapid growth of DoCoMo's i-mode carriers around the world, and DoCoMo itself, have been trying to replicate that growth outside of Japan. DoCoMo's success with European partners had been lukewarm at best. But now it seems that Vodafone might be on to something with its Live! handsets and services. Since launching 5 months ago they have signed up 1 million customers, the majority in Germany, the UK and Italy. But it's still unclear of those 1 million customers who bought Live! compatible handsets how many are using data services such as MMS and mobile email.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 26 March 2003 @ 10:48am

Motorola Launches Downloadable Themes

from the dept

User of compatible Motorola handsets can now download themes to their devices which include screensavers, ringtones and wallpaper. The current themes are based on musicians who are a natural fit for handset customization obsessed youth. But it seems like a stretch for Motorola to be marketing the themes. They don't have the same level of brand recognition as Nokia but then this could be an attempt to change all that.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 24 March 2003 @ 10:21am

What it means: 1G, 2G, 3G, hike

from the dept

Our wireless savvy users are already familiar with the differences between 1G, 2G and 3G. But like us you might find yourself having to explain the differences to non-TDW readers. The International Herald Tribune has a good summary of the Gs, but as expected from a European GSM perspective. This is completely applicable to US GSM operators with one exception. US GSM operators already plan to implement EDGE (think of it as 2.75G), which many Euro operators plan to skip to go straight to UMTS (aka 3G). For CDMA operators, they started with 2G and their new faster 1xRTT networks (SprintPCS Vision, Verizon Express Network) are technically 2.5G, but they like to call them 3G. However Verizon has started testing true CDMA 3G data networks which could role out next year.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 24 March 2003 @ 9:53am

SMS Continues Global Rampage

from the dept

With all the hype around MMS and 3G it is easy to forget about good old SMS. Except of course if you are a wireless subscriber, in which case you're oblivious to MMS and 3G but completely enthralled by SMS. In China Coke is using SMS to measure how well users understand their latest TV campaign. Ad viewers are urged to send a text message answering 5 questions about the ad in exchange for a chance to win a free mobile phone. Over a 30 day period they have received 200,000 SMS entries. The latest figures from the UK show person-to-person text messaging growth has yet to slow down. In Febraury 2003 wireless subscribers exchanged 1.53 billion text messages, that's an average of 55 million per day. The US is far behind the curve, but not for long. In November 2002 SMS service provider InphoMatch reported that they delivered 1 billion inter-carrier text messages over the past year. Now that US carriers are marketing bundles of text messages we should see usage picking up faster and possibly match UK levels in 12 to 18 months.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 20 March 2003 @ 12:36pm

Wireless Phone Numbers Via 411

from the dept

At the moment there is no central directory of mobile numbers in the US. That could change next year with carriers putting together plans for wireless 411. The directory would be off limits to telemarketers and people could choose to have unlisted numbers for a fee. Another option maybe to have an unlisted number but accept text messages via the directory service. The unlisting fee and directory look up fee could be a new source of revenue for carriers and such a directory should help increase overall dependence on mobile phones.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 20 March 2003 @ 12:27pm

Gates Woos Developers for Wireless

from the dept

As mobile phones and PDAs converge software becomes more important. Developers have been pretty much locked out of mobile phone software. But smartphones are designed around the idea of third-party software. Building a strong developer base is going to be critical for smartphone dominance. Microsoft held its Mobility Developer conference in New Oreleans along side CTIA where they announced new tools to make it easy for Windows deveopers to write software for Pocket PC Phone Edition and Smartphone. Microsoft is going after corporate developers who they hope will help drive enterprise demand for MS powered mobile hardware.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 19 March 2003 @ 10:53am

Microsoft Faces Phone Annihilation

from the dept

Nomura Securities latest mobile OS software market share research predicts that by 2005 Symbian will have a 95 percent share of the smartphone market while Microsoft will have a 5 precent share at best. I'm not sure what logic is behind this prediction, but anyone who counts MS out of a market they've set their sights on is going to eat their words. Maybe Nomura is just talking about Finland, not the worldwide market.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 19 March 2003 @ 10:32am

US Press Don't Get Mobile

from the dept

Mobitopia disects David Coursey's take on the 5 forces driving mobile technology. Mobitopia's gripe is that Coursey's top 5 list is mostly about mobile PCs, not mobile phones. They make some interesting points, but the points are less relevant to the US market which is where Coursey's remarks are directed. It's not a matter of "getting mobile", it's a matter of how you define it. So while I agree with Mobitopia that Bluetooth, Java, and Symbian are important mobile forces, sadly they aren't so much in the US. That could change, but it won't happen till they take stronger hold in Europe first.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 19 March 2003 @ 9:57am

DoCoMo's Foma Customers Add Nothing to ARPU

from the dept

With limited coverage and poor battery life NTT DoCoMo's Foma 3G service isn't enjoying the same success as the company's wildly popular i-mode service. In theory 3G services are supposed to enable exciting new services that help carriers boost ARPU. But the world's first major 3G network is experiencing exactly the opposite. With its small customer based Foma is just not attracting users which in turn keeps application developers away. The result is that while Foma ARPU started out high but since launch it has dropped by more than 25% and is now below i-mode's ARPU.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 18 March 2003 @ 3:50pm

Boingo, T-Mobile Team On Wireless Roaming

from the dept

T-Mobile is moving ahead with plans for Wi-Fi/GPRS roaming by licensing software from Boingo (Thanks to GlennF for the clarification on this deal). T-Mobile is Boingo's first carrier customer for their authentication and roaming platform. The Boingo client software will let T-Mobile subscribers switch between available networks. I'm surprised that T-Mobile and Boingo aren't doing a hotspot roaming agreement yet, especially with Cometa looming on the horizon.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 18 March 2003 @ 3:00pm

Nextel Plans Moto Wi-Fi and Microsoft Phones

from the dept

As usual Nextel is shaking things up. First they announced that Motorola is working on an GSM/GPRS/iDen phone with Microsoft Smartphone. Given Nextel's business user focus adding a MS powered phone is a natural choice and since Motorola is the only iDen supplier they are the only ones who can build it. It will be interesting to see if this leads to other MS powered Motorola phones. The two are also working on an iDen phone with built-in Wi-Fi for VoIP calls. Again this is a pretty smart move targeted at Nextel's core business user audience. Integrating VoIP over Wi-Fi means that workers will always use their Nextel phone both at the office and away from the office. And unlike most wireless carriers who are scared of VoIP and Wi-Fi, Nextel is figuring out how to make it work for them. We are curious though to see how Motorola gets around Wi-Fi's power requirements which will kill a normal cell phone battery. Then again, iDen phones aren't exactly known for their small size.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 18 March 2003 @ 2:21pm

IBM Helps Take Truck Stops Wireless with Linux

from the dept

After Intel, IBM Global Services maybe one of the largest gung-ho Wi-Fi fans out there. The company is carving out a role for itself in deploying and managing large scale Wi-Fi networks, most notably Cometa Networks. Its latest deal with Columbia Advanced Wireless (CAW) and Rocksteady Networks is a bit more targeted. The three are working together to help truckers stay connected by installing Wi-Fi in truck stops. According to CAW over 25 percent of US truckers carry laptops on the road and rely on them to monitor travel conditions and stay in touch with family and business associates.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 18 March 2003 @ 2:05pm

Cellular Carriers under Siege

from the dept

While the industry is partying at CTIA in New Orleans, BusinessWeek has published a story highlighting all the threats carriers face. In typical BW style they blow things slightly out of proportion but do make some general points worth considering. They rightly point out that Wi-Fi is having an impact on carriers. However I think they go too far in their claim that its as big a revenue threat to carriers as they make out. We're already seeing carriers integrate Wi-Fi into their product mix and bundling it with cellular service is the next logical step. Plus even if players such as Cometa do succeed in their ambitious build-outs who do you think are going to be their first customers? The same goes for NextWave's wireless data service. Again, if they can build it out. The article also bring up the issue of industry consolidation which has been on the back burner for a while. This is an increasingly complicated issue because, as the article points out, carriers aren't suffering enough to really move ahead with serious merger talks. That, however, is sure to change. Its not a matter of if it will happen, its a matter of when and what triggers it. Number portability could be it, but it won't happen overnight because the initial implementation will be such a hack that people will either be afraid to switch or simply won't be able to.

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Posted on Techdirt Wireless - 18 March 2003 @ 1:33pm

Calling All Technopreneurs and Connected Power Brokers

from the dept

Strategy Analytics released its latest estimates for handset sell through in the US. They predict that handset sell through will grow 7% in 2003 with the bulk of sales coming from replacement sales. And which segments are driving the replacement market? Well Technopreneurs and Connected Power Brokers of course. But it might be hard to get through to these two segments with US CDMA carriers sitting on stale Q4 inventory that will impact Q1 handset sales.

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