THE WRAP: Spectrum sharing in India, KT's LTE plans
It was the week that saw India ponder the possibilities of spectrum sharing, as KT revealed its LTE plans and Apple sued Samsung (again).
Indian government officials reportedly said this week that the New Telecom Policy under development by the Department of Telecom (DoT) could allow spectrum allocations to be shared between two or more service providers.
Telecom regulator Trai has already issued recommendations for spectrum sharing, which could help cellcos cope with the shortage of available spectrum. The catch: 2G spectrum won't be included, says the DoT.
Meanwhile, as the government is considering consolidating spectrum use, Bharti Airtel is considering consolidating itself. Reports this week claim Airtel is looking to combine its mobile, broadband, fixed line and satellite TV operations. Analysts expect a restructuring to concentrate on reducing costs and improving convergence in areas including billing and underlying technology.
A majority of global operators said there will be enough LTE handsets in 2013 to make the technology a success, Broad Soft revealed. Research for the firm by mobileSQUARED found a third of carriers expect enough devices to be available in 2012, with a further third marking 2013 as the tipping point.
It was also the week that saw Apple bring its patent lawsuit against Samsung to the latter’s home base. The new lawsuit, filed in Korea, contains the same charges as a suit filed in the US in April – namely, that Samsung's Galaxy line copies substantively from the iPhone and the iPad and therefore infringes on patents and trademarks.
The good news: the dispute may ultimately be settled out of court. Reuters reports that an Apple lawyer has confirmed that executives at the highest levels of both companies are in talks over finding a resolution.
In other legal news for the week, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TRDI) opined that True’s move to get rival Telenor-owned DTAC censured for flouting foreign ownership laws was ultimately doomed because of the numerous loopholes in the country’s foreign business act. TDRI director Deunden Nikomborirak added that foreign ownership rules should actually be relaxed so the firms could form strategic international alliances.
It was also the week that shone the spotlight on mobile payments. At the GSMA Mobile Money Summit in Singapore, Visa head of mobile Innovation Bill Gajda talked of the company’s success with payWave and its SIM-based mobile payment JV with SK Telecom and Hana's HanaSK card, as well as its plans for recently-acquired Fundamo.
Meanwhile, NTT DoCoMo revealed plans to launch what it says will be Japan's first mobile-to-mobile overseas remittance service on July 7. The service, docomo Money Transfer, will initially support phone-to-phone transfers to subscribers of the Philippines' Smart.
Other big launches for the week: Telstra has implemented HD voice on its Next G 3G network, in what vendor partner Ericsson is claiming is the world's largest such deployment to date; and Cloudmark unveiled a new mobile messaging security platform that not only enables cellcos tackle SMS spam more effectively, but also enables users to get pro-active in blocking and reporting spam.
Growing consumer awareness of mobile apps is combining with increased smartphone penetration to boost the direct revenues app stores generate, research firm Canalys claimed. The firm predicts revenues will grow from $7.3 billion (€5 billion) in 2011 to $14.1 billion in 2012.
The smart money may rest with mobile gambling apps, which research firm IHS Screen Digest said doubled to £41 million (€45.2 million) in the UK in 2010 on higher smartphone usage and a fresh perception of wagering.
Nokia sold off its operator-branded messaging business to Synchronica. And finally, it was the week that saw News Corp finally unload MySpace, striking a deal to sell it to advertising network Specific Media for $35 million – just $545 million less than what News Corp mogul Rupert Murdoch paid for the social networking site in 2005.
There will be plenty of analysis, dithering and ridicule on the web over the whole MySpace affair and what went wrong, but the more interesting angle may be the future creative direction of MySpace, which is reportedly now largely in the hands of pop star Justin Timberlake. The Wrap can’t really add anything to that.