Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What The Possibility of a CDMA iPhone Means For Canadians

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Apple is talking to Verizon to bring the iPhone to the CDMA network carrier once Apple's exclusivity deal with AT&T ends at the end of the year. (USA Today Story) The potential for a new iPhone that runs on CDMA already has some Canadian subscribers excited because that would give people an alternative to Rogers with the high cost of their data plans.

Most phones offered by Verizon in the States usually turn up on Telus in Canada. For Telus getting a CDMA iPhone would be a natural fit especially if Bell snags the Palm Pre. The iPhone is a proven product that people have already switched carriers to get one, the Pre on the other hand is unproven so it will be a risk for whatever carrier gets carry it. For Apple using Telus as the official carrier for the CDMA iPhone would give them national exposure which is something that Bell cannot offer. For Telus the iPhone would give them something that would help them gain market share in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

From the first day that the CDMA iPhone becomes available, it probably won't be available in Canada since Apple would still have an exclusivity agreement with Rogers. Sounds like the same old story yet again.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Canada To Get Anti-Spam Law

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Emulating American legislators is something that those who we vote for to represent us in Ottawa have sadly spent too much time doing, best recent example was the DMCA clone that was almost pushed on Canadians which was killed by the call of federal election last fall. Introduced this past Friday Canada's elected parliamentarians introduced a bill that would essentially become the Canadian version of the CAN-SPAM law that has been in effect in the United States for the past several years.

Passing an law designed to make spam stop won't do that, however in order to prevent Canada from becoming a haven for spammers, government had to do something. This may be a good first step but it cannot be the only step. Government needs to revise and enforce existing laws that spammers often break because the products they sell don't perform as advertised. Canada's information technology industry and Internet service providers also have opportunities and responsibilities to provide spam filtering technology. Canada's banks who issue credit cards required to pay for products and services advertised through spam e-mail can simply choose not to process payments to those who advertise through spam e-mail. They could choose to do it but they will probably will have to be legislated to do it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sony Ericsson says Android Phone is on the way

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Sony Ericsson the partnership between the Japanese electronics giant and Swedish Mobile Phone maker has announced that a smartphone using Google's Android operating system is on the way, but has so far has declined to announce a shipping date or a carrier that their Android phone would be available on. This announcement by Sony Erissson starts a move by the partnership into smartphones.

Along with Google Android, smartphones running Symbian and Windows Mobile are said to be on the way. The Symbian phone is likely to be aimed at the european market where Symbian is the dominant smartphone operating system. The Windows Mobile phone will probably will be offered to carriers that have some other must have smartphone like the iPhone and carry Windows Mobile and Blackberries.

So far Google Android has been reviewed as good software running on bad hardware, identifying issues such as the poor battery life of the HTC G1, The carriers that offer the G1 will probably offer the Sony Ericsson Android phone. The Android phone from Sony Ericsson will be coming soon to T-Mobile and in Canada will still be waiting.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dell Gets Snubbed By Cell Carriers, Smartphone Sold Through Retail?

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The much rumoured upcoming smartphone from Dell has reportedly failed to get a deal with any of the world's cell phone carriers, despite talking to cell phone carriers at the Mobile World Congress trade show, Dell struck out. Despite this the very unofficial word is coming from the grapevine is that Dell will sell the smartphone unlocked through direct sales and through Retail.

This makes for a rather dubious business model for the smartphone. The non-subsidized cost of a smartphone can easily reach 400 dollars and beyond. This would require nothing short of a spectular piece of hardware to break users away from iPhones and Blackberries that can be picked up for less than 200 dollars and committing to a two or three year contract.

Even if there were consumers that are willing to spend that kind of money for a smartphone they probably won't be willing to pay it for just another Windows Mobile device, going with Google Android is much better bet. That would make it an easy sell in Canada since none of the carriers offer the HTC Android based G1. Even American users could be attracted to an Android phone from Dell, because of the poor battery life of the G1 or they don't want to switch to T-Mobile.

Getting the Dell Smartphone on Cell carriers' networks will be easy for GSM users because it just requires switching the SIM card from one phone to the Dell phone. CDMA users will have some difficulties since CDMA carriers have long resisted putting phones they didn't originally sell on their networks. Verizon says they are going to be opening up their network to unlocked CDMA phones, but that is a couple of years away. Sprint and all the CDMA carriers in Canada still stiffly oppose putting outside phones on their networks.

The odds are definately not in Dell's favor, but given a chance and the right business plan it could work. Number portablity gave people the ability to keep their phone number when switching cell carriers, A phone sold the way that Dell wants to sell their new smartphone would give people the ability to keep their phones as well. This would take power away from cell carriers and give it back to consumers, and that's the way it ought to be.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Where's The WiMax In Canada?

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Currently in the United States A partnership between Sprint and Clearwire is bring an alternative to DSL and cable broadband using a technology called WiMax. WiMax being a wireless technology has potential that been talked about to bring broadband to those in rural and remote areas that have been unserved by telephone and cable companies.

With a huge abundance of rural and remote areas Canada is the most likely to be fruitful for any potential WiMax broadband providers, however there hasen't even been a whisper of any company looking to get into WiMax.

Currently a partnership between Bell and Rogers called inukshuk provides Wireless broadband using 'pre WiMax' technology. The service covers most of Canada's urban areas (Except Manitoba and Saskatchewan which have no coverage) but could hardly could be considered to be an alternative to DSL and cable.

In order to provide a WiMax broadband service, any potential service provider will need to get a license from the CRTC. Given the cost of obtaining licences in a CRTC license auction the price would be too prohibitive to most independent ISP's to get into WiMax. Even for potential providers that have the means to buy licenses, the licenses probably won't even be available. Most of the frequency bands that are allocated to WiMax are already licensed to the Telcos which are just sitting on these licenses.

Canadians need to demand that the telcos currently holding these licenses ether offer some kind of wireless broadband service or relinquish these licenses so that those who want to offer WiMax can do so.

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