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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Magenta Telekom to Provide IoT for Hapag-Lloyd

Austrian operator Magenta Telekom has signed a deal to provide its IoT infrastructure to monitor the containers of German-based international shipping line Hapag-Lloyd on a global basis. Hapag-Lloyd will implement GPS tracking for its containers in real time and will have access to important information such as the temperature inside the containers. The company recently presented its real-time container monitoring program, called Hapag-Lloyd LIVE.
The company will initially equip its entire fleet of around 10,000 vessels with the monitoring tools. Hapag-Lloyd said that it wants to develop commercial products in close collaboration with its customers in order to further adapt the system.

Magenta Telekom provides its service worldwide, using its IoT hub. In Austria, it operates a NB-IoT network, which is suited for a broad rage of IoT applications in different sectors such as logistics, industrial manufacturing, consumer goods industry and agriculture.

We have written on various occasions recently about the expansion of revenue opportunities for mobile operators in the realm of the IoT. In doing so we have pointed out the diversity of IoT applications, and indeed many of the IoT projects that we have mentioned are small-scale and narrowly focused—which in no way impugns their value. However, this deal between Magenta Telekom (wholly owned by Deutsche Telekom) and Hapag-Lloyd is a massive one with global reach, due to the nature of the shipping titan’s business and the sheer scope of the company.

Magenta Telekom has made an excellent strategic move in agreeing to provide the IoT network capacity for Hapag-Lloyd LIVE. This system involves 10,000 ships, each of which carries hundreds or thousands of containers, each of which requires monitoring for internal temperature, security and, of course, location. With one contract, Magenta wins for itself a tremendous volume of IoT business across the globe—a very efficient way to expand.

While the initial task involves relatively simple monitoring (perhaps requiring only narrowband IoT), Hapag-Lloyd intends to develop the system further to include other IoT products that will accomplish more complex tasks. When that occurs, Magenta will be in position to provide the connectivity, which may require more bandwidth, up to and including 5G. The revenue opportunities for Magenta are just beginning, it would appear. As traditional mobile services become less profitable, IoT is growing fast, and operators should be attuned to all of its possibilities.

Tarifica’s products and services are powered by large-scale data from the global telecom industry and a deep level of expertise gained from our singular focus. We leverage these core attributes to help our clients understand their markets and answer their most challenging questions. Our team of analysts, software engineers and data scientists deliver real-time dynamic solutions for the telecom industry. Our software and state of the art data extraction techniques enable our clients to make smart decisions in real-time based on insightful, actionable data.


We are the telecom plan & pricing experts.

 If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact our Editor-in-chief John Dorfman at jdorfman@tarifica.com

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

T-Mobile Czech Republic to Introduce New Extra-Data Packages

T-Mobile Czech Republic will launch extra-data packages effective 7 June, ranging from 60 MB to 10 GB and priced from CZK 29.00 to CZK 599.00. The operator is also introducing the transfer of unused data to the next billing period. 

So far, T-Mobile has been offering five extra data packages with a maximum volume of 1.5 GB, valid until the end of the billing period. Customers can now choose from eight options and transfer the unused data to the next billing period.

For CZK 249.00 (US $10.79), customers formerly got 1.5 GB; they can now receive 2.5 GB, pushing the price per GB down by 40 percent. For the 10 GB package priced at CZK 599.00 (US $25.97), the price drop runs to 63 percent.

The offer is valid for all residential and business customers, both prepaid and postpaid. The operator will also launch a promotional offer for students using one of the Student and Student Data tariffs. From 7 June, they will be able to buy the following extra data packages: 1 GB for CZK 99.00 (US $4.29); 4 GB for CZK 199.00 (US $8.63); or 10 GB for CZK 299.00 (US $12.96).

T-Mobile Czech Republic’s new slate of data offerings clearly reflect a belief that customers are increasingly favoring data over voice and texts in their hierarchy of needs and that dropping the cost per megabyte is the way to go in terms of revenue generation. Offering more data at lower prices would, according to that argument, motivate customers to increase their spend.

The operator’s belief is based on studies of its network traffic, showing that the consumption of minutes and SMS has remained more or less stable, while consumption of data services has increased. After launching its Mobile tariff series with significantly more data in April 2017, data consumption doubled. While customers with Mobile tariff plans consume 1.9 GB of data per month, the average mobile data consumption of those with Magenta 1 is up to 50 percent higher.

Doing this via add-on packages of 2.5 GB or 10 GB allows customers to feel that they have granular-level control over their consumption, and presumably that would constitute a comfortable way for them to increase their data allowances and spending over time. 


Tarifica’s products and services are powered by large-scale data from the global telecom industry and a deep level of expertise gained from our singular focus. We leverage these core attributes to help our clients understand their markets and answer their most challenging questions. Our team of analysts, software engineers and data scientists deliver real-time dynamic solutions for the telecom industry. Our software and state of the art data extraction techniques enable our clients to make smart decisions in real-time based on insightful, actionable data.


We are the telecom plan & pricing experts.

 If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact our Editor-in-chief John Dorfman at jdorfman@tarifica.com

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Amazon Considering Buying Boost Mobile

U.S.-based global e-commerce giant Amazon is looking into acquiring U.S. operator Sprint’s Boost Mobile MVNO brand, according to news report. The U.S. regulator FCC has told Sprint that is has to sell the unit if it wants to get its $26 billion merger with T-Mobile US approved. Sources said that Amazon is mainly interested in the fact that any deal will allow the buyer of Boost Mobile to use T-Mobile’s network for at least six years. Amazon has reportedly also expressed interest in buying any other spectrum frequencies that Sprint and T-Mobile might divest as part of the deal.

The sale of Boost could bring in US $3 billion, according to potential bidders. Other parties interested in the deal include Q Link Wireless, a private equity firm working with FreedomPop and the former owner of Boost Mobile.

The news this week that Amazon is considering acquiring mobile spectrum left analysts wondering what the purpose might be. Would Amazon really want to become a mobile operator, taking the U.S. total back up to four just as the Sprint–T-Mobile merger (if it happens) brought it down to three? It seems preposterous, given the intense regulation of the mobile telecom market, the high costs of running a network and the fact that revenue from traditional mobile services is declining, in general. What’s more, if Amazon really wanted to add mobile telecom services to the diversified slate of services it already offers, it could simply start an MVNO and run it on someone else’s network, at immense cost savings.

So we have to assume that Amazon—if indeed it is seriously contemplating such a move—wants the spectrum for some purpose other than starting its own MNO. We can imagine several. For one, having its own spectrum could be of great use to Amazon if it implements delivery services via drones and automated vehicles, which are in development. Second, even as things currently stand, Amazon’s business depends on the internet of things and automation at many levels, and having its own network could be advantageous in that respect. And third, Amazon has a longstanding policy of offering as many goods and services as possible and controlling as many stages of the sales process as possible; therefore having mobile spectrum at its disposal could be a way of extending that control, perhaps even to some extent over mobile devices, which are increasingly the point of sale for Amazon products.

Some analysts have questioned the wisdom of Amazon buying spectrum, citing the costs and risks. However, we would prefer to withhold judgment, because of the company’s history of successful diversification and vertical integration, and because of its extremely deep pockets, which make investments that would be risky for just about any other entity less risky. If Amazon really is going to go ahead with the plan to buy Boost Mobile and thereby get access to T-Mobile network assets for six years, it may well find a way to utilize that to its benefit before that time period is up. Drones and automated delivery vehicles may sound fanciful now but Amazon takes them seriously in its vision for the future. The e-commerce giant can certainly afford to play a long game.

Tarifica’s products and services are powered by large-scale data from the global telecom industry and a deep level of expertise gained from our singular focus. We leverage these core attributes to help our clients understand their markets and answer their most challenging questions. Our team of analysts, software engineers and data scientists deliver real-time dynamic solutions for the telecom industry. Our software and state of the art data extraction techniques enable our clients to make smart decisions in real-time based on insightful, actionable data.
We are the telecom plan & pricing experts.

 If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact our Editor-in-chief John Dorfman at jdorfman@tarifica.com

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Vivo and Generali Launch Pay-as-You-Drive Auto Insurance

Brazilian operator Vivo has partnered with Generali Brasil Seguros to market a personalized and flexible monthly car insurance product, called Smart Auto. Through an app, Smart Auto evaluates the customer’s driving style and generates a discount for the contracting of car insurance. A good driver can be rewarded with a discount of up to 30 percent on the price of their insurance.

Vivo customers who take out the insurance have an exclusive benefit: an additional 5 percent discount that is cumulative with the discount earned on driving style. The app also gives driving tips and shares with the insured guidance on how to improve their driving, contributing to safer traffic.

With the rise of the connected-car sector and the general proliferation of the IoT, there are many opportunities for mobile operators to get involved and discover new revenue streams. This offer from Vivo, in partnership with a Brazilian insurer, creatively utilizes driver data to provide a tailored auto insurance product, with discounts for those users with safe driving habits.

Smart Auto makes good use of new technology and a partnership with an appropriate financial institution to launch a value-added service that stands to make the operator more relevant to its customers’ lives. The operator will be providing something that many of its customers genuinely need, a product that is made possible by the use of mobile technology, not merely tacked on to the traditional services.

However, we feel that there is some danger here with regard to privacy concerns. As cars become rolling computers, they constantly collect data on their drivers and transmit it over mobile networks to third parties. While this is intended to help the auto manufacturers improve their products, and to some extent to help the drivers (as in this case), it has the potential to punish drivers for so-called unsafe driving. That could include higher insurance rates or other impediments and penalties, based on data that is not refined enough. For example, the frequency of sharp braking could be taken as an index of unsafe vehicle operation, but the causes of this behavior will not likely be recorded and taken into consideration.

Vivo is offering a service that could help drivers save money and increase their peace of mind. However, the data collected must be sufficiently detailed, and it must be protected so that it goes only to the places that the drivers and the operator agree upon. Users are understandably worried about privacy, so in order to make this offer work, the operator must guarantee the privacy of its customers’ data. Even if it does that, though, larger concerns about the use of driver data and its implications exist and may not be easy to dispel.

Tarifica’s products and services are powered by large-scale data from the global telecom industry and a deep level of expertise gained from our singular focus. We leverage these core attributes to help our clients understand their markets and answer their most challenging questions. Our team of analysts, software engineers and data scientists deliver real-time dynamic solutions for the telecom industry. Our software and state of the art data extraction techniques enable our clients to make smart decisions in real-time based on insightful, actionable data.
We are the telecom plan & pricing experts.

 If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact our Editor-in-chief John Dorfman at jdorfman@tarifica.com

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

New MVNO for Customers With Hearing Loss to Launch in U.K.

A new MVNO called Audacious, which targets people with hearing difficulties, will launch in the U.K. in August, the company announced at the MVNO World Congress in Amsterdam last week. Audacious plans a SIM-only service with three plans, using technology from Goshawk Communications, a company supported by Manx Telecom.

Audacious will operate as an independent MNVO, led by CEO Rob Shardlow. The company targets people with hearing loss who need assistance in hearing mobile calls. Its goal is to sign up 600,000 clients by 2023, as well as to look at international expansion, Shardlow said.

Audacious’ service is based on technology embedded in the mobile signal and requires no app on the customer’s own device. After an online hearing test, a profile of the new customer’s hearing characteristics is created and loaded onto the SIM card. The service then works automatically, adjusting the sound of a call to the frequency that is best for the customer’s profile. The profile can be adjusted at any time.

After seven years of testing, the technology achieved Class 1 Medical Certification by the EU. In 2018 Goshawk and Manx Telecom rolled it out on the Isle of Man under the name of MTclearSound, with the result was that 9 out of 10 people reported experiencing clearer mobile phone calls and easier communication.

Audacious said that around 40 percent of people have experienced some hearing loss by the age of 50, opening up a significant potential market. Young people who listen to more and more music over headphones and at festivals and concerts will increase the ranks of the target group over time.

Many are the MVNO launches that target a pre-existing customer base with special marketing but little in the way of special services or features. This one promises to be quite different. Audacious intends to provide mobile services tailored to the needs of a disabled community, and the value-added aspect of this offering lies not in plan features or pricing but in a the very nature of its signal transmission.

Audacious cannot claim credit for having pioneered this hearing-loss-profiling-and-compensating technology; that must go to Manx Telecom on the Isle of Man in the U.K., which developed it in partnership with Goshawk Communications and debuted it in 2018. However, the new company envisioned a wider distribution for it, and the SIM-only, virtual-network model appears to be a good way to achieve that at low cost. CEO Rob Shardlow is likely correct in his belief that there is potential for international expansion.

What we find particularly exciting about this technology is how it is bound up with the very nature of mobile networks. Brian Moore, a professor at Cambridge University and one of the world’s top authorities on auditory perception, worked with Goshawk and Manx Telecom and developed algorithms that measure hearing loss via a mobile phone signal. With these measurements in hand, the operator can then compensate for the losses, on its own end, without needing to make any adjustments to the user’s device. The fact that it is apparently device-agnostic vastly increases the potential reach of this solution.

While the hard of hearing may seem like a small demographic, it is not necessarily so. For one thing, many older users have some degree of hearing loss, and the MT/Audacious system can improve the user experience for them, as well as for those with more severe disability. And as the company points out, hearing loss will only become more prevalent over time, and appear at increasingly young ages, due to the widespread habit of listening to loud music via headphones and speakers and at concerts.

Tarifica’s products and services are powered by large-scale data from the global telecom industry and a deep level of expertise gained from our singular focus. We leverage these core attributes to help our clients understand their markets and answer their most challenging questions. Our team of analysts, software engineers and data scientists deliver real-time dynamic solutions for the telecom industry. Our software and state of the art data extraction techniques enable our clients to make smart decisions in real-time based on insightful, actionable data.
We are the telecom plan & pricing experts.

 If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact our Editor-in-chief John Dorfman at jdorfman@tarifica.com

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Vodafone Germany Provides Mobile Network for E-Scooters

Vodafone Germany said its mobile network is providing the connectivity for the electric scooters offered by the Berlin-based start-up Unu. Users can use Unu’s mobile app to share the scooters, without the need for keys or any other external access systems. The app enables also users to check where the e-scooter is located, who has used it recently and how many kilometers it will last until the next charging station.

The scooters are equipped with a SIM card that enables communication through the IoT network. For example, if someone tries to steal the scooter, the user immediately receives a message on their mobile phone. The user can also see if the location of the scooter changes.

The e-scooter can be purchased at a starting price of €2,799.00 (US $3,124.24). It will be delivered to the first customers in September. The costs of networking are included in the purchase price. The scooter comes with two batteries that can last for more than 100 km and has a top speed of 45 km per hour. It costs around 80 cents to cover a distance of 100 km.

This partnership between Vodafone Germany and e-scooter manufacturer Unu is an example of how pervasive and diverse the Internet of Things is becoming, and what mobile operators can do to get involved more fully and extract various benefits.

Connected vehicles represent, of course, one of the most important growth areas for IoT and will become critically important in the near future, by all indications. Connected scooters and e-bikes are a small part of that and, as niche products, do not promise to be a major contributor in terms of revenue, now or in the future. However, they afford mobile operators an opportunity to flex their IoT muscles in the vehicular sector, as well as being a way for MNOs to increase their relevance and strength in the consumer marketplace, at low cost and commitment.

For Vodafone, the Unu deal is an exclusive in that the e-scooters will not run on the signals of any other operators in Germany. This makes the scooters effectively a rolling advertisement for Vodafone’s network. Scooter users who are impressed not only with the service itself but with the idea that Vodafone is taking part in such a cutting-edge consumer-oriented initiative may well be encouraged to switch over to Vodafone’s network for their mobile phone service, if they are not currently customers. And they may tell their friends and associates about it, as well.

In general, in today’s climate of diminishing returns from traditional mobile services, many if not all operators are looking to find areas into which they can expand, in order to derive more revenue and also to remain relevant in terms of brand image. A well-meaning, helpful service such as publicly available scooters is an excellent area of this type. The features of the Unu scooter are well-thought-out and use mobile network technology intelligently to deliver features that are useful and could be obtained in no other way—seamless payment, location services, and theft prevention. The scooter could be purchased by individuals for their own use, as well as by municipalities or organizations of various kinds. E-scooters are a technology that is perceived as public-spirited because they reduce the carbon footprint by reducing the need to use cars in dense urban areas.

It is noteworthy that the cost of network services has been included in the purchase price of the scooter. That means the operator is being paid up front for the connectivity it will provide, which is always a plus. Of course, if usage on the network surpasses expectations, further arrangements may need to be made. And in any case, after some initial period, the operator may well decide to charge for the service on a per-data-usage basis. 


Tarifica’s products and services are powered by large-scale data from the global telecom industry and a deep level of expertise gained from our singular focus. We leverage these core attributes to help our clients understand their markets and answer their most challenging questions. Our team of analysts, software engineers and data scientists deliver real-time dynamic solutions for the telecom industry. Our software and state of the art data extraction techniques enable our clients to make smart decisions in real-time based on insightful, actionable data.
We are the telecom plan & pricing experts.

 If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact our Editor-in-chief John Dorfman at jdorfman@tarifica.com

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com