Lightsquared: Big Bump

LightSquared, the satellite phone company that plans to build a terrestrial tower network, must act fast, it may miss critical deadlines laid out by the FCC and could lose its airwaves, reports MocoNetnews.

According to the November issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine, which features a front page article titled “From Subprime to Satellites,” the cash requirements to build a network of its size will be considerable.

LightSquared is backed by Harbinger, a hedge fund managed by Philip Falcone, who got rich by out-smarting the subprime housing bubble. Harbinger has spent $2.9 billion so far, and will have to pay Nokia Siemens Networks $7 billion to build and operate its network over the next eight years.

The company is competing against established players that have already built networks, like AT&T, Verizon and Clearwire, and it faces opposition from investors within Harbinger. That ultimately may put a snag in its plans.

One of the FCC’s requirements is that it will have to serve 100 million people by the end of 2012. Here’s some milestones it will have to meet along the way, according to MocoNews:

LightSquared says it will cover at least 100 million Americans by December 31, 2012; 145 million by the end of 2013; and 288 million by the end of 2015.

  • December 2010: Start building a network of 36,000 cellular base stations and launch a satellite.
  • First half of 2011: Begin trials of wireless broadband service in Baltimore, Denver, las Vegas and Phoenix.
  • Mid-2001: Provide service to smartphones that can use both cellular and satellite network.
  • Dec. 31, 2012: Expand cellular network capacity to serve 100 million people in the U.S.
  • Dec. 31, 2015: Enable 260 million people, or 90 percent of the U.S. population, to access network.

The FCC’s Notice of Rulemaking earlier this year involved 90 MHz of spectrum in three different satellite phone bands. It would be capable of supporting terrestrial broadband service.

The TerreStar satellite and ICO (at 2 GHz) and SkyTerra (at 1.6 GHZ) all have 20 MHz available for satphone services. Terrestrial service via Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) towers could take about half that spectrum for terrestrial LTE services.

New York-based Harbinger now owns all of SkyTerra and some 44 percent of TerreStar, as well as 29 percent of London-based Inmarsat, the veteran mobile satellite services provider.

TerreStar-1, using the 2 GHz MSS band, was launched on July 1, 2009. It was constructed by Space Systems/Loral and is the world’s largest and most powerful commercial satellite ever launched, with an antenna almost 60 feet across, and supporting 500 dynamically-configurable spot beams. (Form 8K)

A new 1.6 GHz satellite platform, SkyTerra-1 was scheduled for launch this November with SkyTerra-2 to be launched next year. SkyTerra1 and SkyTerra2 are built by Boeing, using ILS launch services. But Boeing discovered a technical glitch in SkyTerra-1 satellite, postponing the launch by ILS from Kazakhstan to December or early 2011. SkyTerra will implement LightSquared’s Cooperative Agreement with Inmarsat (which also uses the 1.5/1.6 GHz (“L Band”), that will be integrated with SkyTerra’s 1.6 GHz satellite network.

TerreStar’s $799 Windows Mobile-based Genus phone was announced for AT&T, offering a combination of GSM/HSPA and satellite access when far from a cell tower.

The phone costs $799 without a two-year contract, and requires regular AT&T voice and data service plans. It uses the AT&T network where it’s available. The option to be able to switch over to the satellite costs $25 extra per month, and then 65 cents per minute of calling.

Related DailyWireless Space and Satellite News includes; FCC Okays Terrestrial LTE for SkyTerra , TerreStar Successfully Launched, AT&T/TerreStar: Dual-mode Satphone, AT&T/TerreStar Ready Satphone Service, TerreStar Phones Home, Motorola + SkyTerra Team for 700 MHz/Sat Radios, TerreStar’s 60 Ft Antenna Deployed in Space, TerreStar Successfully Launched , Satphones Maneuver, WildBlue: $30M, Shovel-ready, Alvarion, Open Range To Build 17 State Net, WiChorus Ropes Open Range, Satellites Collide, AT&T/TerreStar Ready Satphone Service, Godzilla SatPhones WiMAXed , WiMAX and/or Satellite,

10,000th Story on Dailywireless

This is post number 10,000 on Dailywireless.

In March 2002, when Don Park and I started this blog, we saw it as a way to track broadband wireless news and spread The Word.

In 2002, blogs were pretty new, but computers running NoCat software were enabling coffee shops to provide free WiFi. PersonalTelco in Portland was formed to evangelize the phenomena.

The vision was a city-wide WiFi mesh network, created by individuals. Although not an engineer, I was skeptical but enthusiastic. Dailywireless.org was an effort to track developments in community LANs, broadband cellular and the emerging 802.16 standards.

I’m still an enthusiast. Still tracking broadband news. Only now, broadband wireless (and applications) are becoming essential to everyday life.

Today some 5 billion people are cellular users, while broadband users numbered 479 million at the beginning of 2010, and Wi-Fi chipset vendors will ship one billion units in 2011 alone.

I believe broadband access should be free for everyone – like air and water. If you want more – say over 1 Mbps – the free market can provide it.

That’s why I’m interested in advertising. Free broadband makes ad-supported mass media like newspapers, magazines and television possible.

The best is yet to come. “White spaces”, tablets, embedded social networks, the semantic web, and the internet of things are rapidly redefining who we are and what we can do.

Interesting times.

For the curious, here are the top Dailywireless stories over the last 8 years;

It’s fun to imagine the world in 2018, after another 10,000 posts. Here are some stories I’m anticipating:

  • Verizon/AT&T Merger?
  • WiMAX 2: Faster, Cheaper than LTE Advanced?
  • China Unicom combines White Spaces with WiMAX in U.S. test
  • NBC/Comcast: “The Worst Deal Since TW/AOL”
  • Tablet Publishing: Free beats Pay
  • How Google Creates Personalized Celebrity Videos
  • Stuxnet Shuts Down Smart Grid
  • Movie: The Neural Network
  • Google Denies Government Semantic Web
  • Kurzweil Transitions to 3rd Life
  • Androids Take to the Sky
  • Live from the Allen Array
  • ExoSolar Market: 10 Trillion Eyeballs
  • Galatic SensorNet: It’s People!

NewsHour: iPhone App & Miles O’Brien

The PBS NewsHour today announced several developments for the program:

Facebook + Skype?

Facebook and Skype are teaming up for extensive integration of the social network in the next version of Skype’s software, sources tell AllThingsDigital.

Venture Beat says the partnership will allow Facebook users to easily log into Skype using Facebook Connect and will give users the ability to text message, voice chat, and even video chat with their Facebook friends from within Skype. It’s expected to appear in Skype’s upcoming 5.0 version, which will emerge from beta testing in the next few weeks.

Facebook Connect allows users to “connect” their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site.

Skype had 124 million people using it at least once a month and 560 million registered users, which will be bolstered by the 500 million Facebook users who will now be able to use it more seamlessly within Skype.

Monica Paolini at Fierce Wireless notes that as long as you have a WiFi access point, and a Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) handset, you can make and receive calls over your WiFi connection. When a call is placed to a handset with a UMA connection, the UMA gateway routes the call through the WiFi access point the handset it connected to. When a UMA handset initiates a call, the cellular core network manages it as if it were a cellular call

It also saves roaming charges. When you are abroad, you can connect to a WiFi access point and make calls as if you were in your country.

In the U.S., T-Mobile USA is the only operator that offers UMA on some of their WiFi phones, but an Android handset with WiFi/cellular voice integration would be a powerful tool. How married Google is to the cellular operators remains to be seen.

MetroPCS: LTE in Dallas/Ft Worth

Prepaid carrier MetroPCS launched its second LTE market in Dallas-Ft. Worth this week, reports Fierce Wireless

MetroPCS is using Ericsson infrastructure, while Samsung is operating the LTE equipment for MetroPCS’ first market, Las Vegas. Ericsson says it is providing RBS 6000 LTE base stations, Evolved Packet Core (EPC) networking, and IP-based radio access networking so that MetroPCS can run its LTE and CDMA services “over a common connection.” Ericsson also is an LTE supplier to Verizon and AT&T.

Just as in Las Vegas, MetroPCS is offering the LTE Samsung Craft, which runs BREW with Samsung’s own TouchWiz user interface. It is selling for $299 after a $50 mail-in rebate. MetroPCS is offering a prepaid $55 plan that includes unlimited voice, texting and LTE data access. The carrier’s $60 plan also gives users access to the carrier’s new MetroSTUDIO, which offers multimedia content including access to full-track downloads, ringtones, video-on-demand content and ring-back tones.

Unfortunately, although the Craft supports 3G, MetroPCS doesn’t have any 3G roaming agreements, notes PC Magazine, so if you aren’t in Metro’s two 3G cities (Dallas and Detroit) you’ll have to rely on Wi-Fi.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless expects to have up to 30 LTE markets available by the end of 2010. Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam is expected to talk LTE at his keynote next week at the CTIA fall show in San Francisco.

Mixx: Demographic of One

At the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mixx conference in New York on Tuesday, Google made seven predictions for display advertising that the company thinks will happen by 2015, reports the NY Times.

Neal Mohan, the vice president for product management responsible for Google’s display advertising products, and Barry Salzman, managing director of media and platforms for the Americas at Google, who runs display ad sales, envisioned a Web where the ads are more social, mobile and real-time — and a lot more profitable, says the NY Times.

  • Google announced two new kinds of video ads for YouTube and predicted that half of display ads would include cost-per-view videos that viewers choose to watch. On YouTube, people will be able to skip video ads they don’t like after five seconds (and the advertiser won’t pay for those views) or choose which of three ads to watch.
  • Half of the audience will be viewing ads in real-time, Google predicted. That means changing elements of ads on the fly based on things like location, the viewer’s interests and the weather. Google demonstrated technology from Teracent, an advertising company it acquired, that changes a car ad depending on whether the viewer is in a sunny or rainy place, is a woman or a man, and prefers shopping or sports. The technology would allow “millions of possible permutations,” Mr. Salzman said.
  • Google predicted that cellphone screens would be the No. 1 screen for viewing the Web by 2015. In display advertising, that means using phones to bridge the gap between a magazine ad and an online ad. Google Goggles already lets people take photos of things to search for them on Google. Eventually, people will be able to take a cellphone photo of a print automobile ad, for instance, and see the car in 3-D.
  • There are metrics more important than clicks. “Whatever the marketing goal is, you should be able to measure it,” Mr. Salzman said. In addition to measuring engagement with rich media ads and video views, other examples of new forms of advertising measurement include “sentiment analysis” that examines “the tone of consumer comments about a brand” and geo-based metrics will allow marketers to measure the increase in foot traffic or to their stores.
  • Three quarters of all ads will be socially enabled. “All users will be able to share an ad, comment on an ad and give feedback on an ad,” said Mr. Mohan. Instead of advertisers talking to consumers directly, Mr. Mohan envisioned “a two-way communication channel between a brand and its consumers.”
  • Rich media ads will comprise 50 percent of all campaigns. According to Mr. Salzman, “Static banner ads will become a thing of the past.” To illustrate his point, Mr. Salzman showed the audience the live video stream of the presentation as it was streamed to ad units on the Advertising Age Web site. He described it as a “meta media phenomenon.”
  • Display advertising will grow to be a $50 billion market.

According to Google, every day, there are more ad calls on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange than there are trades on all the world’s stock exchanges combined.

In September, Gartner forecast that Android would become the second largest platform worldwide by the end of the year, a slot currently held by Blackberry maker RIM and predicted that Android could reach the number one spot by 2014, ousting Nokia’s Symbian OS.

Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer (above), gives his take for Mediascrape. In the next three- to five years, a website that isn’t tailored to a specific user’s interest will be an anachronism, according to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Currently, North America controls 36.6% of the worldwide advertising market, says eMarketer, compared to Asia-Pacific’s 28% share. But North America’s share will decline to an estimated 33.8% of the market by 2014, while Asia-Pacific’s slice will increase to 30.7%.

Newspapers, magazines and television now have a fundamentally new platform for delivering subscription services and display advertising. The Tablet.

An audience of billions. A demographic of one.