Whenever you read a story about telcos and data plans, keep this graph in mind

We posted this graph back in July, but it’s worth repeating from time to time: according to tech consultant Chetan Sharma’s US Mobile Market Q1 2014 report, where he pointed out that as of late last year, more than half of the “Big Four” mobile carriers’ ARPU (average revenue per user) comes from data:

Click the graph to see it at full size.

As mobile devices become more powerful and take on new forms (first phones, then tablets, now watches and “smart bands”), and as they find their way into more aspects of our work and home lives, their usage — and in turn, mobile data usage and spending — will continue to increase. If you’re in the business of managing mobile expenses like we are, knowing what drives the carriers’ behaviors and offerings is key to finding efficiencies and savings opportunities.

AT&T and Verizon’s “more data for less money” offerings

att and verizon

Forbes recently posted an article looking at AT&T and Verizon’s current “more data for less money” offers, where they looked at both telcos’ offerings and compiled them into a single table, which we’ve adapted below:

AT&T Verizon
Monthly fee Old New Old New
$40 2GB 3GB 1GB 1GB
$70 4GB 6GB 4GB 4GB
$80 6GB 6GB * 6GB 10GB
$100 n/a n/a 10GB 15GB
$130 15GB 30GB 16GB 30GB
$150 20GB 20GB 40GB

* AT&T has a 6GB plan at this price, but it may be discontinued.
Data from Forbes. Click here to see the source.

Some notable bits of info from the article:

  • AT&T are aiming at the low end of the market, offering a better deals at the $40 price point.
  • Verizon’s deals are more enticing once you approach paying $80 or more a month. If you’re considering AT&T’s $70/month plan, you may want to consider paying an additional $10/month and get an extra 4GB of data.
  • Verizon is offering a $150 credit to people who move their mobile number over to them, taking a page from T-Mobile’s playbook. Forbes reports that this is increased competitiveness rather than a response to customer loss.
  • Will this sort of pricing, which will increase data usage, make service worse? The article suggests that the real culprit in Verizon’s service degradation in the San Francisco Bay Area is HD Voice, which allows for markedly improved call quality on select flagship phones, such as the Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6 series.
  • And most importantly: Will these offers go away? Yes, but keep these in mind:
    • If you sign up for any of these plans, you’ll be “grandfathered” and be able to keep it for as long as you like.
    • Given the market’s currently competitive state, more offers like these are likely to come in the near future. Expect carrier plan deals after the holidays, when customers will be looking for the best plans for their shiny new mobile presents.

“Refuse to unlock my device for international travel? Goodbye forever.”

escape from the death star

Ars Technica’s Lee Hutchinson was a happy and loyal customer of his carrier until he tried to unlock his device so he could use a local prepaid SIM card while visiting Germany for a week. That’s when it all went downhill, and he shares his story in this article.

Profiles of Sprint’s and T-Mobile’s CEOs

sprint and t-mobile

Marcelo ClaureThe Kansas City Star reports that newly-minted Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure will present his first quarterly report today, the 2Q 2014 report, after the markets close. His first three months — he took over from former CEO Dan Hesse in August after their failed attempt to buy T-Mobile — have seen the carrier change strategies, lay off employees, and cut prices.

Bidness Etc. aren’t very optimistic about the report: while Sprint will likely show an increase in the metrics for current subscribers, there probably won’t be an increase in the number of subscribers, and between price cuts and the cost of network upgrades, ARPU (average revenue per user) is likely to take a hit.

john legere

And finally, because a lot of people can’t get enough of him, here’s Sci-Tech Today’s profile of T-Mobile CEO John Legere. He’s loud, he’s audacious, and in a mere two years changed both the company and its public perception dramatically, as well as the way the other carriers have had to do business in response.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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Tablet shipments grew, but the big players’ shares in the market dropped

tablet shipments 3q 2013-14

Click the graph to see it at full size.

Market research firm IDC reports that while the number of shipments of tablets from the third quarter of 2013 to 2014, from 48.3 million units to 53.8 million units, the big players — Apple, Samsung, and ASUS — lost market share. It was the smaller players — Lenovo, RCA, and others — who moved more units than ever, and grew their slices of the market pie.

In their article on the topic, VentureBeat predicts that while the small players are enjoying their moment in the sun, they’ll eventually get pushed out:

Yet this can’t last forever, as IDC Senior Research Analyst Jitesh Ubrani notes in his statement. “Although the low-cost vendors are moving a lot of volume, the top vendors, like Apple, continue to rake in the dollars. A sub-$100 tablet simply isn’t sustainable — Apple knows this — and it’s likely the reason they aren’t concerned with market share erosion.”

Wait — RCA sells tablets?

rca makes tablets

If you read the previous section, you probably asked yourself “RCA sells tablets?” They do — in fact, they make a number of Android tablets, with which they gave the tablet market a surprise boost:

  • Pro10 Edition: 10″ screen with 1024 by 600 resolution, quad core processor, 16GB storage and Android 4.2.2 ($199.99 MSRP)
  • 9 Gemini: 9″ screen with 1024 by 600 resolution, quad core processor, 8GB storage and Android 4.4 ($139.99 MSRP)
  • 8 Apollo: 8″ screen with 1024 by 768 resolution, quad core processor, 8GB storage and Android 4.4. ($119.99 MSRP)
  • 7 Mercury: 7″ screen with 1024 by 600 resolution, quad core processor, 8GB storage and Android 4.4. ($89.99 MSRP)

According to IDC’s research director for tablets, Jean Philippe Bouchard, RCA’s recent boost in sales comes from a one-time deal between RCA and Walmart to put low-cost Android tablets on their shelves. They’re expected to sell in these larger volumes straight through the end of the holiday shopping season.

For more details about RCA’s tablets, visit their dedicated site, RCATablets.com.

Intel: Late to the tablet party, but still attending

acer and dell tablets

In their article, Intel-Based Tablets Offer Competent Low-Cost Android Alternatives For The Holidays, Forbes looks at the Acer Iconia Tab 8 and Dell Venue 8, two Android tablets powered by Intel-based chips rather than the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets you’ll find in many popular Android devices. Both are priced just below $200.

The Acer tablet features Intel’s Atom Z3735 quad-core processor, which sound better than the Dell’s Intel Atom Z3480 dual-core one, but Forbes recommends you consider these numbers, which show that while Acer’s quad-core tablet is better at number-crunching, multitasking, and mainstream computing, Dell’s dual-core device does better with graphics, gaming, and multimedia thanks to its graphic core. “Better”, in this case, depends on what you’ll end up using the tablet for.

For a more in-depth look at these tablets, see this writeup on HotHardware.com.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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Church sign of the day

by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2014

adam and eve - apple terms and conditions

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BYOD, in pictures and numbers

by Joey deVilla on October 29, 2014

byod in pictures and numbers

And now, some stats and facts about BYOD, a.k.a. Bring Your Own Device…

People really, really, really love their mobile devices. They love them so much that many keep them within arm’s reach nearly all the time:

within-5-feet

Click the graphic to see the source.

Since “nearly all the time” includes that 25% of the time we spend at work (based on a 40-hour week, and these days, 40 hours is for part-timers), they want to have their mobile devices at work, too:

1bn-employee-owned-mobiles

Click the graphic to see the source.

And not only do they want to have their mobile devices at work, they want to use them for work as well:

70-percent-of-employees

Click the graphic to see the source.

If you want to hire the best of the up-and-coming generation, your odds are better if you have some way to let them use devices of their choosing:

byod and millennials

Click the graphic to see the source.

Gartner predict that BYOD will grow to the point where it’ll be the norm at a lot of workplaces:

2017 gartner prediction

Click the graphic to see the source.

And when done right, BYOD is win-win. Business owners get the competitive advantage that comes from enabling “any time, anywhere” work, IT gets to provide tools that make people more productive, and users can get their jobs done more efficiently and balance their work and personal lives:

byod-productivity-stats

Click the graphic to see the source.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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communications lifecycle management

Communications lifecycle management (CLM) is a set of practices and processes that lets managers, teams, and people from different areas of a business find, share, and use actionable information related to their telecom assets, services, and costs. When this information is connected to the business’ organizational information and processes and organized into clear, comprehensive reports, it becomes much easier to answer these crucial questions:

  • How can I forecast, budget and accrue my communications costs easily and accurately?
  • How can I get a good handle on all my telecom assets (lines and equipment) at each location?
  • How do I find out the true costs of these assets and if they are able to meet business needs?
  • How can I articulate best practices and cost control policies to everyone managing the domestic and international telecoms of my business — and measure their performance?
  • Could I save the business large sums of money by eliminating billing errors and instilling tactical processes around telecom vendor contracting and procurement?

Given the complexity of today’s wireline and mobile telecom environments, it’s essential to ensure that your business has an effective communications lifecycle management structure. Our latest white paper, written by GSG VP of Operations Mohan Sathe, defines communications lifecycle management, and describes in detail the five best practices that will help your business answer the tough telecom questions listed above.

download pdf

Download our white paper [4.5MB PDF] to learn about communications lifecycle management, getting better visibility into your telecom spending and assets, reducing costs, managing risks, and being better able to plan for the future.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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mobile roundup

After a brief break from blogging, we’re back! Here’s more news from the industry that makes the mobile devices we can’t get enough of…

How to switch from iOS to Android Lollipop

android lollipop

Google has been naming successive iterations of its Android mobile operating system by going through the alphabet and assigning codenames to each. Starting with Android C or “Cupcake” in April 2009, every Android codename has been some kind of food. The currently released version, Android 4.4, is also known as KitKat, and the upcoming version, Android 5.0, is also Android L, whose codename has recently been revealed to be Lollipop. Lollipop promises to run well on a variety of form factors, from smartphones to tablets to smartwatches to cars to any other place one might see fit to run Android. Using a new approach to user interface called Material Design, it promises to deliver a great user experience no matter what sort of device you’re running Android on. Here’s The Verge’s overview of Material Design:

Material Design has been well received by developers and designers, and it looks like a pleasure to use, but it’ll still be an unfamiliar system to those people switching to Android. Google have anticipated this and released a guide for iOS users switching over to Android Lollipop that covers:

  • Moving photos and music from iOS to Android
  • Transferring your contacts
  • Setting up email and messaging
  • Finding the apps you loved on iOS on Android

How to switch from Android to iOS, and iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6

ios 8.1 on iphone 6 6 plus

Not to be outdone by Google, Apple have released their own switching guide which shows Android users how to get the most out of their new iPhone. It covers moving:

  • Email settings and messages, as well as the data from your contacts and calendars
  • Photos and videos
  • Music
  • Books and PDFs
  • Documents
  • Apps

iOS 8.0 had a number of issues when it was first released, and while fixes were provided in iOS 8.0.1 and 8.0.2, a number of issues remained. iOS 8.1 has now been released, and GottaBeMobile.com have tried it out on their iPhone 6 devices and posted a review.

NSA approves Samsung devices running Knox security software for government use

nsa okays knox

Samsung’s Knox is a “container” system that separates Samsung mobile devices into two separate workspaces: a personal one and a protected Knox workspace one, where data is protected through hardware- and software-integrated security measures to provide secure access to corporate resources and protection from unauthorized users. The NSA and Central Security Service have approved the following for government use as long as they’re using Knox:

  • Galaxy S4
  • Galaxy S5
  • Galaxy Note 3
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition)

While these devices meet the NSA’s security standards, there’s no guarantee that this approval will translate into orders for these devices from the US government.

Tim Cook says that iPad has a bright future in spite of flat sales

tim cook on ipad's bright future

iPad sales may have seen their third straight quarter of decline is sales, but Tim Cook still appears to be bulling about the tablet’s future. “I know there’s a lot of negative commentary in the markets on this, but I have a little different perspective on it,” he said during Apple’s most recent earnings call.

He also says:

  • “Instead of looking at this thing each 90 days, if you back up and look at it, we’ve sold 237 million in just over four years. That’s about twice the number of iPhones that we sold over the first four years of iPhone.”
  • “If you look at the last 12 months of iPad, we sold 68 million, and in fiscal year [2013], we sold 71. So we were down, but we were down 4% on sell-in and the sell-through was a bit better than the -4, because we took down channel inventory some. I view it as a speed bump, not a huge issue. That said, we want to grow. We don’t like negative numbers on these things.”
  • “The last market research data is in the June quarter. If you look at our top six revenue countries, in the country that sold the lowest percentage of iPads to people who had never bought an iPad before, that number is 50%. And the range goes from 50% to over 70%. And so when I look at first-time buyer rates in that area, that’s not a saturated market.”
  • “What you do see is that people hold onto their iPads longer than they do a phone. And because we’ve only been in this business four years, we don’t really know what the upgrade cycle will be for people. So that’s a difficult thing to call.”
  • “We also know that the deeper the apps go in the enterprise, the more it opens up avenues in enterprise. That’s a key part of the IBM partnership and what I think customers will get out of that.”

They’re not Nokia Lumia phones anymore, they’re Microsoft Lumia phones

theyre called microsoft lumia now

While the company bearing the name Nokia is no longer in the smartphone business, it still goes on as a maker of mapping systems and network infrastructure. The phone part of the business now belongs to Microsoft, and as one might have expected, the Nokia name will be taken off the phone division (which was bought by Microsoft), and the products are expected to be branded Microsoft, Lumia, or — if Microsoft stays true to its predilection for long names, Microsoft Lumia.

BlackBerry moves 200,000 Passports in two days, attracts Lenovo

blackberry passport 200000

Based on their reputation as the gold standard in secure mobile communications and a new marketing approach focused specifically on the “30% of the smartphone market who use their phones as a business tool, not an ‘entertainment portal’, BlackBerry have managed to move 200,000 of their new BlackBerry Passport devices in their 2-day opening sale. The large screen, large battery, and mechanical keyboard are selling points not just to those people who remember BlackBerry during their heyday, but is said to be winning over people who are keeping their iPhone and Android devices for the rest of their life but planning to use the BlackBerry to get work done.

BlackBerry’s recent wins are adding fuel to the rumors that Lenovo, who purchased Motorola from Google earlier this year, will try to acquire BlackBerry — possibly even this week.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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Your Windows 10 joke of the day

by Joey deVilla on October 20, 2014

windows 10 - we finally fixed everything

This one’s been floating about the ‘net for the past few days, and it gave me a chuckle.

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