Another visit to Greek operators

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Professionally, Greece is an interesting country where deregulation is happening now. We already deployed several VoIP solutions, as well as our very first IPTV and Video on Demand system (at “On”). It is coming to the point where, just like in other countries, mobile operators feel that they will need to offer broadband access and VoIP, and I am visiting the CTO of the mobile arm of the incumbent, Cosmote, to discuss this trend.

 One of the difficulties is to avoid mixing the theme of femtocells with VoIP. Femtocells are an interesting technology which enables a mobile operator to offload his mobile network leveraging a fixed network, or presented differently to progressively implement a microcellular network complementing the macrocellular network. It is interesting for the engineer and the network planner, but does not bring anything to the end user or to the ARPU.
On the other hand, VoIP does not bring much to the macrocellular network (while WiFi offlad for dual mode phones can be demonstrated on most high end phones, it is still a bit theoretical as long as the mass of existing cellular phones do not support WiFi), but it enables the mobile operator to capture new revenue from the fixed telephony trafic.

The two themes are distinct and complementary, but the confusion comes from the fact that both require the deployment of a fixed network, which makes many operators think that once they have deployed a fixed network (typically DSL), it is going to be either femtocells or VoIP. It always takes some time and practice (usually witnessing someone deploy VoIP), to clear the confusion.

I also enjoy, as always, a visit to one of our VoIP customers (Netone.gr), then I head back to the airport. The driver is a chipendale-looking guy with enormous ‘Vuarnet’ sunglasses, beating all previous records by keeping a frightening 170km/h back to airport. I am not sure he realised he was driving a Mercedes, not an Airbus.

On the flight, I work a bit more on the theme navigation menu for Socracy. This time I am trying to fit the political platform exposed on the pre-loaded web sites of all major candidates from the last presidential election in France, plus all the newspapers I could gather in the airport. It is really interesting to compare the theme classification from all candidates, and not always easy to merge them. Anyway this exercise now brings the navigation menu, on paper, to about 18 A4 pages … I feel this is not the end of it, I will need to keep expanding until most of what I read in political newspapers can get in the theme structure without creating new sections. A lot more work ahead.

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