Wednesday grok: permanent war

4G broadband, patent smackdown and a hint of iphone 5

Ziggy was leaving pretty much from the moment he arrived, Sol was crazy and you wondered where he buried the bodies, but incumbent Telstra CEO David Thodey appears to have achieved quite the trifecta: Telstra's boss is no longer the story, surnames are back in vogue, and those long suffering share holders including every Australian with a superannuation account have seen growth in the stock for almost a year.

Capital T is all over the media right now, due to its (are we there yet) 4G broadband announcement and the long running complaints from long suffering competitors about its market dominance.

First to 4G, or Long Term Evolution (LTE), as the marketers call it. Others may indeed have picked up on the subtly of the announcement but the only reference we could find to the fact that consumers will have to wait for Long Term Evolution Advanced to technically get their mitts on real 4G broadband was on the SMH. But let's not get too caught up in the semantics. Those in the coverage areas can expect download speeds of two to 40 Mbps, according to the report, with theoretical (meaning it never actually happens) speeds of up to 100Mbps.

While Long Term Evolution is grabbing the spotlight, Telstra's long term devolution is generating predictable excitement among rivals. Telstra's proposed structural separation under the terms of its NBN deal with the government is being reviewed by the ACCC, and everyone from Keyser Söze down is lining up for a crack at them.

Rivals, lead by Optus (owned by that paragon of commercial fairness, the Singapore government) worry aloud and often that insufficient safeguards exist to ensure Telstra gives its" wholesale customers and retail arms the same price for the same quality of services," says the Australian.

And on this, it is hard to be other than sympathetic because, let's be realistic, Telstra has form in this regard, as everyone who followed the painful machinations of the ADSL rollout in Australia will recall.

And for a flavour of why anything broadband gets the carriers into such a lather, Techworld describes a report by industry analysts Ovum. They predict that home broadband revenues in the Asia Pacific region will be twice as large as home voice revenues, quicker than you can say Hulu.

The tech sector often resembles a theatre of permanent war, and Samsung and Apple's nasty little global spat over patents and the tablet market continues in that fine tradition. In the Australian courts local beak Annabelle Bennett may grant a "brief injunction" against the release of Samsung's tablet here while she assesses Apples's claims of patent infringement says the SMH.

Standing in between not too many current consumers and a new tablet is perhaps irritating conduct by Apple. But getting in between several million consumers and their shiny new iToys is crazy brave. And that's the game Samsung is playing in the Hague.

Techcrunch has a piece on this continuing imbroglio with one of the better leads Grok has read this week. "Good morning, and welcome to today’s edition of: “Apple and Samsung love to hate each other.”

TC reports on the court case in the Netherlands where Samsung is counter suing Apple in their patent tit for tat. It is asking that iPads and iPhones be pulled from the shelves in Holland, and presumably all other Euro zone markets if they can get their legal mojo flowing. Oh yeah, that will really endear them to 400 million of the world's wealthiest consumers.

The case involves 3G patents and has Samsung putting its hand out for 2.4 per cent of royalty payments on all of Apple's 3G iPhone and iPad chipsets. The story notes Samsung's patent lawyers have likewise opened fronts in other markets including U.S., France, Japan, the U.K. South Korea, and Germany.

Undeterred, Apple meanwhile is cranking up the volume on the iPhone 5, reports Reuters. (Don't expect to see them in Australia much before Xmas due to the ongoing manufacture and supply contracts covering the local market - Grok's rock solid impeccable source: that young kid with the pimples behind the counter at the Telstra shop we visited last week).

Reuters says you can expect a bigger screen and better remote services. Better battery life would be nice as well. Standby times of less than twelve hours kind of challenge the notion of mobility, don't you think?

AndrewBirmingham2010@me.com is currently unavailable as his iPhone is being recharged... again. His Blackberry used to stand by for up to a week at a time.

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Tags lte4gGrokTelstra

More about AppleApple.Australian Competition and Consumer CommissionOptusOvumReuters AustraliaSamsungTelstra Corporation

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