My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Telecom Providers and Satellite Calling - For Your Eyes Only

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Telecom Providers and Satellite Calling - For Your Eyes Only



God hath made Man upright, but they have sought out many inventions

Ecclesiastes 7 vs 29

Americans, what is the most dangerous parasite [weapon]? An Idea, credit to Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2009). International Voice Calling or in the case of the United States of America Inter LATA (Local Access Transport Area) and now Inter State (same thing, just overlapping LATA’s) has long been the bread-and-butter idea, of most of the Big Four (4) Telecom Provider who still had POTS (Plain Old Telephone Systems) or “Landline” as regular folks who never worked in a Telecoms Provider or Telco call this pre-Noah Flood service.

That’s right, Seventh Day Adventist’s: Noah had an AT&T landline on his Ark…..it’s in the Bible, he called it by a codename, the Dove, a take on the arch nemesis in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only (1981), the only James Bond movie to date where the soundtrack singer is featured as an added distraction at the start of the movie, aside from the usual twirling and dancing silhouetted nymphs that normally entice and titillate before the action spiel begins.

Achtung!

This same Dove Telecom Provider AT&T had sent out from as far back as last year has now returned to Telecom Provider AT&T, signaling that the waters have cleared and now customers are ready for something new in the smart phone space: A phone straight out of Iron Man (2008) with the ability, like the character Mr. Stark, played by Johnny Depp, to make International Voice and Video calls anywhere in the world.

Another US Military Early Adopter throwaway now coming to the consumer in the form of the Satellite smart phone enabled TerreStar Genus as stated in the article “AT&T launches satellite phone”, published September 21, 2010 9:32 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Wireless.

John Public unleashes this old idea on an unsuspecting American Public, hoping that it can “build cities” in people minds of a future where International Voice Calling Phone numbers will be as simple as Local Voice Calling, using a much simplified four (4) Digit prefix before your existing seven (7) digit phone number.

Many reading this included hyperlink for the article may think that interest in satellite calling is itself antediluvian. After all, Google Voice, Skype and Friing VoIP (Voice Over IP) offering have made the need for satellite calling obsolete.

FaceTime is now the de facto standard for Video Calling on Apple, satirized in the FaceTime commercial by Apple now getting heavy rotation in Jamaica on both CVM TV and Television Jamaica

Jamaica is getting the Apple iPhone 4.0 as we are a part of Latin America as hinted in the article “Rumor: iPhone 4 with New Antenna Coming Soon”, published Tuesday August 31 2010 Jeff Bertolucci, Yahoo! News.

Ditto too for the Apple iPad as stated in the article “iPad coming to Latin America on Sept. 17”, published Thursday September 16, 12:02 pm ET by David Chartier, Yahoo! News.

Voice and Video Calling can be done once you are in range of a Telecom Provider GSM (Global Systems Mobile) or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) Voice Network or 3G (HSDPA+), Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) or WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Data Network.

Google’s recent Diplomatic row with Apple and AT&T as it relates to Google Voice, which is by the way is NOT strictly a VoIP App, but an augmentation of Switched Mobile Voice Network with a VoIP Termination Platform was recently resolved as stated in the article “AT&T to allow VoIP iPhone apps on 3G Network”, published October 6, 2009 4:46 PM PDT by Jim Dalrymple, CNET News – Apple.

Its popularity, on the same level as its other successful product, Google Android OS for smart phones, like the Apple iPad, is being propelled by the popularity it enjoys among customer who represent the future: College Students.

How ironic.

The same college students that steal music, whose downloading habits now have to be curtailed by Senator Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States of America aka the Sheriff as stated in the article “Feds sieze cash, Web sites of alledged fim pirates”, published June 30, 2010 3:11 PM PDT by Greg Sandoval CNET News - Media Maverick in the name of increased taxation.

Colleges are caving under Federal application of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, legislation the RIAA (Recording Industry Artiste Association) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Artiste Association) help to craft along with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA as stated in the article “Federal News on campus file sharing kick in today”, published July 1, 2010 7:14 AM PDT by Greg Sandoval CNET News - Media Maverick!

These same beer swilling campus hooligans are the future customers and target market of the various Silicon Valley computer makers and Telecom Providers and their various Voice and Data Plans and the priority placed on Google Voice accounts for students as stated in the article “Students now get priority access to Google Voice”, published May 14, 2010 10:03 AM PDT by Josh Lowensohn, CNET News

The mashup of Google Voice and Gmail  - which by the way allows people Internationally to make Video and Voice Calls to Mobile and Landline numbers in the United States of America and Canada - as stated in the article “Google: 1 million Gmail calls during first day”, published August 26, 2010 12:38 PM PDT by Stephen Shankland, CNET News - Deep Tech - is a direct target at this nascent Generation Y market that would naturally ask: Why pay so much for International Calling in a world with Skype, Google Voice, Friing and FaceTime?

But Generation Y, which is mostly young people aged 14 to 35, apparently live in a blissfully idc (I don’t’ care) life as it relates to the rest of the world. This access to a Telecom Provider’s Network is not always the case, especially when you are in countries that, by virtue of geography alone, make even CMDA (Code Division Multiple Access) Network, the most spectrally efficient variety of phone calling prohibitively expensive to built out.

Making the more engineering and creative minded considering option such as Mesh Networking as is the case of the Australian Outback as stated in the article “Cell phone chats - in the Australian Outback?”, published July 12, 2010 2:06 PM PDT by Leslie Katz, CNET News - Crave based on the work of Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen of Flinders University in Australia.

This concept is genius: using Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enable phones to form a Mesh Network, a feat achieved using hacked Android phones about which I had chronicled could be an option by which local Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) could offer a Voice Calling alternative using Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n).

This expands the Telecom Provider’s Network by piggybacking call on each member of the Mesh Network of smart phones until it contacts a Mobile Data Network so as to relay the call or initiate the Data Service. But even this, obviously is limited by the mere lack of any Network of any sort.

And contrary to what most may think, building out Mobile Network may not always be practical, especially as Power Utility Company costs may make such investments very long term and cost prohibitive to provision to customers and result in longer than eight (8) years wait time to make profit, typical of most Telecom Providers.

Thus the Dove aka the AT&T TerreStar Genus smart phone, who name herald the Genius of the persons who originally conceived this idea and the faith of Telecom Provider AT&T in launching it, is definitely another game changer, at least in the Telecom Space.

Simply put, this phone, albeit low in the roster of technical specs, is nonetheless high up there in the stratosphere with the Apple iPad in the “game changer” category, specifically for its Technology utilization of Satellite Calling.

This can make it possible for Telecom Providers to provision Voice and Data Services in large countries or vast swathes of countryside in countries on a continental scale such as North and South America, Europe, Africa, China, East Asian Countries – and yes Australia -  still lacking in basic access to Mobile Voice and Data Service and pretty much stuck in the 19th Century as it relates to Telecoms Services.

By simply launching a multi-million dollar satellite that handles Voice and Data Traffic over a country, a feat soon to be cheaper and affordable to the masses thanks to privatization of launching satellite payloads into Space.

A job previously done by NASA (National Aeronautical Space Agency) and Space Agencies of other sovereign Space-faring nations as stated in the article “Is NASA's New Space Plan Really that Radical?”, published Tuesday March 2 2010 by Clara Moskowitz, Senior Writer SPACE.com, Yahoo! News, the Sci-Fi and Spy Novel usage of Satellite calling to the masses will be made possible.

Much as the Quadricopter/Augmented Reality (AR) Drone from Parrot heralds the promise of bringing ROV (Remote Operate Vehicles) Technology to the masses as reported in the article “Taking flight: Parrot AR.Drone quadricopter”, published September 17, 2010 12:34 PM PDT by Joseph Kaminski, CNET News – Crave.

Albeit the initial Technology, like the AT&T TerreStar Genus smart phone, is entry level standard, it is nonetheless a beginner’s leap with great expectations.

Great expectations, I dare say? Yes, Great Expectations, Charles Dickens style. It already has a camera and come with Voice and Data. Though targeted at Government of the United States of America Workers, the mere fact that the AT&T TerreStar Genus smart phone website has a signup form to allow customers of AT&T to be alerted when their will be a customer friendly [pricing, improved specs] model available.

A standard American courtesy, beckons to a possibility where this smart phone will be the next International Travellers and local Gadget Geek’s best friend, already acquainted with GPS, another freely available satellite service, standard like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n).

It lends credence to the fanciful notion of a Global World Phone, a svelte slime sexy and less bulky compadre than the current crop of Satellite phones with their BIG antennas that make me look like a Colombian Drug Lord, on the run, machete in hand.

Also, the AT&T TerreStar Genus smart phone can, via satellite, access Voice Services, allowing the provisioning of calls to any other Mobile or Landline number worldwide and access Data Services for one low rate in one simple package.

Something which only Blackberry has partially been able to achieve for International Business Travellers, who can only send Blackberry Messenger and Email for “free”, a Data Service but still have to pay roaming charges for their Voice Calling services.

Even better, if other smart phone Vendors and Designers such as Apple, Samsung, Nokia and HTC begin to license or copy this Technology and make it incorporated standard like Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) in their smart phone designs, we could eventual begin to see a push towards Satellite Telephony

Especially as the cost of building and launching a satellite into orbit can be supported by an Alliance of Telecom Providers and smart phone Handset Makers wishing to enable the Global One Rate, One Package Satellite Phone Revolution

Much in the same way that the GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) services, segmented into Military and Civilian Application are free to customers [civilians] with GPS enabled mobile smart phones and devices that utilize GPS.

It may even lead to the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) championing an old proposed idea by Telecom Providers to remove the complex web of prefixes associated with International Voice Calling.

This by using a simpler four (4) digit prefix replacing the cumbersome International Codes and LATA Codes satirized in the movie You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008) followed by the three (3) digit Exchange code and the four (4) digit station code for both Landline and Mobile phones Internationally.

Thus enable Global Mobile Number Portability (GMNP) for all Pre-Paid and two (2) year Contract Postpaid Calling Internationally.

This, folks in the Telecommunications World and members of GSMA (GSM Alliance) who may read my words, is what would make International Switched Networks, now in the process worldwide of replacing their Undersea Copper Cables and Fiber Optic Cables a competitive and still viable alternative to VoIP.

Ironically this uses these very same pathways across the seas between Gateway Exchanges, as it is the opinion of John Public that for the billions expended in putting satellites in orbit, they are severely underutilized.

This is based on my experience while working as a Network Maintenance Technician at C&W in Jamaica between the years 2001 to 2004, which boasts three (3) Earth Stations, one in the Montego Bay Free Zone Area, one at Chalmers Avenue in Kingston and the third in Grants Pen.

Worse, such Voice Telecoms specific Satellites can be done for cheaper once Privatization of the Satellite Market is achieved, a boon for Satellite Deployment hopefuls (contractors?) EDS (of Airbus Fame!!), Raytheon and Boeing, already setting their designs on Satellite Deployment using unmanned un-refuelled forever flying UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) as stated in the article Boeing eyes five-year flight for solar plane”, published September 16, 2010 11:16 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Cutting Edge.

Space tourism as stated in the article “Boeing plans to start space tourism flights by 2015”, published September 15, 2010 9:10 AM PDT by Tim Hornyak, CNET News – Crave.

With Solar Sail Technology enableing lower earth orbits and potential cheaper satellite deployment as stated in the article “Solar Sails could allow New Orbits for Satellites”, published Sunday August 15, 9:47 am ET ZoĆ« Macintosh, SPACE.com Staff Writer, SPACE.com fro Yahoo! News is also likely.

All possible once Satellite launches are privatized, bringing low cost Data services to the masses in more aesthetical pleasing smart phones NOT tied to ANY Terrestrial Network other than their Network of the customer’s home country

Bypassing roaming charges but a premium nonetheless on the privilege of Satellite Calling, the word “International” being rendered meaningless in a World without Borders………..as VoIP has done, only Iron Man (2008) style.

Telecom Providers, For Your Eyes Only (1981)………………….

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